Questions raised over ‘strange’ nature of Las Vegas shooting

As we and many others reported Monday, over 50 people were killed and more than 500 wounded during a mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada as a man identified as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas.  Questions about the strange nature of the shooting have been raised, however.

Before we go any further, let me say right up front that we do not subscribe to any conspiracy theory floating around about the shooting — it happened and people unfortunately died.  But there are some serious questions that need to be raised and explored.

On Monday, David French wrote at the National Review:

As virtually everyone has noted from the abundant video footage of the incident, it certainly sounds as if the shooter used either fully-automatic weapons or semi-automatic weapons modified (through, for example, a bump fire stock) to closely simulate automatic fire. Moreover, the police are reporting that he had “more than 10 rifles.” He apparently rented his corner room for days and may have even set up cameras to detect when police were approaching. That’s all strange enough, but it’s even more unusual when you consider that his own family apparently didn’t know that he maintained a stockpile of guns. Here’s this, from the gunman’s brother, suggesting that the gunman wasn’t an avid gun guy at all:

“Put all this together, and the shooting is flat-out bizarre,” French said. “It’s significantly different from virtually any other mass shooting in U.S. history. If the weapons were fully automatic, then he likely would have spent immense sums of money to obtain them legally, jumping through extensive legal hoops.”

Stephen Gutowski, a staff writer for the Washington Free Beacon, tweeted:

So it’s extremely expensive and burdensome to purchase and own a fully-automatic weapon, which is probably why so few crimes have been committed with them.


Cooke further said that Paddock “passed all required federal background checks” on at least two recent occasions:

Two Nevada gun shops confirmed Monday that they sold firearms to Mandalay Bay shooter Stephen Paddock in the last year and said he passed all required background checks.

It was unknown if the weapons Paddock bought from the gun shops, New Frontier Armory in North Las Vegas and from Guns and Guitars in Mesquite, were used in the casino massacre.

He also said Paddock “wasn’t a felon — or, at least, that there was nothing in the federal database that would have prevented him from buying weapons. That matters, because we are already hearing politicians pretend that ‘universal background checks’ would have prevented this attack. They wouldn’t have.”

Additionally, Cooke added, Paddock reportedly had ammonium nitrate in his car, according to the Las Vegas Police Department.

“Given the peculiar sophistication of this attack,” Cooke said, “…one can only begin to wonder what else he had planned. As far as I understand, ammonia nitrate is an ingredient in what we’d call a ‘fertilizer bomb.’ For whatever reason, this person was serious and he was prepared. Hopefully we’ll soon have some idea of his motive.”

Sky News reported:

The man behind the worst mass shooting in modern US history had an arsenal of at least 42 guns, explosives and several thousand rounds of ammo, police said.

Officers recovered 19 firearms, explosives and ammo from Stephen Paddock’s home in Mesquite, Nevada, hours after discovering 23 guns in the Las Vegas hotel room from which he killed at least 59 concertgoers.

Earlier, police found several pounds of ammonium nitrate, a chemical used to make explosives, in the 64-year-old’s car.

Do the math — that’s 42 firearms total including explosives.  Sky News also said two of the weapons in his motel room were modified to be fully automatic.  As Paul Joseph Watson notes, that’s a lot of firepower for someone with no apparent political or religious affiliation or motive.

ISIS has also taken credit for the attack, but authorities have said there’s nothing at this point to indicate Paddock was affiliated with any terrorist organization.

“I can’t get into the mind of a psychopath at this point,” said Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo.

Still, I have a lot of questions, and addressed some of those Monday morning with Rev./Rabbi Eric Walker:

Granted, it’s still fairly early in the investigation and there’s a lot more to be learned.

What do you think?  Let us know in the comment section below.


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Joe Newby

A 10-year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, Joe ran for a city council position in Riverside, Calif., in 1991 and managed successful campaigns for the Idaho state legislature. Co-author of "Banned: How Facebook enables militant Islamic jihad," Joe wrote for Examiner.com from 2010 until it closed in 2016 and his work has been published at Newsbusters, Spokane Faith and Values and other sites. He now runs the Conservative Firing Line.

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