Spare me your ‘thoughts.’
Spare me your ‘prayers.’
Spare me your ‘warmest condolences.’
Spare me your ‘deep concern’.
Spare me your ‘kudos to the emergency services.’
Spare me your ‘shock and horror.’
In fact, just spare me all the usual cliché-d, meaningless bulls**t that erupts across America whenever the country suffers yet another mass shooting.
This is on a different scale of horror to anything we’ve seen before, even by US gun violence standards.
I never thought I’d see a worse gun atrocity than the annihilation of 20 little children at Sandy Hook.
But I was wrong.
Last night’s massacre in Las Vegas was so diabolical in scale that it warrants a special hellish place in the pantheon of America’s most hideous gun-related outrages.
At least 59 dead, over 500 wounded.
It was also utterly, tragically predictable.
Mass shootings in the US have steadily increased in number and size in recent years.
Aurora, Newtown, Orlando… each new attack was bigger, more spectacular.
And each time absolutely nothing was done to stop them happening again.
When I say nothing, I mean NOTHING. There has not been a single change to federal gun laws in America as a result of any of this carnage.
Nor will there be now.
President Trump put on his most serious, somber voice today and talked repeatedly about God.
What he didn’t talk about was gun control.
How could he?
The NRA, a vile organisation with a sinister, deadly grip on America’s lawmakers, bought Trump’s silence when they backed him during the election campaign.
He used to be fairly reasonable about guns, opposing high-powered assault weapons and big magazine clips.
But once he realised the NRA could help him get elected, Trump – to his shame – hardened his stance and became Mr Gun Candidate.
‘You have a true friend and champion in the White House,’ he told the NRA at their conference after he won. ‘The eight-year assault on your Second Amendment freedoms has come to a crashing end. No longer will federal agencies be coming after law abiding gun owners.’
But this Vegas shooter WAS a law-abiding citizen.
He had no criminal record.
He was just a normal, ageing dude who liked hunting and gambling.
Oh, and guns. He liked guns. Lots of guns.
But that’s OK in America. You can have as many guns as you like, few questions, if any, asked. It’s in the Constitution, you see. It was his RIGHT.
Then one day, nice, normal law-abiding gun owner Stephen Paddock went mad. You obviously don’t decide to fire an assault rifle at 22,000 people unless you’re completely insane.
So the ‘good guy with a gun’ suddenly became a ‘bad guy with a gun.’
Just like that.
Why? Forget the pathetic, desperate claims by ISIS that he was one of their ‘soldiers’. Of course he wasn’t, as the FBI quickly established.
He was just a crazy white American guy who woke up one day and fancied shooting everyone.
Even his own brother had no explanation for it.
‘I can’t even make something up, said Eric Paddock, shaking his head in incredulity.
I can hazard a guess; I suspect Stephen Paddock just fancied being a celebrity. He was getting old, getting bored, and liked the idea of his name and face becoming world famous.
So he rented a hotel room, stock-piled it with nineteen guns, bided his time and waited until there were thousands of innocent men, women and children below him.
Then he aimed his rifle and began shooting, bullet after bullet, fast and furious. The horrific videos from the scene posted on social media looked like something out of Call of Duty.
Other countries have crazy people like Paddock, but they can’t get their hands on the guns to execute their plans.
In America, getting a gun is as easy as getting a pet dog, in some states even easier.
Nevada is one of the easiest places to buy and use a gun.
It’s legal to carry an assault rifle there and there is no magazine capacity limit. There are no purchase permits and no waiting period mandated for firearm purchases and private gun sales are OK.
Paddock won’t have had to try very hard to build up his armoury. Anyone can do it where he lived.
And right now, others in America will be planning similar attacks, maybe even bigger ones, trying to beat him, trying to eclipse his new notoriety.
Yet nothing will be done to stop them.
President Obama was quick off the draw today to express his horror over the shooting.
This was the same President Obama who, when he was in office, wept a lot, hugged myriad victims, made emotion-charged speeches and kept saying he would do something about guns.
But he did precisely zilch. Obama blamed a hostile obstructive Congress but the truth is he never prioritised gun control.
Trump won’t either.
It’s ‘too soon’ to talk about gun control, said the White House this afternoon.
That’s what the NRA and its supporters always say after these massacres in the hope it shames everyone into supine silence.
But when, exactly, would it be an appropriate time?
On average, 85 people a day are killed by guns in America.
Every. Single. Bloody. Day.
To put this into perspective, 32 people a YEAR are killed by guns in Britain. In Japan, it’s as low as two or three.
America has 32,000 people a year killed by guns and another 70,000 wounded.
That is more than the combined total of the next 20 richest countries on earth.
This Las Vegas shooting should be the wake-up call America has so desperately needed about its appalling gun violence culture.
But it won’t be.
If blowing golf ball sized holes in a classroom full of first-graders doesn’t effect a sudden, dramatic change in gun laws, then this won’t either.
The sad, appalling reality is that America has grown immune to guns and their horrific toll on society.
In the past two weeks alone, there have been numerous incidents where toddlers have killed other toddlers with guns left around by adults.
None made much news.
It’s the new normal; over 500 children a year die from guns in America.
If this shooter had been a Muslim, President Trump would have instantly branded it a terror attack, used it to justify his travel ban, and almost certainly expanded that ban. Draconian new laws would also have been immediately introduced to stop it happening again.
He’d have done everything in his power to show us what a big, tough guy he is when it comes to protecting Americans.
But instead, it’s a nutty white guy with murder on his mind for reasons we may never know. So Trump will put his fingers in his ears and pretend it never happened so he doesn’t upset his NRA paymasters.
Paddock was armed to the teeth because in America, citizens are allowed to be armed to the teeth.
Never mind the rights of the people he slaughtered and maimed, they are secondary to HIS right to own guns and fire them.
I was in Las Vegas six weeks ago with two of my sons for the Mayweather/McGregor fight.
We walked up and down the Strip for three days, enjoying all the fun and entertainment that Vegas has to offer.
If we’d been there last night, we might have gone to that concert and now we might all be dead or wounded.
That is the harsh, brutal reality of modern America: you can get shot any time, anywhere. It’s a uniquely American problem but nobody in America seems to have the will or the way to fix it.
President Trump turned to God today to try to make some sense of what happened.
So let me do the same:
For God’s sake Mr President, for God’s sake America, wake up to this repulsive malaise at the heart of your country and do something about it.