October 3rd, 2017

Who was Stephen Paddock?

And why should we care? After all, there’s a very good argument to make for not giving shooters such as Paddock the attention they probably craved in life.

But there’s also a desire to make sense out of something so vile, something that still lacks any motive that we can see. Some mass killers who’ve previously led obscure lives leave manifestos because they want us to know them at the end. Paddock doesn’t seem to have done that, although I assume his computer might reveal more than we know now (which is next to nothing). So far there is no “sense” to be made. But more understanding of his life trajectory and motives could point to something that might help prevent or alert us to the next one.

Because there is very likely to be a “next one.” Unfortunately, the impulse to kill and the ability to kill is part of humankind, and that won’t change. The weaponry might, and among the many present-day choices are vehicles and/or explosives and/or firearms and/or knives and probably others I haven’t thought of. And some that haven’t been invented yet.

We don’t know much about Paddock at this point (most of the information I rely on in this post is at that link), so anything I’m about to write here is extremely speculative. But these are my hunches, guesses, theories, for what they’re worth.

Paddock was a guy who kept a very low profile. But there are two unusual things about his life, and they tie in with each other (or might tie in with each other). The first is that his father was a notorious criminal, a bank robber and prison escapee who lived away from the family under a different name for many years. The second is that Stephen Paddock was a gambler. If he had a home—and he apparently had several in various Sunshine states but didn’t stay too long in any of them—it was the gambling centers of Las Vegas and to a lesser extent Reno. So in a sense he was home when he committed his crime, although he was in a Vegas hotel.

Does psychopathy run in families? Maybe, say the researchers. Paddock’s shocked and talkative younger brother Eric says that his father was on the run by the time Eric was born and therefore not much of an influence on their lives, but since Stephen was eight years older than Eric we can conclude that their father probably was a much greater environmental influence during Stephen’s formative years until the age of eight. And of course their father would have been a genetic influence for all his children.

So there’s a criminal and possibly psychopathic father, and Stephen himself seemed drawn to the risky business of gambling. On the move, married once (briefly?), no children, holding various legit jobs until making a financial killing (to coin a phrase) in real estate, at least according to his brother. I wonder, though, whether Stephen might have actually made his money in a shadier enterprise and gave the real estate explanation as a cover story. Something about his constant moving and the very low profile indicates at least the possibility.

So he might have been a shady character right along, who kept a low profile and let no moss grow under his feet, and found his natural home in casinos, where he felt most comfortable.

What made him decide to become a killer? After all, he’s older than most mass murderers, and isn’t described as having been particularly rageful, or rageful at all. My guess is that politics was not the issue, but that’s just a guess (like most of what I’m writing here). I think he wanted to die for some reason, and decided to let his destructive impulses out prior to killing himself. And I think he did that because he was a psychopath who wanted to kill, to go out in what he considered a blaze of glory.

If I’m correct about that—and I have no idea whether I am—he would have most resembled Columbine shooters Harris and Kliebold, of the mass killers that come to mind. That may seem like an odd thing to say, since they were high school students and he was well into his sixties. But here’s what I’m basing the statement on [emphasis mine]:

…Harris and Klebold planned for a year and dreamed much bigger. The school served as means to a grander end, to terrorize the entire nation by attacking a symbol of American life. Their slaughter was aimed at students and teachers, but it was not motivated by resentment of them in particular…

The killers, in fact, laughed at petty school shooters. They bragged about dwarfing the carnage of the Oklahoma City bombing and originally scheduled their bloody performance for its anniversary. Klebold boasted on video about inflicting “the most deaths in U.S. history.” Columbine was intended not primarily as a shooting at all, but as a bombing on a massive scale. If they hadn’t been so bad at wiring the timers, the propane bombs they set in the cafeteria would have wiped out 600 people. After those bombs went off, they planned to gun down fleeing survivors. An explosive third act would follow, when their cars, packed with still more bombs, would rip through still more crowds, presumably of survivors, rescue workers, and reporters. The climax would be captured on live television. It wasn’t just “fame” they were after—Agent Fuselier bristles at that trivializing term—they were gunning for devastating infamy on the historical scale of an Attila the Hun. Their vision was to create a nightmare so devastating and apocalyptic that the entire world would shudder at their power.

Well, I don’t know if Paddock was that ambitious, but I think his impulse was most likely similar.

The other comparison that comes to mind is to Charles Whitman, the Texas Tower Sniper of 1966. The similarities there involve the high-up sniper perch, and the seeming lack of obvious or conventional motivation (even Whitman—who kept voluminous journals—didn’t understand why he had these aggressive impulses and was trying to puzzle it out). On autopsy, Whitman was found to have had a brain tumor that may or may not have been the cause or at least a contributing factor in his aggression, and doctors have been arguing about that ever since. I wonder whether an autopsy of Paddock will reveal any brain changes that might possibly explain (or at least partially explain) his sudden turning.

