Evidence Suggests There’s Much More to the Las Vegas Story, and a Possible Accomplice

We are learning, in drips and drabs, more about what went on in rooms 32-134/135 at the Mandalay Bay. And it’s troubling as hell.

Las Vegas Metro Police Sheriff Joseph Lombardo came right out and said it:

“Do you think this was all accomplished on his own?” Lombardo said to reporters on Wednesday. “Self value, face value, you got to make the assumption that he had to have had some help at some point. And we want to ensure that that’s the answer. Maybe he’s a super guy … [he] was working out all of this on his own. But it’d be hard for me to believe that.”

[Source]
One thing seems more and more certain: the “lone wolf” narrative is falling apart.

That would mean there’s someone at large, someone who helped Paddock. His girlfriend Marilou Danley lawyered up and said she had no clue about the shooting, though she claimed through her lawyer she is cooperating with investigators. She was in the Philippines so her alibi is fairly strong (maybe too strong).

I am no investigator, but the FBI and local police have got to have their neck hairs standing up at every detail.

Yes, there was some note paper in the hotel room, but no suicide note, according to Lombardo. Yet Paddock killed himself despite evidence suggesting he planned to escape. I don’t normally cite ZeroHedge, but in this case, the “16 questions” are actually fairly good (most of them). Much of it goes to motive. Why that particular event? How did Paddock get all those guns, 50 lbs of Tannerite, several thousand rounds of ammunition, various electronic devices and cameras up to his room?

How did he buy more than 30 firearms, some very expensive and customized, in a year without anyone raising suspicion? Maybe his cover story was that he’s just a gun enthusiast and collector. But where are his shooting buddies? Who saw him at the range?

If he was a collector and enthusiast, but never went to the range or practiced, how did he have the stamina to fire up to four or more “bump stock” equipped AR-15s on bipods, emptying magazine after magazine. It’s not like a video game “pew pew.” Shooting at that pace with those weapons would challenge anyone’s shoulder and arm muscles. And Paddock didn’t appear to be a muscular guy.

There’s more.

Why did Paddock shoot out of two windows facing two different directions, when only one gave him a clear field of fire to the festival? He apparently requested a specific room, or did he? Based on reports, he was well-known in the hotel as a gambler and a very particular guest with specific requirements regarding allergens and cleaning products.

Why are there reports he shot at a jet fuel tank (and hit it) at McCarran International Airport across Las Vegas Boulevard? Did Paddock actually video record himself during the massacre?

As a small army of investigators (Lombardo said more than a hundred) follows up these details, it seems that more questions are being generated than we have answers for. Or maybe the police and FBI have answers, but aren’t saying until they can make some arrests.

But one thing seems more and more certain: the “lone wolf” narrative is falling apart.

Maybe Paddock was a sick and dangerous man. Obviously, to do what he did, he had to have some kind of mental break or total lack of conscience. But if he had help that would indicate more than just a mental break. People don’t talk others into helping with their murderous fantasies–there has to be a different motive.

Or is it all just speculation at a very confusing and contradictory pile of evidence?

This story is deeper than we ever thought and it could be a while before we have any real answers. Unfortunately, the longer we go without them, the more conspiracy and crackpot theories wind their way through the Internet.

And more chilling: the more some copycat might decide to act on a deadly fantasy.

Guess who approved the ‘bump stock’? That’s right, Obama’s ATF

Liberals are all enraged that Stephen Paddock could transform two AR-15s into “machine guns” using a simple “bump stock” device. Now they know who to blame.

First of all, the “bump stock” does not convert an AR-15 into a machine gun. A machine gun will fire as long as the trigger is depressed. Even the military M16 does not have full-automatic mode (and hasn’t since Vietnam). The M16A2 fires a three-round burst based on a selector switch position (where the safety switch is on the AR-15). One trigger pull fires three rounds.

The “bump stock” requires constant pressure on the trigger cover of the device, and considerable pressure in the non-trigger hand on the rifle stock. The device uses the shooter’s shoulder as a recoil to slide the trigger cover back and forth, depressing the trigger once for each shot, which is what semi-automatic firearms do. But with the “bump stock,’ the AR-15 can achieve rapid rates of fire with some practice (and a sore shoulder).

A company named Slide Fire invented the “bump stock.” Here’s their video showing how it works.

Slide Fire submitted their invention, along with its patent, to the ATF’s Firearms Technology Branch, for testing and approval. The ATF responded in June 2010.

