Boulevard of Bloodshed

Although we live in a blood-soaked age of terrorist attacks and mass shootings, the Massacre at Mandalay Bay is now viewed as the worst mass-shooting in modern American history, taking the lives of 58 people and injuring another 546 others. As authorities, amateur sleuths and the public work to unravel the specifics of this particular horrific tragedy, the case has yielded little but enigmatic characters, baffling circumstances and a raft of loose ends.

A debate rages about whether this massacre was the act of a lone shooter, a team of terrorists or a government operation gone awry, but to this day we remain in the dark about why this tragedy occurred.


The Worst Mass Shooting in Modern American History

On October 1, 2017 former accountant, real estate investor and self-professed professional gambler Stephen Craig Paddock is alleged to have opened fire on a crowd of Route 91 concertgoers from a sniper’s nest on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas. The investigation as headed by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) and augmented by the FBI has yielded scant publicly available information to date, giving rise to numerous conspiracy theories, claims of incompetence and charges of a cover-up by authorities. This Special Report is a chronicle of the tragic event, the characters involved and the many strange elements surrounding the crime and subsequent investigation.

Oddly, the elements of the crime, such as the sheer volume of the arsenal found in the hotel room, Paddock’s skill at video poker and millions of dollars made over thirty years seem to add to the opacity of his motives rather than illuminate them.

Background of the Tragedy

Beginning at approximately 10:05 pm on October 1, 2017 a person or persons opened fire on a crowd of concertgoers at the Route 91 Country and Western music festival. The shooting, including at least 12 bursts of automatic gunfire and some single shots lasted over ten minutes, taking 58 lives and causing injuries to 546 other people, a total of over 600 casualties. A police tactical team breached the door of room 32-135 on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel at 11:20 pm and found one dead person there and a total of 23 guns, mostly assault style rifles fitted with “bump-stocks” that simulate automatic fire.

Police identified the dead man in the room as Stephen Craig Paddock, a 64-yar-old retired accountant with no criminal history, religious affiliations or known political leanings. The current “official” timeline is one created by an analysis of video evidence of the shooting conducted by Malachy Browne, Drew Jordan and Nicole Fineman of the New York Times. Authorities have presented several contradicting timelines throughout the course of the investigation.

Who is Stephen Craig Paddock

Through the investigation authorities have developed a full (but incomplete) dossier of Paddock’s life and his later years remain enigmatic. His Wikipedia entry provides a roundup of the highlights of Paddock’s life. What is known, Paddock grew up in Arizona and California, studied accounting at California State University, Northridge, graduating in 1977 with a degree in Business Administration. He worked as a letter carrier for the US Postal Service during his last year of college and for the year following graduation. Beginning in 1978 Paddock worked as an agent in the audit division of the IRS, eventually moving to a position as a federal auditor for one year. After his six-year stint with the IRS Paddock took a position as an internal auditor with defense contractor Morton-Thiokol (that eventually merged with Lockheed-Martin), necessitating a Top-Secret security clearance.

Paddock apparently retired in 1988 and never engaged in regular employment thereafter. His professional life from the time of his retirement from accounting work to the time of his apparent death is murky at best but he is described as a real-estate investor, real-estate business manager and, by his own description, a professional gambler. According to reports, Paddock was almost supernaturally successful with his real estate investments, making 5-6 million dollars in profits from a single property in 2015 alone. By all accounts, Paddock was a multimillionaire at the time of the shooting.

Why, why, why?

Why did this tragedy occur? This is the central question on everyone’s mind since the day twelve bursts of seeming automatic gunfire were caught on various videos spraying at the crowd of Route 91 concertgoers. Six weeks have passed since the atrocity and authorities are – in their public pronouncements anyway – no closer to a motive. Why did a reclusive senior citizen millionaire decide, seemingly out of the blue, to conduct such a dastardly deed? Was he part of a group. Was he a government operative participating in a sting operation? Did he join ISIS as that terrorist group claimed immediately after the shooting? Did he have anything to do with this at all? If the authorities know they are keeping a tight seal on information that would lead to any sort of clue.