I have little doubt we’ll learn more about the shooter as time goes on. But I doubt we’ll learn enough to understand all that much. Perhaps Trump’s characterization is the best explanation we’ll ever have: “an act of true evil.”

54 Responses to “Who was Stephen Paddock?”

  1. vanderleun Says:

    Mark Steyn is pondering similar items but from a different slant this morning:

    “I had thought by last night we would know more about Stephen Craig Paddock. By now the usual social-media non-paper trail and petty-crime police records and mental-health issues have emerged. Instead, nothing has – except some bizarrely distinctive details: He wasn’t a loner, but lived with his girlfriend – an Australian citizen currently in Japan, but planning to return to the US today. He was not the usual loser, but a multi-millionaire. He had no apparent interest in guns and no military training, but he demonstrated remarkably lethal proficiency, either with semi-automatics he modified or with a genuine automatic he somehow acquired, a weapon that has been used in precisely three crimes in America since 1934. He didn’t “snap”, but instead calmly planned his act, identifying and securing the perfect corner suite in a massive hotel and then discreetly moving in dozens of weapons over four days and constructing platforms in front of those two windows.

    Some of these quirks do not appear to be particularly consistent, and the Aussie in the adjoining room, for one, says there were “multiple shooters” and “they killed a security guard on my floor”. On the face of it, “multiple shooters” would seem more plausible than Isis’ claim that Mr Paddock had converted to Islam and changed his name to “Abu Abd Abdulbar al-Ameriki”. But, pending any further revelations, it may well be that a wealthy retiree with no interest in guns got sufficiently interested sufficiently quickly to pull off America’s all-time deadliest single-shooter massacre: An old dog taught himself a new trick, on a spectacular scale.”

    https://www.steynonline.com/8154/the-empty-paddock

  2. Dave Says:

    Why a Country music festival? did he want to satisfy his urge to kill but didn’t want to be called a racist.

  3. vanderleun Says:

    “What ever happened to ‘crazy’ ?” – – Chris Rock

  4. vanderleun Says:

    Here:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hTLiKSLd_Fw

  5. Dave Says:

    when the girlfriend comes to America my guess is she will tell Authority The gunman was a big Trump supporter. It was a setup with the motive to ban guns.

  6. n.n Says:

    He Planned and opened an unlicensed abortion field.

  7. Oldflyer Says:

    Like Mark Steyn–although there is no intellectual comparison–I am curious that so little official information has come out. AP is reporting anonymous law enforcement sources about his arsenal; and unconfirmed stories about a cache of explosive material. But, unless I missed them, there have been no formal press briefings. There is no question that the police know by now exactly which weapons he fired; but, they aren’t saying. Left to speculation based on unconfirmed sources.

    ISIS says he converted a month or so ago. The FBI says there is no terrorist connection. They always say that initially so as not to alarm the multitude.

    If you like conspiracy theories, try this. He started living with his (Indonesian or Filipina) house mate in the Spring. Both countries have large Muslim populations–and at least in the Philippines there is a terrorist component. She left the country just before the event, and was allegedly in the Philippines. He wired a large sum of money to the Philippines. He had no history that presaged this action. He is a gambler, and there is speculation about losses; and also that he was angry at a casino, over a failed law suit. But, he did not shoot up a casino. He shot up a large event of random people to which he seemingly had no connection. The motive does not follow any logic chain. Unless of course, he was simply psychopathic–or he intentionally wanted to create havoc; some might call it terror. Now, does that add up to anything? Maybe not, but the media and the Leftists don’t have a monopoly on conspiracy theories.

    No reason that we can’t push back during this period when so little verifiable information is available, and theories flourish like weeds in my garden.

    But, we do need to be careful. Had an angry exchange with my beloved daughter when she went off on “silencers”. I commented that they were irrelevant, and it went down hill from there. Most beloved granddaughter coincidentally put something on face book about the evils of silencers. No need for two guesses about where they got that. I refrained from responding. Too much to lose. Emotions are running high; and some people are fanning the flames

  8. groundhog Says:

    Being prepared seemed to be a high priority.

    He had a live camera in a cleaning cart in the hallway so he could see when they finally came for him.

    I’m wondering if he kept a second computer/laptop that had clues and some other outside connection and one that he never used for anything unusual is the one he left for police and FBI to find.

