Despite its best efforts at marketing, what happens in Las Vegas rarely stays in Las Vegas.
Nowhere is that as true as Sunday night's mass shootings in Las Vegas at an outdoor concert that left 59 dead and more than 500 injured.
We've seen violence before — at a club in Orlando. We saw violence as jets smashed into the Twin Towers. We've seen it at Columbine and Sandy Hook.
The genesis for these unbelievable acts can be different and the means the perpetrators used are different. However, they all share one commonality: Whoever plans and carries out these attacks, whether as a group effort or as a "lone wolf," suffers from serious mental problems. Mental illness and the resources meant to combat it need immediate attention.
A mass shooting like this also requires some kind of conversation about gun control.
We don't mean banning guns.
However, we do suggest continued background checks and having those databases contain some kind of corresponding information about those who have been treated for serious mental illness.
That being said, in Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock's case, that would not have worked. And that proves another powerful lesson: We're not likely to avoid or anticipate every major tragedy.
But just because we won't be able to anticipate every scenario or build a foolproof system doesn't mean we shouldn't implement common-sense measures.
Some of that discussion must turn to reasonable restrictions on guns. According to reports, Paddock had purchased conversion kits that transformed his guns into high-powered, fast and accurate killing machines. The purpose of these kits and guns is not hunting nor target practice. Truthfully, these automatic guns and kits are meant for one purpose: killing humans. And they're perfectly legal.
We have to take at least common-sense measures to keep some of these weapons from such easy purchase. No, it may not thwart someone determined to do harm, but it may make it much more difficult or alert officials to an emerging problem.
However, before noon Monday, Congress was already mulling gun control in the same fashion it has previously, which is to say, bickering and gridlock. Some said it was not the proper time to talk about gun control. That's the same line we heard after Sandy Hook.
It says plenty when the most eloquent and thoughtful words on the subject seem to come from late-night television. Seth Meyers put it this way:
"Every hour we hear more stories about the incredible bravery by the people who risked their lives to save strangers. It always seems like the worst displays of humanity in this country are immediately followed by the best. And then sadly, that is followed by no action at all. Then it repeats itself.
"So we have talked about gun violence on this show before, and I am not sure what else I can say. I also know nothing I say will make any difference at all. To Congress I would just like to say, 'Are there no steps we can take as a nation to prevent gun violence? Or is this just how it is and how it is going to continue to be?'
"Because when we say — which you always say — 'Now is not the time to talk about it,' what you really mean is: 'There is never a time to talk about it.' It would be so much more honest if you would just admit that your plan is to never talk about it and never taking any action. Congress won't take any action.
"Congressman Steve Scalise, who, in a truly wonderful moment, returned to the House floor four months after he was shot, said that his being alive is proof that miracles really do happen.
"Is that the best plan D.C. has for gun violence when there's a shooting? We just pray for a miracle? Maybe that is it. But, if you're not willing to do anything, just be honest and tell us: This is how it is and this is how it will continue to be.
" ... If it's going to be thoughts and prayers from here on out, the least you can do is be honest about that. Fortunately, there are plenty of people who are willing to do the most they can do — our first responders and all the heroes that we saw last night."
We must have that conversation, and we must confront the fact that America has more deaths by gun violence per capita than virtually any other peacetime country in the world.
We're not talking about trampling the Second Amendment. Instead, we're talking about reasonable restrictions on certain firearms, the same way that virtually every other freedom enshrined in the U.S. Constitution has reasonable limits.
We'd suggest there are other important things to take away from the Las Vegas shootings.
First, we continue to keep the victims and the families of those killed or injured in prayers and thoughts. We must do whatever we can to make sure they're supported.
President Donald J. Trump struck the right tone in the wake of the tragedy to urge unity and support.
"We cannot fathom their pain; we cannot imagine their loss," he said. " ... Our unity cannot be shattered by evil."
Two things that may help to stop the next mass shooting are safety and security measures and mental health funding.
No one likes the idea of more security and "big brother" surveillance, especially not in a place like Las Vegas known for its openness and anonymity. Yet, this would seem to be the perfect situation to use for learning. Were there security measures that could have been taken to protect the crowd? And, what can be learned for the future to stop someone from taking a cache of guns to a hotel room?
We'd argue that a topic equally as challenging as gun control seems to be mental health care. Counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists and the programs needed for better assessment and counseling would take much more money than gun control or even more metal detectors on the Vegas strip.
Instead, if we're concerned about the problem of gun violence and mass shootings, we have to be investing more money in mental health care, which may help detect a struggling individual sooner. We must demand leaders in Congress spend the money — not slash the budget — when it comes to mental health services. And we must focus on ways to make sure those who are struggling with mental issues do not have access to guns. In that respect, it's not about making more gun laws, it's about making the laws that we have on gun ownership better and more responsive.
The problem with conversations like Las Vegas is that they also seem to zero in on the weapons that were used and disregard the mental state of those pulling the trigger.
Until that changes, we worry that Las Vegas will be just another in a long string of places marred by gun violence.