The Aftermath and the Unknown

The Las Vegas Massacre


Photo by Creative Commons

A crowd takes part in a candlelight vigil in memory of the victims of the mass shooting in Las Vegas.

Analisa Coppa, Staff Writer

On the night of October 1st, Stephen Paddock smashed through the window of his hotel room and fired an onslaught of bullets upon thousands attending the Route 91 Music Festival below. He killed 59 people and wounded over 500 before turning the weapon on himself, marking the “deadliest mass shooting in modern history.” Loved ones of victims are still demanding answers as to how and why the gunman was able to commit a tragedy of this magnitude. Sadly even weeks later, investigators are still grappling to resolve the most critical question: what was Paddock’s motive?

Stephen Paddock, 64, was a wealthy, retired accountant and avid gambler. Every night, he bet enormous sums of money while staying at casinos like the Mandalay Bay. It was later revealed  that his father, Benjamin Paddock, was notorious serial robber with a sociopathic personality, according to the New York Times. He was also placed on the FBI’s Most Wanted List in the 1960s for a string of armed larcenies. However, as far as Stephen Paddock’s relatives and girlfriend knew, Stephen did not suffer from any diagnosed mental illness; although, it is now highly suspected that one went undiagnosed. No suicide note was left behind to explain his actions.

Paddock’s killing spree further illustrates a disturbing pattern of increasingly deadly mass shootings. According to the Gun Violence Archive, this attack was the 273rd mass shooting out of the 307 so far this year.

Police reports state that Paddock had legally amassed an arsenal of over 45 guns, 19 of which were in his hotel room that night. They also found 12 bump stock devices, which “dramatically increase the number of rounds that can be fired in a short amount of time” (New York Post). Moreover, he consecutively used several rifles to ensure that he could inflict the maximum amount of damage on the crowd. Regarding Paddock’s weapons, Michael Helfand of the Chicago Now argues, “Paddock literally could have walked down Las Vegas Blvd. with an AR-15 over his shoulder and bullets falling out of his pockets, and his only crime would be littering.”

His planning also exceeded the definition of premeditation. Paddock sent his girlfriend back to the Philippines ahead of October 1st, wired over $100,000 to her, hid several cameras outside his room to prevent authorities from capturing him before he could commit suicide, pre-calculated bullet trajectories, and is believed to have spent months perfecting his attack. Additionally, Paddock scouted other possible locations for an attack, like the Lollapalooza Festival in Chicago.

However, in the wake of this carnage, humanity has proven its resilience once more. Thousands responded immediately to support their family, friends, neighbors, and fellow Americans. Several streets were lined with people waiting to donate blood to the victims, and donations from strangers worldwide flooded Go Fund Me pages. If you would like to contribute financially to the recovery of victims, open the camera on your phone and hover over the code below.