11 Minutes

Tragedy lasts a lifetime for those who experience it first hand. Though it may fade over time, the trauma never entirely disappears. It was October 1, 2017 when tragedy struck in Las Vegas. A single shooter with a load of automatic weapons and ammunition took aim and unloaded his parcel of machine guns into a crowd enjoying an outside country music festival below the 43-story Mandalay Bay  luxury resort and casino on the south end of the Vegas Strip. The gunman was barricaded on the 32nd floor of the towering skyscraper.

In a fresh retelling of that deadly debacle, and as a remembrance of the dastardly deed on its fifth year anniversary, Paramount + has released a documentary titled 11 Minutes, which offers a second-by-second account of this inexplicable and lethal assault, which holds the record as the largest mass shooting in American History. 

Directed by Jeff Zimbalist (who is among the many producers of this 4-hour documentary), 11 minutes reveals its content without a narrator and is told through first person interviews with survivors of this murderous event — concertgoers, musicians (who were onstage when the shooting commenced, including country music headliner Jason Aldean), paramedics, physicians, nurses, and brave samaritans. Through cellphone videos, police body cams and images caught by those in the crosshairs of the chaos, we see the incident unfold in what seems akin to real time. 

We hear harrowing stories of people who were shot by the murder’s seemingly random spray of fast flying bullets, including a first-day-on-the job police officer with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department who was severely wounded in the machine gun mayhem, and whose father was also a police officer on duty at the concert-turned-crime scene. We hear from twin sister high schoolers who were both shot in the rampage. And we learn of the multitude heroic, selfless acts performed by members of the country concert crowd, including a vacationing Seattle firefighter who made it his mission to rescue as many of the shooter’s victims as he could.

Moreover, we hear the perspectives of surgeons, ER physicians, and attending nurses who stepped up to triage and rendered treatment to the scores of wounded individuals crowded iin the blood-streaked corridors of  hospitals. After the final toll was taken, 60 people were killed and 800 were wounded.

The Gun Violence Archive considers a mass shooting to be one wherein at least four victims are shot, injured, or killed, not inclusive of the perpetrator. At 200 days into this year, there had been an average of 13 mass shootings a week. The 2017 mass shooting at the Mandalay Bay resort in Las Vegas takes on a different tenor simply due to the number of victims. Senseless? Apparently. Can background checks on gun purchasers along with waiting periods mitigate the issue? Can restricting the availability of such weapons of war (i.e, assault rifles) reduce the carnage? 

View11 Minutes and ponder what can be done to address this madness.

What: 11 Minutes, a documentary 

Where: Streaming on  Paramount +