I am going to break the rules of the Internet Hot Take Industry and write about an old story that nobody cares about anymore. We have gone on to other topics, and then other topics, and then other topics, and other topics, etc. The news cycle moves at the speed of sound. Events from last week are a distant memory and news from October may as well have occurred during the Cretaceous Period.
Still, I can’t help but recall, ever so faintly, that little thing known at the time as the worst mass shooting in American history. If memory serves, a wealthy 64-year-old gambler named Stephen Paddock murdered 58 people and injured hundreds from the window of his luxury hotel room. In the days after the slaughter, nobody could figure out why he did it, or how he managed to pull it off. So, we all kind of shrugged our shoulders and moved on. The questions were never answered.
It is now almost three months later and we know as much today as we knew six hours after the shooting. But nobody is talking about it anymore. It’s as if it never happened.
There was a time when a mass shooting of this magnitude would dominate the news for weeks and weeks. Columbine — which paled in comparison to this — was the only thing anyone talked about for at least a month. Even more recent shootings — Charleston, Aurora, Orlando — were in the headlines for much longer than Las Vegas. Yet there were more people shot in Vegas than in Columbine, Charleston, Aurora, and Orlando combined. Twice as many, easily.
Well, I think.
I actually don’t know how many people were shot. They tell us 527 people were injured, along with the 58 killed, but were all of those injuries from gunshots? Did the guy actually physically shoot 585 human beings? Or were some of the injuries from people getting knocked over and trampled in the melee? I would imagine the latter must be the case, but I don’t know. It’s been two months and we still don’t even know how many people Paddock shot. Maybe that number is available somewhere but I couldn’t find it. How is that possible? How could it be two months after the worst mass shooting in American history and we still don’t have a precise and well-publicized casualty count?
And that’s just one unanswered question.
There are many more, because, basically, none of the questions about Las Vegas have ever been answered. And they don’t need to be answered because nobody is asking them. So the questions remain. Questions like:
Why did he do it? We were told it wasn’t terrorism, even though ISIS claimed credit. Okay, then what was it? Was he crazy? But then how did a crazy person manage to orchestrate something like this? And why hasn’t a single person from Paddock’s personal life come forward and called him crazy? All we heard was that Paddock was a normal, rational guy. Dylann Roof was obviously disturbed. Adam Lanza had clear mental issues. James Holmes is a nutcase. The Orlando killer was a terrorist. Every single one of these guys fits into one of two categories: terrorist or lunatic. We’re told Stephen Paddock was neither of those things. What was he? Why did he do it? And why isn’t the media asking why he did it?
In fairness, some media outlets have sued the FBI to gain access to information about the shooting, but they could put more pressure on the Powers That Be if they actually reported on the story and asked this question publicly. Or this question:
How did he do it? We know he used a gun. Or guns. He had dozens of guns in the hotel room with him. How did he get them all in there? How did he set up a kill room in a major American hotel without anyone noticing? How did he manage to shoot hundreds of people from 500 yards away at night? Was he trained? Where did he train? Who trained him?
Why did the timeline of the shooting change three times? What’s the current version of the timeline? First they told us a “hero” security guard named Jesus Campos stopped the shooting while it was happening. Then they told us Campos himself was actually shot six minutes before Paddock opened fire on the crowd. Then the hotel told us Campos was shot 40 seconds before Paddock began his massacre. Which is it? None of these? And how could there ever have been any confusion about the timeline? There are video cameras everywhere. There were gun shots being fired in a crowded hotel. Shouldn’t it have been immediately obvious exactly when all of this started?
And what exactly were the police doing? If Campos was shot six minutes before the massacre, and the massacre lasted 10 minutes, why didn’t anyone intervene sometime during that 16-minute time span? Police didn’t finally enter the hotel room until an hour after the shooting stopped. What took them so long? Where were they? In one of the last press conferences about the shooting, the Las Vegas sheriff confirmed that the police were in the hotel when the shooting started. It took them over an hour to get upstairs? Or were they just waiting by the door as Paddock executed 58 people?
And why did it take them a month to disclose that an officer did discharge his weapon inside Paddock’s room? They insisted for weeks that no officer fired a shot. Did they really not know? Or were they withholding the information? Why? And why was a shot fired if Paddock was allegedly already dead when they entered?
And why did Paddock wire $100,000 to the Philippines before the shooting?
And what happened to his missing hard drive? Did they ever find it? And why did he get rid of it? What’s on it?
We’re told Paddock had an escape plan. How could he have ever imagined that he might be able to escape? Did he have some help? Or was he supposed to have help but it fell through?
Why did he stop shooting after ten minutes if he had so many guns and so much ammunition?
Why did he stop shooting yet make no attempt to escape?
And what’s the deal with Jesus Campos? Why did he leave the country immediately after the attack? Why did he refuse to do interviews with any news outlets until suddenly appearing on Ellen, of all places?
And do we know for sure that Paddock was the only shooter? Multiple witnesses swore that there were shots coming from more than one location. Were they mistaken?
And here’s a big one: Why haven’t we seen any video footage of Stephen Paddock whatsoever? Paddock carried out his attack in one of the most monitored cities in the world. You can scarcely find a nook or cranny of Las Vegas that isn’t under video surveillance. Yet not even one second of Paddock video has leaked? No video of him carrying the gun-laden bags into the hotel? No video of him checking in? No video of whatever went down between Paddock and Campos? Not even any video of Paddock at one of the many casinos he frequented? We’re told Paddock spent a lot of time in Vegas. There must be literally hundreds of hours of footage of him spread out between dozens of hotels and casinos. None of it has leaked? All of it was confiscated immediately?
That doesn’t make any sense.
None of this makes any sense.
And maybe it never will make sense, because nobody is paying attention anymore.