  9. Sgt. Mom Says:

    I’m also curious about how little information has come out – allowing speculation and rumor free rein. Either the establishment news media doesn’t want to know … or as you suggest – he deliberately lived a low-profile lifestyle.
    But still – a dedicated professional gambler. I worked for an enterprise for about a year, taking hotel reservations for the Harrah’s chain. And the big gamblers were prized customers. They were given every consideration and goodie that one can imagine. He wasn’t one of the big fish, but down at the lower end of the big-fish scale, so I have read … He might have left traces of himself in the hotel staffers whose job it is to cater to the important gamblers.

    I thought also of Charles Whitman; a seemingly normal man who went bug-nutz one day, killed his wife and mother and went out to the top of a tall tower to kill perfect strangers.

  10. groundhog Says:

    In fact, I’m positive, there is a missing computer if there is nothing on anything he owns..

    Because I can’t believe he did all this without one.

  11. neo-neocon Says:

    groundhog:

    Yes, it’s pretty clear that he was prepared to die (and perhaps wanted to die?) and he was determined they would not take him alive and did everything in his power to make sure that would be so. But it’s also pretty clear he wanted to maximize the number of people he killed in the time he had to do it.

  12. steve walsh Says:

    Sane, rational people do not do such things.

  13. parker Says:

    Listen to the video and tell me there was only one person shooting if you are familiar with the sound of full auto gun fire. (I have no semiauto rifles except for a SKS I bought because WJC wanted to ban imports.) But I have been to the Knob Creek, KY full auto event. The Vegas shooting sounds like at least two shooters. Something does not smell right.

  14. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    “Las Vegas: Video Footage Confirms Multiple Shooters, Co-ordinated Attack”

  15. neo-neocon Says:

    Geoffrey Britain:

    Yes, and the WTC was brought down by George Bush, and JFK was killed by hit men hired by LBJ shooting from the grassy knoll.

    In other words, I don’t buy it. But I’m not surprised that the conspiracy theories are coming hot and heavy. The truth is mysterious enough as is.

    Here’s an excerpt from that site you linked:

    The questions must be asked: why is the mainstream media covering for a mass murderer? Why are they attempting to rewrite his past and erase his political affiliations?

    The answers are simple. The corporate media, controlled by a small, elite oligarchy, is operating on behalf of the New World Order, attempting to mislead the public into believing their enemies are their friends, and their friends are their enemies.

    In other words—The Joooos! It’s the Jooos!

    And Paddock’s brother is an actor hired by Central Casting.

  16. DNW Says:

    “parker Says:
    October 3rd, 2017 at 7:16 pm

    Listen to the video and tell me there was only one person shooting if you are familiar with the sound of full auto gun fire. “

    I cannot hear more than one, with 12 to 15 seconds for moving or reloading between sustained bursts.

    Didn’t you earlier agree in another thread that it did not sound like full cyclic rate fire?

    It didn’t to me either, which is why I mentioned a slow cyclic rate like an AK, or alternatively that “Hellfire” trigger attachment … which was useful mainly for doing a John Wayne in front of a sand berm.

    I had forgotten about the newer bump fire stock fittings which allow aimed shoulder firing rather than just a hold-loosely-and spray-from-the-hip stance.

  17. TommyJay Says:

    Neo’s comparison to Columbine might be close to the mark. The Whitman Tower killings strike me as quite different because Whitman was a skilled sniper and could see each person up-close in his high powered scope in the daylight.

    This also reminds me of the Carey Stayner case who had a celebrity victim brother. Brother Steven was a kidnap, molestation victim, with a movie made of his story. Years later, Carey became a serial killer. Paddock’s father was a “celebrity” criminal.
    _______

    The two rifles shown by the Daily Mail are quite different. One has a bump-fire stock for automatic-like fire, a 1X holographic sight, a really big magazine. It is not set up at all for precise long range fire with no magnification on the sight or a bipod for stability. But the magazine likely holds 60 to 100 rounds.

    The other rifle is set up for precise long range fire, but has basic 30 rounds mags. and no bump-fire stock. So it couldn’t fire full auto unless the receiver has been illegally modified for it. I’d guess that it was modified. It looks like it had been fired with extra mags and spent casings strewn about it.

    What was he doing with 20 or more rifles in the hotel room? Did he think he could fire for an hour or more? Melt down one rifle, then switch to another? He fired for 17 min. Then it appears he was interrupted by beat cops and hotel security arriving at his door. Those guys saved a lot of lives, because even though Paddock held them off, his assault on the crowd was finished.

    As usual, the LEO’s in command told the beat and security cops to wait for SWAT. And wait and wait. Thank god he didn’t re-start his shooting. It seems that these cops are more than willing to risk their lives, but the controllers are not.

  18. neo-neocon Says:

    DNW:

    From Reason:

    The Associated Press reports that police found two bump stocks in Paddock’s hotel room, which could explain why witnesses and people who listened to audio recordings of the attack thought he used a machine gun.

