Thursday, October 5, 2017

Las Vegas Shooter Scoped Other Events, Reflections On Living With Violence

Yes, another update on Las Vegas, but this is rather interesting: the Clarke County Sheriff there has stated to the press that Paddock probably did have help (they are looking for a particular woman seen in the hotel, not his girlfriend) and information has been released that he has booked other hotels overlooking other major events: this was a *long* time in planning. He started buying weapons in 1982, so it is hard to tell when the purpose of his purchases may have changed.

[Las Vegas shooter booked hotel overlooking Lollapalooza, seen with mystery woman]

If this guy fits profiles of other mass murderers (and note that so far he does not), then he will have reached out to other people (small number) over that time to pull them into his plan. Normally, they will make suggestions that they can pass off as a joke if rebuffed, and therefore the subject does not necessarily connect the comment until after (I, myself, experienced this with a shooter). As people come forward, they may provide more insight into the situation, especially if authorities locate actual co-conspirators. This process may, however, take years to gather information and to actually piece it together.

Another part of the picture that is starting to emerge: given the time and resources ($100s of thousands, aircraft, etc.) available to this plot, very little had a chance of preventing it. The only realistic chance of stopping it would have been if his preparation had been discovered more or less by accident, if a co-conspirator chickened and came forward, or if someone he approached a) understood what he was asking, b) went to authorities, and c) was believed. Nothing short of that would have likely prevented the incident or necessarily reduced the scope of the damage he was able to cause.

Believe me, that is not a comfortable thing to realize--- it is not something we like to admit--- but it is likely the truth. I had a discussion with my wife this morning and with the father of a victim at my school a few years back that I am doing better at handling this kind of thing than I used to be because I no longer feel helpless: I am doing things that make a difference. As Mr. Gibson put it, I have found “a way to make lemonade”. The people that find a way to do that--- or found a way to do that during the attack--- the heroes of that night--- will have a much better time coping and moving forward. We have to find a practical way to do that as a country, and that is actually one of the reasons for the misguided push for gun control and other measures which likely would not make a difference. I know from experience that they are wrong, but I understand the impulse.

The things which *would* make a difference are not quick fixes, they take time, thought, and facing uncomfortable reality. Maybe we will eventually get to that point. The other thing that helps is simply *faith*: I believe we live in a fallen world, that evil exists, it always has, and though we continue to strive against it, it will to the End. At some point, we have to realize that life is deadly, that it is unfair, and move on with what we have. I truly believe there IS an ultimate purpose, and that helps me deal with the horror of where I have been.

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