Mass Shootings

Updated: Las Vegas Mass Shooting Biggest in U.S. History, Gunman I.D.'ed as Stephen Paddock

Resist "grotesque urge to immediately transform all human tragedies into a political agenda."

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This post has been updated to reflect developing news; updates below are in bold.

At least 50 58 people were killed and 200 more than 500 injured when Stephen Paddock opened fire with an apparent machine gun on an outdoor concert outside Las Vegas' Mandalay Bay casino-hotel last night.

Paddock was killed by police and a woman who has been described as his companion has been taken into custody.* killed himself before police were able to apprehend him and early reports about a companion who had fled the scene were wrong. No motive on the part of the killer has been discovered so far, but local police have said they didn't have prior contact with the 64-year-old Vegas resident and no sources close to the investigation have suggested ideological, religious, or terroristic motivation. Public records indicate that Paddock had a hunting license, was a pilot, and had a lawsuit against a casino years ago.

Before last night, the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history was the 2016 shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, which killed 49 people. Before that, it was the 2007 campus shooting at Virginia Tech, where 32 were killed.

Machine guns (which are fully automatic weapons) can be legally owned, but it is extremely difficult for private citizens to possess them legally, so it's likely that if Paddock did use one to commit these murders, it was in violation of existing laws. Nevada has liberal gun-ownership laws, a reality that has already sparked calls for stricter gun control.

As is always the case in these sorts of situations, it's best to treat early reports with a great deal of skepticism and to insist on depoliticized reporting, especially from the scene. When James Hodgkinson opened fire on Republican congressman earlier this year, seriously wounding Rep. Steve Scalise, The New York Times immediately (and erroneously) rushed to blame the shooting on a discredited link between Sarah Palin and the shooter of former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.). Beyond the grotesque urge to immediately transform all human tragedies into a political agenda, the plain fact is that most early reports contain massive errors of fact, even when they are being published in the best faith possible.

Reason's previous coverage of mass shootings is archived here.

From 2011, Reason TV's "Five Rules for Coping with Tragedy":

*Correction: Working from early news reports, this story originally said police shot and killed Stephen Paddock and had a companion in custody. Las Vegas Sheriff Joseph Lombardo later confirmed that Paddock shot and killed himself before officers were able to get into the room from where he was firing. The "companion," Marilou Danley, was out of the country at the time of the shootings and was not believed to be involved at this time, Lombardo said.

For continuing updates on the Las Vegas mass shooting, go here.

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  1. Machine guns can be legally owned, but it is virtually impossible for private citizens to possess them legally

    Spoken like a true coastal elite.

    1. You’re required to obtain a special license from the ATF to own a machine gun (automatic weapon). It’s not virtually impossible but it is expensive.

      Even so, the point is that the perpetrator probably violated current laws if he was moving around with an automatic gun (machine gun).

      1. That’s the legal requirement, but if he had some basic machining skills, he could have illegally modified a readily-available weapon to go full-auto.

        -jcr

      2. Yeah, most full auto weapons will set you back 15K plus. Not to mention 6 months waiting period, fingerprinting, and FBI background check. Certainly not a problem for a non-felon as long as you have the money. Not that difficult for someone with a machine shop and minimum skills to illegally convert though.

      3. The tax stamp isn’t expensive(thanks fiat-money debasement!). The civilian-legal weapons are because of the artificially limited supply.

      4. No it is not impossible, and yes it is expensive, very expensive because you have to obtain a Federal firearms license which cost thousands of dollars and the background checks are extensive. The reality is he was likely using semi-auto rifles and some people present said “it sounds like automatic gun fire” so the media ran with it. Reports indicate he had ten rifles with him which means he was determined to kill as many as possible. That has nothing to do with the gun, but the sick mind pulling the trigger.

        1. Better to stay silent than open your mouth and how your ignorance.

          You pay a $200 tax stamp and wait many months. The expensive part is the machine gun itself, which are artificially limited and thus have artificially high prices.

  2. Bump-fire devices are often illegal but easy to obtain or make.

    I’ll put my money on angry lefty.

