Stephen Paddock as Single Shooter

Paul Craig Roberts raises a number of questions about the Las Vegas shootings. I share his observation that reporting today doesn’t provide the detail we want, and behind this are police and investigating authorities that do not provide the information we want. Services provided by public authorities are always second or third-rate and this includes investigation and communication. We can expect sloppy work as a general matter, even if some public employees are conscientious. Botched investigations by people not trained to ask all the pertinent questions and get the answers are par for the public services course.

At least some information is available that addresses some of the concerns raised by Roberts. I do not count myself an expert on weapons or this shooting. Questions can be raised indefinitely about this shooting and about my or anyone’s comments on it. My intent is modest: to provide a few bits of information that might otherwise escape a casual reader in order to suggest that what Stephen Paddock is claimed to have done was in fact feasible for him to do.

The dead among the victims of the Las Vegas shootings have been identified and photos of them when alive have been published here. If there is a list of the injured, it doesn’t come up yet in simple Google searches. Someone is keeping track because the number has been revised to 489 and there are reports of the numbers released from hospitals.

The range of an AR-15 is 600 yards, 100-300 yards greater than the distance between Paddock’s vantage point and the crowded concert. Exact distances haven’t been reported.

There are photographs of broken windows at the hotel. A video of the suite has emerged. The windows would be easy to break. There is speculation that Paddock broke them with a hammer or hammer-like device, but no evidence. The video of the suite shows that there was ample space to conceal weapons in suitcases or closets.

An AR-15 fires 45 rounds a minute, according to one source. The attack lasted about 10 minutes. Another source says semi-automatic assault weapons fire 120 rounds per minute. Bumping these weapons results in a rate up to 800 rounds per minute. In 10 minutes, with several rifles at hand, Paddock could fire a thousand or more bullets. He didn’t need precision accuracy in order to hit hundreds of people densely positioned.

Stephen Paddock was a licensed hunter.

Police say the shooter sprayed 200 rounds of gunfire into the hallway when a security guard approached his hotel room, but the guard was only hit in the leg.” This might have taken as little as 15-30 seconds.

Police have not reported on the number of spent cartridges found in the hotel suite.

How reliable are reports of other shooters or shooting from other floors? Unless there is physical evidence, such reports should be discounted because eyewitness testimony is often unreliable. See also here.

Why 23 guns? Maybe it’s because guns being fired heat up. Maybe it’s because Paddock had intentions to fire even more. Maybe it’s insurance against guns getting jammed.

The bottom line of my own research at this time is not to see anything in this event that goes beyond Stephen Paddock as the criminal who planned and carried out the Las Vegas shooting. This account is satisfactory as a working hypothesis unless and until evidence is produced that suggests and supports the involvement of others. In order to verify this hypothesis, however, we need to know more details. We need proof that Paddock bought these weapons. We need proof if possible that the bullets they fired match the bullets that killed and injured the victims. We need to be sure of the physical evidence.

There are two main possible theories: single shooter and multiple shooters. There is no physical evidence of multiple shooters. Given that absence and the overwhelming evidence that Paddock was a shooter, we conclude that he was the single shooter, beyond a reasonable doubt once we are sure of the physical evidence. Did he act alone, or was he part of a broader conspiracy? That question cannot be resolved until we know more. We need a better understanding of the man.


10:53 am on October 6, 2017