What Happened in Vegas

I imagine that this will light up the comments section, but someone needs to write it: the conspiracy theories cropping up over the Las Vegas shooting are as noisome as mushrooms on a dunghill after a spring rain.  In discussing some of the more outlandish and offensive ones, I will not document them lest I drive more traffic to the authors' websites.

Law enforcement is withholding information from us.

Of course it is.  It always does. That's called good practice before police have interviewed all who might have information – scarcely a revelation.

Do I wish they would release all the data after the investigation is complete?  Yes.  But that has never been standard practice in this country, nor in any other.  Conspiracy theorists would do well to remember Occam's Razor.

It was a false flag operation carried out by the international Zionist cabal.

My wife goes to an exercise class with a woman whose friends were at the concert.  Is she just another Zionist stooge?

No one was killed because pictures taken the next day showed no bodies or pools of blood.

The first part is too ludicrous to require comment.  As for the second, the evidence adduced is two photos taken from several hundred yards away.  No, I cannot make out pools of blood.  I also cannot distinguish a water bottle from a ballcap at that distance.

The pictures from the hotel room show only a few dozen pieces of brass, whereas the media is saying he fired thousands of rounds.

Judging by the distance between the two broken out windows and diagrams of the typical suite on that floor of the Mandalay Bay, the suites were large – more square footage than many houses.  Until someone has examined all the photos of every square inch of the suites, how can he say how much brass there was?

There must have been multiple shooters.

As the attack unfolded, there were conflicting reports over the air among law enforcement, everything from "upstairs in the Mandalay Bay, halfway up" to "inside the fairgrounds" to "Gate 7" to "either Mandalay or Luxor, we cannot tell" to "the 50th or 60th floor, north of the Mandalay Bay" to "middle of Mandalay Bay on the north side."

Are these all proof of a massive conspiracy to conceal multiple shooters?  Hardly.  When you're taking gunfire, it's difficult to pinpoint the source, especially when among tall buildings and the attendant echoes.  That's why people talk about "the fog of war."

There is a qualitative difference in the reports of some of the strings – further proof of multiple shooters.

The change in report could be due to switching from .308 to .223.

People just stood around during the shooting.  Why wouldn't they run?

Anyone who has ever been in a disaster or near disaster knows that many (most?) people cannot process what is happening and either freeze or continue with what they were doing.  Besides, in a crowd of 30,000, you cannot see from ground level what is happening on the other side.  Notice that Aldean runs off stage at the end of the first string.  From the stage, he is above the crowd and so can see what is happening far better than those on the ground.

Paddock was not ex-military, therefore he could not have done it.

The "experts" who assert this should attend a High Power Rifle Match at their local range.  While such matches are dominated by military and ex-military, there are plenty of accomplished civilian participants who compete at a very high level.  In any event, the type of shooting Paddock was doing has nothing to do with sniping. The best response comes from a friend who – let's just say he is ex-military and fought in jungles many years ago.

All of the commenters you attached are hung up on the sniper concept, but this guy was playing bullet hose and wouldn't have needed scopes (although he may have had them).  He was "aiming" by seeing people fall down and moving the flow of bullets around.  Think back to all the Vietnam video you've seen with troops doing magazine dumps from the waist without aiming.

My analysis

I offer my analysis, for what it's worth, of the first four strings of fire with the caveat that none of us in the public has access to all the evidence, much less the skills to do a thorough job.

First, a note about terminology.  In the video cited below, there are four strings of shots, not volleys.  We're not talking about tennis here.  Similarly, several newscasters have talked about the shooter's tripods.  The photos from Paddock's suite clearly show bipods on the guns.  I have never, ever seen someone shooting from a tripod.  How much confidence would a motorcyclist have in a review of a new bike that repeatedly and erroneously refers to the machine as a trike?  That is why I am critical of so many of these "experts."

A number of the videos I have seen are spliced.  I used this one because it seems to be continuously shot with the same phone (2.14 total runtime).  I count four strings:

  1. 0.0 thru 0.9 (does not start at beginning of string; in this video, the first string lasts from 0.05 to 0.15)
  2. 0.46 thru 0.56
  3. 1.13 thru 1.23 (slight pause in string)
  4. 1.42 thru 1.52

Assuming 600 rounds per minute, a good figure for the AR platform, means that each of these strings is 100 rounds, so he must have been using 100-round drum magazines, for you can hear no pauses long enough for a magazine change.  The few pictures available of his room show ARs with 30-round magazines. He may have used those later, but the above videos do not have short strings.

Initial reports said shooting went on for over four minutes.  Some assert that he could have fired only 360 rounds in those four minutes, therefore he could not have killed and wounded so many.  Apparently, it lasted much longer:

  • "The gunshots lasted for 10 to 15 minutes. It didn't stop," said witness Rachel de Kerf.
  • Gunfire started at 10:08 and "by 10:20 p.m., there are some indications the shooting has stopped, although it is not clear."

I am skeptical that he could shoot such long, smooth strings with bump-fire stocks.  In the time I have spent at ranges, I have never heard anyone get off even a 30-round string with bump fire without many hiccups, much less 100 rounds.  But I am not an expert on such accessories, nor have I done extensive testing of them.

I hope this analysis adds some signal to a noisy discussion.  I have tried to draw only narrow conclusions from the limited evidence available.  Wildly extrapolating from incomplete data helps no one.

As to possible explanations for Paddock's behavior, see this for an account of a homicidal psychotic break, induced by prescription drugs, in a loved one.  John Ringo is a well known science-fiction author.

Henry Percy is the nom de guerre of a writer in Arizona.  He may be reached at saler.50d[at]gmail.com.

