Viva Las Vegas

October 25th, 2017 by

I usually try to stay away from politics or somewhat controversial subjects, but the subject of the Las Vegas mass shooting hits somewhat close to home. It’s been three weeks since the tragedy at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival. I have come to terms with it, and the news cycle has moved on. I have been to Las Vegas 19 times over the past couple of decades. I am not a novice, I tell people Las Vegas is like a second home to me. I am familiar with the city. I have spent more time total in all of my stays in Las Vegas than the amount of time I lived in Germany as an exchange student. I have stayed twice at Mandalay Bay, and it is my favorite place to stay. I highly recommend it to people.

Mandalay Bay has decided to never rent out the room used by the shooter. This is their decision, and I have no problems with that decision. You do not really want people who either have some creepy reason to stay in it or possible inclination to glorify what Stephen Paddock did.

What upsets me the most is the conspiracy theories revolving around the incident. The constant change and revision of the timeline of events that transpired the day of the mass shooting gives fuel to conspiracy theories. Even people whom I know have access to more information than I do, and are not prone to jump to conspiracy theories, have gone in that general direction. Which is disconcerting. Conspiracy theories are a rationalizing of the irrational. Conspiracy theories attempt to take tenuous evidence or circumstantial evidence at best and make it more relevant than it is. Conspiracy theories build a story around what would be logically dismissed or if looked at with some logic, be cast aside as heresy. Unfortunately conspiracy theories gain traction. When some 80% of people believe Oswald did not act alone in assassinating Kennedy, well, that is the power of conspiracy theories. Lawyers do not help things.

The constant revision of the timeline is being done as more relevant facts are being found. MGM Resorts International, parent company of Mandalay Bay, is a multibillion dollar global corporation. MGM has lawyers. Lots of lawyers. Gobs of lawyers willing to board a private jet and fly to anywhere in the world at a moments notice. What do lawyers do? Protect clients. This is why there are constant changes in timelines and events. MGM is protecting it’s ass and assets. Already a lawsuit has been filed against MGM and Mandalay Bay. 58 people died that night, and hundreds more suffered injury. If it turns out somehow that MGM or Mandalay Bay was in anyway negligent, and there is even a sliver of possible “ifs” that could have been done to prevent the event, MGM Resorts International will be held culpable. Lawyers against MGM see big money. Number one rule in lawsuits, go for the deepest pockets you can get the most money out of. MGM has very deep pockets. I have one hundred percent sympathy, empathy and good will to the families of the victims and the victims, I pray for their speedy recovery and may God help them through the horrible time. Are the victims and families of victims wrong for going after MGM? Well, they are not 100% in the right.

I might be a little off when it comes to my recollection. Albert Camus wrote about the eras of man. He broke the span of human history down into two eras. The Era of Grace and The Era of Justice. In the Era of Grace, people accepted that 3 year old girls died of cancer. It did not mean that they were not seeking a cure for the awful disease. It was accepted. We live now in the Era of Justice. Three year old girls die of cancer. Someone has to be held accountable. This is why lawyers for the families of the victims are going after MGM. The guy who did it is dead. Now the hindsight happens. Someone must be held accountable. Since there is a minute possibility that something could have been done by MGM International or Mandalay Bay to stop the tragedy, lawyers will strip mine the events to hold them at least financially accountable.

There will always be questions. The whole ISIS connection is plausible but not really possible. Why would the FBI or police hide any connections? If it is fearing retaliation against Muslims, ISIS announcing that the shooter was one of them might spur something. We have heard nothing. Americans are not as sheepish as other countries. Why would ISIS make such an announcement then? False flag. Cause fear. Psychological warfare. It benefits ISIS. Remember ISIS is a bunch of crazy religious fanatics, but they are not stupid. Yes, there are money transfers that might be considered questionable. Yet, why did the FBI not take action? Coverup. That seems like the first excuse in every conspiracy. An agency failed to do it’s duty, so it’s covering up evidence.

How could he have hauled so many guns up without people noticing? Suitcases. Lots of them. Paddock was in his room for 3 days before he shot up concert goers. He lived in Mesquite, Nevada. Mesquite is a 50 mile drive from Las Vegas. At highway speeds it is less than an hour away. Many people live in Mesquite and commute to Las Vegas for work. Two or three suitcases can hold a lot. Even if Paddock checked in with only one suitcase. Once in his hotel room, nothing prevents him from bringing in the other nine. Those suitcases could have been in the trunk of his car.

Las Vegas is heavily surveilled. The casinos have cameras everywhere. But, a hotel is not a casino. Many of the hotel parts of the resort have minimal cameras to protect the privacy of guests. There may be a camera cluster at both ends of the hallway and in the elevator lobby. Do you really want to have cameras set up every few doors down the hall? More cameras do not mean more security. Just more cameras to provide evidence after the fact.

Why has camera footage not been released? Well, what type of camera footage will help? Paddock schlepping a few suitcases down the hall a couple of times. Might determine how many trips he made to bring in all his weapons. How will the factor of one trip or ten make a difference? None.

