10 ridiculous headlines about the Las Vegas terrorist
The Las Vegas shooting, perpetrated by domestic terrorist Stephen Paddock, is the deadliest firearms killing spree ever perpetrated by an individual in the United States. After all the memorials and funerals, the speeches from politicians and pundits, we are still no closer to establishing why Paddock was compelled to murder 58 people and injure 489 from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel. His suicide means we'll probably never know why and getting caught up in the intrigue only seems to inspire others to emulate them.
But this hasn't stopped the tabloid press from frantically raking through the minutiae of the incident, combing through Paddock's life to find some trace of a rationale for his crimes. The rolling 24-hour coverage resulted in some pretty spurious news stories, as reporters all struggled to find the next big scoop. So we've decided to take a look at some of the more questionable newspaper headlines that were published in the wake of the tragedy, which prove that anything related to a national disaster, no matter how trivial, can make the front page.
1. Las Vegas Shooter Stephen Paddock's Last Meal Throws Up More Questions Than Answers
Other than putting you in mind of Stephen Paddock vomiting up his last meal, this headline is a fantastic example of empty speculation. There is pretty much no useful information we can glean about the killer based on what he ate before pulling the trigger. So Paddock ate a burger and drank a lot of soda: what deep insight does this give us into his psyche? None whatsoever.
2. Las Vegas Shooter Stephen Paddock Had An Unusual Financial Life: Here's What We Know
Stephen Paddock was atypical as a spree shooter only in that he was elderly and wealthy, and made millions from gambling and real estate ventures. However, spree shooters can come from a wide variety of ethnic and economic backgrounds. The only difference is that Paddock's considerable assets allowed him to purchase more firearms and more ammunition than most. Paddock acquired his money legally and legitimately, and police have already investigated his monetary background. To claim that he had an "unusual financial life" is simply sensationalism.
3. Killer's Cruise: Vegas Killer Stephen Paddock Went On A Cruise To The Middle East Within The Last Year
Many, many people travel to the Middle East for business or for a vacation. Far from a hotbed of terrorism, the overwhelming majority of those living in the Middle East are peaceful people. The same can be said of the people who visit. I have been on holiday to Mexico, but this doesn't mean that I've joined a cartel and started smuggling cocaine just because I spent two weeks in Cancun.
4. Casino Owner On Stephen Paddock: 'The Most Vanilla Profile One Could Possibly Imagine'
A number of people who knew Paddock have since come forward to state that, amazingly, Paddock didn't advertise his murderous intentions to all and sundry. It's hardly surprising that Paddock was outwardly an ordinary, boring man who wasn't overtly suspicious. Most spree shooters are, and it's not in their best interests to make themselves conspicuous to authorities before carrying out a massacre.
5. A Mother's Words: Las Vegas Shooter Stephen Paddock’s Mum Told Neighbour The Killer Was A 'Bad Boy'
How many men reading this headline were called "a bad boy" by their mother as a child? It's hardly a worrying phenomenon. Paddock was 65 when he carried out the shooting. Are we to take from this that his mother knew what her son was capable of six decades before the fact? Somehow I doubt it. If we treat every person who was ever scolded as a child like a criminal then we'll very quickly run out of prison space.
6. A Mysterious Piece Of Paper Was Found In The Las Vegas Shooter's Hotel Room
A piece of paper was allegedly found at the crime scene, in the hotel room that Paddock had been shooting from. The paper was not a suicide note, and in fact, from what we can discern, it was completely blank. Big deal. Most hotel rooms provide guests with a complementary notepad or sheet of paper. The fact that the innocuous piece of paper was blank probably means that it's negligible evidence, to be discounted rather than treated as proof of a conspiracy or hidden agenda.
7. Las Vegas Shooter Was The 'King Of Microaggression'
This headline seems to suggest that prior microaggressions (already a contested term among psychiatrists) might have provided a hint that Paddock was planning a spree shooting. For those not familiar with the term, a microaggression usually refers to a verbal or nonverbal insult or dismissal by one person to another or a group. However, there's not much sense in wringing hands over microagressions when a macroagression (read: the shooting spree itself) has already left people dead. Apparently we're all guilty of microagressions from time to time, so if you think a colleague has insulted you or a friend snubbed you, it's pretty unlikely that they're going to be the next Stephen Paddock, and more likely they were in a grumpy mood.
8. Stephen Paddock Called In Two Noise Complaints About Loud Country Music From The Hotel Room Below
Apparently Paddock called the hotel desk to make a complaint about noise at approximately 1.30am the night before his spree shooting, but this information just seems to be totally irrelevant. What does this story tell us? That people who complain about noise late at night are homicidal? Or that country music provoked Paddock into slaughtering dozens of strangers? I very much doubt either.
9. Las Vegas Horror: Stephen Paddock Ended Massacre With His Tiniest Weapon
This headline seems to be surprised that Stephen Paddock used a comparatively small handgun in order to commit suicide before the SWAT team could arrest him. However, considering the range he was firing from, it would have been illogical to have fired a pistol at festival-goers from his hotel room. It makes complete sense for him to turn his smallest firearm on himself.
10. Stephen Paddock Doesn't Fit Mass Shooter's Profile
Criminal profiles are useful tools of investigation, used by qualified forensic psychologists to identify and apprehend potential suspects. Although many spree killers sometimes share things in common with one another, or follow an established pattern of neurosis, behaviour and criminology, it's dangerous to stereotype them as being homogenous. As previously stated, spree shooters can come from a wide variety of backgrounds. They can have an existing criminal record or have lived a blameless life. Profiling is useful when identifying patterns and as a predictive instrument; but they are never infallible.
Unfortunately, it's an established fact that tragedies on this scale often lead to biased reporting and politicisation. In all the furore involved in delving into the biography of the culprit, it's easy to forget about the most important thing of all: the victims. If you'd like to help out those who have been affected, then please consider donating to the relief fund.