In the absence of definitive information, or even a reasonable level of information from the police, an army of amateur sleuths, independent journalists and more than a few conspiracy buffs have exploded the Internet with theories, speculation and interpreted evidence.

Sadly, mass shootings occur all too often in modern American life. For that reason, Paddock’s (or somebody’s) actions are rather run of the mill. Just another evil-doer bent on destroying civil society. However, the motive for these cowardly acts remain opaque and that is different for these sorts of mass shootings. Oddly, the elements of the crime, such as the sheer volume of the arsenal found in the hotel room, Paddock’s skill at video poker and millions of dollars made over thirty years seem to add to the opacity of his motives rather than illuminate them.

To be sure, there have been mass murdering shooters who have meticulously planned their actions, as well as those who just blew a gasket and randomly attacked. Of course, there are numerous acts of terror that have taken place, sometimes conducted by a ‘lone wolf’ and others through the efforts of a terror group or cell. In most every case, the motives of the depraved attackers are immediately clear.

Typically, a mass shooter’s motives are as transparent as a shout of ‘Allah Akbar’ or a list of targets in a shooter’s pocket showing only the names of Republican congressmen. In this case the public is completely in the dark as to the motivation for this attack, with police and the FBI claiming their own bafflement, although it is entirely possible the authorities are being coy so as to keep important investigative information under wraps. Naturally such reticence on the part of authorities leads to claims of a cover-up from a populace on edge.

In the absence of definitive information, or even a reasonable level of information from the police, an army of amateur sleuths, independent journalists and more than a few conspiracy buffs have exploded the Internet with theories, speculation and interpreted evidence. This is not a new phenomenon. When police are baffled by unsolved crimes people outside the normal investigative channels jump into the void as evidenced by amateur speculation and research from the Jack the Ripper slayings to the Lindbergh Baby kidnapping to the Kennedy assassinations.

Generally average people don’t involve themselves with basic crimes, even killings. They do tend to spend time and thought on sensational crimes, of which the Mandalay Massacre certainly qualifies. If the authorities appear flummoxed and can’t provide immediate answers, people will spring into action. Then too, if authorities provide absolute answers too quickly and with utmost confidence, as in the John Kennedy assassination, the public will also start speculating. This effect occurs, for the most part, when a case just doesn’t ‘feel right’ to the average person. This case is chock full of enigmas and nonsensical actions, seemingly tailor made for public speculation and sleuthing.

Theories, Claims and Conjecture

In the absence of definitive information, or even a reasonable level of information from the police, an army of amateur sleuths, independent journalists and more than a few conspiracy buffs have exploded the Internet with theories, speculation and interpreted evidence. This is not a new phenomenon. When police are baffled by unsolved crimes people outside the normal investigative channels jump into the void as evidenced by amateur speculation and research from the Jack the Ripper slayings to the Lindbergh Baby kidnapping to the Kennedy assassinations.

Generally average people don’t involve themselves with basic crimes, even killings. They do tend to spend time and thought on sensational crimes, of which the Mandalay Massacre certainly qualifies. If the authorities appear flummoxed and can’t provide immediate answers, people will spring into action. Then too, if authorities provide absolute answers too quickly and with utmost confidence, as in the John Kennedy assassination, the public will also start speculating. This effect occurs, for the most part, when a case just doesn’t ‘feel right’ to the average person. This case is chock full of enigmas and nonsensical actions, seemingly tailor made for public speculation and sleuthing.

There are Theories…

Literally hundreds of theories have sprung up overnight on Paddock’s motives. Many are obvious speculation, some of the rankest variety. Most of the non-law enforcement theories are simply mindless ruminations that aren’t particularly well thought out and incorporate little or no research. However, a number of theories have emerged from our modern-day digital stewpot that, no matter how breathlessly hyped or conspiratorial, seem plausible, possible and may even contain the partial or whole truth.

Here we examine the top seven theories that have emerged to date. Again, all of these theories are speculative, as is expected from people who aren’t privy to the full spectrum of information that law enforcement would (or should) have at its fingertips.