Might the cameras show footage of the security guard being shot? Depends on the angle. The security camera footage is time stamped. If the police review it, that is how the police build a timeline. The reported six minutes between the security guard being shot, and the time Paddock began firing into the crowd can be explained very simply. Paddock may have panicked when he saw the security guard coming down the hall. Paddock may have been setting up for his shooting all day, and thought maybe someone saw something. Paddock fired through the door and wall at the security guard. Realizing that people more than likely heard the shooting of the guard, Paddock changed his plans. The windows are hefty and tempered glass, so Paddock probably took a few minutes to bust them out, then set up to begin shooting.

Even if there were police present within Mandalay Bay itself, when people called in a shooting, there was no way to specifically locate the room. Multiple people flooding the 911 center about a shooting in the hotel tower requires triangulation, and the police have to investigate floor by floor. That takes a lot of time.

Paddock more than likely also planned to escape, but shooting the security guard changed his plans enough that Paddock killed himself thinking he could not escape. There were reports that Paddock wore gloves. This means he was probably not wanting to leave finger prints on his weapons. His finger prints were all over the hotel room with million other prints from other guests.

Paddock’s original plan was probably to bust out the windows, shoot into the crowd, when the police began arriving, he would stop, run out of the room, and go down the emergency fire escape. Paddock might even just leave his room, and use the elevators. He could remove and dispose of the gloves and other clothing somewhere. When the police did find the room, he would be gone, and had a decent lead time for escape. The police would link the crime to him, but he was trying to build in some deniability. Yes, he was crazy, but not totally stupid.

Why did people not call? People did call when hearing the gun shots. Mandalay Bay is not a small Motel 6 with a few rooms or a bed and breakfast. Mandalay Bay is 43 stories tall with 3,309 rooms. If you have not been to Las Vegas you have no idea of the size of these hotel towers. They are built around an elevator lobby and branch out, usually at three angles. I stayed in Mandalay Bay twice, the second time, my room was past the mid point in one of the branches. It was several minutes of walking to get to my room. Every floor reporting gun shots has to be investigated. The police have to go floor to floor. Even if it was only three floors reporting in, the length of the tower branch is extensive. Paddock’s room was found because the smoke detector went off due to the smoke from the gun fire. The police then have to take into account all civilians on the floor. Either the civilians have to remain in their room or be evacuated.

Why did housekeeping not see anything? Paddock was not dumb, crazy, but not dumb. As long as the guns remained in the suitcases until Paddock was ready to set up for the attack, housekeeping was not going to touch the suitcases. Housekeeping is very very leery of touching personal possessions of guests. It avoids any possible accusation of theft. When the maids come in to clean the room, they do the very quick basics of wiping down surfaces, vacuuming the rug, and making the bed. Unless the guns were in plain sight, which they were not, the maids had nothing to report. The maids would not open closets or armoires or even dresser drawers. It protects the privacy of the guest and their possessions. The only time maids do open drawers or doors is when the guest has checked out. Then they do a quick cleaning and inspection. Sometimes not even that. Plenty of stories on the internet and in the news about stuff people have found left over from a previous guest. When I check into my hotel room in Las Vegas, one of the first things I do is check all the drawers. Someone might have left money.

Then there is the question of Paddock’s motive. Paddock left no notes or hints as to his motive. Police surmise he might have intended to live, and escape. Do psychos have to leave a note explaining there actions? If there is a rule that psychos have to leave a note, my guess is they will not do so, because psychos do not care about rules. Not all people who commit suicide leave notes. There are theories that Paddock was a gun runner or some how laundering money. OK. Did Paddock feel that the law was catching up to him, and thus decided to go out in a blaze of glory? Erase all connections, and die after burying a fifty gallon drum of cash in the desert. People watch too much television. If the police had suspected Paddock of a crime before he killed 58 innocent people, why did that not come out in the investigation? Coverup. That is what a conspiracy theorist would say.

Conspiracy theories will invent reasons for the answers. Conspiracy theories are solutions in search of a problem. Conspiracy theories mandate you continue to question the logic or the facts. Coverup is always the explanation when an inconvenient fact or logic gets in the way. When it comes to one plus one equaling two, in conspiracy theory concept, one plus one equals unicorn.

Does the shooting change my opinion of Las Vegas? No. I love the city. Love visiting. Will it make me more leery? No. You should never leave your street smarts at home. I have seen too many people in Las Vegas do so, because they are on vacation those people seem to be on vacation from reality. Any form of self awareness you have should not be set aside because you are on vacation in a place where it almost seems at times like it is not real. You still need to look both ways when crossing a street. Las Vegas is a wonderful place to visit. I tell people go once. Mandalay Bay is still my favorite place. The casino is wonderful, the rooms are pleasant to stay in, and there are a lot of amenities to enjoy. Will I stay there again? Yes. Sometime in the future. There are other places I want to stay in, but I do know that if I want to stay somewhere enjoyable, Mandalay Bay is there.

Thanks for stopping by.

PS: Back to Brady Bunch and pop culture on Wednesday.

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