A gunman showered hundreds of automatic rifle rounds on spectators at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, a three-day country music event in Las Vegas, killing at least 50 and wounding more than 400, Oct. 1. The attack is too recent for authorities to have answers to most questions. Those will involve investigations and inquiries take time.

What is known is the Las Vegas attack is the deadliest in modern U.S. history. It was carried out by 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, of Mesquite, Nevada, according to police. He shot from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel.

It is believed Paddock’s last act was to kill himself.

Several weapons were found inside Paddock’s room on the hotel. The shooting started while Jason Aldean and his band were onstage performing their last number. Witnesses described chaos as bullets rained from above, lasting for up to 10 minutes. The only lapses seemed to come as Paddock reloaded.

Some flights at McCarran International Airport were diverted immediately after of the shootings, the Los Angeles Times reported. Parts of Interstate 15 near the Strip were also shut down, and hotel guests across the city were ordered to shelter in place. The Strip remained closed through much of the night.

What to do?

Officials were quick to point out the bravery of first responders who ran into the fire to remove the injured.

Vice President Mike Pence and Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman were among the first. They also asked for prayers for Las Vegas. Mandalay Bay tweeted out a similar statement.

A wide variety of people from international stars to Washington to the world tweeted messages of prayers and condolences to Las Vegas within minutes of the attack.

While most tweeters thought prayers were the best hope for those in Las Vegas during the mayhem, others saw the shooting as a political opportunity.

For instance, one Washington blogger, social media strategist Charles Clymer, called for a new law.

“Members of Congress: We don’t need ‘thoughts and prayers’, right now. I have a priest for prayer. I have family and friends for thoughts. We need legislation. We need action. We need you to do your damn jobs. Anything otherwise is neither thoughtful nor prayerful,” he tweeted.

Gun control debate

The call for action is of course a call for tougher gun laws.

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) fired the first salvo. “This must stop,” he said.

“It is positively infuriating that my colleagues in Congress are so afraid of the gun industry that they pretend there aren’t public policy responses to this epidemic,” he added. “There are, and the thoughts and prayers of politicians are cruelly hollow if they are paired with continued legislative indifference. It’s time for Congress to get off its ass and do something.”

Another liberal Yankee was quick to jump on the bandwagon Oct. 2. “Tragedies like Las Vegas have happened too many times,” Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) tweeted. “We need to have the conversation about how to stop gun violence. We need it now.”

The question from the right is often something like, “How would tougher laws have stopped Stephen Paddock or any crazed gunner who wanted to kill people?” Laws only work for people who obey the law.