October 28th, 2017

Mass murdering man of mystery [Part IIIA]: Revisiting Columbine in the light of Las Vegas; revisiting Las Vegas in the light of Columbine

[Part I and Part II.]

When I first read about the Las Vegas concert shooting it struck me almost immediately that the mass murder it most resembled was Columbine. And yet I’ve been surprised that almost no one else I’ve heard or read has focused on the Columbine analogy. It’s not for lack of searching for a motive, either; there’s been a great deal of puzzled speculation on that topic.

I believe the failure to seriously consider the Columbine killers’ motives as similar to that of the Las Vegas killer comes from two things: (a) superficially, the crimes appear quite different (school shooting with young perps vs. concert shooting from a high perch with much older perp), and (2) the vast majority of people have never learned about the deeper motives and aims of the Columbine shooters or the enormous scope of their plans and preparation, which took about a year.

The Columbine massacre was supposed to kill well over 600 people and only failed to do so because of Harris and Klebold’s relative incompetence as bombmakers. What sort of plans did they make?

These sorts of plans:

They had wanted to bomb first, then shoot. So they planted three sets of bombs: one set a few miles away, timed to go off first and lure police away from the school; a second set in the cafeteria, to flush terrified students out into the parking lot, where Harris and Klebold would be waiting with their guns to mow them down; and then a third set in their cars, timed to go off once the ambulances and rescue workers descended, to kill them as well. What actually happened instead was mainly an improvisation.

Just before 11 a.m. they hauled two duffel bags containing propane-tank bombs into the cafeteria. Then they returned to their cars, strapped on their weapons and ammunition, pulled on their black trench coats and settled in to wait.

Judgment Day, as they called it, was to begin at 11:17 a.m. But the bombs didn’t go off. After two minutes, they walked toward the school and opened fire, shooting randomly and killing the first two of their 13 victims. And then they headed into the building.

The idea that Columbine was some sort of ordinary school shooting (if such a thing can be called “ordinary”) motivated by retaliation for past bullying was the initial story that got out, and most people are completely unaware that it wasn’t the case. I believe that Paddock—like the Columbine killers—wanted to kill on a much bigger scale than his actual kill total, and that (again, as in Columbine) something stopped him. I’ll return to what that “something” might have been in PartIIIB.

Unlike Paddock, Harris and Klebold left a great deal of information about what they were planning and even why they were planning it, and although there was less about the “why” than about the “what,” it wasn’t hard for authorities to feel they could describe the motives once they had finished digesting all the material. Passages such as this one from Harris demonstrate some of the flavor of his thought processes:

It’ll be like the L.A. Riots, the Oklahoma bombing, WWII, Vietnam, Duke and Doom all mixed together…I want to leave a lasting impression on the stupid world.

I could be wrong, but I contend that this is exactly the sort of thing Paddock had in mind: the desire to leave a lasting impression on the stupid world. That’s the sort of sentiment you may recognize from this clip, if you’re a movie buff:

It was really Harris who was the classic psychopath of the duo, and he led the typical double life of a psychopath:

Harris…was sweet-faced and well-spoken. Adults, and even some other kids, described him as “nice.” But Harris was cold, calculating, and homicidal. “Klebold was hurting inside while Harris wanted to hurt people,” Fuselier says. Harris was not merely a troubled kid, the psychiatrists say, he was a psychopath.

In popular usage, almost any crazy killer is a “psychopath.” But in psychiatry, it’s a very specific mental condition that rarely involves killing, or even psychosis. “Psychopaths are not disoriented or out of touch with reality, nor do they experience the delusions, hallucinations, or intense subjective distress that characterize most other mental disorders,” writes Dr. Robert Hare, in Without Conscience, the seminal book on the condition…”Unlike psychotic individuals, psychopaths are rational and aware of what they are doing and why. Their behavior is the result of choice, freely exercised.” Diagnosing Harris as a psychopath represents neither a legal defense, nor a moral excuse. But it illuminates a great deal about the thought process that drove him to mass murder.

