As recently as last week, the worst mass shooting in US history was the terrorist-related incident that took place in the Pulse night club in Orlando, Florida. Forty-nine people were killed in that incident, a number dwarfed by the 58 people killed and more than 500 injured in at the Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas on October 1st.
This was clearly a well thought out attack, carried out by Stephen Craig Paddock, a 64-year-old white man.
As of this time, little is known of the killer himself, who ended his own life before police could arrive to apprehend him.
However, the killer was not completely unknown in Las Vegas, where he has had several gambling transactions in the tens of thousands of dollars over the last few months. Whether those transactions were wins or losses, it appears that he might have been spending whatever money he had, before writing the final act of his life.
Just arranging the logistics of this attack destroys the idea of it being spontaneous or emotional. This was clearly a cold-blooded killer at his worst. It took time to accumulate the arms and ammo, then to move them into his shooting perch in order to be ready.
A few days before the attack, the killer rented a room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel, which overlooked the venue for the music festival. This gave him time to move his arsenal, which consisted of over 10 rifles, into the room and prepare for the attack.
Police have not yet revealed what those rifles were, but it is possible that he had fully-automatic weapons at his disposal. How he prevented hotel employees from having an idea of what he was up to is one of the many mysteries that the police have yet to resolve.
As the festival was underway, the killer broke open his hotel windows and opened fire on the crowd of 22,000 people below. At that distance, he probably wasn’t aiming for specific targets, but rather just shooting into the crowd to see how many people he could hit. Reports from several of the people who survived the event say that the gunfire started slow, but then accelerated to the point where it sounded like a machine gun.
The distance gave him another advantage as well, as anyone who was carrying concealed would be unable to fire back at him effectively. Being on the 32nd floor means that he was 320 feet above the people he was shooting at, as well as about 400 feet away from the concert venue.
It would take a trained sniper, with a pretty good rifle and scope, to hit him from that distance.
The gunman must have expended over 700 rounds in the several minutes he was firing, as that’s how many victims there were. While some of those people may not have been hit by his shots, but rather injured in the crowd’s attempts to flee the scene, there were probably also shots that didn’t hit anyone.
Additional guns and ammo were found in his home in nearby Mesquite, Nevada.
What’s the Motivation?
It is too soon to know what motivated the killer to open fire on that crowd. Police will be investigating this incident for months, trying to track down every lead and determine what was behind the attack. One of their most important tasks in that investigation will be to determine the motive of the killer.
Nevertheless, this event has several traits in common with other mass shooting events. Specifically, we have a lone gunman who has planned out the event carefully. It is yet to be revealed whether the police found any evidence of this planning in his home, but they did find additional guns and ammo, which could be an indicator.
He also seems to be somewhat of a loner, unmarried, even though he did have a live-in girlfriend. Finally, he killed himself before the police could take him into custody, something that is extremely common in mass shootings of this type.
So, even though we don’t know yet whether he had any signs of mental illness, the possibility that this was no more than another tragic mass shooting seems rather likely. Much still needs to be done to establish that, or any other motive.
But that hasn’t stopped ISIS from taking credit for it. As they have done before, they are once again saying that this was motivated by their call for lone-wolf attacks here in the USA. This alone doesn’t prove anything, as ISIS hasn’t provided any information to back up their claim.
It could be nothing more than them trying to take credit for something that they had nothing to do with, simply to make themselves seem more formidable. If so, this wouldn’t be the first time the terrorist organization made such an unfounded claim.
There has been one witness who came forth claiming that Paddock converted to Islam a few months ago. If that is true, then it would collaborate the claim by ISIS, assuming they had something to do with his conversion. They are actively trying to recruit new converts, who they immediately try to turn into murderers.
Should this be the case, it would definitely be the most effective attack that this terrorist organization has ever made on our soil. It would also be a very difficult sort of attack to counter, as our First Amendment guarantees the freedom of speech. Eliminating their ability to recruit over the internet would also hinder people’s First Amendment rights.
Democrats Jumping into Action
As always, the reactions of various groups are predictable. Democrat lawmakers are following their normal philosophy of not letting any crisis go to waste. There have already been calls for passing new legislation curtailing our Second Amendment rights.
As per usual, the proposed actions by Democrats would have done nothing to eliminate this attack, had they been in place and been perfectly enforced. But then, any “common sense” legislation they propose to deal with gun violence is the same. That’s probably because they really aren’t interested in stopping crime, but rather in disarming the population. With that as the goal, their solutions to the problem are always illogical and unfounded.
But then, everything the progressive left does is based upon emotion and not logic. They want something they can sell to their support base as a “feel good” measure. Whether or not it actually works is immaterial. If it doesn’t, they can always say that more restrictions are needed.
Hillary Clinton, who claims to have retired from politics, has given her two-cents worth as well, using this attack to condemn the Hearing Protection Act, a Republican initiative to eliminate the tight controls that currently exist on the sale of firearm suppressors. According to her “expert opinion,” more people would have been killed, if that bill had been passed.
Once again, we have a progressive liberal proving how little they know about guns. A rifle that would allow a shooter to kill at over 500 feet, as this one did, would have to fire a supersonic bullet. Suppressors, which many refer to as silencers, are not effective for supersonic rounds. Besides, once people started falling victim to the firing, it wouldn’t matter if they could hear the shots or not, people would still run from the danger, just as they did.
So, What Can be Done?
This attack presents an extremely difficult problem; both from a defensive point of view and from a legal one.
On the legal side, I wouldn’t be surprised if the shooter bought all of his firearms and ammo perfectly legally. Until we can develop a means of looking into people’s hearts and determining their future actions, there is no legal action we can take, which will eliminate their ability to do such heinous acts. Even then, the legality of such actions would be very questionable.
If the shooter did not buy his firearms legally, then the problem won’t be solved by passing more laws, at least not the ones that Democrats love to propose. Better enforcement of existing laws might help, but even then, a determined criminal will always be able to get guns. Just look at what happens in countries where guns are illegal; criminals still get their hands on guns.
What liberals really want is to repeal the laws of nature, rather than man’s laws. That’s what it would take to eliminate guns altogether; making it so that they could not work. But last I checked, no legislative body on the face of this earth has the authority to change natural laws.
On an individual basis, there is little that any of us could do to prevent being the victim of such an attack, other than to not be in such a place. Terrorists of all kinds, whether homegrown or international, prefer a “target rich environment,” where they can find the most potential victims. The only defense against that is to avoid places that would make attractive targets.
Even running is a poor defense from this sort of attack, as the killer was situated in a perch which allowed him an incredible view of his target area.
With everyone else running around to escape the venue, running would merely put you in the crowd which was being shot at. You might actually be better off staying put, allowing everyone else to run away from you and making yourself an unattractive target to go after.
I have carried concealed for years, and in this case, it would not have done me any good. There is no pistol on the market, which can shoot accurately at over 500 feet. If I were to be there and did shoot back, chances are I would end up putting a bullet through the window of someone else’s hotel room, possibly even killing them. There would be essentially no chance that I could hit the killer. For that, I would need a high-powered hunting rifle, with a good scope mounted on it.
This was a tragic event, but I doubt that it was a preventable one. As murders go, this one was just about perfect.
The only thing the killer did “wrong” was that it would be too easy to identify him. But then, he wasn’t concerned about that, as he had obviously planned on taking his own life, as the final act in this tragedy.
What you can do? Stay alert, and stay prepared!