The FBI has reportedly closed its investigation of Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock after not being able to determine his motive. That’s right. Unless some literal or metaphorical smoking gun emerges, we will never know what caused this man to gun down 58 people attending an open-air concert. More than 800 were injured.
On one hand this is disturbing and frustrating as hell. It is a perfectly normal human reaction to what to know WHY something so unspeakably terrible happened. I most certainly would like to have something resembling closure on the worst mass-murder in American history.
“It wasn’t about MGM, Mandalay Bay or a specific casino or venue,” Aaron Rouse, the agent in charge of the FBI’s Las Vegas office, told The Associated Press. “It was all about doing the maximum amount of damage and him obtaining some form of infamy.”
The dearth of information we have received on Steven Paddock in the months following the massacre have fueled endless speculation. That is always what happens when there is a lack of info—people are going to fill the blanks with whatever helps them sleep at night. Or whatever upholds their worldview. Conspiracy theorists have done what conspiracy theorists do. I would like to have something concrete that would shut up the false flag/CIA/BlackOps crowd. But I also know that nothing ever will. We will have to let the rage monkeys rage on.
But on the other hand, evil is a real thing. It exists. And it needs no motive. It is possible to let that evil fuel your anger to the point where you simply want death and destruction. Under that spell, the victims’ natures are of no concern. Your beef is not with a group of people, an ethnicity, political beliefs or religious leanings. You simply hate life itself.
In our polarized and tribal society it is not surprising that people have wanted to assign motives to Paddock since the smoke cleared from that terrible night. “Is he one of ours or one of theirs?” And the ancillary part of that internal monologue; “Do I attack or defend?”
When I ponder to think of the amount of planning and preparation that went into something like this, it scares the living hell out of me. It’s one thing to angrily and immediately respond to a stimulus. But to maintain the rage that such carnage requires over several months…perhaps even years…all while carrying on a presumably-normal façade? That is beyond bone-chilling. You are forced to wonder how many people you meet on the streets are carrying some type of rage under a thin veneer of cordiality.
But absent anything from reputable sources, we will all have to content ourselves with the grim knowledge that sometimes bad things happen for no apparent reason. Trying to account for every eventuality is like preparing for a lightning strike on a clear day.
In the opening monologue of the brilliant movie, “No Country for Old Men,” veteran Sheriff Ed Tom Bell wonders out loud about a world where people kill for no apparent reason. He shares the story of a young man he arrested who eventually landed on death row for killing a 14-year old girl.
“Papers said it was a crime of passion but he told me there wasn’t any passion to it. Told me that he’d been planning to kill somebody for about as long as he could remember. Said that if they turned him out he’d do it again. Said he knew he was going to hell. “Be there in about fifteen minutes”. I don’t know what to make of that. I surely don’t.”
Me neither, Ed Tom.