The Cold, Dead Soul Of Stephen Paddock
What was his motive? Why did he do it? Why did Stephen Paddock, 64, rent rooms at the Mandalay Bay hotel, sneak in an arsenal of guns, a dozen of them converted to fully automatic, and rain death on a country music concert?
“We will never know,” writes columnist Eugene Robinson.
“There can be no rational argument for mass murder ... nothing can really explain the decision to spray thousands of concert-goers with automatic and injuring hundreds more.”
But while there can be no there is an explanation. And like Edgar Allan Poe’s Purloined Letter, it is right there in front of us, in plain sight.
Having chosen to end his life, Paddock resolved to go out in a blaze of publicity. This nobody would leave this life as somebody we would have to remember. He would immortalize himself, as did Lee Harvey Oswald.
Ex-Marine sniper Charles Whitman, who murdered his wife and mother, and then climbed up into the Texas University Tower in Austin, prototype.
Whitman’s slaughter ended climbed up in that tower and shot him. Yet, half a century on, Whitman remains famous. Many of us can yet recall his name and face.
Like Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold before Columbine, and Dylann Roof before his sickening atrocity at the black church in Charleston, Paddock wanted to live on as one of the great mass murderers in U.S. history. He has succeeded. We are today paying him the currency he craved. He is famous, and we have made him so.
Last week, the president spoke at the White House on the “act of pure evil” Paddock perpetrated Oct. 1. Network and cable TV anchors and correspondents stampeded to Las Vegas to dig into his background.
Commentators discoursed on the meaning of it all. Con for gun laws against “bump stocks” that turn semiautomat automatic. Paddock’s deeds pushed Puerto Rico and North Korea out of the headlines. By Wednesday, Trump himself was in Vegas.
Whatever caused Paddock to conclude that ending his life was preferable to living it is not the crucial question. Suicides are not uncommon in America. About three of every four are carried out by white males; 121 are committed daily, with gunshot a common method.
The real question is what turned Paddock into a psychopath without conscience or a moral code that would scream to him that what he was plan-
An investigator works in the room at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino where Stephen Paddock opened fire from on a music festival Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017, in Las Vegas.