Las Vegas is trying to cope with the aftermath of the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history. In a city known as the symbol for exultant American excess, there is an eerie uncertainty about how residents and tourists should continue in the wake of this violence.
Arun Rath, a correspondent for WGBH and NPR, is on the ground in Las Vegas. Rath tells WGBH's Morning Edition that officials are urging people to continue with their plans. His plane ride, he said, was full of somber but resilient passengers who refused to cancel their plans.
Police are still searching for a motive to explain why 64-year-old Stephen Paddock fired hundreds of rounds from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel into the crowd of thousands enjoying a country music concert on Sunday night. As of Tuesday morning, 59 people have died and more than 500 have been injured. At least two of the victims were from Massachusetts.
Police say Paddock died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound before they stormed his hotel room. They recovered more than 23 firearms from the room and another 19 firearms from his home in Mesquite, Nevada.
The shooting has sparked debates once again about gun control in Congress, as many lawmakers are saying the time for empty offerings of thoughts and prayers is over. Some of the most vocal voices come from the Massachusetts congressional delegation.
Senator Ed Markey spoke on the Senate floor last night urging for stricter background checks. Both Congressman Seth Moulton and Congresswoman Katherine Clark have pledged to abstain from any moments of silence and instead take concrete action to restrict the sale of assault rifles. All other members of the state's congressional delegation have issued similar calls to action.
Meanwhile, daily life in Las Vegas must continue. Tom Vongess, one of the passengers on Rath's flight, works in insurance and said he decided to follow through on his plans to travel to a manager's meeting for his company.
"I thought it was important to come because you can't be held hostage to people that do crazy things," Vongess said. "So life goes on. It's a tragedy what happened."
To listen to the full interview, click the link above.