The stock has no automatically functioning mechanical parts or springs and performs no automatic mechanical function when installed. In order to use the installed device, the shooter must apply constant forward pressure with the non-shooting hand and constant rearward pressure with the shooting hand. Accordingly, we find that the “bump-stock” is a firearm part and is not regulated as a firearm under Gun Control Act or National Firearm Act.

You can read the letter here.

What does that mean? It means that gun laws don’t stop people from converting AR-15s into rapid-fire weapons. Because most gun laws are based on feeling (“it looks scary!”) and emotion. It also means that when Congress attempts to ban the “bump stock,” they’ll have a hard time figuring out what they’re banning.

In fact, the “bump stock” could be classified as an assistance device for disabled people–they’d be banning something under the ADA and violating the Second Amendment rights of thousands of disabled people who have lost hands or mobility in their fingers. Nothing about the “bump stock” says it has to be used as a rapid fire device. That’s just a side effect (along with a sore shoulder).

Next, liberals will want to ban fingers that can press the trigger too fast–or just ban fingers altogether.

Motive and Opportunity for the Las Vegas Massacre

The reason I am known as @WriterRocky on Twitter is because I write detective novels, when I’m not producing freelance articles for The Resurgent. Writing a novel is not as easy as it may sound — well, writing a good novel is difficult, for sure.

I’m always having to create plausible, interesting, and unusual criminal behavior in my mind, and thinking hard is hard work. However, it would be boring to have my heroes solve mundane robberies and murders. It would be tough for me to write an interesting novel where the killer was caught red-handed, at the scene of the crime, in the very first chapter.

So I have to do lots of research and think long and hard to dream up interesting and usual crimes, perpetrators, victims, heroes, and most importantly, motives for the crimes. Otherwise, my novels would be very boring. However, as the old expression goes, truth is even stranger than fiction. It’s certainly much easier to write. This is one of those rare occasions when my “other” job proves to be helpful in writing this article.

In this tragedy that just took place in Las Vegas, why did Stephen Paddock spray bullets into a crowd of people he didn’t even know? What possible motive could he have for committing mass murder? We always need to identify the most logical explanations, but we really can’t rule out any possibility until all the facts have been assembled.

My most recent novel involved illegal-arms dealers and drug smugglers, yet strangely enough, in all my research about military weapons, I’d never heard of this gadget called a “bump stock” until this morning, which just proves that you really can learn something new every day.

Predictably, less than 24 hours after the massacre in Las Vegas, liberals had already decided that the solution to the problem required tougher gun laws. A few even went as far as suggesting anyone who opposed gun control deserved to be killed. In their utopian view, all of our problems will be solved by “gun control” through amending the Constitution. The NRA are always blamed when people are shot, long before we know the real motive.

In her rush to score a political point, Hillary Clinton launched a bizarre attack the NRA over the issue of sound suppressors (which she apparently calls “silencers” because in the movies, guns make a barely audible “poof” sound), which are not exactly silent. Besides, the only gun related issue that might warrant legislation are these bump stock devices, which ought to be illegal if they aren’t already.

If you’re going to try to score a political point, make sure it’s a valid one.

Advocates for the preservation of our 2nd Amendment rights don’t see as an argument between people with the good intention of reducing violence, because removing guns won’t stop people from committing murder. It will just stop them from killing people with guns. After liberal Hollywood actor Kumail tweeted that “In Marseille a man with a knife killed 2 people. In Vegas a man with a gun killed 58. You don’t even have to do math.” conservative pundit Ben Shapiro came back with this reply:

Liberals tend to see guns and conservatives as the root cause of all evil.  Conservatives perceive liberalism and terrorism to be the main problems faced by modern society. They can’t both be right, of course.

The possible options of motive for a man willing and able to plan and execute the slaughter of dozens of people he’d never met would seem to be somewhat limited. Insanity is clearly one rather obvious possibility, and it would seem that anyone capable of doing such a thing would have to be at least a little bit crazy. But can we really assume that a person capable of committing such a callous act of violence is only crazy, and nothing more?

This details of this crime that are currently known suggest some serious planning and forethought was involved. The killer chose an ideal location for his attack, from which a maximum number of targets could be easily mowed down with bullets. People didn’t realize they were under fire, because the venue was a loud concert.

Murdering innocent people you’ve never met and have never harmed you does seem like an act of a madman. Could an insane person execute such a crime after meticulous planning and forethought? It is possible. Remember the heavily-armed lunatic who riddled the audience of a Batman movie with bullets was sane enough to wear body armor, in case somebody shot back.

