Steve Paddock, the Vegas mass killer, is said to have offered several pre-massacre rants about the evils of gun control
. Feeling that the long-predicted Great Gubmint Gun Round-Up was imminent, he apparently decided to do something about it...
One of the Las Vegas witnesses recalled Paddock telling him that “somebody has to wake up the American public and get them to arm themselves,” during a conversation less than a month before the shooting. “Sometimes sacrifices have to be made.”
Although this new information more-or-less conforms with what we've previously learned about Paddock's psychology, the logic of this act still escapes me. Why would anyone -- even a seriously deranged individual -- think that an episode of this sort would decrease
the likelihood of gun control?
And what gave Paddock the idea that mass murder would increase the number of average citizens arming themselves? Paddock shot at a crowd of country music enthusiasts from the upper floor of a nearby hotel. Even if those music lovers were all armed, it's not as though they could have shot back effectively. Can you imagine the outcome of a thousand people firing madly into a large Vegas hotel? Paddock chose the one form of attack certain to illustrate the futility of going about armed!
Maybe it is useless to seek logic in the thinking of a man like Paddock. I suspect that his motive had nothing to do with logic and everything to do with rage
-- a rage that grew out of his addiction to conspiracism.
As long-time readers know, I've long believed that one should employ the addiction model when discussing right-wing conspiracy theories. In a sense, I speak as a former addict, although I was never on the right. I did, however, spend much of the 1990s immersed in what has been called the "paranoid chic" milieu -- and I ruined at least one Thanksgiving dinner because I couldn't spend five consecutive hours not
talking about the JFK assassination.
What an idiot I was. This addiction cost me a woman's love and the loss of a once-promising career.
Like many a former addict, I often slip back into bad old habits. Perhaps the comparison should go not to Alcoholics Anonymous but to Overeaters Anonymous: One can eschew alcohol entirely, but one cannot swear off food entirely. Just as one must learn not to eat more than necessary, one should not fear more than necessary. Many people enjoy the way fear feels
, just as nearly everyone enjoys the way food tastes.
Similarly, we've all met people who fly into rages because rage can provide a satisfying emotional release. The coinage "rageaholic"
does not sit well within the ear, but it will have to do until someone comes up with a better word.
Fear is addictive, as is rage. These addictions are toxic, as anyone can attest who has had to spend a Thanksgiving dinner with a Fox-feuled fear-junkie who can't spend five consecutive hours not
talking about the menace of Soros.
A critic might counter that left-wing conspiracism can be as toxic as the right-wing variety. This observation was true in times past, and may be true again in times future. One thinks of Robespierre, a classic paranoid who presided over the Reign of Terror. His close ally Saint-Just said: "That which produces the general good is always terrible." If the above-cited article is accurate, those words apply equally well to Paddock's irrational rationale.
The Terror killed some 27,000 people over the course of eleven months -- roughly 82 killings a day. Of course, M. Robespierre was able to achieve that impressive number because he commanded the resources of an entire government. By contrast, Steve Paddock murdered 59 people in a single night -- and he did so on his own. This comparison proves the relative inefficiency of libertarianism: Individual initiative can accomplish much, but it will never match what the state can do.
I keep waiting for Alex Jones to provide evidence for his claim that "Antifa" literature and pamphlets were found all over Paddock's lair. If we look outside the wacky world of Infowars, can we find a single anecdote indicating that Paddock had any inclination toward Antifa? Also: Has anyone ever discovered a single example of "literature" published by Antifa? I'm not just talking about Paddock's room; I'm talking about any
Antifa "literature" anywhere
. Nowadays, political movements don't do