The Las Vegas shooting memorial being planned on the site where 58 people were murdered and thousands more injured or emotionally scarred will have a strong focus on victims and survivors.
The 1 October Memorial Committee during its most recent meeting revealed results from a survey that was conducted from March 15 through August 2, 2021. The online questionnaire garnered 5,199 responses, with roughly 5,000 submissions answering all or most of the questions.
The committee relayed that the respondents want the memorial site to focus on eight key emotions: remembrance, respect, healing, honor, unity, community, peace, and love. And those feelings, the survey says, shouldn’t be interfered with by politics.
Nearly all of those polled said topics that have become severely politicized, one relevant example being gun control, should be avoided. However, 73 percent answered that education was very or somewhat important.
The 1 October Memorial Committee is responsible for the overall planning for what will be a permanent tribute site on the Las Vegas Strip remembering the horrific October 1, 2017, mass shooting. Nearly four years ago, gunman Stephen Paddock assembled an arsenal of high-caliber weapons in his 32nd-floor Mandalay Bay suite and opened fire on a packed crowd below attending the outdoor Route 91 Harvest country music festival.
Paddock’s firing spree lasted 10 minutes. Paddock killed himself as law enforcement approached. MGM Resorts, operator of Mandalay Bay and owner of the Las Vegas Village site where the massacre occurred, is donating part of the land for the memorial.
The poll boiled down the memorial’s education focus into five key areas:
- Stories of community heroism and support
- Support for mental health
- Survivor stories
- Biographies of victims
- Lessons learned by first responders and the hospitality industry
All five categories garnered strong support, but community heroism and mental health awareness led the way. Of the more than 5,000 survey respondents, 77.5 percent said they “strongly agree” that the memorial should recognize the heroes of that day. Another 14.3 percent said they “somewhat agree.”
As for mental health education, 69.5 percent strongly agreed that the site should provide such awareness. Another 14.8 percent somewhat agreed.
Nearly 84 percent either strongly or somewhat agreed that the memorial should provide survivor stories, and 82.4 percent believe victim biographies should be present. The least supported topic was lessons learned by the hospitality industry and first responders, but that category still fielded 75.5 percent support.
One major item of contention among the planning is the actual number of lives lost in the mass shooting. A total of 58 victims died at the scene on October 1, 2017. But two additional people who were severely injured that night died in the year following as a result of their wounds.
The Las Vegas Metro Police Department and 1 October Memorial Committee explains that the official death toll from that night remains at 58. However, when a person who was injured during the massacre succumbs to their related injuries, that person will be included and recognized in the annual commemorative ceremony.
Today, Metro and the Memorial Committee recognize that 60 people lost their lives as a result of October 1, 2017.
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