Conspiracy Theory Guns

The Vegas Shooter Was a Conspiracy Theorist

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

It's been nine months since the mass shooting outside the Mandalay Bay resort in Las Vegas in which Stephon Paddock killed 58 people and injured nearly 600 more with rifles modified for fully automatic fire.

In that time, we've had virtually no explanation or even a hint for why he did it, but we may have one now.

Multiple witnesses who spoke to authorities during their long investigation say Paddock ranted about government conspiracies from FEMA camps to the Waco siege.

The man said in their conversations Paddock ranted about a popular right-wing conspiracy theory that claims FEMA’s actions after Hurricane Katrina were “a dry run for law enforcement and military to start kickin’ down doors and … confiscating guns.”

“Somebody has to wake up the American public and get them to arm themselves,” Paddock said, according to the man. “Sometimes sacrifices have to be made.” [...]

In a handwritten statement to police, a woman said she overheard a conversation Paddock had with another man days before the shooting. She said he was ranting about the armed standoffs at Waco and Ruby Ridge, both key moments in the radicalization of many right-wing extremists. “At the time, I just thought ‘strange guys’ and I wanted to leave,” she said.

We may never know exactly why Stephon Paddock did what he did, but this is very first clue we've seen. Putting two and two together -- adding his arsenal of weapons to his belief in government conspiracies -- gives us a fairly clear picture of his state of mind.

Just before I began typing this, there was another mass shooting at a high school in Texas.

This is America.

  • muselet

    Gee, it was an anti-government loon who shot up a Las Vegas country-music concert. And he did so in an attempt to get the Murcan people to buy moar gunz! Who could possibly have predicted?

    Apart from everyone, that is.

    (Sorry to sound bitter and angry, but haven’t we all seen this lousy movie before?)


  • Draxiar

    I want to know how in their mind they connect “government tyranny” to sniping people at a concert.

    • One expert said that first of all we shouldn’t expect rational behavior from extremists. And second she said that they believe attacks like this are supposed to be a “call to arms” or “inspiration” for their fellow extremists (called “propaganda by the deed”). And third they serve as a demonstration of extremist gunowners’ power (ie, by holding the rest of us hostage and killing us whenever they want they are telling the govt don’t mess with us, see what we can do). I think it’s way past time for the rest of us to stand up and enforce gun regulations and say, “now see what we can do”. I’m tired of seeing kids die by the hands of our very own homegrown terrorists.

      • muselet


        At the risk of giving offense, however, I’d make a slight edit to your excellent comment:

        I’m tired of seeing kids innocents die by the hands of our very own homegrown terrorists.


    • Badgerite

      Terrorist. That’s how. Anything that raises the specter of domestic terrorism spurs talk of better gun control laws and that spurs a buying spree from people that this guy would try to motivate. An instigation of conflict has its own rationale of maintaining fear in others and maintaining the conflict. Not that there has to be a rational anything with someone who would do what Paddock did.

    • 1933john

      Because they’re fucked-up in the head
      by others that are fucked-up in the head.

  • Wildson

    This is America, I got to strap…

  • simpfan

    Conspiracy theory loons like Alex Jones have blood on their hands.

    • gescove

      As does every politician who takes bribes from the slaughter-industry front called the NRA. Here’s just the top ten in the Senate from OpenSecrets:

      1 Sen. John McCain R, AZ $7,755,701.00 Since 1982
      2 Sen. Richard Burr R, NC $6,986,931.00 Since 1992
      3 Sen. Roy Blunt R, MO $4,551,146.00 Since 1996
      4 Sen. Thom Tillis R, NC $4,418,012.00 Since 2014
      5 Sen. Cory Gardner R, CO $3,879,264.00 Since 2010
      6 Sen. Marco Rubio R, FL $3,303,355.00 Since 2010
      7 Sen. Joni Ernst R, IA $3,124,273.00 Since 2014
      8 Sen. Rob Portman R, OH $3,061,941.00 Since 1993
      9 Sen. Todd Young R, IN $2,896,732.00 Since 2010
      10 Sen. Bill Cassidy R, LA $2,861,047.00 Since 2008