Las Vegas On My Mind

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I confess, I think about the Las Vegas concert shooting every day. And it’s not a passing thought, either. I think about it out of sheer sympathy for the 58 families shattered beyond comprehension. I think about it to try to get my head around the mere existence of pure, demented evil in humans.

I think about it like you would think about a puzzle. What would you do, if you were on the ground that night? How did the shooter execute his plan? And of course I think about the “why?” I’ll bet the “why” part is going to remain hopelessly buried in the depths of deep, deep, mental illness.

Now… the whole story is entering a new phase, due to the fact that some pretty basic timelines of the atrocity are being changed almost a full week after the shots stopped ringing out into the Vegas night.

At this point, it’s pretty apparent, that certain entities are not being entirely truthful. The reasons for that, are not hard to put together.

At first, we were told unarmed security guard Jose Campos was the defacto hero, coming upon the shooter’s room in mid-massacre, drawing an avalanche of rifle fire through the hotel room door. Campos was struck in the leg, but allegedly stayed on the 32nd floor until police arrived and the shooter had finally killed himself.

Now… forget all that. So says the LVPD. They say Campos came upon the shooter 6 MINUTES BEFORE the carnage at the music festival began! Holy whaaaaaa?

Everything else is now a complete mess of contradiction. Denials are flying. This is going to get ugly from a liability standpoint, no doubt.

Now we have been told about the maintenance worker who ALSO was on the floor when the bullets began flying. And instead of the narrative that Campos got shot through the door, the maintenance worker claimed bullets were flying “down the hall.”

What?!

It’s been a week and two days. This is the FIRST time we’ve heard about the maintenance man or any of these details. This is not normal. The LVPD said – rather weakly, I think – that the events of the hallway that night were “not a priority” in their investigation.

Really? How’s that, exactly?

I understand a complicated and multi-location mass atrocity like this will take time to untangle, and that there will be corrections of certain facts along the way. I refuse to believe that the LVPD would botch the basic timeline of the crime and have to revise it a week later, unless they were getting very minimal cooperation from the hotel and their lawyers. Yeah, I said it: lawyers.

Because IF a security guard got shot in the leg 6 minutes before the massacre began, and he DID NOT call 911 immediately, there’s trouble for MGM Grand. If he radioed to the front desk, and THEY did not immediately call 911, there’s trouble for MGM Grand.

I have read a story that claims actual LVPD were in the resort at the time Campos was shot, responding to a separate call. If that’s true – and it’s a BIG IF, because the story keeps changing – then the known response time to the room is flatly un-acceptable. A pair of officers should be able to get to that exact room, ID’d exactly by Campos via radio, in 5 minutes. Maybe less.

There’s an 18 minute gap between when Campos was shot, and the police arrived. By then, the shooting had stopped. And they took another 45 minutes to breach the room. I can understand some degree of caution on breaching the room – it may well have been booby trapped.

But how could the police know he wasn’t wiring up explosives to cause more mayhem? Loading up more guns? Jumped from the window with a short altitude parachute? A million things could have been going on. Furthermore, did some victims die needlessly without an “all clear” radio call from the shooter’s room by police to medical personnel assisting the wounded at the concert?

Look, I am not trying to criticize anyone involved that night. It was an unthinkable act, shrouded in darkness and chaos. Many, many people acted with true, amazing heroism. But there are so many questions.

A few stray thoughts, on a few more things.

“200 Rounds”
This was the estimate given to what the shooter put through the door at the security guard/maintenance man. I’m skeptical. That’s about 20 straight seconds of fully automatic (or bump-stock) fire. Or 6 different shooting barrages between what were likely 30 round magazines. How many other hotel guests heard this thundering barrage, and called 911? Or the front desk? So far, we’ve heard nothing.

“Cameras Everywhere”
While its true that Vegas has a TON of “eyes in the sky” I’ve been told that not every hotel has them pointing down each hallway. Mandalay Bay might have only had them at each elevator bank. Also, many Vegas hotels have “hallways” that bend, and slant, and jag from one end to the other. If we never see hallway footage, I won’t start putting on my tinfoil hat.

Bump-Stocks
I’m very pro second Amendment. But, of course these things should be illegal. I saw one at the gun range the one time I was at one, and yeah… it turns your legal rifle into an illegal machine gun. I don’t see how anyone can oppose this.

False Flag/Isis/Conspiracy Theories
Bah. You can have all these bags of nonsense. I think this was a perfect storm of a guy who was a) Highly intelligent b) Disciplined c) Detached from humanity d) Deeply broken mentally. I wish these individuals didn’t exist in the world. But they do. And there is no stopping them.

Why Was He So Quick to Stop Shooting and Kill Himself?
Does seem odd, no? Why not kill as many cops trying to get in your room, en route to your own express ride to hell? It appears – and again, who knows how much the “official” timeline may change going forward – that the shooter didn’t even engage police at his door. He was already dead. Sure, that’s “odd” if you think he’s a rational “crazy” person. But crazy is crazy. Who knows what the voices in his head told him?

