While the Catalans in Barcelona fought for freedom and independence, Stephen Paddock, the gunman who rained a rapid-fire barrage on an outdoor concert festival in Las Vegas, displayed an act of pure evil.
At face value, the incidents were a dichotomy of intention – one for freedom and one for attention. The common theme, undeniably however, is violence.
The Catalan region, whose capital is Barcelona, is the rich northeastern region of Spain. Reminiscent of Scotland’s desire to break free from the United Kingdom, it sought independence to declare itself an independent state through a referendum. For reasons obvious, the central government in Madrid is against the idea and deployed its police forces to seize the referendum material and stop people from being able to vote.
The central government’s claim to stop the Catalan movement for independence is the apparent illegality of the referendum, as it goes against the 1978 Constitution. However, the people of Catalunya have finally found an opportunity to be independent.
In the course of the fight for freedom, and amidst divided views on separation, violence cascaded rapidly and injured at least 750 people.
Billing itself as the “three days of country music on the Vegas Strip”, the sold-out Route 91 Harvest Festival attracted 40,000 people. On its last night, an unexpected suspect with no known criminal history, Mr Stephen Paddock, came out of nowhere, and fired nonstop for 10 minutes. People ran for their lives, but not everyone was lucky, with at least 59 declared dead.
Whether the act was a demonstration of pure mental psychosis or of a worse Islamic State violence remains to be seen. While the ISIS claims that Mr Paddock is its soldier, the group has previously made false claims regarding the attacks in a casino in Manila and in the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. The bottomline, however, is the utter, nonsense bloodshed.
Just a week ago, I was listening to Ed Sheeran’s song Barcelona. It was a perfect paradigm to the Barca that I know – the Sagrada Familia, festive music, arts everywhere, and endless glasses of Sangria. It’s disheartening to know that beyond the happy hour, there was an impending doom.
I remember Las Vegas as a happy place – neon lights 24/7 in the city centre and gateway to the national parks not so far away.
Violence has scarred the pretty picture, and it makes me scared. The world is such a beautiful place. What awaits next – only time will tell.