Now that the investigation into the Las Vegas shooting has been going on for more than three days, the details coming out about what the shooter did and didn’t do in the room he occupied at the Mandalay haven’t clarified anything at all. To the contrary, the ‘evidence’ keeps creating more confusion every day. And by ‘evidence’ I’m not talking about a single, verifiable fact, but the continued on-the-record and off-the-record yapping by all kinds of law-enforcement experts who don’t know anything but keep shooting off their mouths.
Here’s the latest from Jill Snyder, identified as the ATF agent-in-charge, who stated yesterday that Paddock had purchased 33 rifles and handguns in the last year, of which 12 of the semi-automatic rifles were then fitted with the bump-fire device which turns a semi-auto AR into a full-auto without either requiring a Class III – NFA license or breaking the law.
Great gugga-mugga! Even the Republicans are saying they are willing to consider a ‘ban’ on these things. Did you ever imagine that the NRA’s chosen people would state in public the idea that anything having to do with guns might actually be banned? Trump mentioned that although right now he’s busy praying for the victims but there might be time to discuss gun laws down the road. The sacred 2nd-Amendment door has been opened a crack, Breitbart and Bannon are going nuts, but a law regulating guns in some way or another might actually get passed.
There’s only one little problem. It doesn’t take 86 or so hours (the time which has now elapsed between ‘securing’ Paddock’s lair until right now) to figure out which of the 23 guns allegedly found in Paddock’s room were used by him to fire down at the crowd. Maybe it was a gun with a bump-fire device but maybe not. The news reports all say the floor was littered with empty shell casings; the casings identify the caliber of the gun that was fired, then check the barrels of the guns in that caliber to see the amount of powder residue and the temperature of the steel and you know. This doesn’t take 86 hours – it takes about 5 minutes to at least have a pretty good idea what you should be saying and not saying at a time when every word you say could be used to promote this agenda or that.
But why keep your mouth shut when this might be the only chance in your life to be able to say something that all the world is waiting to hear? On Wednesday, The New York Post carried a story which mentioned that one of the shell casings found on the floor was – get this – from the revolver that Paddock used to shoot himself in the head. Which means that first he blew his head off and then he emptied the revolver cylinder because the only way to remove an empty shell casing from a revolver is to manually unload the gun after it has been shot. Oh well, what’s the difference, a little detail here or there?
I’ll tell you the difference. People are struggling on both sides of the gun debate fence to decide for themselves what, if anything, is the connection between this particular event and the fact that more than 32,000 Americans will lose their lives this year because of guns. How much will this toll be increased because of what Stephen Paddock did from a window in the Mandalay Bay? A whole, big, one-tenth of one percent.
If Las Vegas provokes a serious debate about gun laws, I guarantee you that the debate will focus on this specific event as something which, going forward, needs to be eliminated or regulated through a new law. All the more reason why we need to get the facts straight and stop pretending that just because someone shoots their mouth off that what they say is based on facts.