Las Vegas is known as much for gambling as it is for its crazy nights out, which is exactly what hip-hop star Post Malone enjoyed last night. But when the “Rockstar” chart-topper took to the streets and showed his fans what he was up to, more than a few people took offense to his antics—which bring up extremely painful, and potentially traumatic, memories.
The musician drove around the streets of Sin City in what appears to be an armored military vehicle. Malone himself isn’t at the wheel, but rather riding on top, holding his phone standing next to a machine gun. What Post Malone did last night is not illegal, nor was it potentially dangerous to anyone in the city as its run by an official company Battlefield Vegas, but that isn’t what has many people so angry about his behavior.
Many people are dismissing Malone’s late-night activities as a harmless bit of fun, but their immediate need to brush off what others are rightfully angry about doesn’t take into account the horrific tragedy that took place in October when a deranged man opened fire on a crowd at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas, killing 58 people and wounding hundreds of others with several firearms. The man behind the attack used what is called a bump stock, which effectively makes a rifle operate closer to a machine gun.
In response to swift criticism that began to come his way, Malone took to Twitter to explain that “the gun isn't even real.”
Whether the gun was real or fake isn’t the issue here. What Post Malone did last night in a city still coping with the worst mass shooting in American history was disrespectful and, to put it bluntly, stupid.
Last night's joyride shouldn't mean that Post Malone is “canceled” or that his career should end, but it would be wise—and appropriate—if he apologized quickly. The musician has millions of fans and a massive platform, and what he does (especially when he uploads a video of himself doing it) matters. Even if nobody was offended by his quick clip, he could have terrified those he drove by. Meanwhile, those who lost a friend or family member in the attack likely aren't amused by his exploits and his explanation of why his actions were justified probably doesn't placate their anger.
It would also be a good idea for a company like Battlefield Las Vegas—which calls itself the “ultimate shooting attraction” and which was the facilitator in this mess—to stop driving up and down the streets of Vegas with visible machine guns (any machine guns). It’s not that people might get shot, but triggering painful PTSD after a slaughter doesn’t seem like a great way to entertain tourists.
Check out fellow hip-hop artist Young M.A talk about relocating her love of music after a terrible tragedy almost made her stop recording.