Diagnosing him as a psychopath was not a simple matter. Harris opened his private journal with the sentence, “I hate the f—ing world.” And when the media studied Harris, they focused on his hatred—hatred that supposedly led him to revenge. It’s easy to get lost in the hate, which screamed out relentlessly from Harris’ Web site…

What follows in the Slate article (based on interviews with a forensic psychologist and an FBI agent who were involved) is a list that Harris wrote of his hates. It shrieks with rage even in written form—and strangely enough, this is the first item on it:

YOU KNOW WHAT I HATE!!!? Cuuuuuuuuhntryyyyyyyyyy music!!! . . .

It wasn’t just hate, it was contempt that drove Harris—towering contempt for everything and everybody but himself [emphasis mine]:

He is disgusted with the morons around him. These are not the rantings of an angry young man, picked on by jocks until he’s not going to take it anymore. These are the rantings of someone with a messianic-grade superiority complex, out to punish the entire human race for its appalling inferiority. It may look like hate, but “It’s more about demeaning other people,” says [psychologist and expert on psychopathy] Hare.

Harris lied constantly as well, and he did it not just to get out of trouble but for fun:

“Duping delight”—psychologist Paul Ekman’s term—represents a key characteristic of the psychopathic profile.

Harris married his deceitfulness with a total lack of remorse or empathy—another distinctive quality of the psychopath.

Here’s a video that gives an idea of what I’m talking about. I cued it up to show only about a minute and a half:

I believe that if we ever manage to find out more about Paddock (and it’s not clear that we ever will) we’ll discover that Paddock had the same sense of his own superiority and the same contempt for others that Harris had (in Klebold’s case, it masked depression, because he was more depressive than psychopathic). I believe that Paddock’s father—who was a famous con man—had the same “duping delight” described by Ekman, and that Paddock probably shared that trait as well.

In fact, the “duping delight” may have even been part of the motive for Paddock’s crime—the surprise the world would feel at this mysterious and mild-mannered erstwhile accountant turning into a rampaging mass murderer.

[These thoughts and comparisons will be expanded in PartIIIB, coming soon.]

34 Responses to “Mass murdering man of mystery [Part IIIA]: Revisiting Columbine in the light of Las Vegas; revisiting Las Vegas in the light of Columbine”

  1. Gary D. G. Says:

    There must be a Latin expression for “Hindsight is always (most of the time, to quote Yogi) 20/20” that I didn’t learn in school.
    The obvious problems are early recognition and classifying the degree: recognizing fantasy from intention to action – one may become superb sci-fi/mystery author, the other a mass murderer (individual, bi-monthly essays beginning in 5th grade English class examined by competent psychologists?) . Lastly, how do the “authorities” take the necessary early “corrective action” without trampling individual rights.

  2. skeptic Says:

    Interesting article on psychopaths vs. sociopaths:

    https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/features/sociopath-psychopath-difference

    I do not know whether you covered it in other posts but the whole crime has as many twists as the Kennedy assassination. Some odd tidbits

    The $100k wired to the Philippines.
    Did or did not the hotel call the police?
    No shots fired by the Las Vegas police or sheriff’s office or anyone else except Paddock.
    The Campos trip to Mexico.
    Paddock’s brother arrested for having child pornography.

  3. Terrence Condolini Says:

    The two incidents seem diametrically opposed. Columbine shooters went after people they knew well; Las Vegas shooter went after strangers. Columbine was two gays working together; Las Vegas was a single pervert. Columbine shooters documented their goals and reasons extensively; Las Vegas shooter is a ghost.

  4. Ymar Sakar Says:

    Are people still going with the lone shooter theory?

  5. Ymar Sakar Says:

    He is disgusted with the morons around him. These are not the rantings of an angry young man, picked on by jocks until he’s not going to take it anymore. These are the rantings of someone with a messianic-grade superiority complex, out to punish the entire human race for its appalling inferiority. It may look like hate, but “It’s more about demeaning other people,” says [psychologist and expert on psychopathy] Hare.

    Humans insist on a rational explanation for irrational and emotional behavior.

    That is why they never ever entertain the possibility, nor test for it, that these individuals are controlled by elohim.

    Also, they don’t talk about mind control by other humans.

    There are plenty of people who hate the world, but being motivated enough to do something about it that is personally cost ful, is not the same thing.

  6. Philip Says:

    A Macrobial infection?

