New theory on Las Vegas massacre: The medium was the message

by WorldTribune Staff, October 10, 2017

Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock carried out “mass murder-as-public-policy-advocacy,” sending a message that guns are far too easy to obtain in America and must be controlled, according to one analyst’s theory.

Author and conservative political commentator Mark Steyn introduced a correspondent of his who propounded the theory on Oct. 7.

Photo from Stephen Paddock’s room at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

“Among the many emails I’ve received is this one, from a gentleman at a London think tank whose job is to focus on ‘the analysis of economic and political issues and outcomes,’ ” Steyn said.

The analyst’s Las Vegas theory:

“The fact pattern in this event is striking for not fitting any known profile. In particular: The gentleman concerned had no known political or religious affiliations.

The level of premeditation is unusual and crystal clear from his mass buying of guns and the cautious systematic smuggling operation to ferry them to his room together with the illegal modifications and the position of the room he chose and occupied for several days beforehand.

This denotes a deeply serious commitment to his act. And one which leaves no doubt that act was conceived to generate the maximum possible publicity.

“The question then is: ‘publicity’ for what exactly?

…. This man amassed (rough figures) 24 guns in the hotel and another 19 at his home – 42 guns in total. He spent some $100,000 on buying them. The guns at his home are one thing but he also spent days filling his hotel room with more weapons and ammunition than he could ever conceivably use along with an array of advanced modifications and accessories.

Everything brand new. And very expensive. And mostly entirely redundant. Representing in effect an enormous waste of money and time and risk.

Except that is in the realm of generating massive publicity. Guaranteed massive publicity.

Yet despite having gone to enormous lengths to achieve that goal we are asked to believe this same man never troubled – never took the most elementary steps – to speak to that publicity. Indeed left behind no trace of anything that might demonstrate indicate or even hint at his motive or motives.

That would appear to make very little sense.

We would argue the opposite – that it makes absolute sense.

Because this gentleman did not simply fail to leave behind a motive; He took substantial trouble to ensure that no motive could be found – or attributed to him. All of which can lead us to only one conclusion:

It has been said that ‘the medium is the message’.


In this case that is the literal truth. There is only one plausible motive for what this man did. And here it is:

This man wished to telegraph to America in graphic form the hard irrefutable evidence that guns and gun ownership and the ease of gun purchase in America are an evil and must be controlled. On that hypothesis everything now makes sense. And it must be said his concept has a certain demented genius.

Because even if the public learns and believes that his motive was all about ‘guns’ the horror of the act itself – an act to protest such acts – is in some ways even worse for being plain evidence that there is no limit to the insanity to which guns can be put.

Here then is our argument:

1. His long planned and carefully executed purchase of a virtual armory of unprecedented scope and scale guaranteed that very armory would inevitably become the central focus of the media.

2. His assiduous removal of evidence of any tangible motive also removed the possibility that the news cycle might move on from guns – simply the means of the killing – to considering the more interesting issues of motive and message – be it political or economic or environmental or anything else.

3. This man was a highly methodical and systematic thinker. Nothing in the scenario that unfolded was left to chance – even down to positioning cameras to surveil the corridor. It is therefore inconceivable that this was all done in this precise manner for no reason. That there is no message.

But of course there is indeed a message. It only happens to be implicit instead of explicit. That message is ‘guns’. And that message is being trawled over every minute of every day on every network in America. Given the nature of the man and the facts this is not a chance outcome. On the contrary given the known facts it is indeed the only possible outcome. An outcome so obvious that anyone given the full story beforehand would have predicted as inevitable.

4. The people he chose to kill supports the hypothesis on ‘guns’. Country and Western fans are virtually guaranteed to own or at least to defend the ownership of guns. By a certain logic this provides the gunman with two sound moral positions (because it is not beyond possibility he has a conscience):

First – While killing a very large number of innocent people is an horrendous crime it is nonetheless entirely justifiable – in moral terms – if it causes a restriction on guns. Because such a restriction would – it is widely held – save innumerable lives in the long run. There is no evidence for this but it is still a widely and passionately held belief.

Second – Since the people he is shooting are actively or passively defenders of guns and an obstacle to gun control they are by definition responsible in part for all the people who have been and continue to be killed by guns.”


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