So the mountain moved (to paraphrase Phaedrus) and out came a mouse in the form of an 81-page report from the Las Vegas Police Department covering the events of October 1, 2017 when Steve Paddock barricaded himself in a hotel room and set a new American record for the number of people killed and wounded in a rampage shooting event. You can download the report here but save yourself the trouble because there’s really nothing we didn’t know about the how’s and the why’s of this horrific 20-minute shooting spree that we didn’t know within a couple of days after the volleys that poured from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel came to an end.
Paddock did what just about all rampage shooters do in the months and weeks leading up to the event. He stockpiled lots of guns and lots of ammunition, he knew the venue well, he behaved in a normal way to the point that even his live-in girlfriend claimed that nothing appeared to be amiss, and he made a point of not telling anyone about his specific plan. These four elements – building an arsenal, scouting out the terrain, acting just like everyone else, not divulging the specific plan – was exactly what happened at Virginia Tech, Aurora, Isla Vista, Orlando, Sutherland Springs, Sandy Hook and just about everywhere else where a rampage shooting has occurred since 1966 when Charlie Whitman took a bunch of guns up to the top of the University of Texas Tower and began blasting away.
Paddock also shared one more feature with most, but not every rampage shooter, namely, that when the blasting away ended, so did his own life. Which creates an immediate problem in terms of figuring out why rampage shooters commit rampages, because few of them are around who can then tell everyone why they did what they did. But for the several shooters who have survived their own rampages – James Holmes in Aurora, Anders Breivik in Norway – it appears they simply want to become notorious and well-known and choose this particular type of behavior to gain notoriety, even if they spend the rest of their lives in environments which don’t give them much opportunity to cash in on their new-found fame.
One other issue with rampage shooters that remains completely beyond any understanding at all. The fact that they devote serious time to developing a game plan, stocking up with weapons, casing out the venue, and so on and so on, doesn’t reveal the ‘trigger’ event or moment which makes them decide their plan is now good to go. Paddock evidently wanted to blast away at a large crowd attending a public event, but his computer searches indicate that Vegas was one of a number of such events which might have provided him with the scenario he would use. Deciding that you want to plan a rampage shooting is simply not the same thing as carrying it out. The shooter at Sandy Hook was on his computer studying other shooting rampages for months before he drove over to the elementary school at Sandy Hook. How come he chose that particular day?
One thing the Las Vegas timeline reveals is that it took the cops close to 75 minutes to get to the room where Paddock was located and breach the door. First responders on the ground began helping victims almost immediately. How come it took so long to get into where the actual shooting was taking place? And by the way, we still haven’t learned how a member of the team that first entered Paddock’s room took personal pics of the crime scene, including a dead shooter, which then showed up on various internet sites. The chief, Joseph Lombardo, promised a thorough investigation of what can only be described as a complete contamination of the crime scene. A thorough investigation. Yea, right.
Know the old saying, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas? As far as figuring what happened on October 1st, 2017, that saying is still ringing true.