The Las Vegas shooting

Shooting by a lone gunman or a couple of gunmen in crowded restaurants, lobbies and cabarets is nothing new in the US. More often than not they are not the handiwork of terrorists. Their motive behind mass killing of innocent people is known only to the murderers. The Sunday night shootout on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bar Hotel and Casino, killing 58 people and wounding almost ten times that number, has been found to be a non-terrorist attack. The gunman was a retired accountant whose father was a bank robber and once in the Most Wanted list of the FBI. A streak of criminality, it would appear, runs through the family. What is rather inexplicable is that he had fired ‘hundreds of rounds’ of shots from guns he had kept in the hotel room he had checked into. How could a man carry several fire arms and check into a hotel room without being detected?  Was he not frisked or his luggage subjected to metal detector tests?
In the US firearms are easily available. In our country they are not. At least these are not openly sold to any Tom, Dick or Harry. But nowadays firearms have become as easily available for a price as anywhere else. From what in local parlance is called country-made ‘one-shotters’ to foreign sophisticated firearms, everything is available. If private citizens can lay hold of a firearm so easily, one shudders to think what an organized terror outfit can do. Bike-borne assassins targeting their victims from close quarters and riding away has now become almost a daily business. The assassins of Gourie Lankesh are still at large. In one sense the killing of rationalists, free-thinkers and journalists can also be attributed to terrorists even if they are not jihadi terrorists. These are terror attacks because the purpose is to terrorize their victims and others who share their thoughts into silence.
In each of the recent terror attacks on prominent men like Dabholkar, Pansare, Kalburgi and Gourie Lankesh, the assassins still remain at large, making a laughing stock of the police force. In the US, shoot-outs such as the one at Las Vegas are the handiwork of common criminals, but the targeted killing of those who are against superstition, myth-making and pseudo-scientific thinking is not. The assassins are perceived to be enjoying State patronage in some form or the other. That is what makes their nabbing so difficult. Only an alert and determined citizenry can prevent this country from being plunged into total chaos.

Wednesday, 4 October, 2017