Written by Brandon Smith; Originally appeared at Alt-Market.com
I set aside some time for more details of the Vegas shooting to emerge before writing this article. A few important data points have been released, but I have to say that this remains one of the most confusing terror incidents in decades.
The tactical and strategic thought applied in this attack denotes a sophisticated and experienced shooter, yet, we are told by Stephen Paddock’s family and girlfriend that there was no indication that he had such knowledge or experience. There were some advanced tactical decisions involved in every aspect of the staging of the event, yet, there were also a few glaring mistakes that do not fit. Beyond this, there is evidence that Paddock (the alleged shooter) did not act alone, yet, the official mainstream narrative continues to tell us that he was a lone wolf.
Now, every terror event these days produces an endless supply of alternative theories, some practical and some ridiculous. I will be keeping my theories to a minimum here, because I don’t think they serve much purpose in this instance beyond comfort for those that desperately want explanations. What I will be doing is presenting some questions and pointing out inconsistencies. My goal is merely to show that there is evidence which indicates far more complexity to the Vegas shooting than the mainstream media and federal officials are willing to discuss.
First, lets look at how the attack was staged versus what we are told about the background of Stephen Paddock.
Mass Shooter Psychological Profile
Psychological disposition is the root of tactical behavior. It is important to note that mass shootings are an extremely rare occurrence despite the propaganda often poured onto the pages of the mainstream media. Psychological profiling of the people behind these crimes is difficult because the number of candidates is very small. There are, however, some common themes.
For example — many mass shooters are motivated by revenge or envy. Shooters often exhibit signs of sociopathy, a self-centered nature and a lack of compassion along with past instances of abuse and violence towards other people and animals. There is also usually a previous history of mental illness. In most cases there is a “triggering event” which leads to a psychological break and a reaction to violence.
According to the personal accounts from the people that knew Paddock, including his girlfriend, none of these attributes seems to fit. Marilou Danley described him as a “kind and caring man,” stating that he had never taken any action which would have led her to believe he was capable of such violence. The only factor that stands as evidence of a potential psychological break is the fact that Paddock was prescribed the anti-anxiety drug diazepam months prior, which has been known to cause aggression when taken in larger doses.
Did Paddock take this drug because of unrelated anxiety and did it trigger his shooting spree? Or, was his anxiety caused by the fact that he was already planning a shooting spree and the drug was meant to “take the edge off” so he could more easily follow through with the attack?
Paddock was prescribed the drug once in 2016 and on June 21st of this year. I have seen no evidence that he was using the medication in the days before the attack. The meticulous planning that went into this attack, as well as possible evidence that Paddock was renting rooms adjacent to major musical events for some time, shows that this was not initiated by a psychological break. Rather, there was a considerable level of conscious critical thought and foresight.
There is also no available evidence of domestic instability or financial troubles. Paddock was a multi-millionaire with a successful real estate investment portfolio. He was a former postal worker and tax auditor, as well as an employee for defense contractor Lockheed Martin (I have not seen any statements by Lockheed on what exactly he did for them). It should be noted that Paddock, at age 64, was one of the oldest mass shooters in recent history.
Paddock’s father, a bank robber on the FBI’s Most Wanted list, was not present for the most of the early lives of the children according to his brother, Eric Paddock, which undermines the notion of poor environmental influences.
Eric Paddock claims Stephen also had no strong ideological or religious leanings and simply “didn’t care” about such matters. Meaning, no apparent ties to extremist views. He had no social media profiles and police claim they have found nothing in his home computers or phones to suggest a philosophical or political motive. So far I have not seen a single concrete and verified piece of evidence proving Paddock believed in anything other than making money, gambling and traveling the world for fun.
I personally find this extremely hard to believe. Stephen Paddock, for all intents and purposes, was positively the perfect “Gray Man,” a ghost that blended completely into the background, so much so that his own family and girlfriend had no idea that he was amassing the weapons and training needed to pull off the Vegas attack.
The Tactical Know-How Of A Nobody
This is the area which brings up the most questions for me in terms of the Vegas incident. As an avid tactical shooter and long distance shooter, I immediately recognized some strange factors. For instance, the choice of his perch, two adjacent rooms on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel, was rather effective for a number of reasons.
