A Theory on Las Vegas
I may be the only person in the ‘pundit’ world who can put what we know about the Las Vegas shooter in perspective because I’ve dealt with something similar before. My personal take, at this point, is ‘homicidal psychotic break, rationale currently unknown, possible pharmacological.’
To debunk a few of the recent urban legends and prolapse some of the stupider arguments:
ISIS: Nothing in his electronic trail indicates any contact with ISIS despite their claims and some rumors. Nothing.
‘There were multiple shooters/he was a patsy!’: All the guns in the room were registered to Paddock. He was covered in GSR and even had burns on his hands from hot barrel/rounds.
‘He was antifa killing Republicans!’: Nothing in his electronic trail indicates the slightest political affiliation or interest. Nothing.
There weren’t even angry emails. He never posted comments. Rarely read political news. Nada.
Gambling debts! He was broke!
Paddock was a habitual hobby gambler who was the sort of person casinos hate. He would set a budget on his gambling and stick to it religiously. He also rarely lost big or won big and never let either one change his habits.
He was a perfectly normal, successful, retired accountant well-invested in real estate with very little or no recent change in demeanor or actions.
Perfectly normal guy and only a ‘loner’ to the extent he wasn’t terribly socially active. ‘Loner’ apparently means he didn’t frequent wild parties. If he had the narrative would be ‘wild party animal.’
‘Homicidal psychotic break means he couldn’t have done the planning!’
Au contraire. Deep sigh. Been here, had someone in my life nearly do if not that than similar. With their permission I will now recount a story and show why everything about this makes a terrible sort of sense to me. The story is about my lovely and extremely loving wife, Miriam, and her descent to homicidal psychotic break due to a nasty drug interaction.
My wife has had the same doctor since she was a child. Old ‘country’ doctor who is the only person who has ever been able to handle Miriam’s many oddities. A limited list:
Has four kidneys and four ankles. (She ate the good twin.)
Was once listed as one of the top five Adult ADHD in the US and the only one who was clinically functional.
Has supremely bizarre drug interactions and thereby hangs this tale.
Miriam is a ‘limited case pharmacological phenotype.’ What does that mean? You know where on the warning label it says: ‘in rare cases may cause you to grow two heads and fly to the moon’? Miriam is ‘rare cases.’ Every single time she tries a new prescription drug (fill in reason here) she is ‘rare cases.’
This involves the ‘in rare cases’ effect of a drug called Cymbalta. Notably, as Cymbalta NOW states ‘in rare cases may cause homicidal or suicidal psychotic break. Should not be prescribed to teenagers.’ (Because it turns out in MOST cases WILL cause psychotic break in teenagers.)
Miriam was prescribed Cymbalta for ‘depression’ by her doctor in the early fall of 2007. I don’t really remember if it seemed to work or not but she remained on it. I do recall that there as a shooting (by a teenager) that December in Nebraska in a mall. And I do recall Miriam’s uncharacteristic comment.
‘He only managed to kill five people in a crowded mall at Christmas time with a pistol and three magazines? He really needed to learn how to shoot.’
My wife is extremely loving and extremely Christian. Her normal response would have been ‘That’s terrible. God bless their souls and I hope he finds peace!’ ‘I could have done better’ metaphorically was… not Miriam. I’ll admit I didn’t really notice it at the time.
Nor did I notice that over the course of the next several months (not sure when it started) we started to have a lot of ‘off-brand’ bleach around the house. Miriam is a lovely wife but cleaning is not her thing. But she also purchases in a very random manner. (Note the ADHD thing.) This did seem to be alot of bleach, though. I mentioned it a couple of times in jest. (We finally ran through all the bleach she bought in 2007-8 about a year ago. That much bleach.)
I didn’t realize there were twenty-nine more gallon bottles in the trunk of her car.
I do recall during a rather bad time (possibly around below) that ‘when she was gone’ (and it had the feeling of ‘soon’) I wouldn’t have to worry about the cats because ‘they would be coming with her.’ Miriam occasionally says odd things but that stood out. I’m more than aware of various forms of murder suicide and it was… discomforting. But… Miriam sometimes says odd things. (Used to. Far less these days for a variety of reasons. She’s gotten SANER with menopause which is… just as bizarre as everything else.)
Things around Mother’s Day got bad but they usually are. (Reasons I won’t relate.) Then at a certain point I got a call from my loving wife (GF at the time) saying she was coming home from work, early, and we needed to go to Parkridge. I wasn’t even sure what ‘Parkridge’ was.
Parkridge is one of the hospitals in the area but the specific one she mentioned was the psychiatric hospital.
I asked her on the drive over what was wrong. She didn’t want to talk about it. For various ‘privacy’ reasons I wasn’t well informed at the time. But I’ll fill in the blanks for you in ways they weren’t filled in for me.