    A bump stock is a sliding stock that speeds up a rifle’s rate of fire by harnessing recoil energy to reset the trigger. Instead of squeezing the trigger, the shooter holds his trigger finger steady while pushing the barrel forward with his other hand, thereby firing a round. The recoil repositions the trigger, and continuing to exert forward pressure on the barrel makes the rifle fire repeatedly. The gun still fires just once per trigger pull, so it is still a semiautomatic (and therefore legal), but it fires faster than it would if the shooter had to bend his trigger finger each time.

    ssuming that Paddock used the bump stocks police found, did they make the number of deaths higher than it otherwise would have been? Not necessarily, since bump stocks sacrifice accuracy for speed; the jostling required by the technique makes the rifle harder to aim, especially at long distances. According to the Wikipedia entry on bump stocks, they “greatly degrade the accuracy of the firearm, due to the necessary jerking of the weapon, which makes viable aiming impossible,” and “the inaccuracy renders the practice uncommon.”

    Although bump stocks are legal, have been around for years, and are readily available, I don’t recall any other mass shootings in which they were used. Yet previous mass shooters have managed to kill dozens of people, sometimes with ordinary handguns. While the death toll in Las Vegas (59) was higher than in any other modern mass shooting, Paddock’s main advantage seems to have been firing from a height, which made it difficult for his victims to find cover.

    Not just firing from a height, as far as I can tell. The crowd was massed tightly. All it seems to me that he had to do—whatever type of firearm he used, as long as it had the reach—was to aim in the very general vicinity and he could hardly miss. He did apparently have scopes, so he may have been aiming for kill shots. But he didn’t need to do so to kill people and certainly to would them.

    He apparently had two weapons with scopes, on tripods, one in the window in the front and one in another window around the corner, both with excellent and unobstructed views of the scene. For all I know, he was operating both (not at exactly the same moment, of course).

  19. Oldflyer Says:

    Sorry, but I am hung up on the timeline; and I just don’t see how it can be overlooked.

    Catherine Herridge reported that he may have started accumulating his arsenal around June.

    Earlier news reports say that she moved in with him in the Spring.

    Then she happens to be out of the country when it all goes down.

    Finally, he strikes at a group with which he has no connection whatsoever. May be wrong, but I think that is unusual for a psychotic mass killer.

    Maybe, maybe not; but there seems to be four great big dots that need to be connected, or explained.

    Will be interesting to see if she returns; or if she ends up some place with no extradition treaty.

  20. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    neo,

    My bad. I confess that I posted before looking over the article. Naively imagining that posting that claim would demand fairly clear videos. Not only are the videos useless but the wild eyed hyperbole put me off as well. Lesson learned.

  21. neo-neocon Says:

    Oldflyer:

    The shooter’s brother said the two had been a couple for many, many years.

    Former neighbors also said it.

  22. Oldflyer Says:

    She filed for divorce from her husband in 2015

  23. neo-neocon Says:

    Oldflyer:

    First of all, he had a tremendous connection—to the casino. I’m planning a post tomorrow giving my theory on why he targeted the concert.

    Secondly, it’s not unusual for mass killers to kill at venues to which they have no connection, or certainly no important connection except for familiarity. Some of these people are technically “spree killers” (for example, this guy), but some are mass murderers. Charles Whitman was a student at the U. of Texas and he killed people there, but his victims were randomly chosen, and he had no beef whatsoever with the University. It was merely the place near him with a lot of people and a tower, and I believe that Paddock chose his venue for very similar reasons: its familiarity. This guy, who’s considered the first US mass murderer, walked around his neighborhood randomly killing people. The LIRR shooter seems to have chosen a random venue and random victims. I could go on and on and on with this, but I think you get the idea. Some venues are chosen for a reason (often, revenge or politics) but not all by any means.

  24. neo-neocon Says:

    Oldflyer:

    Ah, but plenty of people live with other people while they are merely separated and not divorced. I’ve read conflicting things about Paddock and Danley. I don’t think people have the story straight yet (not sure they ever will). Here’s another timeline:

    In 2013, Danley left the Sparks community to live at The Montage in downtown Reno, in a condominium owned by Paddock. Two years later, Marilou and Geary divorced…

    Paddock, 64, and Danley, 62, most recently lived in Mesquite, about 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas. Before moving to Southern Nevada, the couple lived in a house Paddock bought in 2013 in a retirement community in northwest Reno.

    And as I said, I saw an interview with Paddock’s brother Eric in which he seemed to be saying they’d been together for years (certainly more than two).

