When I first heard of the details of the shooting spree in Las Vegas, my immediate thought was of Matt Bracken’s Enemies Foreign and Domestic. My second thought was of the University of Texas, Austin tower shooting. I was not alone on either thought.
Well, preliminary reports are that there were no obvious brain abnormalities.
Mark Steyn recently received a missive from one of his fans on the incident, and in keeping with letting other people say it better than I can, I recommend you read what he had to say, but I will offer some excerpts:
This man amassed (rough figures) 24 guns in the hotel and another 19 at his home – 42 guns in total. He spent some $100,000 on buying them. The guns at his home are one thing but he also spent days filling his hotel room with more weapons and ammunition than he could ever conceivably use along with an array of advanced modifications and accessories.
Everything brand new. And very expensive. And mostly entirely redundant. Representing in effect an enormous waste of money and time and risk.
Except that is in the realm of generating massive publicity. Guaranteed massive publicity.
Yet despite having gone to enormous lengths to achieve that goal we are asked to believe this same man never troubled – never took the most elementary steps – to speak to that publicity. Indeed left behind no trace of anything that might demonstrate indicate or even hint at his motive or motives.
That would appear to make very little sense.
We would argue the opposite – that it makes absolute sense.
Because this gentleman did not simply fail to leave behind a motive; He took substantial trouble to ensure that no motive could be found – or attributed to him. All of which can lead us to only one conclusion:
It has been said that ‘the medium is the message’.
In this case that is the literal truth. There is only one plausible motive for what this man did. And here it is:
This man wished to telegraph to America in graphic form the hard irrefutable evidence that guns and gun ownership and the ease of gun purchase in America are an evil and must be controlled. On that hypothesis everything now makes sense.
On the question of why the shooter scoped out other venues first, but ultimately attacked the Harvest Music Festival:
The people he chose to kill supports the hypothesis on ‘guns’. Country and Western fans are virtually guaranteed to own or at least to defend the ownership of guns. By a certain logic this provides the gunman with two sound moral positions (because it is not beyond possibility he has a conscience):
First – While killing a very large number of innocent people is an horrendous crime it is nonetheless entirely justifiable – in moral terms – if it causes a restriction on guns. Because such a restriction would – it is widely held – save innumerable lives in the long run. There is no evidence for this but it is still a widely and passionately held belief.
Second – Since the people he is shooting are actively or passively defenders of guns and an obstacle to gun control they are by definition responsible in part for all the people who have been and continue to be killed by guns.
You see it in almost every story – “We may never know the motive.” “The motive remains a mystery.”
I don’t think there was any kind of conspiracy involved, but I can’t disagree with this assessment. It’s almost as if he was shouting “How DARE we be allowed to be free!”