Vegas revealed need for regulations

by Gustavo Cristobal, Staff Writer

It’s been more than a week now since the shooting that occurred in Las Vegas took place. The shooter’s actions will affect everyone in the U.S. in ways that will cost certain rights and privileges.

The Las Vegas shooter’s motives behind the shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival are unknown. Although it may be tempting to call Stephen Paddock a terrorist, he does not fit into the definition of one because there are no known political ties or motives behind the shooting.

There could be ways to make sure something like this never happens again, but they come at the cost of privacy ranging from getting your bags checked at hotels, to having a database of people’s mass communication activity.

Paddock took advantage of the Mandalay Bay’s policy of not searching his bags. He brought in 10 suitcases filled with about two dozen firearms, according to police.

According to Business Insider, the Wynn Resort in Las Vegas added new security measures after the shooting by scanning guests with metal detectors and putting bags through X-ray machines. The Mandalay Bay and other MGM Resorts also have increased security. One may start wondering how far things will go in order to create a safer environment. Although an inconvenience to guests, the security measures currently placed in Las Vegas will start to be phased out over time.

Howard Safir, a former New York City police commissioner, believes that more is needed to further ensure the safety of Americans.

“I believe the No. 1 civil right is to be free from harm. And in order to do that in a civilized society … we maybe have to give up a little bit of our privacy,” Safir said in an interview in CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street.”

However, when it comes to issues such as these mass shootings that are committed by “lone wolves,” the drastic security measures in tourist-designated areas are not necessarily the answer to ensure safety for citizens. Yes, having more security staff in place to monitor for suspicious activity is acceptable, but having TSA-styled inspections at hotels sets a precedent that we should live our lives in fear — to exchange our privacy for security.

The Fourth Amendment — which protects from unlawful searches and seizures — does not need to be weakened further. The USA Freedom Act has already created a database containing the metadata of every single individual’s online/telecommunications activity.

Has all this information collected by spying on Americans through mass surveillance actually stopped terrorist attacks from happening? It didn’t stop Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik from killing 14 people in San Bernardino. It didn’t stop Omar Mateen from killing 49 people and wounding 58 others in the Orlando shooting. It also didn’t stop Adam Lanza from killing 20 children and six adults in the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting.

The focus should instead be placed on reconfiguring the Second Amendment. There’s nothing wrong with owning firearms, but there needs to be stricter regulations. These regulations should take the place of further invasion of privacy.

Michael Chertoff, former Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and co-author of the USA Patriot Act, said in an interview with International Business Times, “What you’re trying to do is look for relationships and connections that raise a red flag, which then may or may not prompt a closer look,” Chertoff said. “The challenge is fundamentally collecting the haystack and giving yourself the ability to find the needle”

33 out of Paddock’s 47 guns were bought across different gun stores in different states. Stricter gun tracking, along with the required background checks, could help authorities in searching for red flags.

Progress is being made. Understanding that stricter gun laws laws should be put in place rather than further privacy breaches is the first step. But for now, it’s important to remember to not live life in fear. That only puts more power in the hand of the perpetrators.