  25. TommyJay Says:

    New news and correction; 9 to 11 min. of firing. Also, it sounds like it was a lone hotel security person that approached the gunman’s door, got shot in the leg, and stopped the massacre. The big hero, IMHO.

  26. neo-neocon Says:

    TommyJay:

    My guess is that (a) he wanted to kill as many people as possible, therefore all the weaponry, just in case; and (b) he thought the authorities might indeed take a long time to zero in on him, so he wanted enough firepower to maximize the killings, whatever amount of time he had.

  27. neo-neocon Says:

    TommyJay:

    And I’d wager the killer thought he’d have a lot more time than 9-11 minutes.

    That guy who approached the door was pretty brave, if alone. Actually, I think anyone who came anywhere near that door was brave, even if it was an entire SWAT team. I realize that’s what SWAT teams are trained to do, but still.

  28. Richard Aubrey Says:

    David French of NRO noted the lacunae.
    Not many people have so little trail, paper or otherwise.
    Of course, pretty much any financial transaction of the legal sort is recorded someplace, so we’re really talking about interpersonal either in person or in social media. People can refrain from social media either because they’re uninterested or for a particular reason.
    is it possible to make a case of…something, based on the absence of facts?
    About the only thing I can get from this at this time is that it’s possible–we may know differently later–that the guy was purposely keeping some of his activities and sympathies out of the public eye…for years if not decades.
    Okay, some people may be that way.
    And kill wholesale.
    Unlikely combination.

  29. neo-neocon Says:

    Richard Aubrey:

    I followed you right up till you wrote “unlikely combination.”

    No, it’s not at all an unlikely combination. It’s neither likely nor unlikely. A person like that is secretive and/or private. That doesn’t preclude being a killer, not at all.

  30. J.J. Says:

    The big question – what was the motive? So far not much to go on. Here’s and analysis that covers a lot of bases and comes up with not much.

    “Motivations for spying (on the theory that one crime is somewhat like another) are usually sorted by the MICE acronym. (Sam Culper MI types, three-letter agency guys, et al, pitch in anywhere if you feel like it).

    MICE:
    Money
    Dude’s a multi-millionaire, per family, with a ton of assets, house, planes, cars, etc.
    Ideology
    No known strong political or religious affinities or affiliations whatsoever.
    Compromise
    He’s retired, divorced, rich, and 64. WTF would compromise him enough to do this?
    Coerrcion
    “Do this or…???” Dude’s retired, divorced, rich, and 64. Nigh unthreatenable, and likely to tell you to get f***ed if you tried.
    Ego
    “I just wondered if I could break the Guinness record for most people shot in one go?”
    I’m thinking not so much.
    Extortion
    See Money and Coercion, above.

    Other classic murder motives? (Paging Perry Mason…)
    Passion
    This was planned long-term. Room reservation, three day stay, constructing sniper platforms, acquiring weapons, ammo, modifications for weapons, bringing it all to the room, setting up his roost. That’s not an impulsive set of acts.
    Revenge
    On 22,000 strangers? Country music fans from all over? WTF?

    Other possibilities from murder mystery writers:
    •To keep a secret – Unlikely
    •Revenge – No
    •Frustration/hate – Because of…?
    •Money/Greed – No
    •Sex/Jealousy – No
    •Property Dispute – No
    •Personal Vendetta – Against…?
    •Political – No
    •Class Conflict – No
    •Narcotics – No
    •Other Felonies – No
    •Urge to Protect – No

    So, based on everything known, there’s no motive whatsoever for this.”

    You can read it all at:
    http://raconteurreport.blogspot.com/2017/10/who-how-why-and-wtf.html

    This could be a very complex case with Paddock’s life being not at all what it seemed on the surface.. Or it could be a very simple case that jumps out at us when the facts become known. We’ll see.

  31. Mike K Says:

    The sheriff is now mentioning “radicalized”

    Oh Oh.

    Its not that reliable a source but there is video.
    https://www.infowars.com/breaking-sheriff-says-las-vegas-shooter-could-have-been-radicalized/

  32. neo-neocon Says:

    J.J.:

    I am positing a much simpler motive: the desire to kill as many people as possible, and then to kill oneself.

    Psychopathy and/or something happening to his brain activating the aggressive impulse and stifling reasoning ability or compassion.

    The list you give all has to do with a rational motive. I don’t think his motive was rational. My opinion on that could change, of course, as more information comes out.

  33. Richard Aubrey Says:

    neo
    Point is, a lot of people–number unknown–don’t bother with social media.
    Some very small number of people do mass killings
    To combine those two is, imo, statistically improbable.
    My point was that the possibility is that he had things he didn’t want people to know about himself for years.
    That doesn’t mean he was planning the shooting then. But either he was what used to be considered normal about privacy, or he had something going on that he didn’t want to hint about.
    I also think it’s possible that the planning, checking off boxes, was gratifying in itself. It seems, two dozen guns in the room, excessive for the purpose. But it gave him more problems to solve, while, deliciously, NOBODY KNEW.

