For months, Americans have been waiting to hear how the FBI and local authorities plan to protect the nation from another attack like the one we saw in Las Vegas in October.
The perfectly sound reason for this fear is simple: We have no idea what shooter Stephen Paddock’s motives were, and not knowing what sparked the deadliest mass shooting in American history does not bode well for preventing another similar attack.
Americans from all corners of the nation have been clamoring for answers in the shooting, which saw 58 dead and more than 500 others injured when Paddock opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Casino, taking aim at a crowd of conservative country music fans below. In his room was an astonishing arsenal of weapons as well, with no video ever released of Paddock or the hotel bellhops moving the hundreds and hundred of pounds of ammunition to the room.
This has led to a number of conspiracy theories blossoming on the internet and, with no real answers being provided, it has been easy for our intrepid armchair sleuths to hook new “truthers” every day.
Now, as we approach the 4 month anniversary of the tragedy, the FBI has finally been forced to release a cache of information regarding their investigation.
“A federal judge in Nevada unsealed hundreds of pages of FBI documents about the Las Vegas massacre Friday, giving new insight into the gunman and the months leading up to the deadly mass shooting.
“The documents, which were released in response to several media lawsuits, include more than a dozen search warrant affidavits.
“They reveal that gunman Stephen Paddock exchanged emails about buying rifles and bump stocks months before he killed 58 people and wounded more than 500 others when he opened fire on a crowd from a hotel room in October.
“The documents show Paddock received an email from a Gmail account in July encouraging him to try an AR-style rifle before buying one.
“‘We have a huge selection in the las vegas area,’ the message read.
“Paddock replied saying that he wanted to test several scopes and different types of ammunition.
“An email in response suggested trying a bump stock on a 100-round magazine rifle, saying it would be ‘a thrill.’
“Paddock’s personal email address and the Gmail address had similar names, leading investigators to suspect he may have been emailing himself, but don’t understand why.”
Further into the documents we also find that Paddock’s girlfriend, who was in the Philippines at the time of the shooting, told investigators that they would indeed find her fingerprints on ammunition in the case, due to her helping Paddock load magazines. At this time, the FBI does not consider her a suspect.
We may never know the whole story of Stephen Paddock’s assault on America back on that cool October night, but at least now we are moving in the direction of transparency and disclosure in the case.