Pinoys’ Innate Generosity, Bayanihan Spirit In The Face of The Las Vegas Shooting

By Luchie Aclan Arguelles

AS ALWAYS, Filipinos will always be there for each other, especially when in another country.

After last week’s indiscriminate shooting incident at the “Life is Beautiful” music fest at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas where 58 had died while 489 were injured, Filipinos in this premier entertainment city still feel the aftermath. 

With gunman Stephen Paddock as the 59th in the death toll statistic, his Filipina partner remains at the center of the news although she has been ticked of the “persons of interest” list.

Marilou Danley, an Australian citizen of Filipino parentage, was in the Philippines at that time of the incident.


Unexpected Trip

Danley has returned to the US right after she was declared “a person of interest” by the authorities.

When the news broke out, a parallelism was immediately made with the June 2017 Resorts World incident where 22 guests and 13 employees died of suffocation. Gunman Jessie Carlos, previously banned to play at the casinos, also open fired but not directly at guests. Carlos hit TV screens and casino equipment and set on fire tables and slot machines that caused the death of victims by suffocation.

Like Carlos, news hinted that Paddock must have lost in the casinos, too. This is still being investigated.

In her official statement, Danley, a casino host, expressed devastation over the deaths and injuries from this awful event. She apologized to injured victims and family of those who perished. Also, she stressed that she had known Paddock to be “a kind, caring, quiet man” and “I loved him and hoped for a quiet future together”.

Danley said there were no indication Paddock will do something like this. In fact, she said, Paddock got her “a cheap ticket” to the Philippines so she can visit family and friends back home. It was altogether “an unexpected trip”. Paddock also gave her money, allegedly amounting to $100,000.

"I was worried that first, the unexpected trip home, and then the money, was a way of breaking up with me. It never occurred to me in any way whatsoever that he was planning violence against anyone.”

After this statement, Danley requested that her privacy be respected.


Affected Filipinos

At the concert, Filipino Arthur “Arty” Andrade Jr., 21, and his girlfriend were there on a double date. Unfortunately, Arty sustained gunshot wounds in the stomach and was critical for a few days at the Sunrise Hospital. The others were immediately declared out of danger but Arty had to remain confined. 

Filipino Daniel Balais, a resident of Las Vegas for more than a decade, said hundreds of local residents, mostly Filipinos, voluntarily stood in line for so many hours to donate blood for the victims.

“And there were also those who came to the blood centers to bring food and drinks for those donating blood,” Balais said. 

“When money was needed to help the victims and their families, people responded in no time at all raising $2M in less than a day.”

Fortunately, Balais and his wife, Lorelie, were in the House of Blues in Mandalay Bay for the Sgt Pepper Lonely Heart Club Band the night before that horrible incident. They could come back that same night, too. 

“Those we know witnessed how others sacrificed their life to shield younger people who were total strangers to them,” relayed Balais.

In spite of the horror and shock wrought by the incident, most Filipinos expressed optimism that this was an isolated incident. “We will not allow such threats to control our lives. Maybe some precautionary measures will be taken especially by the casino hotels.” 

Balais said I believe life should go on as usual.


Not A Superhero

Not only Las Vegas guests at Mandalay shuddered in fear but tourists and residents as well. They were in shock that this happened in US’ premier gaming capital.

Paddock killed himself in a room rented via Airbnb right after he open fired for ten minutes at the festival that immediately downed 50 of the 58 dead. He was “unassisted”.

The other day, Clark Country Sheriff Joseph Lombardo gave a detailed account of what happened that fateful Sunday night. Acting alone, in Paddock’s car were 50 pounds of Tannerite, used to make exploding targets for firearms practice and used to make explosive devices. There were also 1,600 rounds of ammunition. 

Although Paddock was originally said as “unassisted” it was also possible that he may have had “some kind of assistance”. His escape plan could only been pulled off if done alone “unless he were a superhero.”

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Friday, 24 January 2020
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