If you have the chance to study counter-sniping methodologies or talk with veterans involved in counter-sniping in urban areas, you will learn that the most successful snipers tend to choose mid-ground perches to take shots from. Meaning, they never choose the highest points nor the lowest points, and never shoot from the closest points or the furthest points. Well trained snipers can and do sometimes shoot from 1,000 yards or more, but they prefer to shoot from the “sweet spot” around 300-400 yards away at an elevated point from an expedient hide in the middle of a building or structure.
They do this because when people (including trained combat soldiers) are shot at, their eyes naturally tend to scan for the highest points in the background and the closest points in the foreground first. Choosing mid-ground positions makes snipers more difficult to pick out quickly and also harder for the average person to shoot back at.
I would note that average, untrained mass shooters are more likely to enter a crowd and start shooting at point blank range in order to ensure hits on targets. Paddock chose the position of a trained shooter, which you can see a photo of in this article by The New Yorker. It was NOT thebest possible position, but a very good one.
Paddock’s choice to fire from the position of a large occupied hotel gave a layer of cover to his attack; anyone attempting to suppress him with their own fire would risk hitting innocent people within the building. Only a person with an understanding of counter-sniping and a scoped rifle would have the ability to stop the attack from outside. Nevada is a very concealed carry friendly state and attacking a crowd at close range on the ground would be a high risk scenario. Firing from the Mandalay was the shooter’s most likely chance of a high body count without meeting opposition, as long as he had the proper training.
The first room Paddock used in the Mandalay is in the corner of the 32nd floor with a view of the concert area and the north. It has a diagonal range of around 400 yards and a linear range of around 240 yards. When firing from an elevated position snipers range targets and bullet drop according to the shorter linear range or “true ballistic distance” (base of the ground to the target) rather than the direct range from their perch to the target. This is because gravity only affects the bullet over the true ballistic distance and elevation in a scope must be adjusted to that distance. It is not as easy as it seems to hit targets from an elevated position, even with an “automatic” weapon.
It has been recently stated by Las Vegas police that the “note” found near Paddock’s body was scribbled with calculations for bullet drop from his position. These calculations can be done with newer laser rangefinders, but Stephen apparently chose to do them on paper. Las Vegas Detective Casey Clarkson was on the grounds of the concert during the attack, and recounted “I’m like, how is he so accurate” (in reference to Paddock) in an interview with 60 Minutes. Yet another piece of evidence showing that Paddock (or someone else) had extensive shooter training.
The two adjacent rooms at the Mandalay offered extensive coverage of possible approaches for first responders. The first room gave the shooter good coverage of the concert and the north approach of Las Vegas Blvd. The second room gave the shooter a very wide angle of coverage to the south approach to the Mandalay as well as the main entrance of the hotel. More tactical know-how on display.
Finally, Paddock allegedly placed small surveillance cameras in the hall approaching his room. A valuable tool which a shooter could use to surprise law enforcement, maintaining a longer period of shooter effectiveness as well as possibly allowing for an escape. Las Vegas police are quoted as stating that it appeared as though Paddock had planned to evade capture. This fits in line with the rest of his tactical staging. His suicide does not.
Things That Don’t Add Up
Again, I am not going to enter into much discussion on theory, here. I am only going to cite some instances of evidence and narrative that, for me, do not make sense. Let’s begin…
The motive: No apparent motive. Paddock led a life of near luxury, had a happy relationship with his girlfriend and gave no indication to anyone of any instability or ideological affiliation. He had no criminal record. He was also well beyond the average age range of people commonly involved in such crimes. He does not fit any of the characteristics of mass shooters. Period.
The arsenal: Paddock put a substantial amount of thought and planning into the position of his perch as well as a potential escape. He had the knowledge and experience to calculate accurate shots from an elevated position at distance. But, for some reason the 64-year-old-man decided it was warranted to drag at least 23 guns and hundreds of pounds of ammunition in ten separate suitcases to his room at the Mandalay Bay. A person with the intelligence displayed in the planning of this event would know that most of these rifles were not needed in the slightest to achieve the effect desired. They are dead weight, and moving them into the Mandalay only presented unnecessary risk of discovery. Unless, of course, the original plan involved multiple shooters.
