Las Vegas concertgoers may have been helpless during a shooting that claimed at least 58 lives, but at least one man chose to stand up to the gunman in the only way he could — by raising the middle finger in defiance at the man firing at them from the 32nd floor of a hotel.
Now, the viral video of that act is being hailed as a “symbol of American spirit” in the face of an otherwise impossible situation.
Sunday’s shooting during the Route 91 Harvest festival left 58 dead and nearly 500 injured after gunman Stephen Paddock opened fire on the crowds using an automatic rifle. Several videos have emerged of the chaos and bloodshed as crowds frantically dived for cover and tried to run for safety, but one viral video of a concertgoer’s act of defiance has also gone viral.
In the video, crowds laid low to the ground during volleys of gunfire from high above the concert venue. Witnesses said there was some initial confusion regarding the source of the shooting, with some initially thinking that the gunman was actually inside the concert. But the video showed the crowd coming to realize that they were being fired on from above — and one concertgoer deciding to deliver a message to the gunman.
In the video, the man stood up and looked for the source of the gunfire, then raised his middle finger to the shooter.
“The brave concert-goer does not heed the advice and continues to scan the area for the shooter,” The Sun noted. “But once he appears to locate the gunman he flips his middle finger in his direction.
“And only after this defiant gesture does he finally take cover.”
— Daily Mirror (@DailyMirror) October 2, 2017
Many see the concertgoer’s act as one of the small bright points in a national tragedy. Even before the final death count is made official, the shooting in Las Vegas is already the single largest mass shooting in the nation’s history. The shooting has sparked an almost immediate debate about gun control, with proponents noting that the shooter was able to obtain high-powered rifles used to open fire on the crowd more than 100 yards away.
Despite the picture of the man’s middle finger to the Las Vegas gunman going viral, reports have not yet identified the man and it is unclear if he escaped the shooting safely.
[Featured Image by David Becker/Getty Images]