Top Five Theories

The five theories that have gained the most traction, in no particular order:

Islamic Jihadist

False Flag Operation

CIA/FBI Operative

Ideological Warrior

Lone Wolf Nutcase

Freshly Minted Jihadist

In the early morning of OCT 2nd terrorist group ISIS, the so-called Islamic State, posted on the Telegram platform (an encrypted messaging app) a claim that “Attacker of the #Las_Vegas shooting is a soldier of the Islamic State and carried out the operation in response to targeting coalition countries.” This was mere hours after the attack and was almost immediately discounted by the FBI. In the ensuing days ISIS doubled down, then tripled down and even conveyed a fourth message that, indeed, Paddock was their man.

ISIS has not provided the proof it typically disseminates, such as a taped declaration or statement of fealty to the terror group, that Paddock converted to Islam. To this date, the FBI publicly states that there is no known connection linking Paddock to ISIS or any religious group as is reported in this Newsweek article from an unnamed FBI source, “There is no indication that there is any link whatsoever. They claim a lot of things.”

While it is true that ISIS makes a number of claims that turn out as false, they are particularly and extraordinarily adamant in this case, even going so far as to provide an Islamic name or “kunya” reserved for their most revered jihadists. They refer to Paddock as Abu Abd al-Bar al-Amriki. Additionally, ISIS provided an alleged picture of a much younger looking Paddock in Jihadi getup. The figure shown in the ISIS-supplied stylized photoshopped version is NOT the Stephen Paddock of Mesquite, NV but that of a Stephen Paddock who lives in Canada, lifted from the Canadian Stephen Paddock’s Facebook page. That ISIS does not have a unique picture of Paddock and apparently doesn’t even know what he looks like damages the credibility of the claim.

An image created by ISIS that falsely claimed the person shown was the Stephen Paddock of Nevada. This image is of a Stephen Paddock in Canada.

What of the FBI claims of no connections or provable links between Paddock and ISIS? Should the FBI assertions be taken at face value? Probably not. The FBI often takes an inordinate amount of time to declare an act terrorism or a perpetrator a Jihadist, even when such a determination is obvious to everyone else. The FBI took weeks to declare the mass shootings in San Bernardino as an act of terror driven by Islamic Jihad. In that case they went out of their way to keep the atrocity in the realm of ‘workplace violence.’

Then too, there are a number of reasons to doubt FBI assertions and claims these days – they have often been wrong or focused on the politically correct path going back decades now. Pamela Geller writing at American Thinker [LINK] lays out a good roundup of FBI miscalculations in high profile cases, particularly where Islamic Jihad is involved. That the FBI was, within several hours, so quick to jump on the ‘no links to terrorism’ platform – before any meaningful investigation could possibly have been accomplished – indicates they are making assertions reactively rather than from investigative work product. After all, what agency is to blame when a senior citizen American white guy is radicalized on American soil by Islamic Jihadists without any detection whatsoever? The FBI, they are supposed to know these things since then FBI Director Robert Mueller changed the agency from one that only investigates crimes after they are committed to a proactive domestic intelligence gathering agency.

An important aspect of the Jihadist question is whether the LV Massacre incorporates the elements of an ISIS operation. The answer, based on what we know to date, is…maybe. Known ISIS attacks have been conducted both by organized groups or a lone wolf triggered by some call to action. Typically, such attacks are well planned and exact maximum casualties. The LV attack was almost supernaturally planned in its thoroughness.

Despite assertions from both the Las Vegas Metropolitan police and the FBI it remains unclear whether or not there were multiple shooters who meted out the carnage during the massacre. They say they are ‘confident’ there were no others but are careful to couch their responses in ways that blurs clarity. For example, as reported by NBC News, [LINK] when asked about the possibility of multiple shooters, Undersheriff Kevin McMahill answered, “We’re very confident that there was not another shooter in that room.” Yes, ‘in that room’ but what about everywhere else in Las Vegas? There is remarkably credible evidence that multiple shooters hit the concert in a coordinated attack. Some we can hear with our own ears, such as this cab driver’s video, [LINK] and make our own determination. Others include this forensic audio analysis conducted by Mike Adams [LINK] that details the possibility of at least two shooters attacking the concert.