For Those Obsessed With How Many Guns He Had
This is a pointless complaint. While having multiple rifles would help ensure he could keep shooting in case of a gun jam, I would bet that as few as three rifles with loads of ammo in magazines would have been plenty. In fact, bringing as many guns as he did, only created a greater operational burden for him, and increased his chances of getting caught.

How Come They Didn’t See Him Bringing All Those Weapons To His Room?
Uh, because he didn’t bring them up all at once, in wooden crates marked “GUNS.” You should see how my dad overpacks to visit a casino for 1 night! Computers, coffee makers, clothes, etc. Now, there IS a separate issue of letting him stay holed up without maid service for 3 days. Steve Wynn said in an interview that his properties don’t let a guest go beyond a day and a half. Which I think is sensible. Russell Brand could be in that room, dead for a day on an overdose, starting to rot!

Aside from the sheer horror of the act, and those who have been killed, maimed, and otherwise traumatized and broken, the tragedy hits sorta close to my heart because of my deep affinity for everything that is, Las Vegas.

It is, my kinda town. I’ve been going there every March for almost 20 years. I love the pulse of the place, and the feeling of being out there in the desert. I’ve also stayed at Mandalay Bay more than a few times. It’s a great property. We play our golf at nearby Bali Hai GC, from which the gleaming gold facade of the hotel rises as a backdrop. It’s an awesome visual, and one that I have yet to get tired of seeing and feeling when I visit.

I’ll never look at it the same way, however, and that just adds another small layer of sadness.

Let’s just hope that the facts end up settling into an agreed upon narrative, and that operational lessons are learned to help prevent, or mitigate such atrocities in the future. But I’ll be honest: it smells like something fishy is going now, and that future discovery of negligence or incompetence in the response, may add to the tragedy.

17 COMMENTS

  1. And they took another 45 minutes to breach the room. I can understand some degree of caution on breaching the room – it may well have been booby trapped.

    Good thoughts Czabe but that’s the part I don’t agree with. Law enforcement simply must do better in these situations. Sorry. I realized that during the Virginia Tech massacre and all we got were videos of police hiding behind their cruisers talking on radios.

    When there is an active shooter the directive has to be to take this guy down. Immediately. If there is a school shooting they have to get in there at once with orders to shoot anyone they see with a gun. Multiple times. The same order should’ve been given on this guy as soon as they knew the room. Get in there. Now. Kill him.

    When I’ve argued this before I’ve heard….”you do it hero…..u don’t know police protocol etc”.

    Correct….I’m not in law enforcement…..but I’d think those who are accept that there are risks involved……and somewhere along the line there has been a shift to protecting themselves as much or even more than the public they serve.

    • 1000% agree – I’ve been saying this for a long time. The police are to “protect and serve”…but only after they put themselves first apparently. There have been countless examples throughout history in every small town. A friend of mine was shot and killed by her ex-boyfriend…she called 911, 1 cop arrived and came into the apartment to break up the problem, saw the boyfriend pointing a gun at the girl, and the cop ran away rather than shoot the boyfriend. The girl died, the boyfriend then committed suicide. Cop gets off scott free with some paid leave for the trauma he had to witness.

      • Yup cop claims trauma and stress can’t do his job anymore and gets awarded a tax payer paid pension the rest of his life. by no means am I indicting the police, what these guys that work in the inner cities have to go thru and put up with on a daily basis they might as well be battling ISIS in Afghanistan. its truly become a war zone in America’s inner cities.

        • Boss Hogg and Tick Tock provide exhibits one and two proving why police agencies struggle to find minimally qualified candidates. There are many other noble “heroic” professions available with better pay and benefits where the public universally approves. Who would want to join law enforcement these days with all the cop hating going on?

          • Say what you will Ben…I don’t hate the police. I just want them to do their sworn duty to protect and serve. Too often they don’t. It’s not an easy job and not one I would ever want. But it’s a job with a duty to perform a certain expected way. It’s not acceptable to call be a helpless situation, call someone like police who are equipped and sworn to help but then don’t.

          • That should read “be in a helpless situation and then call someone like police who are well equipped and sworn to help…”

    • dude.. shooting stopped after 11 min. if shooting started again i bet they would have busted in.. but fact is by the time they were there shooting about stopped.. why not take the cautious way in to save more innocent lives??? do you even know the facts of the story?

  2. Great analysis of the events. The whole police/hotel security situation seems very strange. I never understood how there will be a school shooting and they take hours to clear the building. I know you can’t go in guns blazing but there has to be a better solution. They clear neighborhoods in Iraq faster and there is a much higher chance of boobytraps and multiple shooters in those situations.

  3. The public always wants answers right now but the final answers take forever in cases like this. Heck, they take forever in cases where only one person gets killed but multiple moving parts are involved. I’m sure the LVMPD would have loved to release nothing and wait for the final report before making a statement but that’s not tolerable. The “facts” constantly change because what we know today is oftentimes different than what we knew today or what we will know tomorrow.

    The liability take is spot on I think. There is huge potential liability even if everyone did everything they could in the best manner possible. Bottom line is people were murdered or maimed and someone must pay. It’s the way of the world.