I imagine that this will light up the comments section, but someone needs to write it: the conspiracy theories cropping up over the Las Vegas shooting are as noisome as mushrooms on a dunghill after a spring rain.  In discussing some of the more outlandish and offensive ones, I will not document them lest I drive more traffic to the authors' websites.

Law enforcement is withholding information from us.

Of course it is.  It always does. That's called good practice before police have interviewed all who might have information – scarcely a revelation.

Do I wish they would release all the data after the investigation is complete?  Yes.  But that has never been standard practice in this country, nor in any other.  Conspiracy theorists would do well to remember Occam's Razor.

It was a false flag operation carried out by the international Zionist cabal.

My wife goes to an exercise class with a woman whose friends were at the concert.  Is she just another Zionist stooge?

No one was killed because pictures taken the next day showed no bodies or pools of blood.

The first part is too ludicrous to require comment.  As for the second, the evidence adduced is two photos taken from several hundred yards away.  No, I cannot make out pools of blood.  I also cannot distinguish a water bottle from a ballcap at that distance.

The pictures from the hotel room show only a few dozen pieces of brass, whereas the media is saying he fired thousands of rounds.

Judging by the distance between the two broken out windows and diagrams of the typical suite on that floor of the Mandalay Bay, the suites were large – more square footage than many houses.  Until someone has examined all the photos of every square inch of the suites, how can he say how much brass there was?

There must have been multiple shooters.

As the attack unfolded, there were conflicting reports over the air among law enforcement, everything from "upstairs in the Mandalay Bay, halfway up" to "inside the fairgrounds" to "Gate 7" to "either Mandalay or Luxor, we cannot tell" to "the 50th or 60th floor, north of the Mandalay Bay" to "middle of Mandalay Bay on the north side."

Are these all proof of a massive conspiracy to conceal multiple shooters?  Hardly.  When you're taking gunfire, it's difficult to pinpoint the source, especially when among tall buildings and the attendant echoes.  That's why people talk about "the fog of war."

There is a qualitative difference in the reports of some of the strings – further proof of multiple shooters.

The change in report could be due to switching from .308 to .223.

People just stood around during the shooting.  Why wouldn't they run?

Anyone who has ever been in a disaster or near disaster knows that many (most?) people cannot process what is happening and either freeze or continue with what they were doing.  Besides, in a crowd of 30,000, you cannot see from ground level what is happening on the other side.  Notice that Aldean runs off stage at the end of the first string.  From the stage, he is above the crowd and so can see what is happening far better than those on the ground.

Paddock was not ex-military, therefore he could not have done it.

The "experts" who assert this should attend a High Power Rifle Match at their local range.  While such matches are dominated by military and ex-military, there are plenty of accomplished civilian participants who compete at a very high level.  In any event, the type of shooting Paddock was doing has nothing to do with sniping. The best response comes from a friend who – let's just say he is ex-military and fought in jungles many years ago.

All of the commenters you attached are hung up on the sniper concept, but this guy was playing bullet hose and wouldn't have needed scopes (although he may have had them).  He was "aiming" by seeing people fall down and moving the flow of bullets around.  Think back to all the Vietnam video you've seen with troops doing magazine dumps from the waist without aiming.

My analysis

I offer my analysis, for what it's worth, of the first four strings of fire with the caveat that none of us in the public has access to all the evidence, much less the skills to do a thorough job.

First, a note about terminology.  In the video cited below, there are four strings of shots, not volleys.  We're not talking about tennis here.  Similarly, several newscasters have talked about the shooter's tripods.  The photos from Paddock's suite clearly show bipods on the guns.  I have never, ever seen someone shooting from a tripod.  How much confidence would a motorcyclist have in a review of a new bike that repeatedly and erroneously refers to the machine as a trike?  That is why I am critical of so many of these "experts."

A number of the videos I have seen are spliced.  I used this one because it seems to be continuously shot with the same phone (2.14 total runtime).  I count four strings:

  1. 0.0 thru 0.9 (does not start at beginning of string; in this video, the first string lasts from 0.05 to 0.15)
  2. 0.46 thru 0.56
  3. 1.13 thru 1.23 (slight pause in string)
  4. 1.42 thru 1.52

Assuming 600 rounds per minute, a good figure for the AR platform, means that each of these strings is 100 rounds, so he must have been using 100-round drum magazines, for you can hear no pauses long enough for a magazine change.  The few pictures available of his room show ARs with 30-round magazines. He may have used those later, but the above videos do not have short strings.

Initial reports said shooting went on for over four minutes.  Some assert that he could have fired only 360 rounds in those four minutes, therefore he could not have killed and wounded so many.  Apparently, it lasted much longer:

  • "The gunshots lasted for 10 to 15 minutes. It didn't stop," said witness Rachel de Kerf.
  • Gunfire started at 10:08 and "by 10:20 p.m., there are some indications the shooting has stopped, although it is not clear."

I am skeptical that he could shoot such long, smooth strings with bump-fire stocks.  In the time I have spent at ranges, I have never heard anyone get off even a 30-round string with bump fire without many hiccups, much less 100 rounds.  But I am not an expert on such accessories, nor have I done extensive testing of them.

I hope this analysis adds some signal to a noisy discussion.  I have tried to draw only narrow conclusions from the limited evidence available.  Wildly extrapolating from incomplete data helps no one.

As to possible explanations for Paddock's behavior, see this for an account of a homicidal psychotic break, induced by prescription drugs, in a loved one.  John Ringo is a well known science-fiction author.

Henry Percy is the nom de guerre of a writer in Arizona.  He may be reached at saler.50d[at]gmail.com.

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