Las Vegas authorities now acknowledge mass murderer Stephen Paddock may have been “radicalized” before his bloody rampage Sunday at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival but they won’t say what species of radicalism the shooter may have embraced.
The deadliest mass shooting in modern American history has been cravenly transformed into anti-American propaganda by the Left, as Democrat commentators race to ghoulishly disparage white men, gun rights and the NRA, Republicans, and President Trump, blaming them for what otherwise looks like a Muslim terrorist atrocity. Islamic State continues to claim responsibility for the massacre. The terrorist group also claims Paddock converted to Islam six months ago and refers to him by a nom de guerre, Abu Abdul Barr al-Amriki. In Las Vegas Wednesday FBI Special Agent in Charge Aaron Rouse said, "We have found no evidence to this point to indicate terrorism, but this is an ongoing investigation. We're going to look at all avenues, not close any."
Paddock may have been “radicalized unbeknownst to us,” Clark County, Nevada, Sheriff Joe Lombardo said at a presser without elaborating. The reporters present for the statement did not bother to follow up. For much of the mainstream media, the fact that Paddock was a white male explained his violent rampage.
So what kind of radicalism could Lombardo have been thinking of?
The word radicalized “is quite often used to refer to Muslims who wage jihad,” Robert Spencer notes. So the sheriff “may be tacitly acknowledging that the Islamic State’s claims to be behind this attack are accurate.”
Muslim terrorists are increasingly targeting concert venues, as Paddock did on the weekend. There was the bombing of the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, on May 22 that killed 22. On November 13, 2015, Muslim terrorists attacked the Bataclan concert hall in Paris, France, leaving 89 dead during a performance by Eagles of Death Metal.
Or Sheriff Lombardo may be implying Paddock was supportive of Antifa or the KKK. “In any case, [radicalized is] a strange word to throw out there and leave hanging,” Spencer adds.
It’s possible Paddock was a right-winger, but if so, he had an odd way of showing it. Targeting country music fans, who are largely Republican and conservative, seems like a strange way to advance a right-of-center cause.
Besides, in the United States, political violence is almost the exclusive province of the Left and Islamists.
Trump-hating Bernie Sanders supporter James T. Hodgkinson came close to assassinating House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) at a baseball practice in June. A little before then, Sanders supporter Jeremy Christian stabbed three men on a train in Oregon, killing two of them. Egged on by the Southern Poverty Law Center, left-wing gay rights supporter Floyd Lee Corkins II shot up the headquarters of the conservative Family Research Council in 2012.
For all we know at this point, Paddock may actually have been an angry left-winger lashing out at conservatives and Trump supporters. Some evidence does seem to point in that direction, and in the current atmosphere of visceral left-wing hatred towards anything and death threats being hurled at everything Republican or conservative, left-wing violence is becoming commonplace.
As Jack Kerwick wrote after the shooting of Congressman Scalise, left-wing mass-shooter James “Hodgkinson is the logical culmination of the campaign of demonization and dehumanization of Republicans and Trump-supporters that the left has been waging for decades, a campaign that leftists have been ratcheting up as of late, even since Trump and the Deplorables defied the world and defeated Hillary Clinton.”
Substitute “Paddock” for “Hodgkinson,” and we may be on to something.
Paddock’s family insists he wasn’t interested in politics. There have been reports that Paddock was registered as a Democrat in Florida but they appear to be false. Paddock’s middle name was Craig but the Democrats named Stephen Paddock listed online are older than he was and have different middle initials. Nor does Paddock appear in the Federal Election Commission (FEC) online database of campaign contributions.
But a video has surfaced of a pink pussy hat-wearing man at a left-wing protest who looks like Paddock.
As Pamela Geller notes, the man in the video, addressed by one person as “Steve,” is shown wearing a shirt emblazoned with “NASA” at the event that took place in August in Reno, Nevada. As Geller points out, Paddock worked at Lockheed Martin from 1985 to 1988. The company has done contracting work for NASA for decades.
In fact, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration claimed Paddock as one of its own in a 1993 press release highlighted by Geller. “Steve Paddock” of the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, is identified as a member of the “study team” exploring the possibility of “a return mission to Mars.”
Although relatives say Stephen Paddock kept to himself and wasn’t prone to angry outbursts, new evidence suggests he did have mental health problems.
Paddock’s girlfriend, Marilou Danley, reportedly told investigators that “he would lie in bed, just moaning and screaming, 'Oh, my God.'" Danley also reportedly said he displayed "mental health symptoms." There is also evidence that Paddock routinely berated Danley in public.
Paddock was prescribed 50 10-milligram diazepam tablets by a medical doctor on June 21. The anti-anxiety drug is marketed under the brand name Valium.
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal,
Diazepam is a sedative-hypnotic drug in the class of drugs known as benzodiazepines, which studies have shown can trigger aggressive behavior. Chronic use or abuse of sedatives such as diazepam can also trigger psychotic experiences, according to drugabuse.com.
The drug can make some patients violent, said Dr. Mel Pohl, chief medical officer of the Las Vegas Recovery Center.
“If somebody has an underlying aggression problem and you sedate them with that drug, they can become aggressive,” Pohl explained. “It can disinhibit an underlying emotional state. … It is much like what happens when you give alcohol to some people … they become aggressive instead of going to sleep.”
Then there’s the dark history of the Paddock family.