Insanity definitely cannot be ruled, but what are the other possibilities? Is insanity the only possibility? No, of course not. At least two other potential reasons deserve equal consideration.

The first of these other possibilities is the easier of the two to sell to the general public: terrorism. ISIS immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, asserting that Stephen Paddock had converted to Islam several months prior to the attack.

Months before the attack ISIS apparently released a video suggesting that Las Vegas and San Francisco were two designated targets for a future terrorist attack. Another obvious question: why anyone would want to take credit for something they didn’t do? Mass murder in the name of their evil god is frankly beyond my comprehension, but ISIS have taken credit for the Las Vegas massacre.

We also know that historically ISIS have a perfect track record when it comes to making claims about terrorist attacks that can ultimately be attributed to them. They might be ruthless, evil, murderous religious fanatics, but we have no reason to accuse them of lying about this.

Even though the FBI has already declared there isn’t a known motive or connection to ISIS, it makes no sense for them to rule out the possibility. It doesn’t seem prudent to rule out terrorism as a motive for the worst mass murder in American history less than 24 hours after it happened, as Rush Limbaugh noted on his show yesterday, especially since these same people haven’t been able to rule out Russian interference in the last presidential election after a full year of investigation without finding any evidence.

Some news articles have already tried to connect the dots, suggesting that Stephen Paddock was a former accountant and might have been bitter about his excessive gambling losses, but the biggest problem with that theory is that Paddock didn’t attack the casino. If you’re mad about losing all your money on foolish bets, why wouldn’t your anger be directed at the people who have your money? Instead, Paddock raked the crowd outside the hotel at the music festival with bullets.

Given the planning involved (ideal location, easy target, multiple weapons, shooting platforms, cameras, etc.) terrorism actually seems like a very smart bet, especially considering the fact that a terror attack had taken place in Canada only 24 hours earlier. It’s difficult to believe that the timing could be sheer coincidence. It also seems odd that a man not known for being a passionate gun owner or radical right-wing extremist is found 23 weapons in the hotel room with him. It’s suspicious that a man who allegedly knew very little about firearms knew enough to know that a “bump stock” converts a semi-automatic weapon into a fully automatic machine-gun that can spray a full magazine of bullets with one pull of the trigger. More guns and explosives were found in his home.

Eventually the police will be able sort out the details and determine whether all of the weapons involved were purchased legally, and from where they were bought. A third possible explanation for the Las Vegas massacre will be ridiculed by anyone who doesn’t believe in a supernatural God: demonic possession would also easily explain the behavior of Stephen Paddock. An evil, murderous rage seems to have possessed this man.

In an interview, a younger brother claimed that Stephen was neither religious nor motivated by politics, but his description of their relationship also suggested the two brothers weren’t particularly close and didn’t speak to each other very often. Maybe the only thing on which everyone might agree is that Stephen Paddock certainly didn’t love the people he gunned down in cold blood.

Here’s the weird thing — I don’t hate Stephen Paddock. In fact, I feel a twinge of sympathy for his soul, because I’m fairly sure he’s burning in hell right now. But I can’t really describe my feelings about Hitler or Osama bin Laden as hate, either. I pity them.

Don’t get me wrong — I’m glad Stephen Paddock, Hitler, and Osama bin Laden are dead. Had he been captured instead of killed, I would have supported the death penalty. But when you believe in hell and have a vague concept of eternity, it isn’t something you’d wish on anybody. A friend of mine claims he went to hell and came back after being shot in the head with an Uzi, and he was just an innocent bystander, minding his own business when he got shot. If hell is half as bad as he described, nobody will want to go there.

My mind is clouded by doubts, and disturbing thoughts. The only words of wisdom that seem appropriate at the moment for us to ponder come from someone much smarter, more loving, and forgiving than I could ever be:

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Those were the last words of Jesus, just before he died on the cross. For our sins.

Las Vegas-Style Shootings Are Impossible To Prevent

A day after the Las Vegas massacre, pundits and political activists are out in force. Gun control activists are pushing their agenda while others are arguing for a hidden conspiracy. The one thing that most people have missed about the shooting is how easy it was to carry out and how difficult it would be to prevent similar attacks.

Stephen Paddock presents a problem for both sides of the gun debate. He purchased his guns legally in spite of waiting periods and background checks, but even stricter gun laws won’t prevent killers from getting weapons. Guns, both legal and illegal, are plentiful in the United States and relatively easy to obtain. Stephen Paddock had no criminal record and there was no reason to prevent him from legally purchasing a gun. The same cannot be said of the gangbangers of Chicago who, despite criminal records, also seem to have no trouble finding guns.

