Las Vegas Massacre, A Tactical Analysis

Las Vegas massacre tactical analysis

Even if there are still a lot of unknowns left about the Las Vegas massacre, one of the worst mass shootings in American history which ended up with 58 people killed and hundreds maimed and injured, I must confess this incident remains incredibly confusing as far as terrorist attacks go.

The thing is, the alleged shooter, 64 year old millionaire/professional gambler/retired accountant Stephen Paddock offered no motive and left no clues with regard to why he did what the authorities claim he did.

Also, the strategic/tactical planning involved in this attack appears to suggest a level of sophistication and weapons knowledge which would be specific to an individual with combat/military experience, yet we are told that the suspect did not have any of those. A number of advanced tactical decisions are obvious in all aspects of the planning and of the shooting itself, together with a couple of amazing mistakes, that actually don’t make much sense. Moreover, there’s evidence that Stephen Paddock did not act alone, yet the authorities insist the Las Vegas shooting was a lone-wolf job.

Now, despite of what the mainstream media claims, mass shootings are extremely rare occurrences and many of them share common themes, i.e. they are motivated by either envy or revenge, the shooters manifest a self centered nature, signs of sociopathy, a lack of compassion, and, last but not least, a previous history of mental issues (as in illness). In most cases, we can talk about a triggering event, which provokes a psychological breakdown and a violent reaction follows.

According to what we know so far via personal accounts from family members/people who knew Stephen Paddock, including his girlfriend, the alleged shooter was described as a kind and caring man, incapable of such violence, i.e. none of the aforementioned attributes seem to fit. The only factor which may indicate a psychological problem/breakdown is the fact that Paddock was prescribed with anti anxiety drugs (Valium) 3-4 months before the shooting, a drug which may cause aggression if taken in large doses.

Did Paddock take this drug because of unrelated anxiety and did it trigger his shooting spree? Or, was his anxiety caused by the fact that he was already planning a shooting spree and the drug was meant to “take the edge off” so he could more easily follow through with the attack?

There is also no available evidence of domestic instability or financial troubles. Paddock was a multi-millionaire with a successful real estate investment portfolio. He was a former postal worker and tax auditor, as well as an employee for defense contractor Lockheed Martin (I have not seen any statements by Lockheed on what exactly he did for them). It should be noted that Paddock, at age 64, was one of the oldest mass shooters in recent history.

According to his brother, Stephen also had no strong ideological or religious leanings and simply “didn’t care” about such matters. Meaning, no apparent ties to extremist views. He had no social media profiles and police claim they have found nothing in his home computers or phones to suggest a philosophical or political motive. So far I have not seen a single concrete and verified piece of evidence proving Paddock believed in anything other than making money, gambling and traveling the world for fun.

Here’s Brandon Smith from Alt-Market:

The tactical know-how of a nobody

This is the area which brings up the most questions for me in terms of the Vegas incident. For instance, the choice of his perch, two adjacent rooms on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel, was rather effective for a number of reasons.

If you have the chance to study counter-sniping methodologies or talk with veterans involved in counter-sniping in urban areas, you will learn that the most successful snipers tend to choose mid-ground perches to take shots from. Meaning, they never choose the highest points nor the lowest points, and never shoot from the closest points or the furthest points. Well trained snipers can and do sometimes shoot from 1,000 yards or more, but they prefer to shoot from the “sweet spot” around 300-400 yards away at an elevated point from an expedient hide in the middle of a building or structure.

It has been recently stated by Las Vegas police that the “note” found near Paddock’s body was scribbled with calculations for bullet drop from his position. These calculations can be done with newer laser rangefinders, but Stephen apparently chose to do them on paper. Las Vegas Detective Casey Clarkson was on the grounds of the concert during the attack, and recounted “I’m like, how is he so accurate” (in reference to Paddock) in an interview with 60 Minutes. Yet another piece of evidence showing that Paddock (or someone else) had extensive shooter training.

The two adjacent rooms at the Mandalay offered extensive coverage of possible approaches for first responders. The first room gave the shooter good coverage of the concert and the north approach of Las Vegas Blvd. The second room gave the shooter a very wide angle of coverage to the south approach to the Mandalay as well as the main entrance of the hotel. More tactical know-how on display.

Finally, Paddock allegedly placed small surveillance cameras in the hall approaching his room. A valuable tool which a shooter could use to surprise first responders, maintaining a longer period of shooter effectiveness as well as possibly allowing for an escape. Las Vegas police are quoted as stating that it appeared as though Paddock had planned to evade capture. This fits in line with the rest of his tactical staging. His suicide does not.

