Friday, October 13, 2017

The Two Conflicting Stories of the Las Vegas Shooting

Last Friday, the generally insightful and funny Mark Steyn was on Fox and Friends and told a story of a contact he had.  Mark Steyn narrates from his web site:
On Friday morning I started the day on the curvy couch with "Fox & Friends" to discuss the latest developments in the Las Vegas attack and the Democrats' push for "gun control". The perpetrator of the deadliest single-shooter massacre in US history is so unlike his predecessors that it seems to me that nothing in his history is coincidental: there is a reason for everything, even if we will never know it - all the way down to, for example, such peripheral details as the fact that he owned property in both Mesquite, Nevada and Mesquite, Texas.

It is also interesting to note that Stephen Paddock apparently cased the "Life is Beautiful" concert in Las Vegas, headlined by the rapper Chance. The victims at that event would have been very different from those at the country music festival, and the press coverage would have been, too: Democrats would have stampeded down the "white supremacy" track rather than "gun control". One senses that the killer, in his cold calculations, was aware, for whatever reason, of all these factors.

Among the many emails I've received is this one, from a gentleman at a London think tank whose job is to focus on "the analysis of economic and political issues and outcomes".
Mark then outlines the case this "gentleman at a London think tank" proposes as Paddock's motive.  The think tank guy proposes that Paddock deliberately conceived and executed the attack to cause the focus on gun control.  I'm going to excerpt parts of it and then tell you why I disagree.  I think there's an alternative explanation that's just as plausible.
The fact pattern in this event is striking for not fitting any known profile. In particular:

The gentleman concerned had no known political or religious affiliations.

The level of premeditation is unusual and crystal clear from his mass buying of guns and the cautious systematic smuggling operation to ferry them to his room together with the illegal modifications and the position of the room he chose and occupied for several days beforehand.
This man amassed (rough figures) 24 guns in the hotel and another 19 at his home - 42 guns in total. He spent some $100,000 on buying them. The guns at his home are one thing but he also spent days filling his hotel room with more weapons and ammunition than he could ever conceivably use along with an array of advanced modifications and accessories.

Everything brand new. And very expensive. And mostly entirely redundant. Representing in effect an enormous waste of money and time and risk.

Except that is in the realm of generating massive publicity. Guaranteed massive publicity.
this gentleman did not simply fail to leave behind a motive; He took substantial trouble to ensure that no motive could be found - or attributed to him. All of which can lead us to only one conclusion:

It has been said that 'the medium is the message'.

In this case that is the literal truth. There is only one plausible motive for what this man did. And here it is:

This man wished to telegraph to America in graphic form the hard irrefutable evidence that guns and gun ownership and the ease of gun purchase in America are an evil and must be controlled.  On that hypothesis everything now makes sense. ... [emphasis added - SiG]
I have two problems with this argument.  First is that it inherently contradicts itself.  How does one say the guy has "no known political or religious affiliation" and then say he martyred himself for a political argument?   His political affiliation is known and on display right there!  The very concept behind his explanation contradicts the idea Paddock has no known political affiliation - unless one thinks of guns as being so universally despised that no political affiliation exists.  Anyone in America knows that's false, and in my mind can only be reconciled by the author from "a London think tank" being anti-gun himself. 

The second problem I have with the argument leans on the first: the author reaches this conclusion because the author already thinks America needs more gun control.  The author is imposing his own agenda on Paddock.

If, indeed, the medium is the message and Paddock was trying to focus attention on gun control, I can argue that there's an alternative interpretation that fits the facts just as well.  Paddock could have been saying that gun control is futile.  He could have been saying, "it doesn't matter that automatic weapons are outlawed or highly regulated; it doesn't matter that we have background checks, it doesn't matter that you prohibit "high capacity" magazines, it doesn't matter that you declare gun free zones, and it doesn't matter what control measures you put in place.  Someone that's determined to commit mass murder can do this".  The problem isn't the gun, it's the shooter's heart so fixing it doesn't start with guns it starts with fixing hearts.  If there are lessons to the last century, this is one of the big ones.

Perhaps Samuel L. Jackson wouldn't mind giving us a good quote to wrap this up tonight.  


  1. "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. - John Adams

    1. One of the country's worst mistakes was forgetting that.

    2. SiG, I don't think we - even "us" agnostics/non-believers - forgot it. I think our schools, our media, our courts, our liberal agencies and institutions, have been deliberately moving us away from it for well over a hundred years. From banning prayer in school, to shutting down nativity scenes, to legalizing the murder of unborn - and _just_ born babies. (If "post-birth" abortion isn't murder, I don't know what is.)

