The Cold, Dead Soul Of Stephen Pad­dock

MidWeek (Hawaii) - - Front Page - Pa­trick Buchanan

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.

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