FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (Philadelphia, PA) October 2, 2017: Just after 10PM Sunday, Las Vegas time, a man, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock of Mesquite, NV, opened fire from the 32nd floor hotel room he had checked into several days earlier. A storm of bullets rained down upon the Las Vegas Strip, upon people attending the Route 91 Harvest country music festival below. People reported that the gunfire kept up for a very long time, after which current tally is at 50 people dead, and 406 taken to nearby hospitals. The family of Paddock have no idea why he committed the act. Reports are that he would go to Las Vegas to gamble, and sometimes went to shows. This shooting is not thought of as associated with any international terrorism, and is being classed as a “lone wolf” shooting.

Gwendolyn Patton, First Speaker of the Pink Pistols, an LGBT self-defense organization, was stricken when she first heard of the event. “Once again, I’m shocked at the senselessness of it all,” she said. “I was left speechless when I learned of the Pulse nightclub shooting a little over a year ago in Florida, and now I’m just at a total loss about this act of senseless violence.” The Pink Pistols issues its heartfelt condolences to those who are hurting as a result of the actions of a clearly deeply disturbed individual, and hopes that answers regarding a potential motive will eventually become clear.

“I must, however, say one thing, and I deeply dislike having to repeat myself like this,” Patton said. “No matter what kinds of weapons Mr. Paddock had. No matter how many he had. No matter the sizes of the magazines, the caliber of the bullets, the color of the guns, or the style or design, the guns had no choice, for guns are not living creatures. A gun cannot choose to refuse to fire if the action is illegal. They’re just machines. I hate having to defend inanimate objects yet again, but I know that once again they will be low-hanging fruit for those who project their anger and fear onto them.” Her lips press into a hard line as she considers.

“People died because of the actions of a human being. He had a number of weapons, so clearly this was not a spur-of-the-moment situation. He chose this action. He chose the time. He chose the place. It was Mr. Paddock’s choice to do this heinous, horrible thing. What I pray for is that we learn why he did this, so we can prevent others from feeling the same way in the future. We need to intervene in the lives of our loved ones, to give them the love and help they need when they are hurting or suffering from emotional pain, or rage, or hate, that can cause them to lash out against their fellow human beings in such a fashion.” She shook her head and continued. “What we should not do, however, is allow ourselves to escape from the necessity of such intervention by taking the responsibility for the act off of the man and projecting it onto his tools. Guns did not do this. Guns were USED to do this, by a man with unknown motives and unknown thoughts. The man is responsible. Let’s keep the responsibility on the man, and try to solve the cause, rather than blindly blaming his tools.”

People around the world have been victims of anger, desperation, fear, hate, greed, and terror. They have been attacked with cars, trucks, rocks, bricks, bottles, bombs, bullets, and blades. In many of these places, the objects used to commit the acts either were already highly restricted, outright illegal, or became so shortly thereafter. But the laws against the objects have not prevented further such attacks. Such laws will be ineffective because the objects are not the source of the evil. Such evil can only come from the minds and hearts of human beings, and all of these objects must be wielded by human beings in order to cause death and injury. All of these objects have peaceful uses, but have been misused to commit terrible acts. We must resist the temptation to do the simple thing, to blame the tool when we must be trying to understand the individual.

It’s easy to blame the tool. When blame is settled upon an inanimate object, we stop questioning. We stop looking for deeper answers. We stop going to the greater effort to solve the greater problem. We take the easy way out — make a law against an object, dust off our hands, and go back to the television. We think our job is done, but it’s not, because it never was about the objects, but about the people. People are hard to fix. People are hard to understand. People are hard to stop when they are set on a goal.

But because these things are true, we can’t allow ourselves to stop with the easy solutions, because even if we ban one tool, they’ll pick up and pervert another tool. If we ban guns, they’ll pick up bombs. If we ban bombs, they’ll crash cars. If we ban cars, they’ll pick up knives. If we ban knives, they’ll swing sticks. If we ban sticks, they’ll throw rocks — and all of our evolution will be reduced back to the antelope’s thighbone against our prey all over again, once again, we’ll be sent back to what Cain used against Abel. Cain used a rock against his brother, but it wasn’t the rock that got marked as a result. These horrible things happen to us, and we need to take the more difficult path and solve the underlying reasons for them and become better human beings.

Let our sympathies be with those who lost loved ones last night. Let us help heal the wounds in their hearts, the holes in their lives. Let us try to understand why such a thing could happen, why this man did something his family members say was so out of character for him. And let’s not just take the easy way out. This time, let’s not just blame inanimate objects, post a hashtag, and go back to our cheeseburgers. Let’s take the more difficult route and work to solve the actual problems, whatever they may be.

The Pink Pistols is an international organization dedicated to the legal, safe, and responsible use of firearms for self-defense of the sexual-minority community. Chapters may be found across the United States and Canada. Though the Pink Pistols is for the LGBTQ community, it is not solely composed of the LGBTQ community, and all are welcome to join.

Gwendolyn S. Patton
First Speaker, Pink Pistols International
Ph: (610) 879-2364