Paddock motive a mystery

The motives of mass killers is usually known quite easily. Not so the Las Vegas killer, Stephen Paddock. So far no motive has been revealed, and Paddock doesn’t fit the usual profile of a mass murderer.

NY Times: No Manifesto, No Phone Calls: Las Vegas Killer Left Only Cryptic Clues

…in the four days since Stephen Paddock’s attack in Las Vegas — a shooting rampage that left 58 dead and hundreds seriously wounded — what drove him has remained a mystery, vexing the public and putting enormous pressure on federal and local investigators to find answers.

“In the spirit of the safety of this community or anywhere else in the United States I think it’s important to provide that information, but I don’t have it,” Sheriff Joseph Lombardo of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said in an interview Thursday. “We don’t know it yet.”

No grandiose manifesto has been found. No account of Mr. Paddock behaving dangerously or holding extremist views has emerged from neighbors or relatives. Unlike past killers, Mr. Paddock did not dial up the police to explain his actions.

Agents have fanned out across the country, interviewing family members and friends and looking for signs of mental illness.

Mr. Paddock left a trail of clues that are, so far, more cryptic than revealing: There was a note in his hotel room whose exact contents the authorities have yet to reveal. Sheriff Lombardo said that it contained numbers that were being analyzed for their relevance, and that it was not a manifesto or suicide note.

Mr. Paddock may have scouted other locations, including Fenway Park in Boston, Lollapalooza in Chicago and the Life is Beautiful music festival in Las Vegas, before finally checking into a suite at the Mandalay Bay that had clear sight lines to Route 91, and a massive gathering of country music fans. He stockpiled expensive firearms over the course of many months.

Investigators have identified 47 firearms belonging to Mr. Paddock, including a dozen in his hotel suite that were enhanced to fire at an accelerated rate, and discovered a system of cameras Mr. Paddock set up to monitor the area around his location.

Despite the huge scale of the attack, why Mr. Paddock carried it out remained a huge and haunting question mark, said Steven B. Wolfson, the district attorney in Clark County, Nev., where the killings occurred. He estimated that in “99 percent of the cases,” the perpetrator of a drastic killing offers some kind of justification, however twisted.

“I’ve been doing this a long time and I can’t remember another homicide — and then you multiply what I’m about to say by 58 — where you don’t know why.”

Experts and law enforcement veterans caution that it can take time to establish a killer’s real motivations, piecing together electronic data with interviews and other shards of a life twisted into extreme violence.

Officials involved in the Las Vegas investigation have said they expect it will take an exhaustive search into Mr. Paddock’s past, spanning multiple states and decades of his life, to deduce what brought him to the windows of the Mandalay Bay hotel with such an elaborate plan for murder. In F.B.I. speak, they want to understand his “pathway to violence.”

They may discover what led to this massacre. Or it may remain a mystery.

The lethal US

As usual after a major massacre in the United States the issue of firearms violence, violence in general, imprisonment rates and other alarming statistics re-surface for a while, but things largely remain the same.

CNN: America the lethal

Americans often think of themselves as belonging to an exceptional nation, and in many ways they do.

Americans tend to be exceptional at praising themselves.

But the United States also leads the world in other ways that don’t match the often complacent self-conception that many Americans have of their own country. The United States locks up more of its population proportionally than any other country in the world, including authoritarian regimes such as Russia and China, according to the International Centre for Prison Studies.

It also leads in another dubious statistic: More Americans are killed by fellow citizens armed with guns than in any other advanced country, according to the Small Arms Survey.

In 2011 alone, according to FBI statistics, more than 11,000 Americans were killed by firearms in the United States (a figure that excludes suicides).

Despite all the reasonable concerns in the United States about jihadist terrorism, in any given year Americans are almost 2,000 times more likely to be killed by a fellow American armed with a gun than by a jihadist terrorist. Since the 9/11 attacks, 95 Americans have been killed by jihadist terrorists, on average about six Americans a year, according to data collected by New America.

Authorities have clamped down on carrying a range of things of dubious threat on planes, but the US remains awash with lethal weapons. About have of privately owned weapons in the world are in the US.

Stephen Paddock, the perpetrator of the Las Vegas concert massacre, was found to have 23 weapons in his hotel room, and a similar number plus explosives in his home.

By contrast, in the United Kingdom, a country which is similar to the United States in terms of its laws and culture, Britain suffers around 50-60 gun deaths a year in a country where the population is around a fifth the size of the United States.

In other words, you are about 40 times more likely to be killed by an assailant with a gun in the United States than you are in the United Kingdom.

To be sure there are occasional mass-casualty attacks in Europe by murderers armed with guns, such as the assaults by the neo-Nazi Anders Breivik who killed 77 in Norway in 2011 and the attack in Dunblane, Scotland at a school where 16 children were killed in 1996, but these are exceptions to the rule.

President Donald Trump has said US will ‘be talking about gun laws as time goes by’:

President Donald Trump said Tuesday that the US will “be talking about gun laws as time goes by” in the wake of the Las Vegas shooting, the nation’s deadliest in modern history.

“Look, we have a tragedy … and what happened in Las Vegas is in many ways a miracle. The police department has done such an incredible job,” Trump said at the White House before he left for Puerto Rico.

The President was asked about a gun bill currently making its way through the House that would loosen restrictions on purchasing gun silencers.

Trump said that he would talk about that later.He didn’t answer when reporters pressed him about whether the shooting was an act of “domestic terrorism.”

Whether it is labelled terrorism or not is just semantics.

The US continues to have a huge problem with crime and violence and firearms, and with the National Rifle Association being one of the strongest lobby groups in the US.

NRASafestPlace

Who are they trying to fool? Oh, that’s right, politicians. Successfully.

While 59 dead in one incident is extraordinary, the current death count from firearms in the US this year  is 11,689. There have been  274 ‘mass shootings’.

Little is likely to change, apart from the location of the next massacre, and the number of  casualties.