The investigation may now be over, but the FBI could only conclude that after almost 16 months of trying to come up with answers, maybe there aren’t any. At least not as to why the gunman, Stephen Paddock, shot at and killed 58 people, injuring almost 900 others.
Aaron Rouse, the agent in charge of the FBI’s Las Vegas office, told The Associated Press, “It was all about doing the maximum amount of damage and him obtaining some form of infamy.”
You know, sometimes it’s hard enough to hear such news — about the savage massacre, when it happened — then to have to read about it as more and more news unfolds, and now to learn that — investigation into the reason why Paddock did it completed — there is no definite reason why he chose that day, that place, and decided to shoot down all those people. The best they could come up with, according to that FBI agent, is because he probably wanted to do the maximum amount of damage so he would be remembered in infamy. Maybe to follow in his father’s criminal footsteps, the FBI agent suggested.
Paddock was 64, and apparently had lost his wealth or fortune, and had issues with his physical and mental health. Imagine… he had issues with getting older and being poorer. While I cannot and will not judge him, and can’t even begin to put myself in his shoes, it is easy for me to say that I know scads of people who have those kinds of issues with getting older, having poorer health, little money, and during our conversations, I can only wonder if their mental health is starting to deteriorate as well — even as they carry on the best they can — and not one of them has ever spoken of, considered, or made plans to take it all out on any group of random music lovers by shooting as many of them as they could. How do I know they haven’t made such plans?
Because not one of them has done such a thing.
Even non-believers in God probably called out to him during such an incredibly horrific event as happened that day back in October of 2017. There are times, and that was certainly one of them, when the word “God” is likely on just about everyone’s lips. But Paddock himself, according to articles about him, was not religious and even told his girlfriend, Marylou Daney, who is Catholic, “Your God doesn’t love me.”
We can now pause and muse about the end result of that investigation: that crazed shooter may have wanted to follow in his criminal father’s footsteps. I will not even bother to research that. Maybe his father was a hardened criminal (he was on the FBI’s most wanted list as a bank robber) and maybe his son looked up to him for some strange reason; or maybe he wanted to be far worse than his father all in one fell swoop. Well, again, without my knowing everything his father did, chances are he got him beat. He made his mark. Then he shot himself and died.
In addition to losing all his money, losing his health and mental faculties, and growing older (not very unusual situations), he not
surprisingly also had a lot of stress and problems with his relationships. Apparently his decision to kill people while they were
being entertained was right in keeping with his personality, those who studied him during those almost 16 months concluded. Also discovered was that his illness had to do with a chemical imbalance, and apparently his doctor told him that he could not be cured.
No surprise that he was also depressed. His doctor, as is so common, offered him antidepressants for that, but apparently he would only accept anti-anxiety medication. There was no indication that any doctor had tried to get to the bottom of his depression.
So while investigators couldn’t come up with an actual and solid reason for why Stephen Paddock went off the deep end and became perhaps this country’s worst mass murderer, we can add up the separate issues that were swirling around in his mind: Getting older and losing his health, maybe losing his mental faculties, already lost his wealth, overwhelming stress, relationship issues, father issues, a chemical imbalance that couldn’t be cured, according to his doctor, likely pointing to an earlier death than he had hoped for, believing that he was not loved by God, and all that — maybe combined with side effects from his anti-anxiety medication — who’s to say which one sent him over the edge? We may never know.
But one thing we can likely know — by virtue of his not leaving a note of any kind since he was obviously well prepared for his day of infamy — he didn’t want us to know.
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Maramis Choufani is the Managing Editor of the Las Vegas Tribune. She writes a weekly column in this newspaper. To contact Maramis, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.