Mania de la Mandalay

The fun thing about conspiracy theories is they require no facts. All they require is the ability to hone in on a fear or belief, often combined, that the person reading them can accept. Often times they will be wrapped with the bon mot “common sense says …” Somehow the definition of common sense in these cases is often bent beyond recognition. The Mandalay Bay Casino massacre is no exception. The difference between the conspiracy theories here and, for example, the ones surrounding 911, is that they are so easy to disprove they’re laughable. And, trust me here, I’d rather be laughing. I’m a big fan of laughter. Sadly, since reality is never good enough for some, I’m not laughing. I’m dealing with this. This will not be an article about the pros or cons of gun control. Nor will it be another historical review of the NRA and how it came to be what it is. I’ve dealt with those topics before and see no reason to double back. I will only note that the majority of Americans favor some form of gun control while the majority of politicians oppose it. The only thing all seem to agree on, even the NRA, is that bump stocks, those handy devices that turn semi-automatic rifles into fully automatic machine guns, should be banned or restricted.

It’s a start.

It’s the least of anyone’s worries, they’re not really all that popular, but it’s a start.

Okay, let’s look at the four basic conspiracy theories that came out of this terrorist act.

1. Shots were fired from the fourth floor, not the thirty-second

This one’s easy. The video they cite, as showing muzzle flashes from there, is the same video which was shot a hour earlier showing strobe lights reflecting off the casino. More importantly, all the windows on the fourth floor are intact. Kind of hard to fire a weapon through a closed window without leaving a mark.

As to the widows themselves, there’s a lot of bullshit floating around as to how strong they were. Hotels routinely use “bullet resistant” windows, which are also known to be hurricane resistant since they don’t shatter in drops of air pressure. But you fire an automatic weapon at them at close range and you’ll get the shattered windows you see in these pictures. Please note that all the shattered widows are on the thirty-second floor, not the fourth.

2. Paddock had an accomplice

We’ll start with facts, as enumerated by LVMPD Assistant Sheriff Todd Fasulo who took time to refute the swirling rumors claiming there was more than one gunman or that Paddock had help.

I want to emphasize we believe Paddock is solely responsible for this heinous act. We are aware of the rumors outside of the media and also on social media that there was more than one assailant. We have no information or evidence to support that theory, or that rumor. We believe there was only one shooter and that was Stephen Paddock. We are doing a thorough investigation and only want to provide what is accurate to you. We will only give information that we have vetted and know to be true.

More facts. In a live fire situation the city’s SWAT team is focused on finding, and disabling, the shooter. All other police have the unenviable job of securing the site. I say “unenviable” since, in Las Vegas, open and concealed carry are both legal. The odds of being killed by police increase four fold when you have a weapon in an active crime scene. There is no magic way to tell a “good guy with a gun” from a terrorist. Thanks to Boradcastify, you can listen to recordings of the actual conversations of the cops on the scene to understand how tense they were.

Yet more facts. In a live fire situation in a hotel the elevators are turned off and police swamp the stair wells and hallways. SWAT, working on real time evidence, made their way to the thirty-second floor, after an officer on the thirty-first was able to pinpoint the location of the shooter. When SWAT got to the door they used a grenade to burst open the locked door and found Stephen Paddock dead inside. Granted, hotel doors lock whenever someone leaves the room, but where did the alleged person go? There were nothing but cops who knew each other in the stairs and halls. They would have noticed someone new heading in the opposite direction.

3. There is no way a 64 year man carried 400 lbs
of guns up 32 flights of stairs.

This one was clearly conceived by someone who’s never been to a casino before. Paddock was a notorious gambler, betting as much as $100,000 per hour on poker. Casinos love, L-U-V, people like that. They give them free rooms, a buffet pass, and some free booze. Okay, lots of free booze. All he had to do was tip a bellhop and say “take my bags to my room.” They might of even joked about how heavy they were. That was easy to solve.

Let’s try a hard one.

There’s no way a 64 year old man, with no training,
handled a weapons platform like that

BINGO! That is absolutely true. If only he’d brought a weapons platform instead of individual guns. And, just like that, the argument dies. If you’re braced you need not be very strong to fire a long gun. This is especially true since he wasn’t aiming, just lobbing thousands of shells in a general direction.

Why did he do it? I don’t know. Neither do the authorities. We may never know.

I know that’s not reassuring, but it’s true.

No cool or funny video today. It just doesn’t seem right.

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