  7. neo-neocon Says:

    Terence Condoli:

    You are quoting the myth of what happened at Columbine, not what actually happened and certainly not what was planned to happen. Did you read the post? They intended to kill virtually everyone in the school plus the first responders. When the propane bombs failed, they killed people as they encountered them. They were targets of opportunity. Their goal was to kill, not to kill certain people.

  8. junior Says:

    “that these individuals are controlled by elohim.”
    —————-

    Huh?

    “Elohim” is one of the names of God. So unless you’re trying to discuss the possibility that the shooters were controlled by God…

  9. Frog Says:

    Of course Harris, Klebold and Paddock had “contempt for others”. Why else the sustained slaughter of persons unknown to them? They killed like we swat flies or step on roaches in our slippered feet.

    The search for motive continues. Consider Evil.

  10. neo-neocon Says:

    Frog:

    Psychopaths are evil.

  11. Richard Aubrey Says:

    neo. Agreed that psychopaths are evil. But there’s a problem.
    In the event of something terrible happening, referring to it as “evil” implies a reference to religion. And a good many liberal preachers aren’t comfortable with that. They’d rather talk about root causes.
    Is there a term which is sort of “evil” but does not imply a religious use?

  12. neo-neocon Says:

    Richard Aubrey:

    To me, “evil” can be used religiously or philosophically/spiritually.

  13. miklos000rosza Says:

    I recently watched a very interesting documentary (via Amazon prime) simply called PSYCHOPATH. What was interesting was that its entire premise and concentration was on the hypothesis that psychopaths are born rather than made.

    In other words, to cut to the chase: empathy cannot be learned. This is a deeply unpopular view. Parents do not want to entertain the possibility that their children may be demonstrating the qualities of a psychopath at an early age.

    Much time is spent with brain MRIs. Most psychopaths do not kill. And/or — they are not caught.

  14. The Other Chuck Says:

    Your three articles build a very convincing case. Unless other motives are uncovered, you are probably right that he was an evil psychopath.

    It is disconcerting to know that someone can go an entire adult life, almost into old age, and then this comes out. I wonder if you are not making an unintended or otherwise oblique reference with this detailed analysis, but fear it’s a distinct possibility. As you’ve said in another context, we’ll see.

  15. neo-neocon Says:

    miklos:

    I don’t think anyone in the therapy or psychology biz thinks psychopaths are made. I have never heard any theory other than that they are born. There is something missing, or some malfunction, that leads to a complete lack of empathy with other human beings.

  16. SCOTTtheBADGER Says:

    In my years as a deputy, I would occasionally meet someone who would, metaphoically, make my tail bush out. There are evil people out there.

    In the town I grew up in, there ws a young man, who was very mildly retarded. He liked to be Santa for the local kids, at the grocery store where he worked.

    One Christmas morning, a friend of mine on the local PD, was on patrol, and was cruising through Riverside Park. He saw something red in the park shelter, and went to see what it was. He found “Santa”, beaten to death.

    He had gotten his Christmas bonus, at work, and, without taking off his costume, had gone downtown to have a beer. He made the mistake of flashing the money around, and attracted

  17. SCOTTtheBADGER Says:

    the attention of the wrong people, who lured him to the park shelter, and killed him for his bonus. The Sgt. on the PD, told me once, that the guy who did the actual killing showed no remorse at any time of the arrest, interviews, or trial.

  18. Frog Says:

    Richard Aubrey wrote:
    “In the event of something terrible happening, referring to it as “evil” implies a reference to religion. And a good many liberal preachers aren’t comfortable with that. They’d rather talk about root causes.”
    Do you mean ‘preachers’ of liberalism/Leftism or liberal preachers, persons of the cloth, of some very muted form of Christianity or Judaism?

    As to the three evil subjects of this discussion, I posit no root causes will be found; surely not among the remote past history of a 60 year- old white millionaire. Finding a putative ’cause’ does not make it a true cause, either. It is always “arrest the usual suspects.”

    The distinction between spirituality and religion is largely spurious, IMO. We are a communal species and we come together to worship our Creator via religion, a set of communally held beliefs, and a reason for humility; in the case of Judaism and Christianity, as provided by the Creator to mankind.
    The ‘spiritual’ people I know are spiritually lazy, and suckers for all sorts of weird worship, which extends to idols. Just spend a week in Santa Fe to get a good dose.