    To Mike’s point about law enforcement needing to do better, we don’t even know that law enforcement DIDN’T do the best they possibly could have. Who are we to second guess what they did or didn’t do? Those answers hopefully will come after a thorough after action evaluation is conducted. These incidents are nasty SOBs and nobody should rush to judgment without having the facts. Unlike Mike, I do work in LE and I (unfortunately) have been to one of these dances. It sucked the biggest suck that ever sucked a suck.

    I can tell you, at least where I work, we are fully committed to doing everything within reason to stop the killing. I carry military style weaponry and armor of the highest order. I know how to use it. I am scared of nothing and will do everything humanly possible to keep a madman from hurting others. Most everyone I work with would do the same. Let’s wait until the final reports are done before criticizing anyone involved because I’m certain Vegas police have a similar mindset.

    The bottom line is the world is a scary place. Czabe hit it on the head: There are crazy and/or mean people out there whom want to cause innocent people harm. It’s something we have to live with. New laws probably won’t change a dang thing. Doing nothing won’t change anything either. It is what it is. I’ll still go to Vegas and enjoy the hell out of it. Don’t ever let the madmen win.

    • Points worth pondering.

      People demand details right away, before they are fully vetted, and then act surprised when some prove faulty. We STILL don’t know exactly how it went down, but people are rushing to blame the responders for not being heroic enough. The facts will come out. They always do on these things. Stop speculating.

  4. Thanks Ben….for your thoughtful comments…and yes your brave commitment to your profession.

    I have friends in LE…and they are professionals like you. It’s not the rank and file I have questions for of course…but the overall leadership and general direction of LE ….basically the increasing militarization of the police when dealing with the general public…often for small crimes, while these things continue to happen.

    Like Czabe I support the 2nd amendment….although I’d favor some more restrictions than him I’d guess. (The police I do know quietly favor more too).

    But if we are gonna have guns in this country, which as a whole I think is demonstrating we handle them rather poorly….the calculus has to change somewhere.

    There is more to come out….but you are still gonna have to convince me that taking 15 MINUTES to get into a hotel room after the police arrived where a known madman was strafing a crowd with automatic weapons is acceptable.

    And yes he’s a madman. His ‘motives’ are of zero interest to me. There is no explaining crazy……and if I didn’t know better I’d think the media’s obsession with it is a way to not talk about other things.

    • Ok Clint, he was a domestic terrorist… there… and everything’s fixed now?

      I honestly don’t know what dancing you think it going on or what you think giving him that particular label will accomplish.

    • “terrorism” (noun): the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.

      If you can tell us his political aims, you won’t be accused of posting an ill-informed comment that was apparently driven by….political aims.

  5. Ben…….first off thank you for doing a job that I think most Americans don’t even
    F’ ing come close to understanding or fully appreciate. Thank you and your fellow officers for risking their lives every single day dealing primarily with the scum of this country……….Thank you, thank you.

    Ding, ding, ding, Czabe, the lawyers will attempt to turn this tragedy into a complete shit show. This should be settled with mediation like several of the past attacks, the Pulse nightclub shooting was handled by mediators, so was the Connecticut shooting. So far and I admit things can come to light that will change my opinion how in the hell can you blame the Mandalay Bay for this? Casino security in Las Vegas is the best of the best. Granted, geared toward issues on the the gaming floor “NOT THE F’ING GUESTS BREAKING THE F’ing GLASS SO THEY CAN SHOOT ACROSS THE STREET AT 22,0000 PEOPLE WITH ATOMIC WEAPONS !!!!!! To give them credit I’m sure it has always been a concern, but what can we do with this? Maybe require the 10 inch acrylic shit used to make Shamu’s tank at Sea World to replace the windows? And have the democrats mandate it be bulletproof. That sounds F’ing reasonable! That won’t add to the cost of a already billion dollar resort. Once again how do we stop this? I’m sure they will check baggage more closely, as they should, watch guests closer, no more declining maid service.

    And as far as the actual event itself, my belief is the police had no idea where the shooting was coming from it the early first seconds. Understood yes? They may have spent to much time helping victims and you hear this in the police scanner recording, one officer telling them to focus on taking down the shooter (OR SHOOTERS!!! THEY HAD NO IDEA WHAT THIS EVIL WAS!!!! WAS IT 1 MAN ON THE GROUND!?!? OR 10 MEN FROM THE 32ND FLOOR OF A CASINO!!!!)
    And as far as any criticism for them not getting into his room sooner? Imagine if the security guard hadn’t been shoot at and shoot? 10? 20? Police officers would have been at that F’ing door! And then what?!?!?! WE WERE LUCKY HE DID WHAT HE DID!! The reported 200 shoots fired down the hallway was why they didn’t rush that room! No police officer should be required to run to a door, down a hallway where evil just shoot 200 rounds let alone be there faster than what us idiots think they should! It is amazing they did what they did in the time they did it!! And the shooter stopped his shooting, they pulled back, understandable.

    Once again, thank you to the men and women in Law Enforcement in this country! A thousand thanks!

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