Here we are, eight days after the Mandalay Bay Massacre. We have had time to treat the wounded, grieve the dead and learn things about the shooter. Now that things have calmed down, let’s have a rational discussion about this and other mass shootings.
First of all, the shooter (who will not be named because I don’t want to contribute to the perpetuation of his name) was an older White male. He had no contacts with the police other than a traffic ticket some years prior. He was reasonably affluent and outside of a currently unconfirmed picture of him wearing a “pussy hat” at some kind of anti-Trump rally and a voter registration card showing a Democrat Party affiliation, we do not know about his politics. He had no online social media accounts. He is, for all accounts and purposes, “a grey man.” The term “grey man” means a person who is present, but not noticed.
We will most likely never know the reasons behind why the shooter performed his heinous act. The shooter left no online manifesto, no note, he never voiced his thoughts or intentions to anyone, which means forensic investigators have little to nothing to work with and reconstruct.
Which leaves the door open for all kind of crazy conspiracy theories, like that he was a patsy for Operators (I’m talking Special Forces, not the telephone type) who actually did the shooting and all the like.
We do know he purchased all of his weapons legally. Since he had no criminal history or documented mental illness, all the background checks came back clean and there was no reason under the current laws he could not purchase firearms.
The shooter also purchased legal aftermarket modifications to enable a semi-automatic rifle to fire as fast as a fully-automatic weapon. No laws were broken by the shooter as he built his collection.
We also know he rented rooms near other large gatherings, but did not check in. This shooter was doing research and took the time to thoroughly research how to cause maximum carnage.
This presents us with the most terrifying and unstoppable threat we face today: A person on a mission who is willing to trade his life to accomplish his mission and knows his life is forfeit going in.
Now, what I want to know from all the people who read this little missive of mine, outside of a total ban on the civilian ownership of firearms, what laws would stop a person like this? I can truthfully say, zero. Because a person committed to this path would do whatever was needed to acquire weapons legally, or just go to the black market and purchase them illegally.
And I am not just talking about firearms. For those of you who might have forgotten about Oklahoma City on 4/19/95, one hundred and sixty-eight people died when that killer detonated a 5,000 pound ANFO bomb in front of the Alfred P. Murrah federal building. Then there was also a pipe-bomb attack during the 1996 Olympics that killed 1 (a news cameraman also died from a heart attack running to cover it) and injured 111 people. This number was thankfully low because a guard was ordering people out of the area when it detonated.
The bad news is, this is the new normal. Just like when nuclear weapons were first developed, the concept of mass shootings is already out there and like the nuclear genie, this cannot be put back into its bottle and “uninvented.”
Today, any moderately competent grad student in Physics can engineer a nuclear device. The only major hurdles are getting him enough Plutonium and krytron switches. Any precision machine shop can engineer the Plutonium to the necessary tolerances.
I bring this up to illustrate a point. If somehow all of the nuclear weapons on the planet disappeared this coming Friday, By Wednesday of next week every country that had a nuclear capability would be making new weapons.
All it takes for the next “mass death” event is a person who has lost their regard for innocent human life and has the means to acquire the tools necessary to carry out the desired operation, be it by gun, bomb, poison or gas.