2017 Las Vegas shooting

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It is night time, a crowd of people are gathered around a candle vigil.
People in Las Vegas take part in vigil honoring victims of Mass shooting targeting concert goers at a Country music festival at the Mandalay Bay Hotel, Oct. 2, 2017. (Photo: C. Mendoza / VOA)

On October 1, 2017, at the Route 91 Harvest outdoor music festival on the Las Vegas strip, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock opened fire on a crowd from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay resort across the street. He was later found dead in his hotel room with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. 59 people were killed and 527 were injured in the attack.[1]

Conspiracy theories[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Conspiracy theory

Wingnuttery[edit]

While the shooter's motive has not yet been disclosed, conspiracy theories were spread by far-right bloggers that he was a supporter of Antifa — due to some skeptical video footage of a man at a Donald Trump protest alleged to be the shooter — although this was never proven. Regardless, the shooting was the latest in the trend of mass shootings in the United States carried out by white males, with many of the victims having been racial minorities or of Hispanic descent.[2]

Another belief amongst the far-right is that the shooter carried out the attack because he was an atheist and country music fans are typically devout Christians, even claiming that CNN also caused it by "demonizing gun enthusiasts".[3] An essay by Conservative followed suit, complete with irrelevant pictures such as of Stalin.[4]

A (false) fringe claim is that the shooter was apparently employed by the FBI to sell illegal weaponry to DAESH, who then somehow shot the him, and that it was a false flag operation[5] to frame something and something to do with Obama.[5] Two planes are involved??[5] We don't understand what the conspiracy blogs are alleging either.

Security Guard[edit]

Tucker Carlson accused Latino security guard Jesus Campos[6] of being involved in the shooting. In reality, Campos led the police to the shooter and was shot in the leg.[7]

Medical woo[edit]

There are some cranks that apparently think that Valium, an anti-anxiety drug, motivated the shooter to carry out the attack.[8] Unsurprisingly, this "blame the psychopharmaceutical drugs" explanation also includes Scientologist Kirstie Alley.Wikipedia's W.svg[9]

DAESH[edit]

See the main article on this topic: DAESH

DAESH claimed that the shooter was a convert to Islam and was acting as a "soldier for the Islamic State". Notably, they said this without any evidence, and most investigators have dismissed their attempt to take credit, coming amidst the collapse of their self-styled "caliphate", as a desperate cry of "look at me, I'm still relevant!"[10][11] Conspiracy theorists are, of course, eating those claims right up.[citation NOT needed]

Several wingnuts have jumped into the crazy car with this, including alt-right Laura Loomer, conservative talk radio host Wayne Allyn Root, Alex Jones (of course), and US Representative (Pennsylvania) Scott Perry.[12]

YouTube "censorship"[edit]

YouTube filters out conspiracy theories when searching the Las Vegas shooting on its website.[13] Infowars, being a conspiracy-nut website, called it censorship.[14]

False flag[edit]

Just like many similar tragedies, the shooting was alleged to be a hoax by the government designed as a pretext for confiscating privately-owned guns.[15] Screw the fact that Trump is President and Republicans controlled Congress at the time of the shooting.[16] Screw the fact that no such confiscation has, in fact, taken place. The usual suspects, including Kent Hovind, cried "false flag!".[15] Sadly, as with the Sandy Hook massacre, they started harassing the survivors and accusing them of being crisis actors.[17]

Gun rights[edit]

As with previous massacres using guns, the right talked about how it shouldn't be politicized,[18] even though President Trump turned Hurricane Maria into an excuse to blast Puerto Rico less than a week earlier.[19]

Paradoxically, after a shooting, gun laws are actually loosened.[20] Sales of bump stocks, a firearm accessory that converts a semi-automatic rifle to automatic, took a sharp increase up after Las Vegas shooting.[21]

Harassment[edit]

A man in Arizona endured death threats, a harassment campaign, and doxxings from extremist gun enthusiasts because he gave his guns over to the police.[22] The inventor of the bump stock receives death threats, lawsuits, and his children's lives endangered from gun control extremists.[21]

Tragedy[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. Have you been affected by the shooting in Las Vegas? The Guardian
  2. http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/02/us/las-vegas-shooting-victims/index.html
  3. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/progressivesecularhumanist/2017/10/fox-news-blames-cnn-atheism-las-vegas-massacre/
  4. A screenshot from before he deleted it.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Las Vegas Plot Thickens: Stephen Paddock’s Plane Was Owned By Obama Administration Intelligence Contractor Political Vel Craft
  6. Tucker Carlson pushes conspiracy theories on Las Vegas mass shooting by Taylor Link. Salon
  7. Las Vegas Guard Jesus Campos Is Back to Work at Mandalay Bay Hotel After Shooting by Robert Valencia. Newsweek
  8. https://www.naturalnews.com/039752_mass_shootings_psychiatric_drugs_antidepressants.html
  9. http://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/kirstie-alleys-bizarre-theory-mass-11284223
  10. Wood, Graeme. "Why Did the Islamic State Claim the Las Vegas Shooting?" The Atlantic, 2 October 2017 (recovered 7 October 2017).
  11. Smith, Saphora. "Las Vegas Shooting: ISIS Claim of Responsibility Is Sign of Desperation." NBC News, 3 October 2017 (recovered 7 October 2017).
  12. Channeling conspiracy theory, congressman says Las Vegas attack linked to 'possible terrorist nexus' by Kyle Swenson (January 19) The Washington Post.
  13. https://www.wsj.com/articles/youtube-tweaks-its-search-results-after-rise-of-las-vegas-conspiracy-theories-1507219180
  14. https://www.infowars.com/youtube-tweaks-search-results-as-las-vegas-conspiracy-theories-rise-to-top/
  15. 15.0 15.1 Creationist: The Vegas Massacre Was a “False Flag” To Take Away Our Guns and War of Worlds: Pirates of Mandalay Bay : Illuminati versus U.S. Navy? —Project Camelot, 5 October 2017
  16. 115th United States Congress Ballotpedia
  17. Levin, Sam. "'I hope someone truly shoots you': online conspiracy theorists harass Vegas victims." The Guardian, 26 October 2017 (recovered 28 October 2017).
  18. https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/10/3/16405052/mass-shooting-politicize-gun-violence
  19. [1]
  20. Mass Shootings Don't Lead to Inaction—They Lead to Loosening Gun Restrictions by David Frum. The Atlantic
  21. 21.0 21.1 The Making of a Millionaire and a Massacre by By Michael Smith and Polly Mosendz. Bloomberg
  22. Man gets death threats after turning guns over to police by Cydney Henderson. USA Today