The image of the Wild West and Clint Eastwood as a man with the gun fighting off enemies and evil is what Hollywood’s early memories are all about. While Hollywood has moved on more sophisticated technology prompted movies that mostly show terror and terrorists planning violence in Middle East and Pakistan, back home the Americans are still dealing with the Wild West’s gun culture that has lost its earlier context. The recent shooting in Las Vegas is a tragedy of huge proportions. A festive city, a fun filled concert, a fun-loving crowd and 59 dead and over 500 injured. The immediate reaction - as in the summer there was an attack in a London concert this was also an act of terror by some islamophobic terrorist organization. However the latest news is that it is a single person, a one off act of insanity, and thus not an act of terror but an act of evil as President Trump tweeted it.

Guns and firearms possession in the US is constitutionally protected under the second amendment. The purpose is self-defence, sports and hunting etc. This originates from the agrarian times in US when hunting was a skill for earning. It was also a protection against the attacks by Native Americans which required every family to have ammunition especially in the absence of a regular army. However things have dramatically changed as the US military might is visible everywhere in most prominent wars in the world. Thus the theory behind freedom to own firearms seems to get more and more questionable. Gun laws also vary by state and Las Vegas is particularly lax in these laws. Stephen Paddock, the shooter, had a variety of guns and ammunition many of them legal and many of them not. How easy it was to carry almost a depot of ammunition in the hotel is a sight, that instead of Las Vegas had it been in Afghanistan, would make the American government go in war hysteria.

The second amendment is interesting and again had it been in any Islamic country would have been interpreted as state sponsored terrorism. Gun rights advocates in US invoke the founding fathers and the Second Amendment to the Constitution, which declares “a well-regulated militia” a necessity for a free state and therefore guarantees “the right of the people to keep and bear arms.” Statistics suggest that the second amendment needs a third amendment; however the gun business and gun politics in America make it almost impossible to touch this holy commandment. Thus the numbers of guns and gun victims grow frightening. Guns are as common in every American house as is the dishwasher. The Guardian has compiled shocking data; 1,516 mass shootings in the United States over the past 1,735 days.

Aside from university shootings by some random students every few months mass shootings every year are a norm. A heavily armed gunman killed 49 people inside a gay nightclub in the city of Orlando on June 12, 2016. A newlywed couple stormed an office party at a social services centre in San Bernardino, California in December 2015, killing 14 people and injuring 22 others. The couple was shot dead by police. Former serviceman Aaron Alexis, a US citizen, shot randomly at workers at the Washington Navy Yard headquarters in September 2013, killing 12 people before he was shot dead by police and so on and so forth.

All evidence and research point out that the lax gun culture is the cause of the increasing regularity of mass murders. The question arises, why is the US government that is always dictating “do more” to curb violence in the rest of the world, is doing less when it comes to their own trigger happy murderers? The answer is boring and unexciting. It is money. The biggest pro-gun lobby NRA i.e National Rifle Association is a big sponsor of political candidates who can “safeguard unholy attacks” on the 2nd Amendment. They have found a great champion in Trump. Trump, whose campaign received $30 million from the NRA, knows where his bread is buttered. In his first weeks in power, he moved to reverse Obama-era regulations that attempted to make it harder for people with records of mental illness to acquire guns, in April he became the first sitting president to address the NRA itself. That is why his insistence on “evil” instead of “terror” in his post shooting address.

Guns are big business in America and the stock prices of guns show how this business is sensitive to such incidences. Share prices of gun manufacturers would be expected to fall fearing more gun control laws on its sale after this massacre. On the contrary they rose 3.2%. The logic is that buyers fearing more laws start buying in bulk before the laws can set in. Thus shootings are also short term boosts to share values. Also the advertising and movie industry have turned shoot outs into thrillers that attract the dare and destroy instincts in humans. Add to this the video game industry and the unlimited fabrication and animation available on social media and guns are almost a symbol of bravery, courage and invincibility.

Stephen Paddock’s motive for murder is still unknown. Had he been a non-white, bearded Muslim or black, he would have been definitely linked to Daesh/ISIS. Daesh has claimed that he was a convert on their mission, yet the US investigation refuses to believe this claim. This has given rise to more debate on the racial profiling in USA. President Trump’s open support to white supremacists has already created huge resentment within America and all over the world. Any other suspect’s family, friends and acquaintances would have been hounded and harassed to extricate minute details of the life and death of the “terrorist”. Stephen at best has been termed as a mentally deranged man who just massacred 59 people in moments of insanity - insane people legally cannot be held responsible for insane acts. Herein lies the destruction of selective justice. Inequality is the root cause of most crimes and discrimination is the fertilizer that nourishes and blooms the seed of discontent to blur the line between humanity and inhumanity.