As the debate rages over gun control in America, there's little solace new gun laws can bring to the victims of the senseless tragedy that occurred Oct. 1 in Las Vegas, including Jack Beaton and Melissa Ramirez, both of Bakersfield; Bailey Schweitzer, 20, of the Bakersfield area; and Kelsey Meadows, 28, of Taft. Every person who was injured has a story to tell about the heroic efforts of strangers helping strangers and first responders bravely running into a battle scene to try to selflessly save others, offering a glimmer of the American spirit and reminding us that Americans want to do the right thing.
The pictures and video that filled our screens cannot begin to capture the horror experienced that night by the people who were attending a country music concert.
There's plenty of finger-pointing underway, but one thing's for sure: there are things that hotels can do to stop more Vegas-style shootings.
A man armed with 23 deadly firearms was allowed to lock himself in his hotel room at the Mandalay Bay for days and shoot at unsuspecting people who had nowhere to run. Why was this permitted? Those who were there and their families will be asking themselves this question.
Based upon the information known at this point, it appears there was a lack of proper precautionary measures taken by the hotel where this man was allowed to carry out his act of terror. Americans live in an age of terrorism. Hotels like Mandalay Bay have a duty to take necessary and appropriate security measures.
In the case of the Las Vegas shooting, the horror continued for what seemed like an eternity. What took so long? Every minute, every second that passed, more lives were lost. How accessible were the exits for the thousands of people trapped once tragedy struck? The ensuing stampede with no nearby shelter only heightened the terror.
Schools have done it. Courts have done it. Airports have increased security measures to prevent it from happening. It shouldn't take yet another mass shooting to know this type of incident can occur anywhere crowds gather.
Las Vegas is a weekend destination. Visitors who travel there to spend a couple of days with friends playing the tables, lounging by the pool, and going to shows carry minimum luggage. As lawsuits continue to be filed, the courts will force the hotel to release critical security video footage of those days and hours before the attack.
Apparently, there were video cameras set up across the property, and even the shooter was able to set up his own video cameras in public areas of the hotel. Will video footage show a man with a single suitcase, or will it show heavy bags that are unusually shaped with metal clanging?
Media reports say hotel employees helped the shooter bring some of his bags to his room. He also reportedly had access to a private service elevator because he was carrying at least 10 bags to the 32nd floor, even though the hotel staff knew or should have known he lived within an hour away. His "Do Not Disturb" sign hung for three days with no housekeeping check-up. Why didn't these actions raise the suspicions of any hotel employees? What kind of training did they have — if any? A man carrying nearly two dozen firearms and countless rounds of ammunition into a crowded hotel and then secluding himself for days should have sent a signal to staff and their superiors that something just wasn't right.
People can and have adjusted to inconveniences at airports and other busy places in exchange for tighter security measures. But Americans will never adjust to the aftermath of Oct. 1. Those who were there will never be the same. They have questions — and the hotel needs to give them answers.
The victims of the tragedy must be strong and ask the courts to demand accountability from those who were in a position to recognize and prevent the Las Vegas mass shooting and to ensure that something like this never happens again.
Robert A. Clifford is the founder of Clifford Law Offices, in Chicago, which helps victims of personal injury, medical malpractice, mass torts, consumer and health care fraud, product liability, and aviation and transportation disasters. In 2014, Bob was the lead negotiator in the $1.2 billion settlement of numerous 9/11 property damage claims following the collapse of the Twin Towers in New York.