Las Vegas Shooting Has One Major Question, Why?
On Sunday, October 1 at 10:08 p.m. police first received a call shots were being fired on the Las Vegas Strip. By 10:19 p.m. the shooter had stopped shooting around the same time security guards approached the 32nd-floor luxury suite he was staying in at the Mandalay Bay. In those 11 minutes 59 people lost their lives and over 500 others were sent to the hospital making it one of the deadliest mass shootings in the United States. The gunman shot from his suite at the Mandalay Bay down into a crowd of people gathered for the Route 91 Harvest Country Music Festival. Nearly 22,000 people were in attendance. Here’s what we know.
About the shooter:
The gunman has been identified as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock a resident of Mesquite, Nevada just north of Las Vegas. Paddock was a frequent gambler in Las Vegas and it wasn’t unusual for him to be in town or to stay in a big suite. According to a special agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, 47 firearms (rifles, shotguns and pistols) had been recovered from the hotel suite and two Nevada properties owned by Paddock. The agent also confirmed all weapons were purchased legally in Nevada, Texas and Utah. Paddock placed three cameras in the hotel to monitor the approach of people trying to take him into custody. One camera was in the room over the peephole facing the hallway. Two cameras were outside the room, including one on a service cart near the door to monitor officers’ approach. Police stated this is how the gunman shot a security guard through the walls when he saw him approaching the door. Paddock was found dead by the time officers arrived. He apparently shot himself in the mouth with a pistol.
About the shooter’s girlfriend:
Information is trickling in about what now may be the key to why this attack happened. Paddock’s girlfriend Marilou Danley was in fact not at the scene of the crime or in the country during the attack. Danley was sent on a flight by Paddock on September 15 to the Philippines. Danley arrived in L.A. late Tuesday night to talk with FBI agents. Danley told federal agents that Paddock “never said anything to me or took any action that I was aware of that I understood in any way to be a warning that something horrible like this would happen,” in a statement read by her attorney. There are a lot of questions federal agents have for Danley considering the amount of firearms recovered from the home they shared. It is also suspicious that Paddock wired thousands of dollars to Danley in the Philippines. Danley told agents she thought the trip and money was a way Paddock was planning on breaking up with her and it never occurred to her “in any way whatsoever that he was planning violence against anyone,” she said in a statement.
About the weapons:
Paddock was a registered gun owner that purchased all of his weapons legally. He had multiple semiautomatic rifles, weapons that fire a single round with each pull of the trigger. A fully automatic weapon is similar to a machine gun in its ability to quickly fire round after round with a single pull of the finger. Fully-automatic weapons are tightly regulated and are very rare. When video and audio recordings of the shooting were first released many believed the weapons used during the attack were fully automatic, but in fact the weapons used were just semiautomatic with an added bump stock. A bump stock allows a semiautomatic to fire similarly to a fully automatic. The bump stock allows the body of the rifle to slide a short distance back and forth, the shooter then doesn’t need to move the trigger finger, instead the weapon bounces (bumps) rapidly between shoulder and finger. This allows quicker shooting than a human finger can pull and release. Some versions of bump stocks sell for as little as $99. Under current gun laws bump stocks are completely legal.
As investigators continue searching for answers, Las Vegas and the country are still in shock over the events that took place. The amount of violence, hatred and evil that occurred in just those few minutes should have never happened. Police are also looking into whether or not Paddock had planned a previous attack on Las Vegas, but details haven’t been released. What needs to happen now is a serious conversation about gun laws in America. Paddock wasn’t involved in any gang or terrorist organization. He had no previous signs of mental unstableness or was on any police radar previously. He purchased all of his weapons legally and acted alone in one of the largest mass shootings this country’s ever seen. He left no manifesto, no note or reason to why he did this and he cowardly shot himself before authorities could get an answer. The grieving friends and families need answers. They need closure, and if this isn’t a wake up call to open up gun law conversations, I don’t know what would be.