      It is getting worse now, accelerating. Same sex "marriage". Transgenders. Gender "identity". States that pass laws to fine or arrest you for not using the proper freaking _pronoun_. "Hate speech" laws in Canada, Britain, Germany, Sweden, etc. Allowing muslims to publicly rant about killing us infidels, destroying America or Israel, but not charging _them_ with "hate speech".

      The Left has had the game plan in place for many, many years, and it is all coming to fruition. When Christianity is all but against the law, and muslims are allowed to not only ignore our laws, but promote shariah and apply in American cities, we can see it wasn't us forgetting, it was us who believe in the Judeo-Christian moral code having it ripped out of our hands, out of our culture, and our children having it ripped out of their minds and hearts.

  2. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.

    Suppose you designed a bridge, and specified the steel to be "strong enough". How strong? You won't say. When copies of the bridge fall repeatedly, you say the steel was never strong enough. This makes the bridge design nondisprovable.

    The amount of morality and religion, the percentage of government employees eligible for sainthood, isn't specified numerically. This means the Constitution's design can never be disproven by lousy real world performance. Fault is always said to fall entirely on the people and none on the design.

    1. Perhaps because the person who made the statement wasn't trying to prove a mathematical point, but rather a moral and philosophical one.

      Cannon and machineguns, among other things, were readily available to common folks as recently as 1933, and still are in many states.

      So, how many times and places prior to that date did someone outside of a war amass same, and shoot up a crowd the size of Paddock's tally, or anything like?

      Would that be "none"?

      So the answer to your question is "more morality and religious belief than is present at the current time, and at least as much as was on hand some decades prior, before this sort of thing became commonplace."

      A thermometer is a nice thing to have, but cleverly, you have eyes to tell you when the flame under the pot is low enough to start or stop the pot from boiling, without knowing the exact degrees in either Farenheit or Centigrade when the phenomenon has begun or ceased, nor the altitude at which you're cooking, which impinges on the activity as well. That's why thermometers and barometric altimeters are seldom specified in cooking dinner.

      That's the difference between recipes for cooking, and specifications for engineers. Both are useful items, but neither are interchangeable, nor is one required to accomplish the other's task.

      Please take your straw man, with notable utility in his intended venue, and put 'im back in the cornfield.
      That doesn't require 10-digit grid co-ordinates either. Somewhere near the middle, where it'll do to frighten birds, should suffice.

      And note than when the material specified is highly-advanced carbon-based living organisms, rather than homogenous steel beams, the metrics will be far more empirically derived rather than measured with scientific instrumentation, owing hugely to the complicated nature of the machinery involved.

      So one had also stop trying to investigate the most complex and least understood organism on the planet, and figure it out with a yardstick.

      That's like looking for your lost wallet, not where it went missing, but under a nearby street light, because the light is better over there.

    2. Our Constitution was made only for a BLUGPERT and YACCABLUM people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.

      Without quantifiable definitions for BLUGPERT and YACCABLUM, which are measurable repeatably and objectively by some procedure, the statement is meaning-less non-sense. You're repeating the mistake I called out, your tape measure is printed on a rubber band. You're trying to measure a people against moral concepts whose imprecision in definition is larger than the difference in populations you're trying to measure.

      So, how many times and places prior to that date did someone outside of a war amass same, and shoot up a crowd the size of Paddock's tally, or anything like?

      "War" suggests the idea of specific political results as a motivation, that millions knew of the goal beforehand, and that the act was plausible to produce the goal. The "shoot" qualifier removes all the previous record holder single-actor spree killings, which were done by arson. The KKK? Weather Underground? Oklahoma City? Unibomber? 9/11? Muslims bombing schools, shopping centers, Orlando nightclub?

      The Vegas shooting doesn't stand out for me as a qualitatively new and different anything. He did it from a tall building because it worked, just like 9/11 hijacked airplanes because it worked. That's just a planning detail, not a new willingness for individuals to attack larger numbers of victims. Maybe the next one will blow up a blimp over a stadium. Wait, that's already a movie.

    3. With regard to the Las Vegas atrocity, the discussion above assumes that the supposed perpetrator did in fact act alone, that this is about HIS motives. I would beware of that assumption; the evidence I have seen and heard makes me doubt that narrative.

      There is a great deal of discrepancy between The Narrative that the media and PTB are pushing, and the evidence from witnesses on the ground contradicts what The Narrative says. Moreover, The Narrative is changing day by day.

      I can think of a number of reasons why this might be. The simplest is that the authorities really are as cowardly, stupid and incompetent as it appears, but I doubt that.

      Next is the possibility that TPTB know there were multiple other shooters, and are looking hard for them, but don't want them knowing that.

      Finally, there is the possibility that there are multiple players involved on all sides, and the turmoil we see in The Narrative is a sign of the conflict raging beneath the surface.

