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Investigators load bodies from the scene of a mass shooting at a music festival near the Mandalay Bay resort and casino on the Las Vegas Strip. Photo: Chris Carlson / AP

In a moment of such jarring tragedy, three sad but indisputable realities of America 2017 were exposed — and then amplified — within minutes of the shooting:

1. Our gun manufacturers are heavily incentivized by market demand and lax laws in most states, and by the federal government, to allow mad men to accumulate all the firepower they crave for mass killings. This didn't change after Columbine or Sandy Hook. And won't now.

2. President Trump and congressional Republican have every incentive to protect the status quo. Read and reflect on this chilling text from Steve Bannon to Axios last night. when asked if Trump will revert to his earlier support of gun control:

  • "Impossible: will be the end of everything," Bannon told Jonathan Swan.
  • When asked whether Trump's base would react worse to this than if he supported an immigration amnesty bill, Bannon replied: "as hard as it is to believe actually worse."
  • Go deeper: Why Trump is unlikely to do a Chuck-and-Nancy deal on gun control.

3. Yesterday, the same platforms the Russians used to manipulate voters were the middle men for B.S. conspiracy theories about Vegas.

  • Google results amplified an online claim that the shooter was "a Democrat who liked Rachel Maddow, MoveOn.org, and associated with the anti-Trump army," per CNN's Oliver Darcy.
  • "Facebook promoted several dubious websites on its Crisis Response page."

Be smart: Trump's election showed the capacity for an unconventional politician to beat the system. But the dynamics post-shooting are the same — and we would argue getting worse, because heartless people can use social media to spread lies and fear with such ease and precision.

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Go deeper

UNC race conscious admissions process upheld by judge

Students walk through the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Aug. 18, 2020 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Photo: Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill can continue its race conscious admissions process, a federal judge ruled on Monday.

Why it matters: The case could end up in the Supreme Court after the conservative nonprofit Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) vowed to appeal the judge's ruling that UNC didn't discriminate against against white and Asian American applicants in its policy that it said was designed to increase diversity.

SEC debunks conspiracy theories about meme stock mania

Photo: Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The SEC issued its long-awaited report on the meme stock mania, which downplayed the narrative that a "short squeeze" was the primary driver behind GameStop's historic stock moves — and shot down conspiracy theories about the event.

Why it matters: The postmortem was highly anticipated, largely because of what it could hint about what the regulator thinks should be done in wake of the saga. But the report stopped short of specific policy recommendations.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Breaking Biden's diplomatic logjam

Expand chart
Data: Center for Presidential Transition via Congress.gov; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

The logjam for reviewing and confirming President Biden's ambassadorial picks is finally starting to break.

Why it matters: Biden is far behind his predecessors in the rate at which his ambassadorial picks have been confirmed. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a series of high-profile hearings and votes this week to finally begin chipping away at the backlog.