Yesterday I expressed how strange I found it that Stephen Paddock, the Las Vegas mass murderer, left such a small footprint, Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock was a Nowhere Man.
I didn’t say he left no footprint, but given how quickly information has become available about prior shooters and bombers, it was very strange. And it still is.
As of this writing, there’s no public information reported that sheds much light on what in his background would have enabled him to pull off such a sophisticated operation, or why.
It’s the sophistication of the operation that also troubles me. The quantity of weapons, the use of a room that had a perfect vantage point, and the use of so-called “bump stocks” all demonstrate that this was not your typical mass shooting.
Based on police statements, it appears the shooting itself lasted about 10 minutes.
Understandably it took police much longer (over an hour) to storm the room, since they had to locate the room and could not have known how many shooters there were or if they were being ambushed.
That Paddock had set up cameras in the hallway and peep hole to be alerted to approaching police demonstrated extreme preparation, and the anticipation of a siege.
I’ve seen some pretty elaborate theories on social media, but we don’t need to go there now (or repeat them without evidence). But that doesn’t mean there aren’t legitimate questions about this odd scenario.
So here are some questions I have specific to the shooting itself (as opposed to Paddock’s background and motivation), that hopefully will be answered soon and publicly:
1. Do the forensics confirm Paddock as a shooter? Presumably there would be residue on his hands and body and his fingerprints and DNA on the weapons.
2. Was his fatal gun shot to the head consistent with suicide? It seems strange to me that Paddock would commit suicide so quickly if his intent was maximize death and he was monitoring people approaching in the hallway. And if he didn’t commit suicide quickly, why did he stop firing? We don’t know what the time lapse was between the shooting from the window and the shooting of the approaching security guard in the hallway.
The police didn’t approach until some point after that. The video cameras he set up, as well as hotel surveillance cameras, might help resolve that.
3. Is there any indication of a second or multiple shooters? Presumably the audio can be analyzed to determine if there is an indication of multiple guns firing at the same time or in such close succession it’s unlikely one person could have done it alone. There were two broken windows, but if Paddock’s intent was to maximize fire, why take the time to switch from one window to another? What happened in that time period (about an hour) between the shooting stopping and the police approaching the room, and is there any evidence of one or more persons leaving?
4. ISIS has doubled and tripled down on its claim that Paddock was one of its soldiers, either under direction or inspiration. Putting aside investigation into Paddock’s computers and so on, is there any forensic evidence that the weapons were of a type or character (including modification) that ISIS has used in the past in Europe or elsewhere, or that ISIS was promoting online (as some groups promoted the use of pressure cookers used in the Boston Marathon bombing)?
I’m confident that investigators are asking these same questions, and probably many I’m not thinking of.
The most likely answer to all this is the simplest answer, that Paddock acted alone and took the time to plan it out alone. But it’s all too strange to accept that as a foregone conclusion.
I hope the investigators make their findings public quickly, and not wait months for a final report.DONATE
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