On Sunday evening, the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history occurred at a country music concert in Las Vegas. Armed with more than 20 guns, some modified for increased rates of fire, Stephen C. Paddock killed 58 people and wounded more than 500 others by firing upon concert-goers from an elevated position inside the Mandalay Bay hotel. The Las Vegas Review-Journal has comprehensive coverage of the shooting. Keep reading for more news.
Victims. NPR has a continuously-updated article that provides moving biographies of the mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, wives, and husbands who are among the dead. Our thoughts are with their families and friends.
The Winston-Salem Journal has a story of a Winston-Salem couple, Kristen and Burnie Little, who were at the concert and managed to escape the shooting without being physically harmed. In the article, the Littles recount the terrifying time between when the shooting started and when they were allowed to leave lockdown at the Tropicana Las Vegas, where they had fled.
Why “modern” American history? As noted above, the 58 victims in Las Vegas represent the largest mass shooting in modern American history. Why only in “modern” American history? As Time explains here, the 1800s saw far larger massacres of African Americans and Native Americans.
Bump Stocks. Video and audio recordings from the Las Vegas shooting suggested that Paddock used weapons that were capable of high rates of fire. While civilian ownership of fully automatic weapons has been tightly restricted for decades and the weapons are relatively rare, commonly available devices known as “bump stocks” drastically increase the rate of fire of semi-automatic firearms. Reports indicate that twelve of the guns in Paddock’s hotel room had been fitted with bump stocks. New laws limiting access to the devices appear likely. The Washington Post notes here that several members of Congress – and the NRA – have indicated that additional regulations are appropriate.
United States Attorney General announces new initiatives. As detailed in this press release, Attorney General Sessions is responding to a nationwide increase in homicides and violent crimes by “reinvigorating” Project Safe Neighborhoods, providing training and technical assistance to local partners, and adding 40 new Assistant United States Attorney positions focused on violent crime, among other measures.
Juvenile Defender Podcast. The North Carolina Office of the Juvenile Defender has produced its first-ever podcast according to a post on the office’s blog. The podcast discusses State v. Saldierna, a case in which the North Carolina Supreme Court determined that a juvenile’s statement – “Um, can I call my mom?” – was not a clear and unambiguous invocation of his right to have a parent or guardian present during questioning. The blog post says that the office plans to produce more podcasts in the future.
Missing Cars. The News & Observer says that according to a state audit report “[p]rivate contractors responsible for towing, storing and auctioning off cars seized from impaired drivers and people accused of fleeing police cannot account for 234 vehicles, valued at nearly $634,000.” The two contractors are Martin Edwards & Associates and Eastway Wrecker Service. The Observer report says that Martin Edwards was responsible for the vast majority of the missing property. An attorney for the company said in a statement that the company believes that it has documentation that will account for the vehicles in question. The attorney also said that Eastway has accounted for the missing vehicles for which it was responsible.
Missing Car and Missing Court. One way or another, Tiffany Mills was going to make it to her Madison County court date. Mills was so determined to make it to court, that she is accused of stealing a vehicle from a home in Buncombe County in order to drive herself to Marshall to answer for a minor traffic offense. This seems like a clear-cut example of the necessity defense.
[Editor’s note: Christopher Tyner is off today. He compiled most of the content for this post, but I posted the final version and am responsible for any errors or omissions.]