A strange year?: Family and acquaintances have mentioned Paddock’s propensity for “disappearing” in the year previous to the Vegas attack. And, there is the fact that 33 of the 47 firearms Paddock owned were purchased in the last 12 months.
Security calls: Paddock called hotel security at least twice to complain about “loud music” on the floor below him the day of the shooting. Why would a mass shooter care, or take the risk of drawing too much attention to himself?
The windows: Why, after so much careful planning, did Paddock expose his position by smashing two separate windows in his adjacent hotel rooms? There are other ways of providing a shooter’s loophole with less exposure? Very odd. Almost as if the decision to actually shoot was made suddenly, which does not fit the rest of the narrative or evidence.
“Unrelated” room alarm leads security right to Paddock: The Las Vegas Sheriffs Department indicates that security was originally led directly to the floor that Paddock was shooting from by a “door alarm” that was set off by someone three rooms down from him. Now, authorities have been forced to admit that this alarm and the confrontation between security and Paddock took place BEFORE he began his shooting spree. This means that police should have been alerted to Paddock’s presence and exact location in advance of the attack. Who set off this alarm which conveniently helped to give away Paddock’s position early, and why?
The surveillance cameras: Paddock had a head start on security, SWAT and anyone else that approached his rooms. He fired at hotel security through his door injuring employee Jesus Campos. He also had thousands of rounds of ammunition including .308 rounds which could easily be fired through several walls on the floor of his hotel room. Why did Paddock prepare for an escape, use his cameras to allow him to fire at hotel security through his door, equip rounds capable of annihilating any SWAT team that stacked up to breach his room, but decided to shoot himself instead before SWAT ever entered? Some people might argue that there is no logic to the mind of a “madman,” but again, I’ve seen no evidence that Paddock was insane beyond the criminal act itself. Also, the hotel had its own surveillance in the hall near Paddock’s rooms. No one noticed the man placing cameras about the area?
Multiple shooters?: Las Vegas County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo is quoted as saying that it was only logical to assume given the evidence that Paddock “had some help at some point” in the staging of the Vegas attack. To me, this is absolutely clear in the tactical planning. Paddock does not appear to have the background or training to have chosen and staged the perch.
The report suggesting that a phone charger was found that did not belong to Paddock has since been refuted by police, as well as the report that his card key was used to access his room while Paddock was gone. Of course, hotel surveillance would prove this one way or the other and should be made available to the public.
Still, there are multiple accounts by witnesses that there may have been a second shooter, including the initial reports given by first responders on the scene, who were told a shooter was on the 29th floor as well as the 32nd floor. All of these accounts have been dismissed as a result of “panic” and the fog of war.
The mystery woman: A witness on site at the concert stated that a woman (and her apparent boyfriend) approached people near the stage 45 minutes before the attack, telling them that “they were all going to die.” She was later escorted out of the venue by security. Who was this woman? Was she trying to menace the concertgoers or warn them? Or, was it all coincidence?
In my view, there is simply no way that a man with Stephen Paddock’s history and background committed the Vegas shooting alone. There is no motive, no clear evidence of mental illness, no ideological markers and nothing to be gained. The tactical expertise displayed in most cases shows considerable training. Theories will abound. It is possible that he was used. It is also possible that he was secretly radicalized and trained, as ISIS has continuously asserted since the attack. Or, perhaps he never pulled a single trigger and somehow ended up shot through the head in a room full of guns overlooking Las Vegas Blvd. and dozens of dead concertgoers.
The most disturbing aspect of this event and the mainstream narrative, though, is what it insinuates. It insinuates that anyone no matter how seemingly normal could one day simply “snap” and murder crowds of people with impunity. It is the anti-Second Amendment narrative personified, because if “anyone” is capable of such horror, and motive is nonexistent, then the mere existence of firearm access means that we are surrounded by millions of latent mass shooters. That is to say, we are supposed to fear everyone around us at all times. I will write about the solution to this problem in my next article. In the meantime, I suggest everyone ponder on the oddities of this event and continue to ask questions.