She finally realized something was VERY wrong and checked herself in. Miriam had had a ‘homicidal psychotic break’ due to a side effect of Cymbalta. In most cases this is light and happens during the first couple of months or first month. NOW doctors are told to evaluate regularly in the first few months. THEN there was no warning. And NOBODY goes nine months. Except someone with ENORMOUS coping skills who has had to deal with madness that drove others insane on a daily basis her whole life.
(By the way, the teenager in the mall above? Guess what anti-depressant he was on? One guess and it rhymes with ‘Sin Malta’. He’d been on it a few months, prescribed right around the same time as Miriam.)
So my loving wife coped. She controlled. As she slowly went ever-loving NUTS.
The specific issue was she had ‘an uncontrollable desire to do harm to those who do harm to others.’ Notably, she’d built up a list of persons on the Megan’s (sexual predators) List and had developed very carefully constructed kill plans for each. She was tracking them and targeting them carefully. She has an extensive background in forensics and was probably going to get away with it.
Now, people may look at the targets and go ‘Well… Uhm… having a hard time with that being ‘bad’.’ But to be very clear, my wife had shifted, subtly and without warning, from sweet, Christian, Miriam to serial killer. And I do mean without ANY REAL WARNING.
I didn’t know exactly what was going on at the time. I was approached by one of the staff after a few hours sitting in a hard chair out front.
‘I understand you’re an author?’
‘Yes. What’s going on? Is Miriam okay?’ (We weren’t married at the time. Yes, I married her AFTER this, people.)
‘She’s being evaluated. But I understand you work from home? Are there frequently?’
‘Pretty much all the time.’
‘We can release her if she is under 24 hour monitoring…’
I had to sign to get her out pledging I would maintain ’24 hour monitoring.’ (Yes, I had to sign an actual release taking responsibility for the actions of an adult. They wouldn’t tell me FOR WHAT ACTIONS.)
Miriam covered the big stuff on the ride home. I didn’t get lots of detail til… years later. Details such as: Manson-like she had started to get the other patients, and even staff, to agree that her plan totally made sense in her first group therapy session. That was the real reason they were sending her home. They were afraid she was infecting the patients and staff and would form a ‘kill sexual predators’ cult.
(I guess they thought I was immune or something.)
Issues with this went on and on for months as it slowly leached from her system.
But let me relate it to Las Vegas.
Most people think of ‘homicidal break’ as someone suddenly ‘grabbing a letter opener and carving their way out of Cost Accountancy and into forensic history.’ (H/t: the late Sir Terry Pratchett.)
That’s not, generally, how it works. How much planning and preparation a person does depends upon how rapid the onset is (months in Miriam’s case) and how good they are at planning and preparation. (Both Miriam and Paddock were planners. He was an accountant and multi-millionaire.)
So look at the story above and break it down:
Relatively normal person, perhaps a bit odd, has minor changes in behavior that no-one in their close circle really notices.
He/she is a methodical person with an agenda. Other people who’ve done mass kills simply did not do it right. He/she is going to do it right. He knows they hold concerts by the Mandalay. That’s the perfect venue for the most kills.
Suddenly they’re a mass killer for no apparent reason.
That was what WAS going to happen with my wife.
So, Paddock doesn’t really surprise me. I’ve seen it before.
My guess is it will be doctors who figure it out. And if they do they’ll find he either was having a bad drug reaction (in which case nobody will admit nothin’ just as they’ve never admitted it was Cymbalta that caused the Westroads Mall Shooting) or neurological degeneration of some sort. (A tumor caused the University of Texas ‘Bell Tower’ shooting.) If pharmacological, the drug doesn’t even have to be a definitively ‘psychotropic’ drug. Many drugs these days from heart medicine to anti-malarials have some psychotropic effect.
(If this had anything to do with a drug reaction, any drug of any type, I hope the survivors sue the shit out of the drug manufacturer. Because most of these recent ‘crazy’ mass kills, going all the way back to the ‘postal worker’ epidemic (overdosage of Prozac) and Columbine (both kids were hopped to their gills on prescription anti-depressants and anti-anxiety drugs), have had SOMETHING to do with psychotropic drugs pushed by drug companies. Many of the murder/suicides of returning military personnel were closely linked to an anti-malarial. And nobody seems to be willing to speak truth to power on the subject. Just writing this post will probably get me sued.)
The only lesson to take from this is ‘keep an eye on your loved ones especially if they have ANY changes in prescription.’ Doesn’t matter if it’s heart medication. Keep an eye on their personality as well as health.
Homicidal break does not always happen quickly. Sometimes it creeps in like the fog on cats feet. It is only at the last that the cackle of madness is heard. By then it is too late.
May God rest all their souls and let them find peace.