The attack in Las Vegas does bear the hallmarks of a coordinated Jihadist-style attack of the type typically carried out on behalf of ISIS in places like Paris and Brussels. Paddock did travel extensively to the Middle East, [LINK] interestingly he never visited Israel. His girlfriend Marilou Danley was a native of the Philippines, a country noted for a growing problem with Islamic extremism and the pair traveled there on several occasions. Paddock sent $100,000 to the Philippines just before the attack, ostensibly for Marilou, but, to our knowledge, authorities still have not actually tracked where the money went. One more item that lends credibility to the Jihadist theory is a Yahoo! report that Paddock’s casino transactions and money transfers threw up red flags with the finCEN unit [LINK] that tracks terrorist funding and potential money laundering crimes.

For all of these reasons, the American Jihadist theory is both plausible and possible. The FBI and the public should not be so quick to dismiss such a scenario.

The False Flag Operation

Briefly, a ‘false flag’ operation is a high profile public action, such as a terror attack or mass shooting, conducted by or on behalf of a deep-pocket benefactor such as a government, corporation or activist group, intended to scare the public into accepting the erosion of liberties or going to war.

Under the false flag theory of the atrocity Stephen Paddock would shoot up innocent concert-goers for some defined motive or reason such as ‘he’s despondent from losing so much money from gambling and wants to exact his revenge on the bottom line of the casinos or all of Las Vegas.’ Or, ‘he’s a psychopathic nut-job like his father who descended into madness and wanted to go out in a blaze of glory and become super notorious.’ In the ensuing days, the true purpose of the operation would become apparent and in this case that true purpose might be a renewed fervor and acceptance for gun control or financial benefit for shadowy parties or groups.

There are at least two streams of evidence that the Las Vegas Massacre could be a false flag operation. One stream is the obvious renewed call for gun control by the media, politicians and more than a few entertainers, some of whom try to place blame on all gun owners for Paddock’s atrocities. Former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi even went so far as hoping the call for making bump stocks (the mechanism that makes a semi-automatic weapon operate a little more like an automatic one) illegal will lead to a slippery slope for even more gun control [LINK].

The second is the possible sell-off of Mandalay Bay stock shares by a handful of wealthy shareholders in the weeks leading up to the attack coupled with a dramatic increase in stock shorting options placed [LINK] in the month prior. We can also include increased share purchases in companies that make security machines for scanning people and luggage prior to the attack as an indicator for false flag possibilities.

One of the problems with false flag theories is that they require a willing participant to carry out the atrocity, with the foreknowledge they may not survive the operation. Stephen Paddock is described as a genius at strategy and numbers and seems an unlikely candidate to play the part of stooge for powerful people or groups. Then again, none of Paddock’s family or acquaintances thought him capable of mass murder before the attack, so perhaps he decided to make some twisted point through his actions.

Are there any indications that Paddock might have wanted to conjure up increased gun control through his actions? At first glance this proposition doesn’t seem plausible. Paddock bought and sold guns for many years and would seem to be firmly on the opposite side of the gun control argument. But then he started buying guns in bulk in October 2016 and presumably the bump stocks to go with them.

Writer Mark Steyn corresponded with a think tank about how the method is the message. [LINK] As we now know, Paddock assembled an over the top arsenal in his suite on the 32nd floor, with far more guns than necessary or usable in any attack conducted by a single person. He stockpiled explosives Tannerite and ammonium nitrate in his car, but not wired to blow up. Police may be stumped as to what Paddock would have done with such materials, but they and the excess guns make perfect sense if Paddock was trying to make a point about how easy it is for an average guy to acquire mass killing weapons and use them for the destruction of innocent people. The logic is twisted and nonsensical but so is the cowardly act of shooting hundreds of unsuspecting people in the back.

While it is easy to see how some wealthy share traders might benefit from such a false flag operation, what about Paddock? How would he benefit? We in the public can only speculate on the murkiest of terms. LVMP Sheriff Lombardo has been insistent that Paddock sought to leave his sniper’s nest alive [LINK] and escape. If so, there would have to be some big payoff of money and protection on the back end and we should not discount the profit motives of a millionaire who ate lunch at the highly discounted senior center. [LINK]

The false flag theory is both plausible and possible and deserves investigative consideration.