      Pick one, or come up with your own scenario. In this situation, speculation on *why* thousands of innocent people were attacked, hundreds wounded, and dozens killed is futile.

      The question we all need to ask, the one that really is worth thinking about is- "Qui Bono?" Who benefits from this? If you answer that question honestly, it will lead you to the 'why' and the 'who.' Qui Bono?

    4. Most authorities really are cowardly, stupid and incompetent. Waco started out as an ATF fundraiser, to motivate the need for itself. Maybe this is another ATF fundraiser, and most participating authorities thought it would be a public bust of a scary setup before the attack happened. Then a rare authority who is capable tweaked the stupid and incompetent to fumble the management so it wasn't stopped in time. Result: bigger fundraiser. Similarly, who got out of the passenger side of the truck at Oklahoma City, was it the FBI employee managing the bomber, and where is the video of it?

      The national intelligence system didn't predict the collapse of the Soviet Union, because they mostly produced James Bond movie plots for the press. Maybe this is the same system failing to predict that nobody will be turning in guns, no matter what lone wolf story appears.

  3. What IF. What if this guy didn't shoot anybody? What if he was dead before the whole thing started? What if this had only one goal from the beginning? What if that goal was an end to the "second"? Most of you wrote after "Sandy Hook" that because that attack failed to garner support for universal gun confiscation, that there would be another, larger attack. What if there was? We can play the what if game all day. But here is what we know. Nothing. I believe that is what we will know about this five years from now. If it isn't largely forgotten. Nothing.

  4. One more time:

    It is the LVMPD, the BATFE, and the FBI who are running this "investigation". Do a little research and understand just how honest and forthcoming those organizations truly are. Quite frankly, I do not believe even one word from any of them. But go ahead and take that blue pill if you choose. The Deep State needs you.

  5. Finally something intelligent from the mouth of Mr. Black leather "hate whitey" SLJackson. It is nice to see something worth reading that supposedly is attributed to him but everything I have ever seen or heard from the media and movies smacks of racism. But that statement is truth.

    Guns are not the problem. It is the heart and soul, the spirit of people who like many from history have no gumption about killing many people for their own glories, wealth, and satisfactions. I like the quote from Frontpage magazine that says "INSIDE EVERY PROGRESSIVE IS A TOTALITARIAN SCREAMING TO GET OUT" @HOROWITZ39, DAVID HOROWITZ

    What we keep seeing from the Left, Liberals, Progressives, Democrats, whatever they want to be called today, is exactly in that quote. They want to control others.

    And as President Trump said just today "And above all else, we know this: In America, we don’t worship government — we worship God."

  6. Man is not a rational animal, he is a rationalizing animal. We see that here.

  7. The reason Harvey Weinstein is being disgraced now, "out of the blue", is because he botched the remake of Wag the Dog. Like Bill's war, it was for the benefit of a Clinton. Maybe the botch was intentional because Harvey secretly likes America as much as he likes beautiful women.

  8. For whatever reason this attack was intended to feed into the gun control hysteria. I cannot know this man's mind, heart or reasons but if his goal was to kill as many people as possible he could have done better. But if his goal was to give the gun confiscators everything they wanted and needed to achieve their goal I don't know how he could have done any better. He didn't need 23 guns, two guns the same caliber would be optimal. He didn't need 100 round clips or belt feed guns (if they were in fact used) 30 round clips and for that matter 10 round clips would work fine. He didn't need a bump stock and likely the bump stock actually reduced the number killed and injured. There is something about this shooting we still don't know.

    Also I don't like feeding mindless conspiracy theories but this is exactly what the FBI and the Sheriff's office is doing. They could just be too stupid to understand this or too arrogant to care. But certainly by now they must understand that their actions are feeding the speculation. Why are they, seemingly intentionally, staying the course on this unless the intent is to feed the speculation?

    1. Why are they, seemingly intentionally, staying the course on this unless the intent is to feed the speculation?

      "In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose o f communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, nor to inform, but to hu miliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When peo ple are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is to co-operate with evil, and in some small way to become evil oneself. One's standing to resis t anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to."

      -- Theodore Dalrymple

    2. Why are they, seemingly intentionally, staying the course on this unless the intent is to feed the speculation?

      Part of the way the human brain operates is that running a thought out the language+speech channel and in the hearing+language channel engages analysis which helps clean up mistakes. Thus 'thinking out loud' works. The opposite also works. Getting people to speak known falsehoods breaks down their personalities and reduces their sanity. When LEO are interrogating you, they attempt to maneuver and interrupt you to prevent you from saying "I'm innocent". The mere verbal declaration out loud reinforces the belief and the motivation behind the belief. It makes a person resist harder.

      How many lies have you been forced to repeat to stay employed?

    3. oops, should be: 'forced to repeat lies'