Searching for a motive in Oct. 1 Las Vegas massacre killing 58 concertgoers at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival , 64-yer-old Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock has authorities baffled. Crime scene information, including thorough searches of Paddock’s computers and personal residence, have turned up nothing in terms of a motive. Speculation of Paddock’s gambling debts haven’t panned out, nor has any ties to Mideast terror groups. While there’s no question Paddock went psychotic, detached from reality, mowing down 58 concertgoers, injuring 520, law enforcement continue to search for a single explanation. Authorities found no suicide note before Paddock put a gun to his head as police came knocking at his door. Admitting the attack was meticulously planned, Law enforcement hasn’t come up with a single motive to explain the mass murder.
Most homicide investigations turn up something with regard to motive, finding financial reversals, romantic breakups, mental illness, drugs, alcohol or some other concrete factor. Las Vegas authorities hoped that interrogating his girlfriend, Marylou Danley, would turn up some insights why Paddock committed the worst shooting spree in U.S. history. If you look at the lack of credible motives, it speaks volumes about what the massacre meant to say. When a white guy lashes out with gun violence, it’s often dismissed as an aberration, when, in fact, it’s more common than you think. White guy Timothy McVeigh committed the worst single act of domestic terrorism blowing up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City April 19, 1995, killing 168, injuring 680. McVeigh avenged the death of white supremacist Randy Weaver by U.S. Marshals Aug. 31, 1992.
Stockpiling automatic and semiautomatic assault weapons, using bump fire stocks to turn the semiautomatics into automatic-like weapons, Paddock was a firm believer in the Second Amendment. Paddock’s diabolical plan to shoot at 22,000 jam-packed concertgoers was like shooting fish in a barrel from the 32-floor of his luxury Mandalay Bay Hotel suite, something comped to high-rollers like Paddock. When you consider a motive, it looks like Paddock was making the worst possible statement about gun violence, proving, in the U.S., that stockpiling banned assault rifles was easier than you think. Paddock’s weapons were all obtained legally, slapping the National Rifle Assn. and pro-Second Amendment elected officials on Capitol Hill, with the ugly reality of poorly regulated gun violence. If Paddock’s massacre meant anything, it galvanized new interest in gun-control legislation.
When the NRA shocked Second Amendment advocates, it expressed openness to banning “bump fire stocks,” the add-on device that allowed Paddock to covert his semiautomatic rifles to almost automatic weapons. “The NRA believes that devices designed to allow semiautomatic rifles to function like fully automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulation. If Paddock’s mayhem highlighted what happens when you allow a psycho to easily purchase assault weapons and ammo, then maybe his motive proved worthwhile. Suggesting anything positive about Paddock’s motive seems outrageous when you consider the death, destruction and mayhem. Authorities hoped that Paddock’s girlfriend Marylou Danley would shed some light on what drove the retired-accountant-turned-gambler to mass murder. Danley denied to the FBI and Las Vegas police she knew anything about Paddock’s plan.
Interviews with prostitutes who knew Pddock as a “regular” customer showed that his mental state deteriorated in the months leading up to the Oct. 1 Madalay Bay massacre. Reports of Paddock’s weight gain, disheveled appearance and “obsession” with Danley’s ex-husband confirms the idea that he was heading to some sort of breakdown. Police found pounds of ammonium nitrate and Tannerite, both explosive chemicals used in bomb-making, in Paddock’s trunk, suggesting his destructive impulses looked for new opportunities. Paddock booked hotel rooms in Chicago for the Aug. 3 to 7 Lollapalooza Music Festival attended by former President Barack Obama’s daughter, Malia. Paddock also booked a hotel room in Las Vegas near the Chance and Lorde rapper concert, proving he was casing out multiple locations to eventually perform his mayhem.
Looking for a motive, it’s clear that Paddock wanted to commit the worst possible violence to innocent concertgoers, looking at multiple sites before deciding on the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival at Mandalay Bay. Carrying Ammonium nitrate and Tannerite in his Trunk, Paddock had grandiose plans to commit even more mayhem. Using bump fire stocks increased the firing rate from Paddock’s semiautomatic rifles, leaving the NRA to consider banning the enhancement devices. It’s inconceivable that Danley didn’t know about Paddock’s arsenal, perhaps afraid to report him to Las Vegas police. Whatever Paddock’s relationship to his bank-robber father, committing mass murder involves a lot of moving parts. No one commits mass murder without their thinking markedly disturbed. Paddock’s deteriorating mental health no doubt played a role in his violent ballistic episode.