The Government Operative

Government agencies such as the CIA and FBI regularly use everyday citizens to conduct certain kinds of operations. These may include sting operations for terrorism or other potential crimes. And too, all levels of law enforcement utilize informants to gather intelligence on criminal organizations.

The government operative theory that has developed in regard to Stephen Paddock and the Las Vegas Massacre is based on a couple of operational possibilities often used by government agencies.

One scenario is the idea that Paddock was a gun runner for one of the alphabet agencies – CIA, ATF or FBI – for operations much like these agencies have conducted in the past, such as the much maligned Fast and Furious gun sales boondoggle. In such a case, Paddock might move guns to criminals or terrorists so the authorities can track them and see where they end up, making arrests when the guns migrate to the kingpin.

The second scenario centers around the idea of Paddock as a point man in a sting operation to nab would-be Jihadists seeking to operate on American soil. In this scheme, Paddock would act as a gun seller to Jihadists and would likely set up gun deals in places such as warehouses or hotel rooms and attract prospective Jihadists to a meeting where they are nabbed immediately after striking a bargain. Or, in a more frightening scenario, the authorities might let the buyers walk with the guns in hopes of being led to a terrorist cell.

The basic theory is, as related by Scott Norris in a Scott Adams YouTube discussion thread:

This Vegas shooting is related to the Fast and Furious operation where the FBI was smuggling weapons across the boarder [sic]. Paddock was an FBI agent who was about to make a sale to ISIS (which explains the cameras in the room). ISIS found out about this and they killed Paddock and opened fire on the crowd with the weapons the FBI was about to sell to ISIS. It was an undercover operation gone wrong. This info is based off notes being sent back and forth between FBI and police that Anonymous got a hold of. The FBI has a lot of explaining to do. The FBI were supposed to bust ISIS before the massacre took place. FBI didn’t know ISIS had learned about Paddock’s true identity and the entire plan was screwed up.

Leaving aside the efficacy of government sting operations, would Paddock have qualified for recruitment to operate in such a program. Although Paddock’s life history is decidedly opaque, certain aspects of his employment history are known fact. Paddock actually worked for the government in several capacities. First, he was a letter carrier for the US Postal service for a couple of years around the time he graduated from college. Next, he worked as an IRS agent in the audit division. From there he moved to the Defense Contract Audit Agency which operates under the direction of the Department of Defense. After his stint at the DCAA he moved directly to a defense contractor, the precursor company to Lockheed-Martin, where he worked as an internal auditor. Paddock’s work at the DCAA would have required a federal security clearance.

The FBI and CIA regularly recruit average people to participate in the investigative or intelligence gathering process. Typically, these are confidential informants, surveillance specialists and direct participants in sting operations. Paddock is often described as highly intelligent, was a licensed pilot and once held a Federal government security clearance. In actuality, Paddock, with his secretive personality, elevated attention to detail and independent wealth seems a prime candidate for recruitment into the shadowy side of government agencies. The question is, was he ever aligned with an intelligence or law enforcement agency of the Federal government?

Surely the FBI on the ground in Las Vegas would know the answer to this question, but would they ever acknowledge that if it were the truth? Not likely. There are times when a CIA or FBI asset will commit an atrocity but agency connections are always denied. To this day we don’t know whether or not Lee Harvey Oswald had CIA connections or believed he was working for a government agency. Information of possible connections are murky. Of course, covert operations are supposed to be secret and…covert. Surely there are times when an asset might go rogue and commit some dastardly crime which would embarrass the agency in question but these things are rarely, if ever, acknowledged.

There is some plausibility Paddock was an agency asset of some type. It is entirely possible too, but answers to such questions won’t come from the agencies. If such a truth were uncovered its revelation would stem from old fashioned gumshoe detective work by journalists or other private citizens.

The Ideological Warrior

There are many atrocities committed around the world every year by someone with a political axe to grind. Some are obvious, as when 66-year-old James Hodgkinson opened fire on a group of Republican congressmen playing baseball. Others may be less obvious, where years of pent up rage boils to the surface and the shooter strikes out and the perpetrators friends and neighbors all say, “He was just a quiet normal guy” or some other phrase suggesting total cluelessness.

