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Las Vegas College Students Expect Changes in City After Shooting


Days after this week’s shooting, students at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas say something still doesn't feel right on campus.

“There’s a little bit less energy because of what has happened and people are still processing as to why it happened,” said Angela Borro, a first-year biology student and immigrant from the Philippines.

A memorial of flowers and candles set up in the plaza outside the Student Union building on campus is to show solidarity and support for the victims of the shooting and their families. Students stop by and pray. Others take photos and reflect on the tragedy.

Route 91 Festival goers, tourists and residents of Las Vegas placed candles, flowers, banners and photos of their loved ones at the shrine on the median just across the street from shooting site at the country music festival.
Route 91 Festival goers, tourists and residents of Las Vegas placed candles, flowers, banners and photos of their loved ones at the shrine on the median just across the street from shooting site at the country music festival.

Reality shifts for some

Borro, who also works at a store on the Las Vegas Strip, says she will not avoid it because of what happened.

“No, because if I’m afraid then that just shows that whoever did this is winning, and I don’t want to show them that I’m afraid of all this violence,” she said.

However, for students such as Rodrigo Martinez, reality changed overnight.

“We question now if we’re even safe at school,” said Martinez, a third-year construction management student.

When not at school, Martinez works for a food delivery service. He says he has to go to the casinos for his job, and approaches the Las Vegas Strip differently now.

“Very cautious going to casinos and the Strip. Don’t want to be there too long now,” Martinez said.

“I’ve completely avoided the strip since then [the shooting],” said Daniel Shin, a Korean-American who is studying hospitality.

“Seeing all this senseless violence happening does take a toll on you, but the American people are strong, and this is just a trial for them,” said Borro, the student who works at a store on the Strip.

Clark Aposhian, chairman of the Utah Shooting Sports Council, demonstrates how a little-known device called a "bump stock" is attached to a semi-automatic rifle at the Gun Vault store and shooting range, Oct. 4, 2017, in South Jordan, Utah.
Clark Aposhian, chairman of the Utah Shooting Sports Council, demonstrates how a little-known device called a "bump stock" is attached to a semi-automatic rifle at the Gun Vault store and shooting range, Oct. 4, 2017, in South Jordan, Utah.

Could violence be avoided?

Many foreign students and long-time Las Vegas residents believe the violence could have been avoided.

“In America, it’s very easy to purchase firearms, and because of that the number of casualties can climb real quick in a number of hours,” said architecture student Chozen Takei, who is from Vietnam.

Richard Li is an architecture student from China.

“I think the government should definitely change some of the laws about gun control because I don’t think individuals should own any type of assault weapon like a rifle, shotgun," Li said. "Those weapons are made for wars. It’s not something individuals should have in their house. You don’t need an AK-47 to defend yourself. All you need is a handgun.”

Michael Degen, who works as a food and linens subcontractor on campus and is a gun owner, says there should be tougher gun laws and more security on the Vegas Strip.

“I feel that the hotels and casinos may have to make changes now on how they’re checking in their baggage,” Degen said.

WATCH: Las Vegas Residents Across Ethnicities Stand Together to Donate Blood

Danger, but generosity, too

While students may be more mindful of potential dangers around them, they have also become aware of the generosity of people who live in the city where they attend school.

“Because of this event, it brought people together, all the citizens, there’s even people donating blood, money, water,” Li said.

“Even though it [the shooting] was a negative thing, it just made people stronger because it united us as a whole and just see how quick people are to act to help other people,” Borro said.

In the midst of this tragedy, the students said they are appreciating the important things in life.

“I’m just thankful to God that I’m alive,” Martinez said.

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