    I consider Evil to be a Hole in the Soul. Thus psychopaths are born, not made. It’s a bit tough to reconcile that with Judaism/ Christianity: see Jeremiah (ca. 600BC) I:4 “The word of the Lord came to me saying, ‘before I formed you in the womb I knew you’ “.

    Consider the rare child which is born with an absolute lifelong total inability to feel pain. Tough to raise such a child, who comes in from play at age four not knowing his wrist is broken, etc. Analogous.

  19. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Frog. My experience is with the sideline Protestants.
    I’ve done some work for one reason or another–mission committee, meals on wheels, Central America, which brought me in contact with such like.
    In some cases, they were clergy without what the Presbyterians refer to as a “call” or job as pastor. As they used to say in the Army, anybody can be a captain, but not everybody can be a company commander. Ditto clergy vs. pastor.
    Hypocrisy, ignorance, deliberately obtuse, ….unbelievable.

  20. Sergey Says:

    All this talk about “root causes” denies the most important human trait, that is, free will. Since early childhood or even infancy, a person makes choices and, doing this, forms himself/herself. Psychopaths are not born, they develop themselves the wrong way, just as sadists do. Nobody is born ready to speak or walk: these universal human traits also need efforts to be developed. Conscience is defined as an instinctive ability to tell right from wrong, good from bad. Empathy greatly enchances person’s ability to learn these things, to became a moral being, but it is not really neccessary for this knowledge: it can be aquired by learning from example, by moral and/or religious instruction. Everybody knows some rigorous moralists of puritanic type completely devoided of empathy (from literature, at least). Psychopaths are evil not because they were born evil, but because they willingly embrassed evil, in childhood or early adolescence.

  21. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Talking about “root causes” allows for blaming society, which supposedly can be fixed, rather than individuals who may not.
    I think I said this years ago in a different context.
    If something important is beyond our control, we may tend to think, to be defensive, that it’s not important.
    That which we can control we may think is important and possibly decisive.
    Thus, we can control the Israelis, we think, and not the Arabs. So it comforts us to blame the Israelis. That way, we think we have control of the situation.

    But with regard to social ills, it also allows activists to attack those parts of our culture they dislike.

  22. Dave Says:

    Jealousy and grunge, the motives of 99% of mass killings committed by people younger than 30. I am of the exact same age as cho seung hui and please forgive me for saying so but at the time of the shooting I remember me worshipping him and seeing him as a hero. Our backgrounds were pretty much identical, holding the same grudge against rich kids who were driving bmw and Mercedes, I was a liberal too but I am a changed man now. Cho shooting was a wake up call for me because if It could have been me committing mass shooting. Funny how the left likes to paint the right as bigots but I have never been more at peace and clam since I have been red pilled. I love my father, if being his son means I don’t get to be a son of a billionaire and enjoy the advantages and connections that come with it, so be it. Socialism feeds on your jealousy and turn you into its slave by exploiting your negative emotions, I like the conservative ideology that if you are envious of someone who is more successful than you, instead of holding a grudge and indulge in the hate and try to tear down the system, why not improve yourself to change your situation. Sometimes you have to ask yourself, why are so many people benefiting from the system but you, is the system the problem, or you are the problem?

  23. blert Says:

    neo…

    Your thesis is totally off base.

    If it had any merit, the FBI would fall in love with it.

    And we’d be seeing NO END of coverage to buttress such a case.

    &&&

    The exact opposite is unfolding.

    The ONLY scenario that fits all of the facts — is truly bizarre.

    The Shooter was actually aligned with ISIS — or so they believed — he could’ve been roping them in as a sting — low odds on that, BTW.

    If so, then the FBI is ABSOLUTELY following its standard script.

    The FBI has never acknowledge jihad… especially ISIS inspired jihad.

    The Shooter had TONS of financial contacts with the Muslim middle east.

    MGM also has astonishing Dubai financial contacts.

    MGM hired Jesus Campos — who it’s now evident — is not a US citizen and entirely lacks the documents required for his employment.

    Naturally, this critical witness is allowed by the FBI to fly down to Mexico.

