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Las Vegas Looks for Answers

by Glenn Baird - October 3, 2017

The aftermath of any senseless tragedy leaves us all looking for answers. Stephen Paddock’s unprovoked act of terror, resulting in the death of 59 concert goers has so far left even close family members unable to grasp the “why” in what has become the Sin City’s darkest day.

ISIS have, as they always do, tried to claim responsibility but with no evidence to tie down this particular theory it has been quickly dismissed. Other theories, such as mental illness, a personal gripe with the casino and objections to domestic affairs within the country are all circulating, as is the theory that Paddock was a problem gambler and that mass murder in the industry’s capital city was the solution.

Whilst more information about Paddock will be uncovered over the next few days, the theory that the attack was retribution for a life destroyed by problem gambling appears to be the motive that most media outlets are focusing on.

Paddock was initially described by the BBC as “a former accountant with a big gambling habit” . A day later a different story began to emerge, one of a “high roller” , with enough wealth to afford 4 different homes in 4 different states. With a fortune amassing more than 2 million dollars, Stephen Paddock had made a success of his life despite being the son of Benjamin Hoskins Paddock, a notorious bank robber listed in the FBI’s 10 most wanted men during the years between 1969 and 1977.

Eric Paddock describes his bother as, “a guy who played video poker and took cruises and ate burritos at Taco Bell. There’s no political affiliation that we know of. There’s no religious affiliation that we know of.”

He goes on to describe his brother’s relationship with gambling, “It’s like a job for him. It’s a job where you make money.

“He was at the hotel for four months one time. It was like a second home.

“It had to be the right machine with double points, and there has to be a contest going on. He won a car one time,

“He’s known. He’s a top player. He’s the small end of the big fish.”

Yesterday NBC News reported that, “Suspect Stephen Paddock spent “tens of thousands of dollars” gambling in Las Vegas casinos in recent weeks, law enforcement officials tell NBC News. It’s unclear if he was winning or losing money off these large transactions, or if the gambling had any connection to the shooting.”

For most media outlets gambling addiction is the culprit as much as Paddock himself. It is easy to assume that it provided the weight behind Paddock’s trigger finger. It is the obvious conclusion to jump to when the atrocity has taken place in the industry’s capital by someone with an affinity for gambling. Yet, it seems likely that assumptions will become all we have to go on.

Further digging will take place over the next few days in an attempt to rationalise the worst mass shooting in US history. The finger of culpability will fall on poor parenting, on mental health, on gambling addiction and on Las Vegas itself because with Paddock gone we need someone or something to blame for what has happened.