  34. Oldflyer Says:

    Well, well Mike K. Why would the Sheriff put that out there? Does he know something? Are some of those dots I mentioned starting to connect?

    But, as Inspector Ian Rutledge of Scotland Yard would say; “early days yet”.

  35. neo-neocon Says:

    Richard Aubrey:

    That’s not logical at all.

    The latest statistics on Facebook use indicate that 68% of all US adults use Facebook. That means 1/3 of all Americans don’t use Facebook, even now (actually, it’s probably a much greater number who don’t use it, because many people start a page but aren’t active on it).

    Facebook use is also somewhat lighter among older people and somewhat lighter among men. But the basic statistic is that 1/3 of all Americans don’t use it.

    So, even if mass murderers number 1 in 200 million, the chance of any mass murderer being on Facebook is 2:1 (in other words, 2 out of 3). Therefore, the chance of any mass murderer NOT being on Facebook is 1:2 (that’s assuming a mass murderer’s Facebook habits reflect those of the average person), in other words 1 out of 3. That 1 out of 3 figure is not the least bit “statistically improbable.” It’s pretty much meaningless, because although his chances of having been on Facebook are twice as great as his chances of not having been on Facebook, the chances of either are quite great.

    Of course, however, he had things he didn’t want people to know about himself. But we don’t know what or why. Maybe he was secretive because he was doing shady things, or maybe he’s just a very private person.

  36. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Neo. I wasn’t referring solely to FB. Current reports indicate he wasn’t “out there” in any public sense. His neighbors didn’t know much about him.
    Unless there’s a flood of information not yet released, he is more private than usual, and this seems to be true for years.
    The mass murderer who’s of retirement age is a new phenomenon, so we don’t have a profile. The younger ones have public personae which, afterwards, causes people to say, “Of course!”
    However, from what seems to be known of the guy, less is known than one would expect and that includes more than his social presence in one medium or another.
    So, if as you suggest and others have implied, he’s got something shady in his past, his reduced public presence would be a useful strategy.
    The difficulty is in seeing the careful, likely months-long planning and exceptional expenditure on weapons–which he didn’t need for the purpose–and trying to match it to other mass shooters.
    That’s the issue here. He doesn’t look like a mass shooter, until he does. No references to school-yard bullying, excessive interest in video games, torturing animals or something, more than passing encounters with mental health institutions of one kind or another.
    So putting it all together, which is to say, adding up what we haven’t got leaves us wondering if there’s something else going on.
    As I say, it isn’t only FB that’s the issue. He wasn’t holding block party BBQ where he lived or mowing the neighbor’s lawn or teaching financial planning at the nearest adult ed site.

  37. FunkyPhD Says:

    Neo, I also thought of Harris and Klebold, especially Harris, the sociopathic leader of the pair (Klebold was a suicidal depressive, easily manipulated by Harris). The popular narrative is that the two were bullied into unquenchable rage; but there’s no evidence of bullying (other than that committed by Harris). Harris was a Dostoyevskian Underground Man or Raskolnikov, who thought himself superior to the contemptible mass of humankind and planned his suicidal attack to demonstrate that superiority. I suspect that the more we learn about Paddock, the more we’ll find out that he was just a sociopathic, black-hearted nihilist, who wanted his suicide to be spectacular. He served no ideology, was checked by no transcendental beliefs, and had no children or parents or friends or family to shame. He was tired of life, which was easy for him, and–like Oswald–bitter that the world failed to exalt him for his genius, and was therefore determined to punish his fellow human creatures for their indifference. He wasn’t in pain, or in despair, or even lashing out for some unforgivable injury or slight. As Dostoyevski so brilliantly showed, when there is no meaning or purpose or duty or responsibility, destruction of the human community is not only permissible, it is also the ultimate act of freedom. Paddock wasn’t sick (if he were sick, he couldn’t have planned this as meticulously as he did), he was, as you say, just evil. But this kind of evil isn’t a symptom of our times. It has always existed, and seems to arise in our population every 20 years or so (Oswald, Son of Sam, Harris & Klebold, Paddock).

  38. BrianE Says:

    Some tangential similarities to the 1995 OKC bombing.
    Terry Nichols had a Filipino wive and traveled to the Philippines regularly, and both he and McVeigh it is speculated conversed with persons with expertise in bomb making with ties to the ME.

    Of course this is pure speculation.