Paddock, by all accounts, pretty much kept to himself, was quiet and didn’t express himself through social media. His brother Eric asserted rather emphatically, “Steve had no political or religious affiliations or leanings, none whatsoever. He was just a guy that hung out.” His brother’s statement is probably not true. Everyone has some sort of political leanings but it might be Paddock didn’t express his openly or very often. And too, everyone has religious leanings, from full blown atheist to foaming at the mouth Islamic Jihadist. Some people are aggressively agnostic.

If Paddock did have a political axe to grind, which side of the blade did he sharpen? Left, or right? This particular mass murderer didn’t leave much of a digital trail, and certainly no rants or manifestos in the manner of Hodgkinson or the Unabomber Ted Kaczynski. We are relegated to reading the tea leaves as it were, by sifting through Paddock’s past statements and activities, no matter how scant. The elements of his crime come into play as well. Given the LV Massacre was a carefully planned out targeted mass killing, and Paddock moved through most aspects of his life with deliberate precision, there are most certainly methods to his madness and reasons for his methods.

There is scant evidence to suggest Paddock held any extreme political views. He did not act on them in any public forum that we know of to date. There are some anecdotal statements made through acquaintances that may shed some light on Paddock’s line of thinking, such as some statements made by his girlfriend’s sister’s boyfriend Adam Le Fevre [LINK] as reported in the New York Post, “As we walked through that small area, Steve said, ‘Bedroom … sitting room … and gun room …’ Aah, gunroom?” The conversation continued as related by Le Fevre, “And he said, ‘Well, most people in the US have firearms and they need to be protected, and of course you don’t want firearms falling into the hands of the wrong people.”

Le Fevre had visited Las Vegas and met up with Paddock at his home in Mesquite, NV. For whatever reason Le Fevre, who is from Australia, posed a question to Paddock about the Second Amendment and stated Paddock answered, “I raised that question with Steve and it’s something that he came back at me with an incredible degree of vigor. He was very strict and very firm on the fact that it’s a right. It’s the freedom of every American to participate, to own a gun and use it … when need be. I was shocked. There was no compassion in regard to my question.”

On the surface, Le Fevre’s recollections would seem to show Paddock sharpens his axe on the right side, and aggressively so. But a thorough reading of the article reveals some countervailing information. First, Le Fevre states he never actually saw the guns…implying that they were locked away in a room behind a door. Le Fevre goes on to say how he feels guilt having known Paddock and that, “Retrospectively I wish I had known that earlier.” Le Fevre’s assertion that Paddock’s answer lacked “compassion” is also telling. What compassion is expected from someone explaining the reasons for Second Amendment rights in the US? It would seem Le Fevre may have his own agenda, as expressed retrospectively through his recollections. In any case, there is no evidence Paddock was ever a member of the NRA or other gun association and never, to anyone’s knowledge, spoke out about gun ownership and the Second Amendment to anyone, friends and family included.

About a week after the LV Massacre an unnamed prostitute surfaced and made some racy claims about Paddock’s penchant for violent sex and paranoia, as reported in London’s Daily Mail, [LINK] “The woman, who spoke anonymously, said she would spend hours drinking and gambling in Sin City with Paddock, who she described as ‘paranoid’ and ‘obsessive’. If he hit a winning streak, he would take her back to his room for ‘really aggressive and violent sex’ including living out rape fantasies.” During the interview, the anonymous source also said, “Paddock, 64, would often rant about conspiracy theories including how 9/11 was orchestrated by the US government.” So, according to this anonymous source of the night, Paddock was a paranoid 9/11 Truther sex addict and quite vocal and aggressive about his proclivities. She seems to paint him as part Timothy McVeigh and part Rosie O’Donnell. None of this points to any particular political viewpoint.

