Anorak

Anorak | After Las Vegas: only candles, thoughts and prayers can stop another massacre

After Las Vegas: only candles, thoughts and prayers can stop another massacre

by | 3rd, October 2017

After the horror in Las Vegas, will anything happen? Something must after America’s worst mass-shooting. The sane thing would be to debate gun control and why it’s ok for someone to own an arsenal of high-powered weapons. But amid the candles, prayers and hashtags – and the flurry of guessing about why Stephen Paddock executed scores of innocent music fans out for a good night – nothing gets done. Second Amendment freedoms remain unchanged in law. You can buy a machine gun in the USA and keep it shiny in the hope that when someone aims their machine gun at you, you can shoot back.

The newspapers are full of the Las Vegas bloodbath. All mention Stephen Paddock, the 64-year-old killer, in the opening lines. Police and the FBI are looking for Paddock’s motive. There are many being spouted: he is a jihadi; a white supremacist; an anti-Trump activist; a pro-Trump gun-nut; a terrorist; a white male; and so on. Reuters hears an official says that Paddock had a “history of psychological problems”. Paddock’s father, Benjamin Hoskins Paddock, was a “psychopathic serial bank robber” who was once on the FBI’s most wanted list between 1969 and 1977.

 

 

Donald Trump says it was an “act of pure evil”, a phrase that invokes God and invites us to think the Devil did it. Is that going to be Stephen Paddock’s excuse? Is he going to become a victim of some kind of hereditary condition and demonic possession?

“WHY DID HE FLIP?” asks the Mirror over two pages. The answer can be summed up in one word: “Dunno.” But the Mirror, as with so much media, analyses the dead murderer’s brain. Did he “inherit his criminal father’s mental illness and ruthless passion for violence”? The Mail wonders: “Did gambling losses turn law-abiding ex-accountant into mass killer?” The Sun leads with news that Paddock was “thought” to have gambling debts.

We like a clean narrative: man with money worries / troubled upbringing / religious devotion murders scores of people. But none of it sheds any light on the horror. It just offers Paddock an out. He deserves none. The Las Vegas Police Department’s Sheriff Joe Lombardo is honest: “I can’t get into the mind of a psychopath.”

The only sense would be to look at how mass shootings can be prevented. Better mental health provision? More exorcisms? Locking up children of the criminally deranged? Stopping a man on a mission to kill isn’t easy if you value freedom. How about stricter rules on who gets machine guns and bullets? The US gun lobby won’t budge. Trump needs to find a way to keep the US constitution intact – the freedom and equality it enshrines in law – and stop manics getting their hands on high-velocity killing machines.

The next slaughter won’t be stopped by tea-lights and prayers.

 



Posted: 3rd, October 2017 | In: Key Posts, News Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink