Las Vegas shooting'There has been an incredible response'

After massacre, Jewish Las Vegas mayor says, ‘Israel lives with this every day’

Speaking with The Times of Israel, Carolyn Goodman praises concert goers and first responders, says now is the time for healing

People pause at a Las Vegas memorial for the victims of the mass shooting at a concert in the city three days earlier, October 4, 2017. (AP/John Locher)
People pause at a Las Vegas memorial for the victims of the mass shooting at a concert in the city three days earlier, October 4, 2017. (AP/John Locher)

NEW YORK — Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman said the city will not be defined by the actions of a lone gunman who killed 58 and injured another 489 on October 1. Instead, it will be known as a city of strength and resilience.

“I am so proud of everybody. The first responders. The people who were there [concert goers]. It could have been worse,” she said in a brief telephone interview with The Times of Israel.

On October 1, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock of Mesquite, Nevada, opened fire from his 32nd story hotel room at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino and killed 58 people and injured 489. Paddock was found with 23 weapons in the room, and more than 50 pounds of exploding targets and 1,600 rounds of ammunition were discovered in his car in the hotel parking lot, police told CNN.

Las Vegas mayor Carolyn Goodman. (Courtesy Mayor’s office)

Since then the city has received an international outpouring of sympathy and support. Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat sent his condolences to Goodman on Thursday.

“We are so grateful for the emotional embrace. There has been an incredible response from around the world,” said Goodman. “People are calling asking ‘What can we do, how can we help?'”

“The whole country is sensitive to the violence and to the hatred. We’re all part of every other community,” she said.

Elected in 2011, Goodman identifies as an Independent. She endorsed neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election.

Goodman has a record of support for the tightening of gun control laws: In 2013 she supported a resolution passed by the US Conference of Mayors calling for stricter gun control measures, including closing loopholes in the national background check system. That same year she and the US Conference of Mayors also sent a letter to president Barack Obama urging him to sign a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

CNN reported that this weekend’s scheduled Las Vegas-based Eastside Cannary Casino Gun Show has been canceled, according to David Strow of Boyd Gaming Corporation. “This was a mutual decision with the show’s organizers, given recent events, it was the prudent thing to do,” Strow said.

Mourners light candles during a vigil at the corner of Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard for the victims of Sunday night’s mass shooting, October 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images/AFP)

Going forward Goodman said the city might look to Israel for guidance.

“Israel has lived with this every single day since 1948,” said Goodman.

“I don’t want to reinvent the wheel. We always have safety first. We have 43 million visitors a year,” she said.

Come Friday evening the Las Vegas community will gather to dedicate a new community garden, built on Thursday through volunteer labor and materials. With a wall of remembrance, a grove of trees, walkways and benches, it will be a place of healing.

“People want to have something tangible to help them get through it. It’s a way for each of us to tell the families of those who died that we’re touched by you. That we are here for you, that we understand you and will remember you,” Goodman said.

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