The tragic fact of human nature.
A few notes on the killings in Las Vegas, the disgusting, evil, horrible murders in Las Vegas.
First of all, I keep reading that somehow it’s unique in human history that men gather innocent human beings together, pen them up, and then slaughter them in large numbers. The tragic fact of human nature is that mass killings of totally innocent human beings are not at all unusual.
Genghis Khan swept across Europe and Asia killing by the hundreds of thousands when it had to be done by hand and not by machines. His victims were as innocent as could be.
In World War II, the Nazis killed Jews and Russians by the millions, making no distinction at all between the men and the women, the children and the adults. A common way for them to do this was to unload cattle cars filled with Jews, line them up in fields, make them dig their own graves, then machine gun them. The earth would still be rising and falling for days after the “burial.” Even before that, in World War I, the Turks killed one and a half million Armenians by shooting and starvation and exposure, and the world said nothing. The Führer was inspired.
Stalin killed by the tens of millions, almost all civilians. Not only did no one stop him, but many in the elite circles in the West thought of him as a hero. Just in recent years, the Khmer Rouge killed one third of the population of Cambodia, often by burying the victims up to their necks and then forcing their children to beat them to death with sticks and rods. The USA did nothing and in fact, to their everlasting credit, the North Vietnamese intervened to stop the killing.
So, as for Mr. Killer Paddock in Vegas, he was treading a well-worn human path. It’s happening in Congo right now.
Motive? For several weeks or months before the killings, he stepped out of his pitiful gambling addict’s life and stepped into the life of a cunning conspirator doing daring deeds. A larger than life Bond villain. Then, for 72 horrible minutes, he was the most powerful person in the world, the most important person on the planet, the center of an entire species’ attention. He was a demigod of power and destruction. All for a few dollars’ worth of guns and ammo and the rental of a hotel room.
What further motive does a man who grew up with a bank robber absent father need? It’s not amazing that evil Mr. Paddock pulled the trigger. It’s amazing that more people don’t do it. The Muslim terrorists have learned the lesson well: take an utterly trivial person and make him the most important person in the world for a few minutes. It costs him his life but his life was miserable anyway. What more motive does anyone need?
Finally, the ascription of blame for this recent horror show to the GOP or to Trump is simply repulsive. No one in the GOP did anything to encourage this psycho. No laws of Mr. Trump were needed for this crime against humanity. It’s just pure wickedness to try to use this tragedy to further divide this great nation on the basis of spurious allegations of the conservatives being to blame. Every single thing that Mr. Paddock did he could have done under Obama or Clinton or even Carter.
These killings had nothing to do with politics. They had everything to do with the fundamental evil of humans (and often the incredible heroism of humans). The human being is made of such crooked stuff that it’s impossible to make him straighten up. That’s a famous axiom in the world of psychiatry. It’s sadly true in all areas of life, including crime and politics and what passes today for journalism.
Sascha Brück/Creative Commons