The shooter’s father, Benjamin Hoskins Paddock, was a violent criminal who spent much of his life behind bars. He was on the FBI’s most wanted list for a decade. A 1972 newspaper report states that "Paddock has been diagnosed as being psychopathic and egotistical, as well as arrogant, and reportedly has suicidal tendencies." During one arrest, he tried to mow down an FBI agent with his car. The bank robber, car thief, and con man escaped from prison in 1968 and remained at large for a decade before being recaptured. He was never rehabilitated. Late in his life he was charged with racketeering and fraud for rolling back car odometers.
There is an outstanding warrant for the arrest of Paddock’s younger brother, Bruce Paddock, 57, who is wanted in Los Angeles County, California. The brother has been arrested many times on charges including arson, burglary, criminal threats, and vandalism.
There is evidence that Stephen Paddock wanted to kill a lot more people than he succeeded in doing. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Paddock targeted large aviation fuel tanks that were about 1,100 feet from the concert site with bullets during his shooting spree.
A “knowledgeable source” told the newspaper that the “bullets left holes, but did not penetrate the two circular white tanks, sparing the nearby Route 91 Harvest country music festival from a potentially massive explosion.” Construction workers have since painted over the bullet holes and FBI agents inspected the fuel storage facilities and recorded measurements of the line of fire from Paddock’s hotel.
Searches of a car and one of the homes of Paddock yielded stores of ammonium nitrate and tannerite, ingredients used in homemade bombs.
He was also a licensed pilot. A Nexis search reveals that Stephen Craig Paddock, born April 1953, of 1372 Babbling Brook Ct., Mesquite, Nevada 89034, owned two airplanes, both of which were four-seat, fixed-wing, single-engine aircraft. The first, a Bellanca Super Viking model 17-30A, tail number 28082, was registered in 2005. The second, a Cirrus SR20, tail number 5343M, was registered in 2007. Did Paddock have more plans, possibly involving bombs and airplanes?
A reservation was made under the name Stephen Paddock for the Blackstone Hotel in Chicago corresponding to the dates of the Lollapalooza music festival in early August. The reservation was for rooms overlooking “Grant Park, where 400,000 people -- including Malia Obama -- squeezed in over 4 days to watch big musical acts.” Paddock didn’t show.
Paddock also conducted research online about hotels around Boston's Fenway Park, “a senior law enforcement official with direct knowledge of the matter” told reporters.
Speaking to reporters, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said there is evidence that Paddock intended to try to escape after the shooting incident but said he was not at liberty to reveal the evidence supporting that claim at this time.
The sheriff suggested Paddock may not have acted alone. “He had to have some help at some point,” Lombardo said. “Maybe he’s a super-guy. … maybe he’s super-yahoo, was working out all this on his own, but it would be hard for me to believe that.”
Sheriff Lombardo also updated the body count. There have been 58 victim deaths so far, not the previously reported figure of 59, which included the perpetrator’s death. The correct casualty figure is 489, down from the previously reported figure of 527 which likely included hospital patients who were counted more than once. Of the 489, 317 have been discharged from hospitals.
The body count surpasses the previous grim record of 49 killed and 58 wounded during the gay nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, on June 12, 2016. The gunman in Orlando was a 29-year-old Muslim, Omar Mateen, who pledged allegiance to Islamic State during the attack and was later killed by police. As with Paddock’s assault, Islamic State claimed responsibility for Mateen’s actions.
It is possible that Paddock was not motivated by politics or ideology at all, even though it seems hard to believe given the gravity of his crimes and the extensive preparations he made to carry them out. But sometimes mass killings are carried by mentally disturbed people with no discernible motivations.
Some have compared the Las Vegas attack to the actions of Charles Whitman, who was a bloody trailblazer in the annals of mass murder. A 25-year-old ex-Marine sharpshooter, Whitman climbed a tower at the University of Texas administration building in Austin on August 1, 1966, and over 90 minutes at a height of more than 300 feet, shot 17 people to death and wounded more than 30. Before his rampage, Whitman stabbed his mother and his wife to death.
The theory is that Whitman’s antisocial behavior was related to a tumor discovered posthumously that adversely affected the amygdala (actually, amygdalae because there are two of them), “an almond-shaped mass of nuclei (mass of cells) located deep within the temporal lobes of the brain … that is involved in many of our emotions and motivations, particularly those that are related to survival. It is involved in the processing of emotions such as fear, anger, and pleasure.”
Over time Whitman changed from all-American boy to cold-blooded killer. At the age of six, Whitman’s IQ measured 138 on Stanford Binet tests. He was the youngest Eagle Scout in the world, attaining the title at the age of 12. In the Marine Corps, Whitman was described as "the kind of guy you would want around if you went into combat." But later in life he had trouble controlling his anger and his sunny personality changed.
There is also no discernible motive behind the actions of Germanwings flight 9525 co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, 28, who on March 24, 2015, sealed the cockpit and calmly flew an Airbus jet into a mountain in the French Alps at 430 miles per hour, killing 150 people. Lubitz suffered from severe depression and had suicidal tendencies. The airline had suspended him from his duties in the past for psychiatric reasons.
There are so many unanswered questions that remain about Paddock and what he did, whether he had help or not.
We can’t count on the pathologically incurious, politically correct mainstream media to bother asking them. Journalists ruled out Islamic jihad almost as soon as the news of the slaughter hit the airwaves, even though it may be the cause.
The media sees only a white male, the very embodiment of evil in America, in the eyes of the Left.
Evidence may yet derail that intellectually lazy narrative.