Other shards of evidence emerge from the fever swamps of the Alex Jones [LINK] variety, where every minute detail is blown up to huge conspiratorial proportions. We link to these sorts of overwrought presentations to provide context for the various conspiracy theories running around. Most of the theories are speculation and personal opinion. Some claim to have inside information that always seems to be ready for distribution “tomorrow” or sometime soon. Still, despite the breathlessness involved in this type of “breaking” news, there are, at times, nuggets of truth or possible paths to the truth that get revealed, such as Laura Loomer’s discovery that Paddock checked into the Mandalay Bay three days earlier [LINK] than the timeline narrative official given by officials.

One interesting stream of fevered “proof” of Paddock’s possible political leanings involved a news video of an anti-Trump rally that took place in Reno, NV in August 2017 where a man who looks an awful lot like Stephen Paddock [LINK] was seen in attendance. We’ve been told by one of these amateur sleuths, Steven Haffley, [LINK] that he “…was able to track down a local reporter to verify this was not him.” Mr. Haffley is relying on the word of the local reporter rather than any investigative evidence provided, such as who the man in the video might be if not Paddock. Further to this point, no one has stepped forward to say, “That wasn’t Paddock, that was me.” While it is impossible to say conclusively the man in the video is in fact Paddock, we have prepared a couple of analytical pieces to compare grainy screen shots of the man in the video with pictures of Paddock. Based on these it does look similar to Paddock but does not represent proof it is him. Could be a remarkable coincidence.

Despite Paddock’s brother’s assertions in an initial interview [LINK] and a second one [LINK] that he had no political or religious leanings, we cannot be so quick to dismiss the possibility. Paddock could have been anything from a Right-wing gun nut to a Left-wing Antifa supporting gun control freak but just not vocal about his thoughts. That Paddock had political motives behind the rampage is both plausible and possible and should have unmitigated attention from authorities investigating the crime.

The Lone Wolf Nutcase

Many, if not most mass shooters are eventually revealed as people with severe mental or emotional problems. Some are on psychotropic drugs, others suffered severe abuses as children and a few have severe mental issues such as schizophrenia. Paddock’s father, Patrick Benjamin Paddock was a fugitive bank robber once described by the FBI as ‘psychopathic’ and suicidal. Eventually the elder Paddock became a run of the mill con man grifting money from little old church ladies’ bingo operations. To our knowledge he never killed anyone.

Psychopathy is an inheritable mental condition but is often misunderstood as the cause of foaming at the mouth raving lunacy that leads to violent crimes. Contrary to this mistaken conception, psychopathy is an anti-social behavior earmarked by inhibited empathy and remorse, and also disinhibited egotistical traits. Basically, psychopathy doesn’t drive someone to violent acts but erases the emotional barriers one might have that would keep them from committing an atrocity or crime.

There is no evidence Stephen Paddock was ever diagnosed as a psychopath but his life patterns do suggest some anti-social behavior. By most accounts he wasn’t particularly a people person but more of a self-contained personality. His most comfortable and lengthy interactions were with mind-numbing video poker machines…no bluffing or gaming tells, just numbers and algorithms. Still, if Paddock were never connected to a mass killing he would seem a rather average, albeit geeky, high roller – a risk taker but one who mitigates against loss through determinedly focused concentration and self-control. To be sure, he was a gambler but not the bon vivant sort who first kisses and then rolls the dice. Paddock was a calculating, highly competitive numbers oriented personality. One could call him cold.

Some of Paddock’s family and acquaintances have referred to him as a genius. This is likely true in the respect that he was highly successful at certain things that require a high level of intelligence. He made money in real estate speculation but that could have been luck to some degree. He may have made some money on the margins by gambling, but even to break even or lose just a little when the odds are tilted far in favor of the House, requires advanced mental acuity. There are some who believe Paddock may have been laundering money gained from criminal activities through gambling. If true, even that requires skill and smarts to evade detection for over thirty years. Successful criminals are usually smart but use their abilities for criminal purposes.

Casual observers and professional investigators alike question whether Paddock could have acted alone. How could a rather doughy senior citizen pull off such an atrocity on his own – all that planning, moving around and toting an entire arsenal up the to his room on the 32nd floor? How does a retired old man perform the act of shooting all those rounds, with using semi-automatic rifles fitted with bump-stock devices that create bone-crushing simulated automatic fire? How could he fire thousands of rounds in ten minutes without completely obliterating his shoulder?