    1. Murders by wingnuts outnumber those by lefties about 10-1 (at least the politically motivated kind)

      1. Shreek will see your evidence-free assertion, and raise you some made up statistics!

        1. The FBI is conducting about 1,000 investigations of suspected white supremacists or other types of domestic terrorists who might be planning violence, top federal officials told Senate lawmakers Wednesday.

          Christopher A. Wray, in his first congressional testimony as FBI director, confirmed that his office has about 1,000 inquiries that people generally categorize as “domestic terrorism” ? a catchall term often used to describe those motivated to commit violence in furtherance of racist causes.

          Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, prompted Wray to confirm the number. FBI officials have previously said they had about 1,000 ongoing investigations in the United States of suspects who may be inspired by the Islamic State terrorist group to commit violence.

          Wednesday’s hearing was the first public indication that the FBI is dealing with a similar number of domestic terrorism cases.

          https://goo.gl/a3PnFp

          1. Palin’s Buttplug|10.2.17 @ 9:15AM|#
            “The FBI is conducting about 1,000 investigations of suspected white supremacists or other types of domestic terrorists who might be planning violence, top federal officials told Senate lawmakers Wednesday.”

            Yeah, turd, they’ve also been ‘investigating’ canoodling between Trump and the Russkis for nearly a year now and can’t seem to find anything.
            Fuck you pathetic excuse for sentience.

        2. The politically conservative Daily Caller News Foundation using data from the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), found 92% of all “ideologically motivated homicide incidents” committed in the United States from 2007 to 2016 were done “with a right-wing extremist or white supremacist motive”.

          1. Butt: Aw, your little lefty group’s data seems to be contradicted by FBI data showing that many of the homicides in 2014 were committed by blacks, hispanics, and latinos along with white people.
            FBI Homicide data 2014

            When the race of the offender was known, 53.3 percent were Black or African American, 44.0 percent were White, and 2.7 percent were of other races. The race was unknown for 4,787 offenders. (Based on Expanded Homicide Data Table 3.)– FBI 2015 stats

          2. It’s all in the definitions applied.

    2. We’ll know fairly quickly depending on how long the media talks about it. If it turns out he was a righty, they’ll be talking about this for weeks on end. If it turns out he was a lefty, it’ll be flushed down the memory hole within about 24-48 hours.

      1. I did notice a change in media tone until they know more. This was a country music festival which would superficially signal that a lefty did this and that would set back the lefty cause.

        For those who advocate time to find out more details, we wait….

        I must say, I saw quite a few people videoing their situation and they seemed to pick up that those were shots and tried to get people to get down rather than walking around drunk. I think when the singer took off back stage that big crowd turned around and ran away from the stage.

  3. As is always the case in these sorts of situations, it’s best to treat early reports with a great deal of skepticism and to insist on depoliticized reporting, especially from the scene.

    What, and let a fine tragedy go to waste??

    1. This just shows to go ya…

      Skyscrapers should be outlawed! Had this mass killer not had a high-high “people blind” located in an artificial tree (skyscraper), this would not have happened!

  4. It’s illegal to own heroin, but not hard to get. It’s illegal to shoot innocent people, but people still do it. There is the law, and there is reality. People who conflate the law with reality are of no help. Could we please cut the crap about how gun laws will reduce calculated mass murders? No, they won’t.

    1. Plato had something to say about that a couple thousand years ago.

    2. If anything the black market will make obtaining currently restricted weapons easier.

      1. Anyone with some know how and tools can build a gun. They’ve been around at least since the 12th century in China, perhaps even before then. I think we can safely say this tech isn’t going away.

        Aussie biker gangs actually crank out some pretty classy (and some not-so-classy) looking firearms out of their metal shops. Go figure.

        When guns are illegal, only criminals will go armed. Truth to power?

  5. Nevada has liberal gun-ownership laws, a reality that has already sparked calls for stricter gun control.

    I do want to point out that your statement above suggests the State bestows rights on people. The way to state such a fact that is more accurate from the standpoint of rights and their nature is to say that “Nevada imposes less restrictions on gun ownership than its petty semi-totalitarian neighbors on the west and east coasts, a fact that has driven authoritarian assholes out of the sewers where they live to call for stricter gun control laws.”


    1. I do want to point out that your statement above suggests the State bestows rights on people

      I don’t know that it suggests that any more than it suggests that government can and does pass laws restricting rights.