Things that don’t add up

The motive: No apparent motive. Paddock led a life of near luxury, had a happy relationship with his girlfriend and gave no indication to anyone of any instability or ideological affiliation. He had no criminal record. He was also well beyond the average age range of people commonly involved in such crimes. He does not fit any of the characteristics of mass shooters.

The arsenal: Paddock put a substantial amount of thought and planning into the position of his perch as well as a potential escape. He had the knowledge and experience to calculate accurate shots from an elevated position at distance. But, for some reason he decided it was warranted to sneak at least 23 guns in ten separate suitcases to his room at the Mandalay Bay. A person with the intelligence displayed in the planning of this event would know that most of these rifles were not needed in the slightest to achieve the effect desired. They are dead weight, and moving them into the Mandalay only presented unnecessary risk of discovery. Unless, of course, the original plan involved multiple shooters.

A strange year?: Family and acquaintances have mentioned Paddock’s propensity for “disappearing” in the year previous to the Vegas attack. And, there is the fact that 33 of the 47 firearms Paddock owned were purchased in the last 12 months.

Security calls: Paddock called hotel security at least twice to complain about “loud music” in the floor below him the day of the shooting.  Why would a mass shooter care, or take the risk of drawing too much attention to himself?

The windows:  Why, after so much careful planning, did Paddock expose his position by smashing two separate windows in his adjacent hotel rooms? There are other ways of providing a shooter’s loophole with less exposure? Very odd.

Room alarm leads security right to Paddock: The Las Vegas Sheriffs Department indicates that security was originally led directly to the floor that Paddock was shooting from by a “door alarm” that was set off by someone three rooms down from him. Who set off this alarm which conveniently helped to give away Paddock’s position early?

The surveillance cameras: Paddock had a head start on security, SWAT and anyone else that approached his rooms. He fired at hotel security through his door injuring employee Jesus Campos. He also had thousands of rounds of ammunition including .308 rounds which could easily be fired through several walls on the floor of his hotel room. Why did Paddock prepare for an escape, use his cameras to allow him to fire at hotel security through his door, equip rounds capable of annihilating any SWAT team that stacked up to breach his room, but decided to shoot himself instead before SWAT ever entered? Some people might argue that there is no logic to the mind of a “madman,” but again, I’ve seen no evidence that Paddock was insane beyond the criminal act itself.

Multiple shooters?: Las Vegas County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo is quoted as saying that it was only logical to assume given the evidence that Paddock “had some help at some point” in the staging of the Vegas attack. To me, this is absolutely clear in the tactical planning.  Paddock does not appear to have the background or training to have chosen and staged the perch.

The report suggesting that a phone charger was found that did not belong to Paddock has since been refuted by police, as well as the report that his card key was used to access his room while Paddock was gone. Of course, hotel surveillance would prove this one way or the other and should be made available to the public.

Still, there are multiple accounts by witnesses that there may have been a second shooter, including the initial reports given by first responders on the scene, who were told a shooter was on the 29th floor as well as the 32nd floor.  All of these accounts have been dismissed as a result of panic and the fog of war.

The mystery woman: A witness on site at the concert stated that a woman (and her apparent boyfriend) approached people near the stage 45 minutes before the attack, telling them that “they were all going to die.” She was later escorted out of the venue by security. Who was this woman? Was she trying to menace the concertgoers or warn them? Or, was it all simply coincidence?

 

Conclusion

In my view, there is simply no way that a man with Stephen Paddock’s history and background committed the Vegas shooting alone. There is no motive, no clear evidence of mental illness, no ideological markers and nothing to be gained. The tactical expertise displayed in most cases shows considerable training. Theories will abound. It is possible that he was used. It is also possible that he was secretly radicalized, as ISIS has continuously asserted since the attack. Or, perhaps he never pulled a single trigger and somehow ended up dead in a room full of guns overlooking Las Vegas Blvd. and dozens of dead concertgoers.

The most disturbing aspect of this event and the mainstream narrative, though, is what it insinuates. It insinuates that anyone no matter how seemingly normal could one day simply “snap” and murder crowds of people with impunity. It is the anti-Second Amendment narrative personified, because if “anyone” is capable of such horror, and motive is nonexistent, then the mere existence of firearm access means that we are surrounded by millions of latent mass shooters. Meaning, we are to fear everyone around us at all times. I will write about the solution to this problem in my next article. In the meantime, I suggest everyone ponder on the oddities of this event and continue to ask questions.

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Photo (John Locher/AP)