    It’s unlikely there will ever be a “homemade” bomb of that magnitude since ammonium nitrate is highly regulated now, but the level of sophistication by Paddock shows a high level of planning and given the arsenal, it could have been even worse.

    His actions are unimaginable, so we struggle to find some neurological defect that drove him to this evil act, some clues to make a twisted sense of this tragedy.

  39. Ymar Sakar Says:

    Facebook is a good way to get yourself highlighted as HVT and a drone sent your way…

  40. TommyJay Says:

    I looked up Neo’s NIH.gov link on the heredity of psychopathy.

    It starts off weak because it begins with the conclusion the author wants; that anyone who wants to take heredity into account during criminal sentencing is “stupid.” After that, the focus of the article becomes scattered, looking at multiple points of view, which I liked.

    One of the references therein is a summary of an epidemiological identical twins study on the topic. They did an AB (anti-social behavior) and CU (callous unemotional response) test on 3,687 seven year old twins.

    One of their conclusions is,

    AB in children with high levels of CU is under extremely strong genetic influence and no influence of shared environment, whereas AB in children with low levels of CU shows moderate genetic and shared environmental influence.

    To be clear, I completely agree with the first author that it is a bad idea to consider genetics in criminal sentencing. But when looking at the actual behavioral science, it seems the unbiased statistics speaks volumes.
    ________

    Speaking of heredity, what about “Paddock’s shocked and talkative younger brother Eric”? (Neo’s quote) I’ve seen two of those media clips. He certainly is selling the “shocked” part very aggressively, and I don’t really buy it. Of course, there could be a variety of reasons for feigning great shock.

  41. TommyJay Says:

    Oops, the twins study (TEDS study) was not restricted to identical twins.

  42. blert Says:

    To be a chronic gambler is to be a chronic loser.

    Period.

    So this villain HAD to have some amazing income stream pouring in.

    It, illegal income, would make everything fit into place.

    And, so far as we know, he did a crackerjack job of hiding said income.

    ISIS keeps claiming him as one of their own.

    As crazy as that notion is, it’s the only one that makes remotely any sense.

    We do know that his politics were left of center — unless the stuff I’m reading is a spoof.

    I strongly suspect that the cops just can’t quite believe that this villain acted totally alone. Hence, they are suppressing all discoveries — and are chasing down all leads.

    The shear tonnage that he hefted up to the 32rd floor is astounding. Casinos have cameras up the wazzoo — and they practically insist upon carrying personal luggage up to your room — ESPECIALLY for a prized gambler. Everything he touched would be ‘comped.’

    He’d have SQUADS of bellhops at his beck and call. They’d be flying out of the woodwork. No way would they permit a 64 year old gambler to heft anything.

    The villain reads like he could’ve been a pilot for Barry Seal. ( American Made )

    That’d fit with his aircraft and wealth… and absolute paranoia.

    If the Cartel knew of him, he’d be as dead as Barry Seal… just on principle.

    And you’ll note that he spent considerable effort to stay either on the move — or way out in the sticks.

    If anything along these lines is true, the FBI is going to have one Hell of a time tracing him. For he profiles like he’d been trained — after a fashion — by the CIA.

    Suddenly, everything would fall in to place.

    A guy with no military training — had plenty of military training.

    A guy with no pile of money — had plenty of ‘winnings.’

    A guy with a strangely obscure social legacy — had every reason to obscure his social legacy… and the field craft to do so.

    And he planned this atrocity — just like he’d plan any flight.

    And, like Whitman, he may have a medical condition (brain cancer?) that meant his time was up.

    Just perhaps, being a criminal for most of his adult life, mass murder was no biggie for him. ( The latter being a given at this point. )

  43. neo-neocon Says:

    blert:

    Actually, some people make a good living gambling. They are not amateurs, however, and they often specialize in something. It’s a small group, but it definitely exists. His brother (who has given several LONG interviews) says Stephen P. was one of those people.

    Stephen Paddock also had made the bulk of his money in real estate, many of the deals with his brother, who has talked about that. So he was independently very wealthy and had made his money in legit ways, according to his brother, and he also was one of the small number of people who are successful professional gamblers.

    I’ve watched the police press conferences, and I do not get the impression they have any difficulty thinking he acted alone. They are quite clear that they believe he acted alone. They cannot yet rule out other possibilities, but clearly they believe he acted alone.

    We may find out differently, but that’s the situation as it is now.