      1. Re: Zeb,

        The statement reads: “Nevada has liberal gun-ownership laws…”

        That suggests Nevada bestows people with the right to own something.

        1. Not really. All it does is acknowledge that laws restricting gun ownership exist and that Nevada’s are relatively unrestrictive.

  6. By the way, isn’t it kind amazing how fast Reason can respond to this story, but mass government violence in Spain over an entire weekend gets totally ignored?

    It really shows you what they do and don’t give a shit about around here.

    1. The Catalan vote was for independence.

      The shooting story garners massive support for banning guns.

      Lefties are for banning guns. 2nd Amendment supporters advocate protecting this right no matter what FEELZ situation happens.

      1. Well, that’s a big reason for the Constitution in the first place: to protect individuals from a hysterical majority (or large minority) that is willing to call on government to steamroll liberties and operate as reflexively and void of reason as their mind is. “Feelings” are more important today than pesky barriers like civil liberties and Constitutional protection.

      2. Everyone should be for defending the basic human right of self determination, and its political equivalent, secession.

    2. Why are you upset they’re not talking about Spain and not Kurdistan?

      It really shows you what DD does and doesn’t give a shit about.

    3. No, it really isn’t. It’s a current events and commentary blog mainly focused on the US. There are many interesting international events they are not covering.

      1. they covered Scotland for quite a while.

  7. So my ghoulish side always judges these events by which side spins the narrative the most to fit their agenda. Gun control, automatic weapons, and leftist, oh my.

    I’ll be really impressed if the guy was a gun control advocate and did this to prove a point.

  8. I first thought this was more cultural enrichment from the religion of peace, but that now seems unlikely. My money is on deranged leftists (I mean, c’mon, dude shot up a country concert…) or mentally ill and snapped. Anyway, it is tragic. And cue anti-gunners standing on dead (still warm) bodies to push a political agenda.

  9. “Machine guns (which are fully automatic weapons) can be legally owned, but it is extremely difficult for private citizens to possess them legally, so it’s likely that if Paddock did use one to commit these murders, it was in violation of existing laws.

    Yes that is my legal assessment as well: this mass murder was very probably an illegal act.

    Resist “grotesque urge to immediately transform all human tragedies into a political agenda.”

    What if we just tastelessly make jokes?

  10. Jesus, there’s thousands of raucous partiers listening to country music at full blast late at night when you’re trying to get some sleep? Who among us wouldn’t be tempted to go all Rambo on their asses?

    1. This guy went full auto and fired over 300 rounds. He killed 50 people with a few hundred actually wounded by bullets not trampled.

      Rambo didn’t have that kind of body count.

      I bet they use all his first, middle, and last name to describe him after they find out more about Stephan Paddock.

  11. Where was OJ when this shit happened? Just saying…

    But yeah, anyone who politicizes this in the first 24-48 hours is going to hell.

    1. The Juice is released Sunday….in Nevada….

      This shooting happens….Sunday…in Nevada….

      Maybe OJ saw Nicole’s killer at the concert.

  12. What happened is pretty awful (doesn’t need to be said, obviously).

    Per the handbook: “We are seeking confirmation….”. That really means “We are seeking confirmation of the narrative we’ve created”, in many cases.

    Then it’s “quick fix” time. This will also ensue, as everyone can use the opportunity to validate their “beliefs” and prescribe some reflexive, heavy-handed solution that is grossly out of context with reality.

    1. The gun control people have already started.

      Remember: They “don’t want to take your guns away just keep mentally deranged people from having the”.

      Nevermind that Paddock had no reports of mental illness, no criminal record, and had a civilian pilots license.

      1. “…having them.”

      2. I’m sure they will. It’s one thing to look for easy answers in a time of distress, as the human mind searches for some kind of stability in the throes of tragedy. But it’s another thing entirely to calculate a political maneuver, even when the blood is still warm, that plays to that distress.

        1. I don’t think our progressive friends are calculating like that. From what I’ve seen they are 100 percent feelz-powered. Seriously. They “strike back” politically because of the emotional pain they feel. That’s why they get so vicious when you oppose them, no matter what you claim your reason is.

