WASHINGTON: Authorities found an arsenal of weapons that would have wowed a military commando in the 32nd floor Las Vegas hotel suite from where 64-year old Stephen Paddock rained down automatic fire at a Sunday night music concert
massacring 59 people and injuring over 500+
But they haven’t found a motive, aside from determining he was a millionaire high-rolling gambler of considerable means, owning homes in four states, and two small planes and a flying license, among other assets.
Paddock was not the typical mass shooter; in fact, his age now ranks him as the oldest – aside from deadliest and possibly wealthiest – mass shooter in US history among other “records” he has established, including a death toll of 59.
He also became the first shooter to use what was said to be
a semi- or fully-automatic weapon of the AK-47 kind, which he modified to fire faster+
and mounted on a dipod or tripod to steady his shooting. The height from which he shot at a densely packed concert below also resulted in higher casualties, and but for the fact that his relentless firing caused the smoke alarm in his room to go off and enabled police to pinpoint his location, he might have killed even more.
Besides the 24-weapon armory found in his hotel room, authorities located 19 more guns at his home – all legally purchased. News of his stockpile, and the ease with which he carried the arsenal into the hotel (reportedly in ten suitcases) triggered off alarm on several aspects, including hotel security, except the ease with which guns can be procured in America.
The latest carnage further sundered the fragile bonds of the “United” States, with stateside liberals completely at odds with gun enthusiasts, predominantly from middle and rural America, who hold the Right to Bear arms dear to their heart and way of life.
Liberals, chafing at numbers that show more than one mass shooting a day in America, say the country is being held hostage by an economically backward and intellectually regressive rural base that call the electoral shots, so much so that it controls Washington and the White House without winning a majority popular vote.
Pro-gun Republicans and conservatives continued to insist that guns are not the problem, sick people are, and some administration officials and Trump supporters maintained now was not the time to argue about gun laws.
President Trump called Paddock “a sick man, a demented man,” and held out some vague promise of gun reform. “We will be talking about gun laws as time goes by,” he said as he prepared to leave Washington for hurricane-battered Puerto Rico.
The gun lobby supported Trump in the Presidential elections, and more than once he promised the Second Amendment – which allows the right to bear arms – is “very very safe” with him. He also became the first President after Ronald Reagan to speak at the annual conference of the National Rifle Association (NRA), which spend $50 million to support him against Hillary Clinton.
Family members however told authorities that Paddock had no religious or ideological affiliations, not did he have any gamble debt that could have cost him to lose it. He could have lost a million dollars and could still live well, they said.
In fact, he lived in hotel rooms attached to casino properties months at a time for professional gambling reasons, and it was not usual for him to bet big, wagering thousands of dollars in a sitting. Such accounts drew attention to yet another little-reported American problem – addiction to gambling and lotteries.
Paddock’s father was a convicted bank robber who was once on the FBI’s most-wanted list, but Stephen Paddock stayed out of trouble and had no scrapes with the law.
“If you told me an asteroid fell into Earth, it would mean the same to me. There’s absolutely no sense, no reason he did this,” his brother Eric Paddock told the media outside his home in Orlando. “He’s just a guy who played video poker and took cruises and ate burritos at Taco Bell. There’s no political affiliation that we know of. There’s no religious affiliation that we know of.”