    We’re told that Campos is STILL untreated for his bullet wound — in that it’s supposedly still in his body.

    The ENTIRE Campos story does not pass the laugh test.

    The bullets involved are astoundingly destructive. A single bullet puts you down on the floor. You’re NOT walking normally thereafter.

    Yet, the Sheriff has told the pubic that 200 rounds went down that corridor. Such an event would’ve shredded ANY wooden door.

    Splinters … everywhere.

    We’re also supposed to believe that the Shooter had video cameras everywhere — but he failed to turn even one on. ????

    The Shooter has MORE in common with John Brown and Harper’s Ferry than Columbine.

    He saw himself as a TRIGGER event.

    John Brown was hanged one day….

    Only to be the inspiration for the Battle Hymn of the Republic… not so long after.

    THAT”S where the Shooter’s mind was at.

    BTW, John Brown took more than a few days to scheme up Harper’s Ferry.

    EVERYTHING about the FBI’s response says that the FBI wants to take the gas out of the Shooter’s dream.

    He’s neither hero, anti-hero, he’s a cypher.

    A criminal non-person.

    The FBI is making the Shooter (socially) evaporate.

    Which is the LAST thing that the Shooter would’ve desired.

  24. blert Says:

    neo…

    EVERYTHING unfolding about the Shooter’s extended family is WEIRD.

    1) His extended family had REAL money.

    2) For all their money, they lived strangely poor — real estate wise.

    2a) He reports $5,000,000 in Vegas winnings ( what a liar ) for 2015.

    2b) Yet he lives virtually dirt poor — home purchase wise.

    { I have NEVER known ANYONE making $1.500,000 per year to live in a $500,000 home. Yet, the Shooter purchased a string of bread and butter homes in upper middle class neighborhoods. )

    3) EVERYTHING about his MO screams Dark Income.

    3a) That extends to the ENTIRE rest of his family. They’re all involved as well.

    3b) Which totally explains the truly weird press interviews.

    3c) His surviving brother realizes that he’s destined for utter bankruptcy. He doesn’t have ANY unentangled assets.

    4) Most likely the ENTIRE clan’s bucket of wealth is based upon criminal revenue — in amounts that would stagger imaginations.

    &&&

    Columbine — nope — that’s not the analogue.

    The Shooter thought of himself in EPIC terms — like John Brown.

  25. blert Says:

    Lastly…

    Purchasing apartments — a Shooter specialty — means leverage — they also may well mean CASH rental income.

    Shooter figured out decades ago that real estate rental properties are the PERFECT mechanism for washing Black Income.

    For the general readership: theaters and car washes and launderies don’t generate IRS reports for their bank deposits.

    Neither do Slum Lords.

    Once Shooter establishes that he gets fat rents — as cash — then his bank will no longer crank out ANY IRS documents.

    This reality eludes most. The Average Jon figures that every fat cash deposit triggers a report to the IRS. NOPE.

    Now, here’s the real beauty of real estate rental income — if you need to wash Dark Income: it all looks totally legit.

    In fact, it doesn’t even matter if your apartments are even rented. It doesn’t even matter what they rent for. If you put the cash in the account — you’re good to go.

    [ It’s not as if the bank is going to question cash deposits.

    Shooter had a minor real estate empire. He’d long figured this all out.

    Heck, once the mortgages were paid down … the Shooter had an astounding cash flow — and it’s ALL on the up and up — see Schedule E.

    The Shooter would have fire without smoke.

  26. The Other Chuck Says:

    blert:

    While I agree with you about the $5 million in supposed winnings, the rest of your story about Paddock lacks any substantive support. It’s as good a theory as any out there on the conspiracy web however. Have you ever thought about writing detective novels?

  27. kevino Says:

    There is another parallel with Columbine: the ultimate motive was to gain celebrity status by setting a record: “Everyone will remember the my/our name after this!”

    You came close with statements like this: “There are ordinarily three goals in murders such as this. The first is the one we all notice: the desire to kill large numbers of people.” I think that the goal for many of these people isn’t just to kill a large number of people, but to rack up a higher body count than anyone else.

    This hints at something that I’ve advocated since Columbine: we need to have an agreement by the MSM not to publicize the name of the shooter or any identifying details after these shootings. Too many of these people are looking for fame. Don’t give it to them.