    As for the bellhop part, that’s simple. His brother has discussed that, too. He said that Stephen never carried his own bags. He would have tipped a bellhop a lot of money (which he habitually did anyway) to carry a few bags. No problem, nothing suspicious. He was at the hotel for several days before the shooting. He could have done this in three different segments, using different bellhops. I doubt he had them carry all ten at once. And “carry” in this case would mean put the bag on a big rolling cart—you know the kind they have in hotels. I have no problem believing that this behavior would not have roused suspicion, as long as he didn’t use the same guy for all ten bags. Even then, I doubt anyone would have given him trouble if he tipped them enough. Why would they suspect he was a mass murderer? He stayed at the place frequently; he was supposedly a known commodity.

    He also had a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door for his whole stay. This would have been respected, also, and would not rouse any particular suspicion. I often do that in hotels.

  44. neo-neocon Says:

    TommyJay:

    I see the brother’s shock as very genuine indeed, and am puzzled as to why you see it as ingenuine (other than, perhaps, a desire to find some conspiratorial evidence).

    His talkativeness in particular seems like a form of working through of shock to me.

  45. neo-neocon Says:

    FunkyPhd:

    Agreed.

    It’s possible we’ll learn something later that contradicts this, but at present that is my working theory.

  46. Cap'n Rusty Says:

    Slightly off topic.

    My wife listened to the news reporting on the radio on the day of the shooting. She heard that many of the over-500 who were injured, suffered injuries from trying to climb the fence to get out of the target zone, or fell or stumbled in trying to run.

    However, many of the MsM headlines and ledes I’ve seen on the net try to imply that Paddock wounded over 500 people. And I’d bet that a majority of the people thinks that’s exactly what happened because assault rifles.

  47. Tatterdemalian Says:

    I’m still going with the Coulter Rule: the longer it takes for the media to reveal the attackers’ motives, the more likely the motives will turn out to be left-wing or Islamic terrorism.

  48. neo-neocon Says:

    Tatterdemalian:

    That rule only applies when the media knows the motives and hides them. There is absolutely zero indication that that is true here. I believe the media hasn’t a clue at this point.

  49. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Neo. Suppose the brother’s prolix discussions of “nothing, no red flag, etc.” is an attempt to cover up something they knew or should have known (hell of a way to find out), but didn’t connect. Or didn’t do anything about.

  50. neo-neocon Says:

    Richard Aubrey:

    I can suppose anything I want about the brother, as can you. I can suppoe they’re both aliens, for example, although that supposition is unlikely in the max.

    I just don’t see a single thing about the brother that indicates that the theory you suggested is true. We all read people’s demeanor, and I see not a scintilla of indication of that. That doesn’t mean I’m correct, of course. But I often am a good judge of people. Have you watched the videos? I found them pretty fascinating, and actually watched an entire one that was about 35 minutes long, as well as part of another. So I have a lot of data points to go on.

  51. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Neo. IME, people go on for too long for several reasons:
    Covering up something with a smoke screen of words.
    Overpowering emotion.
    Presumption the listener isn’t getting it,whatever it is.
    The subject is themselves and you aren’t going to change the subject no matter what.

    I was once judged as being closed and possibly hostile because I had my arms folded. At the time, I’d torn up my rotater cuffs and needed the support in a classroom chair which lacked arms.
    Orthopedic interference with body language interpretation is underrated at any age over maybe fourteen. Also long-term habits. We all know people who move as if they’re constipated, and others who hardly move at all once still.

    But, my suspicion that people who go on too long–my judgment of too long–as suspicious in some way may be overdone. Problem with that is…I’ve always been right.

  52. Ymar Sakar Says:

    It’s like some demon or angel hijacked this guy’s body.

    That serial killer necro eater, said something similar before he got executed by the State.

    There’s some people who have no real triggers for analyzing their motives. They are surprisingly blank.

    Most of the assassins in history at least have something in their back story that immediately says “oh yeah, that makes sense”.

    Not even my intel sources and analysis can pierce this guy’s motivations however.

  53. neo-neocon Says:

    Richard Aubrey:

    My experience is very different from yours, then.

    If I’m defending myself, or perplexed, or explaining something, I’m fully capable of going on too long (in the eyes of many, anyway). I have seen plenty of people go on and on and on when they are shocked or stunned, too. It does not mean anything suspicious to me unless there are other additional reasons for suspicion. And I’m not aware of having been wrong on this, either.

  54. Ymar Sakar Says:

    But, my suspicion that people who go on too long–my judgment of too long–as suspicious in some way may be overdone. Problem with that is…I’ve always been right.

    I’ve heard stories of people who kept talking, after a violent incident that they were just watching. Mostly because of additional hormone and energy discharges. They get the nervous energy and their way of dealing with it isn’t by shaking but by talking about it.

    Also “body language” isn’t merely the arms, it is the face, the rate at which your skin sweats, the blood flow oxygenation, eye movements, various facial ticks and combinations of movements that computers aren’t powerful enough to crack yet but the human visual cortex can crack.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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