These questions are reasonable and it remains in doubt whether or not Paddock acted alone to commit this atrocity. But could he have meted out all this carnage on his own? Yes, because of who he was and his acknowledged personality traits. From his youth, Stephen Paddock was a self-organized personality who defied the conventional rules kept by everyone else. He was a rebel that was good with numbers but not known as a team player. Really, the classic ‘lone wolf’ personality.

While he did work in some conventional jobs they each lent themselves to quiet, focused work done by one’s self. He was a letter carrier for the US Postal Service. He was an IRS audit accountant, then a defense contract auditor. All highly focused singularly accomplished work tasks. After the conventional jobs, his career shifted to navigating real estate speculation and gambling at video poker. Although Paddock worked with other people in his real estate ventures, he was the man in charge and appears to have played a more strategic role than a hands-on management one. He is also described as a person who, once he gets an idea in his head, pursues it with a ferocious bull-dog tenacity. Such traits are the hallmarks of playing and carrying out complex and physically demanding operations – whether robbing a string of banks or carrying out the most diabolical mass shooting in modern times.

Could Paddock have surreptitiously purchased all those guns, bump-stocks and ammunition from dealers in several states over the course of a year’s time? Certainly. Such procurement is right in his personality profile wheelhouse.

What about the planning, pursued with singular focus and attention paid to the most minute details? Again, yes. Paddock demonstrated a command for detail, strategy and planning throughout his life. Apparently, that is how his brain was wired.

How about the physical aspect? How could a doughy old sedentary man carry all that equipment up to that room? Paddock could have got hundreds of pounds of luggage up to his room the same way every other senior citizen that stays in a Las Vegas hotel does, by generously tipping the bellhops. In this case, likely over several days and through more than one unwitting helper. As a card carrying high roller Paddock also had access to the service elevator, giving him a more private, and possibly unrecorded, pathway. Authorities claimed Paddock’s room contained 10-13 suitcases. That’s three suitcases transported each day in a place open and chaotically busy all 24 hours. Of course, Paddock could have managed that feat.

How is it possible someone of his advanced years could fire off all those rounds without having a heart attack from exhaustion? Machine guns have the same kick as any rifle and firing off rounds from a 100-round magazine is bone-jarring, teeth-rattling work but not particularly aerobically taxing. Firing weapons of the type allegedly found in Paddock’s room for ten or fifteen minutes in intervals separated by tens of seconds isn’t necessarily going to exhaust a 64-year-old guy with a beer belly. His doughy physique might even help to cushion the effects of kickback. While Paddock wouldn’t necessarily be overly exhausted by shooting in this manner, the sheer number of rounds fired over the length of time the rampage took does suggest a nearly maniacal dedication to killing as many people as possible.

Paddock surely could have physically done the job. He most assuredly possessed the planning skills to carry out the massacre. While there is no evidence yet known that shows Paddock had a brain tumor or any sort of advanced mental conditions that might drive him to commit such an atrocity, it is right for authorities to focus on him as the primary suspect. After all, dead or not, he was the man in the room when police breached the door.


A Running Analysis

At this juncture, we are no closer to firm knowledge of why this horrendous act happened. We don’t even know whether or not Paddock himself fired a single bullet from the guns in the room, or if he was the only person shooting on the Las Vegas Strip that night. The authorities – through the FBI and LVMPD – are weaving a narrative for public consumption that claims Paddock was a lone gunman that “snapped,” end of story. But, as Sheriff Lombardo clearly stated in a press conference, “We are giving you (the public) information to calm people’s nerves, not to build a legal case.” Of course, that is not the primary job of law enforcement, which is, in fact, to gather evidence in the furtherance of building a legal case.

The primary suspect in this case is dead and that fact provides convenient cover for authorities to tamp down hysteria and quickly close the case, even going so far as to say, “We may never know the reasons why Paddock did this.” The FBI has tasked over a hundred agents to investigate the worst mass shooting in modern American history – a tremendous amount of resources – and must deliver a competent and thoroughly investigated result. Even if no criminal trial is forthcoming, the investigation must prove all aspects of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.