The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Las Vegas

According to what we know to date, the United States' latest heinous mass murderer, Stephen Paddock, appeared to be an ordinary guy to those who knew him. He gambled heavily, made what appears to be substantial money, lived in various places, was amicably divorced twice, had no known fanatical religious or political ideology, no arrest record, no known psychiatric record ... an enigma.

Paddock may have had a psychotic break, but his apparent actions prior to his murderous rampage indicate organized planning and purposeful execution. No immediate hallmarks of psychosis. There is no indication, despite ISIS' claims, that he was aligned with an Islamic terror organization. An enigma.

The question that occurs after every mass murder is how can it be stopped. The answer is not the one that most people want to hear. Without massively intrusive monitoring of every citizen, without massively intrusive tracking of every purchase—not only guns, but ammonium nitrate for bombs, rented trunks for ramming, large knives and machetes for on-the-ground attacks, base ingredients for poisonous gas attacks, drone purchases for through-the-air attacks, organic ingredients for the making of bioweapons, and soon, off-the-shelf nanotech or genetic technology that could be weaponized ... the list is long. Should we do that? Should we turn our country into a police state? There are no easy or comfortable answers.

Richard Fernandez comments:
An ordinary 21st century man has more energy at his disposal than ancient kings. Much modern consumer technology is already dual purpose. It will become more so as distributed design and manufacturing spreads ...

All this lies at the disposal of a mind. Some craziness is obvious. Extremist religion, apocalyptic ideology are particularly maddening threats because we can see them coming but don't get out of the way. But sometimes the danger isn't obvious. Wait till we get a nice guy biotechnologist with a "big safe" [Like Paddock's] in the garage.

There have always been crazy intelligent people. What's different is never before have there been so many tools around they can pick up. Tragic though recent events have been it's sobering to realize we've been lucky so far. Despite being one the largest manhunts in history the FBI still haven't officially solved the 2001 anthrax attacks, which could have been far worse.
Take away one weapon, and "crazy intelligent people" will find and or make another. Hillary Clinton (recently via Twitter) and her supporters on the Left think they understand the problem and that by removing one weapon that is available to "crazy intelligent people," they will solve the problem. Sadly, if it were truly that easy, it would already have been accomplished. The problem is far more complex, and it just might be intractable.

But that harsh and scary truth is not something that sanctimonious politicians want to speak and significant numbers of the population want to hear.


Chris Stirewalt summarizes the politics of these horrific events:
So common have these events become that there is a rhythm to the political response. And not a good one.

First, fools and political grifters take advantage of the absence of good information. While people are still trying to sort out what exactly has occurred, loudmouths and those looking to exploit the tragedy waste no time in offering bunkum and divisive opinions, sometimes crudely so.

The 2016 Democratic presidential nominee [Hillary Clinton], for example, would not even wait until the dead had been numbered to start exploiting the massacre. A woman already famous for her rapacity managed to still surprise with her response.

The other major party [the GOP] also has a standard response to mass-casualty events involving firearms, which is to offer condolences and prayers to those slain and their families and then stand tight-lipped until the shock of the moment and, accordingly, the calls to action, begin to fade.

Of all of the ways in which America is disserved by its broken political process, our leaders’ inability to do anything at all about the increasing frequency and lethality of these murders stands out.