Las Vegas Shooting: Armchair Assessment

The murderer’s motives are probably going to go down in history as a complete mystery unless something comes up in the autopsy that points to a brain tumor or other disorder.

The murderer’s plan was pretty simple, get to a place with almost no avenues of egress, shoot up a bunch of tightly packed people with rapid fire from various semi-auto rifles from five football fields or more away, and die in place. He did that, and created a new US record for deadliest single shooter mass murder incident in the United States, but still comes in second place to a truck driving murderer in Nice, France.

The “spray and pray” method worked well enough to kill plenty, but I’m quite thankful he wasn’t a trained marksman or the death count would have been much worse. I’m also thankful he wasn’t trained in machine gun employment tactics or he would have known the difference between plunging fire and grazing fire and the effects on target.

So while it was bad, it could have been much much worse.

However, the next time someone says that the 5.56×45 is worthless past a few hundred rounds…well here’s another data point to show that it is effective enough on people wearing no more body armor than a t-shirt affords. Much like the Hi Point Carbine was quite effectively used at the Columbine murders, pretty much any firearm that works is going to be deadly if used with enough skill at an appropriate range.

It is pretty clear that the murderer put himself on a suicide mission, since he committed suicide rather than take on a tactical team doing a battle drill six. No reports of booby traps at all, although some reports of “explosives” which haven’t been elaborated on.

Lessons to take away.

Incoming fire sounds like firecrackers if you are at a concert where the loud music has de-sensitized your hearing. Anyone who’s pulled pits at the 500 or 600 yard lines knows the sound of the supersonic crack is louder than the muzzle report at that distance. Anyone worried about suppressors making him impossible to pinpoint are full of crap.

Most of the injuries were due to panicked people panicking. Crowds always make me nervous, and I believe they should be avoided if possible.

The actual causes of death have not been released, so it is too early to tell if it was central nervous hits, blood loss, or lung damage that played the larger role in cause of death. Either way, knowing how to apply a pressure dressing, tourniquet, and treat a sucking chest wound are life skills you should master long before you need them. Carrying around a tourniquet is great, but knowing how to use belts, shirts, and random pieces of plastic to save someone’s life might save your own someday.

The Las Vegas Police Department’s response to the murderer was about as well as could be expected for any major metropolitan police department in the US. That is to say they will review this and find plenty of room for improvement, but overall it could also have been a lot worse.

The question “why” is getting tossed around. There’s a photo floating around supposedly placing the murderer at an AntiFa rally, I have no idea if it is true or not. If it is true then it could be possible that a country music concert packed with 22,000 people who all seem suspiciously like Red State voters would appeal, but there are no indicators of violence in the murderers past. Demonic possession can’t be proven by modern forensic science, but this case sounds like it should qualify. Conspiracy theories about the guy being set up as a patsy are also flying around, but a lack of evidence isn’t evidence supporting a conspiracy theory.

I’m glad it wasn’t worse, and sad that it happened at the same time. However Beslan, Nairobi, Mumai, and Oslo were all worse in terms of gun deaths, and they all happened outside of the US since 2004. Nice, France was worse and a medium delivery truck was the weapon of choice in that murder spree. Evil people are out there, and sometimes being a good person with a gun puts you in the right spot to do something about opposing evil. Other times the bad guy is 500 yards away with a scoped rifle and a sack lunch and even a 10mm isn’t going to help you out.

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