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The dead soul of Stephen Paddock

Patrick Buchanan on

What was his motive? Why did he do it?

Why did Stephen Paddock, 64, rent rooms at the Mandalay Bay hotel, sneak in an arsenal of guns, a dozen of them converted to fully automatic, and rain down death on a country music concert?

"We will never know," writes columnist Eugene Robinson.

"There can be no rational argument for mass murder ... nothing can really explain the decision to spray thousands of concert-goers with automatic weapons fire, killing at least 59 and injuring hundreds more."

But while there can be no justification for mass murder, there is an explanation. And like Edgar Allan Poe's "Purloined Letter," it is right there in front of us, in plain sight.

Having chosen to end his life, Paddock resolved to go out in a blaze of publicity. This nobody would leave this life as somebody we would have to remember. He would immortalize himself, as did Lee Harvey Oswald.

Reportedly, Paddock even filmed himself during his massacre.

Ex-Marine sniper Charles Whitman, who murdered his wife and mother, and then climbed up into the Texas University Tower in Austin, 50 years ago, to shoot down 46 people and kill 15, is the prototype.

Whitman's slaughter ended after 96 minutes when a cop climbed up in that tower and shot him. Yet, half a century on, Whitman remains famous. Many of us can yet recall his name and face.

Like Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold before Columbine, and Dylan Roof before his sickening atrocity at the black church in Charleston, Paddock wanted to live on as one of the great mass murderers in U.S. history. And he has succeeded. We are today paying him in the currency he craved. He is famous, and we have made him so.

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