Paddock avoided security by avoiding the concert venue which likely had metal detectors and building a sniper’s nest in his hotel room at the Mandalay Bay casino across the street. Paddock likely smuggled his arsenal into the building in suitcases or golf bags. A frequent traveler myself, I have never seen a single hotel with metal detectors or luggage screening of any sort. Why would they? It isn’t illegal to have a legally owned gun in your hotel room (subject to state and local laws).

From the right, the traditional answer of more guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens with concealed carry permits would not have made a difference in Las Vegas. Paddock was shooting with a high-powered rifle from across the street on the 32nd floor of a high-rise hotel. Pistols in the hands of concert-goers would have been useless.

From the left, no gun control laws under consideration would have prevented the massacre. Paddock passed background checks because he had no criminal record or history of mental illness. His large arsenal was accumulated over months or years at stores in several different states so waiting periods would not have made a difference. Gun-free zones just move the violence to other areas.

In fact, no law other than a total ban of guns in private hands would have prevented the shooting. The number of illegal guns used in crimes indicates that even a ban would not go far enough. Since thousands of guns that are already in private hands, confiscation would be required to prevent those guns from falling into the wrong hands. Such a policy is not only unconstitutional, it is politically impossible and unworkable from a practical standpoint, requiring the diversion of thousands of law enforcement officers from their current duties to tracking down and seizing guns from law-abiding citizens.

A total gun ban would not even necessarily have prevented Paddock from killing scores of people. In 2016, a man driving a stolen truck killed 85 people in Nice, France. In 1995, Timothy McVeigh killed 168 people in Oklahoma City with a truck bomb.

Lone gunmen with no prior criminal history are notoriously difficult to defend against. I was working in the northern Virginia area in 2002 as the DC Sniper murders were taking place. The sniper, John Muhammad concealed himself in the trunk of Chevrolet Caprice and eventually killed 17 people and wounded 10. The entire Washington area was petrified. People were afraid to go outside for even long enough to pump gas.

Afterward, I thought that the strategy would be an easy one for Islamic terrorists or others to adopt. If Al Qaeda or Islamic State sent a few hundred followers across the country with locally purchased guns to shoot up shopping malls, concerts, movie theaters, parks and restaurants at random, the United States would be paralyzed in short order. Such attacks are impossible to prevent in a free society. The killer will ultimately be killed himself, but if suicide or martyrdom is the shooter’s ultimate goal, death is not a deterrent.

New laws and rules could make it more difficult for the Stephen Paddocks of the world to go on murderous rampages. The question is how many rights we are willing to surrender and how many inconveniences we are willing to endure. Do we, as a nation, want to scrap the Second Amendment and undergo TSA screenings every time we check into a hotel? For most of us, the answer is no.

The fundamental problem with mass killings is the existence of evil and the depravity of the human heart. Evil cannot be legislated out of existence no matter how hard we try. We just have to deal with the evil-doers as best we can.

After Sunday’s Las Vegas Tragedy, How Likely Is Trump to Consider New Gun Control Laws?

A new report from Axios approaches the renewed debate of gun control, that emerges every time there is a mass shooting in our nation (all while ignoring the catastrophic levels of gun crime that occur each month in the city of Chicago, with its stringent gun laws).

Specifically, how will President Trump respond to the horror that emerged from Las Vegas on Sunday night, when a madman opened fire on a crowd of concert goers, killing 59 and injuring over 500 more?

Trump was endorsed by the National Rifle Association before the election, and has promoted himself as a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, to the delight of his base.

That being said, he’s also the same president who, now that he’s in office and faced with the difficulties of the job, has rolled on several issues important to the GOP (and his base). The debt ceiling, DACA, and the wall have all taken a different hue.

Trump ran afoul of Republicans last month when he chose to work with uber-Democrats, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi on the Dreamers act, even letting Nancy Pelosi dictate a statement through his precious Twitter feed.

The ensuing media love, some fear, may have become intoxicating for the president, who has, so far, had an acrimonious relationship with the press, to say the least. Still, his ego craves adoration, so if he can get that by bending on a few key Republican platforms, then maybe it’s worth it.

That’s the concern, as the usual players stepped up to call for action, rather than prayers after Sunday’s tragedy.

