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Tragic Violence Hits Las Vegas, Catalonia

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Monday, October 2, 2017

The appetite for discussing stocks and markets ahead of today’s opening bell is substantially curbed by news reports that Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay was struck by the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. In what was clearly an act of terror, at least 50 people attending were murdered and as many as 400 are currently recovering from their bullet wounds from the attacker’s automatic rifle.

At an open-air concert performed by country music star Jason Aldean (who was not one of those injured), the attacker fired into the large crowd from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Casino, which is owned by MGM Resorts (MGM - Free Report) , randomly hitting attendees of the Route 91 Harvest Country Music Festival. According to reports, a SWAT team blew open the locked door to the room where the muzzle flashes had appeared out the window, and the suspect, nearby Mesquite, NV resident 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, was shot dead, putting an end to the onslaught. His female companion is reportedly in custody now.

Of course, there are always plenty of questions following senseless tragedies such as these. Currently, police believe the suspect had no direct ties to any domestic militia groups. Further investigations, including those tracking the hotel lobby where the suspect likely checked into the hotel without his weaponry having been detected, are expected to follow in the coming days. We extend our deepest sympathies to those victims and their families of this horrid incident, which is called the worst attack on U.S. soil since the morning of September 11, 2001.

Over the weekend, 800 protestors were injured after attacks by riot police in Catalonia — a northeastern region in Spain, home to well-known destinations like the city of Barcelona — following a resounding “Yes” vote there for Catalonia to declare its independence from Spain. Those having led the independence campaign have stated they will appeal to the European Union (EU) to investigate human rights violations on behalf of the Spanish state.

According to reports, 90% of Catalonians — known as the Catalan locally — voted to separate the region from Spain, and demonstrations in the streets afterward resulted in truncheons and rubber bullets striking unarmed citizens. Some reports of activists provoking police have also been reported, but many more state that it was Spanish government forces who were the aggressors in this incident.

We will have the rest of this week to discuss an upcoming tax plan first announced by President Trump and cabinet officials like Steve Mnuchin, as well as expectations for Q3 earnings season, which opens the spigots of information mid-next-week. But for today, we use this space to mourn the victims of these two tragic events, which already look to have numbered more than 1000 overall.

As far as what we might expect as fallout from these events, we may argue that the Catalonian attack may have more repercussions. It’s unlikely that the U.S. will make any changes toward gun ownership as a result of this mass killing, and the suspect, being a local Caucasian man, does not look at this time to be inviting suspicions that the attack was in any way ISIS or al-Qaida oriented. But should the EU penalize the already economically-troubled Spain on human rights grounds in the coming weeks or months, perhaps this could add to concerns regarding the viability of the Eurozone in a way not seen since a year ago last summer, when Great Britain voted to exit the EU (“Brexit”).

Mark Vickery
Senior Editor

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