      3. The hottest take is already here. He sounds so much like Turd it’s creepy.

        Richard Dawkins?Verified account @RichardDawkins 2h2 hours ago

        Durn tootin’, great shootin’. Cool dude sertin’ he’s 2nd Mendment rahts. Hell yeah!
        Every country has its psychopaths. In US they have guns
        1,818 replies 1,273 retweets 4,169 likes

        1. Riiight. Nothing like this ever happens in, say, France.

          1. Z-
            France has guns (including actual Kalashnikovs) and knives and trucks and lots of people willing to use them.

  13. Apparently, I make one comment on The Onion, and my answer on how quickly it takes for people to lose their damn minds is answered.

    1. Don’t leave us in suspense. What was the comment?

    2. That’s standard fare in most comment sections. After Trump was elected, if you weren’t buying into the reactionary rage wholesale, you were a “white nationalist” or “nazi sympathizer.”

  14. Weirdness. Since it was specifically a country concert I had my money on Islamic somebody or a black lefty. It may be a white lefty though it would appear. I really don’t think this guy is a right winger since it was a country show. Just doesn’t make sense as a statement. His friend was an Asian chick, so probably not a nazi.

    Interestingly since they released her name first, I looked up her facebook page. I wouldn’t be surprised if they have made it private now, but it was up when I looked. She took a trip to Dubai not long ago, and mentioned a niece or nephew living there. It is possible he is a white Muslim convert? I guess we’ll find out. Messed up situation though. I really wish it had been someone other than a white guy though… If it’s just a lone nut job with no political motive there is going to be a ton of shitty blowback. Hopefully he’s at least a lefty to help deflect the Dems and their calls for abolishing the 2nd amendment or whatever…

    1. If he was anything but a white right-winger, the story will disappear in a day.

      Even lefty gun control advocates have to be careful if this guy was some terrorist or lefty. You need the right kind of criminal shooting to push gun control otherwise it can backfire.

      1. Yeah. That’s why I was glad this wasn’t a rap concert or something… If this was a neo-nazi HOLY SHIT cities would be burning today. Even if he is a non political lone wolf type, they can still push the anti gun stuff. They’ll find one post on his Facebook page from 6 years ago saying something nice about Mitt Romney or something and spin it into being a right wing political nut, even when it wasn’t. This could get really dicey. At this point he either needs to be an obvious hardcore leftist, or Islam convert or something for shit storm to be averted IMO. I hope it turns out well.

        1. It already turned out horribly.

          1. Well obviously. But it could end up being 10x worse if the wrong particulars were to be true.

  15. The NY Times has an interesting timeline of the attack, from police radio notations:

    https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/
    2017/10/02/us/mandalay-bay-vegas-shooting.html

    10:08 PM: Shooting started. One officer identified the shooter’s position as halfway up the Mandalay Bay hotel. Others said the shooter was inside the fairgrounds.

    10:12 PM (4 minutes): Shooter’s location narrowed down to Mandalay Bay or Luxor or Gate 7 (at the event). 4 minutes of confusion.

    10:13 PM (5 minutes): Shooter’s location narrowed down to 50th or 60th floor of Mandalay Bay, out a window. One officer on the 31st floor reported that the shooter was right above him, on the 32nd floor. That is very fast work in a chaotic situation.

    10:24 PM (16 minutes): Room 32-135 identified and SWAT team requested. Why the 11 minute span? Shooting stopped sometime between 10:20 and 10:25 PM (12 to 17 minutes).

    10:28 PM (20 minutes): SWAT team on the 32nd floor. A second shooter is erroneously reported on the 29th floor, along with a report that a hotel security officer was shot (was this ever confirmed?)

    11:20 PM (72 minutes): SWAT team breaches the door, after securing the 32nd floor. The shooter is already dead. 52 minutes to breach a door? What if he had still been shooting? Were they worried about hotel guests, or booby traps, or possible accomplices?

  16. 58 dead does make this the worst mass shooting in the U.S.

    But it’s not, by a long shot, one of the three worst mass murders in the U.S.

  17. Updated: Las Vegas Mass Shooting Biggest in U.S. History, Gunman I.D.’ed as Stephen Paddock – Hit & Run : Reason.comis the best post by imo for pc Please visit imo app imo app snaptube for pc snaptube app

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