Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Not All That Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas

 (By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari)
"Steve took care of the people he loved. He helped make me and my family wealthy. He's the reason I was able to retire." -Las Vegas shooter's brother Eric Paddock
I think I speak for tens of millions of my fellow Americans when I simply I say I am tired of this. The latest mass shooting that put a spin on Las Vegas' nickname of Sin City, is the largest mass shooting in American history. Which is saying a lot for a gun-obsessed nation in which we've already seen 273 mass shootings involving four or more people in the first 274 days of this year. That's virtually one mass shooting a day in the glorious age of Trump.
     After Columbine, after Virginia Tech, after Newtown, when will it be time to start seriously talking about gun control? Never, according to the paranoid, lunatic fringe who still insist on either ignoring massive carnage such as we saw in Vegas or accusing the left of "politicizing" every such mass shooting. Or, very much in keeping with our capitalist society, gun manufacturers' stock prices skyrocketed just hours after the shooting.
     The problem is, or rather, it starts where feelings such as paranoia and terror of who knows what achieves more than an equal footing with easily ascertainable facts. And until we start dismissing the rampant paranoia and deliberate misreading of the 2nd Amendment of the gun-clutching faction, we'll never finally have that efficacious national debate about gun control measures that actually work. And, as John Adams said while defending British soldiers accused of shooting to death five American colonists at the Boston Massacre, "Facts are stubborn things."
     And these are some of the facts:
     Stephen Paddock, the multimillionaire shooter, was firing down at a group of people at a country music festival from 32 floors up for nine to eleven consecutive minutes. Watching the videos taken of the massacre, one suspects Paddock was using extended capacity clips to judge by the length of the bursts. And indeed, Las Vegas law enforcement found those empty extended capacity clips in his hotel room.
     Prior to what his asshole brother said in Orlando (During which, in true Trumpian fashion, he bragged that his brother who'd just murdered 58 humans, made him rich, allowing him to retire early) Stephen Paddock didn't "just snap." The mass shooting in Las Vegas last Sunday night was planned well in advance, with minute details meticulously plotted and executed. Among them:
     Previously renting a unit overlooking an even larger concert perhaps as a dry run.
     Bringing up to his room at the Mandalay Bay Resort ten rifles, some with extended capacity magazines and sniper's tripods.
     He set up not one but two sniper's nests.
     He set up cameras in the hallway and monitors in his room so he could film himself shooting innocents as well as see when police arrived.
     Obviously, he knew when the concert would take place and rented perhaps the highest hotel room available so he could set up the perfect kill box for maximum carnage.
     And he never intended to survive. When police finally broke into the room, Paddock did perhaps the only decent thing he ever did in his life and turned himself into a rotting corpse by blowing his brains out.

 The Other Stories
As is often the case, when there is one villain wreaking unimaginable havoc whether it be a hurricane or a gunman, unlikely heroes are spontaneously produced. Among them:
     John Phippen, a 56 year-old widower and father of six, who'd sacrificed his life to shield a woman he didn't know from the gunfire that would claim his life. His son also risked his life and was among the 515 wounded for helping another.
     Brennan Lee Stewart died while protecting his girlfriend.
     Jack Beaton died stepping in the path of bullets that would've killed his wife.
     Denise Burditus died in her husband's arms.
     Sonny Melton died protecting his wife, suffering a fatal gunshot in the back that otherwise would've struck his spouse.
     And these don't include the acts of heroism of those who'd survived Paddock's attack. And all these victims had one thing in common: They just wanted to hear some good country and western music and have a good time.
     And matching the facts are the remaining questions: In a city in which the casinos have better security than our airports, how could Paddock sneak ten rifles and thousands of rounds of ammunition in 13 suitcases into a hotel? Why wasn't there a metal detector at the entrance of the hotel? We have metal detectors in sporting venues, airports, courthouses, even high schools. Why not Mandalay Bay? And what answers does Congress have?
     Congress is bound and determined to pass a bill relaxing restrictions on buying and using silencers. Amazingly, brazenly and audaciously, it's called "The Hearing Protection Act of 2017." Because, let's think of the tender eardrums of gunmen like Stephen Paddock when they begin shooting scores of innocents to death. Who cares if the victims can't hear where the shots are coming from? Because, after all, if Stephen Paddock didn't have those pesky, liberal silencer laws to obey, he could've upped his body count exponentially.
     And Donald Trump said the Vegas shooting that killed nearly five dozen and wounded 515 or more was "a very very sad day for me personally."
     Maybe he's got another golf trophy to spare for one of the grieving relatives.


At October 5, 2017 at 3:31 PM, Blogger Stan B. said...

All the well armed patriots strutting about Las Vegas- what difference did they make?

At October 5, 2017 at 3:48 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

Good question, Stan. My suspicion is they were probably somewhere at an All You Can Eat buffet gaining weight.

At October 5, 2017 at 4:33 PM, Blogger Stan B. said...

Except for this "brave" SEAL wannabe...


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