While some are skeptical, Trump’s allies and advocates cling to the hope that he has bent all he intends to, in regards to Democrat demands.

When asked his opinion, longtime Trump pal and walking pustule, Roger Stone stated, “Base would go insane and he knows it.”

Maybe.

The Axios article goes on to give the reaction of Steve Bannon, Trump’s brain and CEO of Breitbart:

I asked Steve Bannon whether he could imagine Trump pivoting to the left on guns after the Las Vegas massacre. “Impossible: will be the end of everything,” Bannon texted. When asked whether Trump’s base would react worse to this than they would if he supported an immigration amnesty bill, Bannon replied: “as hard as it is to believe actually worse.”

Again, maybe.

It was said before the election that Trump could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose any of his support. So far, he hasn’t shot anyone, but he’s rolled, with only ripples of angst from his base.

There are myriad reasons for Trump to avoid stumbling into the minefield of gun control, not the least of which is both his base’s firm Second Amendment beliefs, the NRA’s support of Trump, and the fact that there’s a family element. Trump’s older sons, Eric and Donald Jr. are hunters and gun enthusiasts.

Then again, the pressure from the media and his new friends, Chuck and Nancy, is going to be intense.

According to an Axios source:

“On top of the immense political pressure, the visuals Trump will see, hundreds of severely injured young people, could provoke him to act,” this source said. “The rational route to take would be to let the investigation play out to see if any new laws could’ve prevented this. I’m 100 percent Second Amendment but … people who had their brains blown out is enough to make anyone with a heart consider anything to prevent this.”

Trump will have to tread a razor-thin line on this one, and he’s not been known for subtlety.

Shooter Identified: Who Was Stephen Paddock?

Police have identified Stephen Paddock as the mass murderer in last night’s Las Vegas shooting. Paddock was found dead in a room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay casino on the Las Vegas strip after the shooting. Paddock’s death was an apparent suicide.

Who was Stephen Craig Paddock and why would he want to senselessly slaughter scores of people who were peacefully attending a concert?

Paddock, 64, was a resident of Mesquite, Nev. Mesquite is a small town about 80 miles to the northeast of Las Vegas on Interstate 15. Multiple sources report that police there had never had any problems with Mr. Paddock, but NBC has reported that he was “known” to authorities. The Las Vegas Review Journal reported that Mr. Paddock bought a 2,018 square foot home in Mesquite in 2015 for $369,000 and lived there with his girlfriend, Marilou Danley.

Danley was originally considered a person of interest in the attack, but seems to have been cleared of involvement at this point. NBC News reports that Paddock may have used her identification, but that she was out of the country at the time of the shooting. Police have reportedly already spoken with Danley. The Daily Wire, citing Facebook posts, claims that Danley may be married to a man named Geary Danley.

The Telegraph reports that Paddock had previous addresses in Reno and Henderson, Nev. as well as Melbourne, Fl. and several locations in California. NBC reports that the family grew up in Sun Valley, Calif.

Another brother, Bruce Paddock, told NBC that Stephen had earned a living as the owner and manager of apartment buildings. He was not a military veteran per The Telegraph.

Contrary to some reports, Mr. Paddock apparently did not have an active Facebook page. Heavy.com notes that the photo of Mr. Paddock holding a shot glass was actually taken from Marilou Danley’s Facebook page.

Paddock’s brother, Eric Paddock, 55, of Orlando, said that the murderer was “just a guy” without any serious health or money problems. Eric Paddock said that Stephen lived a quiet retirement life and would often go to Las Vegas to play poker and slot machines.

Stephen Paddock is also reported to have had a pilot license. NBC reports that the last time that he was known to have flown a plane was in 2010 and that he had owned two airplanes.

Authorities report that 10 guns were found in the hotel room with Mr. Paddock’s body and that guns and ammunition were also found in a search of his home. So far, there has been no indication that any of the guns were illegal. Paddock is known to have been a hunter with an Alaska hunting license.

The Associated Press reported that Islamic State claimed that Paddock converted to Islam several months ago. The AP notes that ISIS did not provide evidence of the conversion and authorities say that there is no known connection between Paddock and international Islamic terrorist groups. His brother said that Paddock had “no affiliation to anything.”

Thus far no motive has been established in the killing spree. Most recent mass shootings have been perpetrated by either Islamic terrorists or people with untreated mental illness. As of this writing, there is no indication that Stephen Paddock fits into either of those categories.

“As they drill into his life, there will be nothing to be found,” Eric Paddock said of his brother.