Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Altered Timeline, Changed Story

"Our officers got there as fast as they possibly could and they did what they were trained to do."
Assistant Sheriff Todd Fasulo, Las Vegas Police Department

"This changes everything."
"There absolutely was an opportunity in that time frame that some of this could've been mitigated."
Joseph Giacalone, professor, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

"I can tell  you I'm confident that he was not able to fully execute his heinous plan and it certainly had everything to do with being disrupted."
"I don't think the hotel dropped the ball."
Undersheriff Kevin McMahill, Las Vegas, Nevada
Alexandra Gurr cries Monday as she lays flowers at a makeshift memorial for victims of the Vegas mass shooting.
Alexandra Gurr cries Monday as she lays flowers at a makeshift memorial for victims of the Vegas mass shooting. (John Locher/Associated Press)

The psychopath that was loner, gambler, weapons aficionado and mystery man Stephen Paddock has a guaranteed place in American history as a notorious mass murderer. This is the man who occupied a suite in the Mandalay Bay hotel and casino and over the space of several days amassed a fascinating collection of deadly rifles and rounds of ammunition, as his very personal arsenal. With which he planned to shock the world, and did.

As the sheriff's department had it, he smashed several windows in his hotel suite, overlooking the site of a music festival to which an estimated 22,000 music fans had gathered, cramming themselves tightly into the park hosting the festival with others of like mind prepared to enjoy themselves in convivial surroundings, relaxing from the pressing cares of everyday life. Mostly young people, many with their children in strollers.

When suddenly a hail of live bullets began raining down on them, setting off a panic to escape death. People rushed everywhere in an effort to avoid becoming an unfortunate statistic, but 58 people failed in their efforts to survive the steady assault of fire, while another estimated 400 sustained wounds. The non-stop hail of bullets hitting their mark went on for ten minutes. Until police responded a few minutes after being alerted, clearing the floors of the hotel and finally reaching the 32nd floor where the hermit had stationed himself.

And there they found him, dead. A camera was mounted in the suite to record his historic punishment of people whose love of music exposed them to someone's deadly hatred as a supreme misanthrope. Another camera mounted in the hall, ostensibly to warn him on the approach of police. But he was dead, shot himself to death after delivering death to 58 people he didn't know and didn't care about. And that was that.

Except that it wasn't, really. The scenario as it played out, that is. Of course 58 innocent people were still dead, and another 400 or so wounded; that much was unchanged. The question is, however, had certain actions been taken, might the unfettered slaughter have taken place? It appears to have been revealed by Sheriff Joe Lombardo that the killer shot and wounded a hotel security guard, spraying hundreds of bullets six minutes before he targeted the crowd of music lovers below the hotel.

A door alarm had sounded on the 32nd floor, which brought the security guard and a maintenance man up there, outside the suite of the killer. Who had been out in the hall, drilling a wall perhaps to set up another security camera. He had been busy up there, drilling holes, bolting a metal bar so an emergency exit door close to his suite couldn't be opened. When the security guard and maintenance man came upon this busy man they experienced what it felt like to have over 1,000 shots fired at them.

The guard was wounded, and when the police eventually stormed the floor, he was the first to be encountered.

Now the question is: did anyone dial 911 immediately to alert police of the situation? And if that had been done, might the slaughter that followed have been averted, or at the very least, interrupted sufficiently so as to save at least a few lives? Of course the question really is, why did the police initially render a timeline of events so at odds with what they must have known really occurred?

Sheriff Lombardo had, after all, spoken of the guard, Jesus Campos as a "hero", that when he arrived in the hallway, the killer had halted in his firing, when the truth is the firing on the crowd below commenced only after the encounter in the hall. The sheriff admitted that he had no idea what caused Paddock to stop firing and then to take his own life, when it seemed clear that he meant to make himself scarce after completing his planned rampage.

Questions, such nuisance, irritating, inconvenient questions!

Las Vegas Shooting
The Las Vegas Strip is pictured on Sunday, a week after the shooting, shortly before some of the casinos dimmed their marquee signs for about 10 minutes to pay tribute to the victims. (Steve Marcus/Associated Press)

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