Thursday, May 17, 2018

A motive...?

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 paper.
Trump has today threatened North Korea. (Click to watch him speak.)

"We decimated (Libya)(...) That model would take place (in North Korea) if we don't make a deal, most likely."

That is a clear threat.

But Reuters edited it out. (Click to watch their version.)

I usually don't buy "two factions" theories of US foreign policy. But could that be what we've got? Is there a junta that is pushing for war in the Korean peninsula (and is likely to get it), whereas some figures in government circles outside of the junta's loop genuinely believe there's a peace effort?

That would be very much in the Steve Bannon playbook, regardless of what he has said on the record about North Korea. "Smash the state", meaning the junta takes over and fuck any lines of state organisation that get in its way.

NK Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan has replied to Trump's words by saying (that link is to a BBC report; his statement does not appear to be at basically that the US side has misled the NK side, and that as far as he is concerned he doesn't want any US investment but basically wants a military détente.

In his words:

"The US is trumpeting as if it would offer economic compensation and benefit in case we abandon nukes. But we have never had any expectation of US support in carrying out our economic construction and will not at all make such a deal in future, too."

So don't expect the word "T R U M P" to get written on the 105 building.

The "deal" offered by Trump-Bolton-Pompeo seems to be as follows: 1) NK gives up its nukes under US supervision; 2) lots of US capital then gets invested in NK in partnership with the NK government. Not going to happen.

One US figure - I can't remember who; perhaps even Trump - recently said the US was offereing to relate to NK the same way it relates to SK. No way will that happen.

The smart kids are asking what course of events in Korea will play best for the Israelis, in particular in relation to the "Iran danger" narrative.
Joseph, were you the inspiration for the Woody Allen line (I think, from Manhattan)?

He was discussing the seating arrangement, and said not to sit one male guest to a certain woman. He said he'll talk her ear off about the Kennedy assassination all night.
When I heard it, I laughed and laughed, fancying I had been the inspiration.

I spent my prime years learning some of the same things as you, apparently. I still believe most of them, even as I have learned that some of them aren't factual and so, dropped my belief in those. But I achieved an ironic or stoic detachment, lest that dark paranoia interfere with my functioning in life. I rarely shared any of it, after the stoned college days bull sessions ended naturally.

I am amused by newbies mishandling the manufactured cess now, and take an Olympian view of their naiveté. Isn't it ironic? (h/t to Alanis Morissette)


I forgot to say: there WAS an "economic deal" between the US and Libya. Basically Muammar Gadaffi and his crew AGREED to hand the economy over to US big business. One of his senior ministers was even publicly adviing the US on how best to increase its "soft power" in the country. (What a creep!) As its part of the "deal", the US agreed to employ most of the local Libyan elite as its helpers, which is the model in much of Africa and the world. Then the US elite, abetted by British and French interests, deliberately caused war. Gadaffi got tortured on film and murdered.

That was part of the larger strategy of whacking the non-Gulf Arabs, sold in western public opinion markets as "springtime". Anybody who uses the term "Arab Spring" uncritically is a fucking moron. As well as the horrendous results in Libya and other countries, cue too the mass refugee influx to Europe and the building up of the "Eurostan" meme.

Trump is saying that what he wants with North Korea is for that country to disarm, and for the US to move in to its economy, hiring the local elite as its assistants (sorry, working with them as its "partners").

The Libyan elite said "yes" to precisely that. Look what happened.

The differences are that NK

1) has already got nuclear weapons,
2) is far more economically autarkic than Libya,
3) is in China's backyard (and Russia too is not going to kowtow to the US in the region)

NK will NOT say "yes".

It's going to be an "interesting" spring and summer.
The theory that I found interesting about Paddock was that he was an arms dealer, and in the case of Vegas, either the deal went wrong or someone wanted him scapegoated to get rid of him. I never dug into any of the details though. Like you, I was once heavily into conspiracy thinking and culture, during the Bush years. In my defense, the Bush administration really did kick of the "age of conspiracy theory" for the wider public. I suspect it was deliberate, spread disinformation around to muddy the waters (getting people like Alex Jones to help....he claimed on one of his shows that his whole family was military intelligence connected). Maybe I'm just paranoid though, lol.
Gus, I hate to ask, but do have a link to that Alex Jones/military intelligence bit...? If it's hard to dig up, don't sweat it.

The spread of conspiracy theory during the Bush years is easy to comprehend. It happened for these reasons:

1. 9/11 was a major trauma.

2. Bush's dad was the head of the CIA.

3. The Iraq war was engineered via lies and propaganda.

4. Bush really WAS an asshole.
Off topic:

Dylann Roof, Timothy McVeigh, Chas. Manson (and others I've probably forgotten) committed mass murders because they believed a race war would break out as the result. Same sort of deluded thinking as Paddock.
The most complete look at the Jones spook family ties thing:


Joseph, didn't see your reply until today sorry. Anon at 2:07 AM posted the link I would have posted, so there you go.
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