    Experts, including Steve Pinker, have now now signed a petition asking for exactly that. Sadly, I don’t think that the MSM will cooperate. They don’t have the backbone. But more obviously, mass murder helps their agenda.

  28. neo-neocon Says:

    kevino:

    That’s exactly what is meant by the quote, “It’ll be like the L.A. Riots, the Oklahoma bombing, WWII, Vietnam, Duke and Doom all mixed together…I want to leave a lasting impression on the stupid world.”

    Grandiose ideas of being the baddest meanest dudes.

  29. neo-neocon Says:

    blert:

    I agree that you should write detective/spy fiction.

  30. Brian Swisher Says:

    Behold.

  31. Ymar Sakar Says:

    junior Says:
    October 28th, 2017 at 5:48 pm

    If the Hebrews used elohim to refer to one god, why is there Deuteronomy 32 and Psalm 82 in which they refer to the plural. And it’s not the Trinity either.

    English language translation corruptions.

    Elohim is the plural of El or Elohei. It was used to refer to dead spirits as well.

    Westerners popularize them as angels and demons, although that tends to be an over simplification at best, and a corruption at worst. Azarael vs Michael. Notice the El at the end.

    The King James Bible is popular, and it was based on the Masoretic Hebrew text, which is not the Septuagint Greek scriptures mentioned in the NTestament or the Old Hebrew.

    MT, Septuagint, and Dead Sea Scrolls are all fragments usually, but the research has pointed out a strong conclusion. It is not surprising the KJV got it wrong, since the Masoretic scribes edited the text and changed the scriptures. Which they should not have done, but decided to do so to fight heresy (Christianity).

    Two Powers in Heaven, Divine Counsel, which were considered legitimate doctrinal points in 200 BC to 50 BC, were not considered heretical.

    http://www.thedivinecouncil.com/Heiser%20Elohim%20of%20Ps82%20Gods%20or%20Men%20ETS2010.pdf

    For those that are thinking that’s just a song, so is the US Anthem. There’s also Deuteronomy 32 (the Torah). The MT changed it to Sons of Israel, whereas the Dead Sea Scrolls correctly have it as Bene Elohim. There are several minor “corrections” based on the scribal traditions. Hebrew tradition openly admits that the scribes changed things over time. A tradition of man, not of El.

    As for psychopaths, even they have a choice amidst the temptations. There’s a neuroscientist that when he scanned his brain, psychopathic patterns were detected. He didn’t realize it. These psychopaths have all the same signs, but they have chosen to live in human society. How bad could it be right? One time the neuroscientist’s brother was called by him to go to a place in Africa, just to meet up as part of the voyage. When they arrived, the neuroscientist then let slip that the place they were in had been contaminated by ebola and various other contagious strains, some time ago. The brother was nervous, the neuroscientist was cool and calm. It was only until later that the neuroscientist when he asked his brother about it, realized that the brother didn’t take it “cooly”. And he asked because of his brain scans and the research he did on psychosis and sociopathy.

  32. Ymar Sakar Says:

    As for conspiracy theories, the stuff I read online from blogs and instapundit stuff these days, is like all those conspiracy theories people made fun of 10 years ago.

    how ironic is that.

  33. Ymar Sakar Says:

    Better put on your tin foil hats, the aliens in the US government and the lizard people will get you, and disappear ALL THE EVIDENCE.

    Even some of you, and me, thought like that, surely 10 years ago right. Or 20 years ago.

    Look at all those internet conspiracy theorists with their tin foil hats, thinking the US gov is out to get them. How dumb are they.

    Yes, how dumb are we now, uranium one, IRS, NASA Snowdened bullsh.

  34. BARBARA A RICHARDS Says:

    I’m late in responding to this post but would just like to bring in a literary connection, and a very good one, to the concept of ‘psychopath’. If you have only seen the film version of “East of Eden”, you are missing most of this masterpiece of literature and indeed John Steinbeck’s greatest work. It is magnificent in its compass and almost biblical in its telling of a family’s history. Cathy Ames Trask is the psychopath in this story, and Steinbeck shows how it all fits. Worth a read in understanding the world in its mysterious sometimes ways.

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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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