When Montclair State junior Lexi Aspen woke up on Monday, she was bombarded by the news of the mass shooting in Las Vegas that occurred on Sunday night during a Jason Aldean concert. Her immediate response was to call family members who live in the city of sin, only 10 minutes away from the strip where shooter, Stephen Paddock, was firing shots out of his hotel room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel.
The 20-year-old family and child studies major said her aunt, uncle, cousins and niece live in Las Vegas. After seeing all of the videos and coverage of the shooting, she called her aunt, who said that they were all safe.
Aspen’s uncle, Kevin Ball, is a manager at the Stratosphere, a hotel located on the Las Vegas strip, and she was concerned for his safety since he occasionally works at the hotel late at night. Luckily, he was home when the shooting occurred.
Aspen couldn’t help but think back to two months ago when she visited Las Vegas and went to Mandalay Bay while she was there. A concert is supposed to be a celebration of music and Aspen said that idea was destroyed by Paddock.
“The thought of something as fun as a concert [getting] ruined by a psycho…that’s just so awful,” Aspen said.
There were an abundance of videos of the chaos that night, taken by those at the concert or in hotel rooms on the strip. Aspen said she felt nauseous watching the scene play out in front of her and the videos were hard to watch.
The mass shooting in Las Vegas is now being called the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Although Aspen believes something needs to be done to limit who can obtain a gun, she said a person will have the means to get one regardless of new laws or regulations.
“While I think there should be more psychological and background testing to obtain a gun, people are still going to get guns illegally if they really want to,” Aspen said.
In the aftermath of the shooting, she is most worried for her seven-month-old niece, Siena.
“She is my biggest concern out there having to grow up in such a scary world,” said Aspen.