Painting of the first fruit of evil.

by baldilocks

David French sums up the surrealism in the aftermath of Las Vegas.

So, a person who’s “not a gun guy” has either expended untold thousands of dollars to legally purchase fully-automatic weapons, somehow found them on the black market, or purchased and substantially modified multiple semi-automatic weapons — and did so with enough competence to create a sustained rate of fire. This same person also spent substantial sums purchasing just the right hotel room to maximize casualties. I cannot think of a single other mass shooter who went to this level of expense and planning in the entire history of the United States.

And there was no real warning? [Stephen Paddock’s] family was unaware? His brother also reported that the shooter had no meaningful political or religious affiliations. “He just hung out.” At the same time, however, there are reports that a woman told a group of concert-goers, “You’re all going to die tonight.”

I’m not ready to draw any conclusions from these reports, but it’s worth highlighting how extraordinary this attack seems to be. Given the firepower and the packed mass of people, it’s easy to see how the casualty count was so high, even firing from an extreme range (by the standards of mass shootings.) This was the University of Texas tower attack on steroids, conducted out of nowhere, with meticulous planning and at great expense, from a person who doesn’t seem to fit any normal profile of a mass shooter. There is much we have yet to learn, but for now, this is one of the most chilling and mysterious events I’ve ever seen.

The Texas Tower sniper, Charles Whitman, was just as meticulous in the planning of his carnage; he was found to have a brain tumor. Read Whitman’s biography. There are startling similarities — besides the obvious — between Whitman and Paddock.

We’ll see what is reported about Paddock’s autopsy. Note the emphasis.

I blogged, glancingly, on the Massacre this morning, but my inner compass tells me something extra: the prevalence of these mass killings is a spiritual issue. I doubt that we will find any rational reason for this one or any of the others. People, sometimes, do what they inner voice tells them to and, as often as not, that inner voice isn’t God.

Evil and its father exist; evil produces its own justifications — it bears fruit.

And if we can’t understand such justifications, we should count our blessing for that alone.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done one day soon! Follow her on Twitter and on Gab.ai.

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The FBI annual report that violent crime, including homicides, rose significantly for the second consecutive year rated only a few passing references in the news.

Violent crimes increased nationally last year by more than 4 percent and homicides rose by nearly 9 percent, one year after violence rose nearly 4 percent and homicides jumped by nearly 11 percent. A total of 17,250 people were murdered in 2016, the FBI said, an increase of about 20 percent over the past two years alone.

“This is ominous,” said Mark Kleiman, a criminologist at New York University’s Marron Institute of Urban Management. “What you worry about is that the trend is broken, and the numbers are going to go back up. A 20 percent increase in homicides over the past two years is not trivial. We’ve got what looks like a serious problem here.”

In 2016, Chicago again led the nation in murders with 765–more than double the 335 people killed in New York, which has more than 5.8 million more people than Chicago.

Large cities–those controlled by Democrats and with populations of more than a million people–saw homicides rise by 20.3 percent, and all violent crime increase by 7.2 percent in 2016. The trend toward greater violence was felt in cities and towns of all sizes. In towns with populations of fewer than 10,000 people, for instance, murders rose by 8.4 percent, according to the FBI.

Crime is lower than it was in the 1980s and 1990s, but that gives little solace to victims and their families.

Here are a few more pertinent facts:

–Murder victims, as well as those arrested on murder charges, were disproportionately young, African-American, and male.

–The demographic group where a significantly higher rate of violence occurs–those between 18 and 34–is getting smaller. So the percentage of crimes committed by that age group should be getting smaller, but it’s not. It’s way up.

–More than three-quarters of U.S. law enforcement officers say they are reluctant to use force when necessary, and nearly as many–72 percent–say they or their colleagues are more reluctant to stop and question people who seem suspicious as a result of increased scrutiny of police, according to a study by the Pew Research Center. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/01/11/ferguson-effect-study-72-us-cops-reluctant-make-stops/96446504/

–The number of police officers and their starting salaries have declined since the mid-1990s.

Many theories exist about why violent crime is up. Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit has a good analysis: “People worry more about crime when they feel that the authorities don’t have their backs. When they feel confident that the government will make all reasonable efforts to keep them safe, that’s one thing. When they think that the political class has other priorities–or even sees them as expendable in the service of ‘social justice’ goals–they get their backs up. I think it’s also a recognition that things can go from good to bad pretty fast.”

What’s clear is that violent crime is getting worse, and it could go from bad to much worse if we don’t do something about it.

Update DTG;  I think Christopher’s piece is one of the most important stories that nobody is talking about.  It will remain pinned to the top for at least the next two days.  If you only share one post from our site this week, make it this one.

You’ll forgive me if I delay my Red Summit interview post for these five points concerning the Las Vegas Shooting.

  1. I’d really like to say that I’m surprised about the CBS Exec or the folks on twitter etc but I’m not. After Boston I’m very much convinced that there are plenty of our friends on the left who would be delighted to kill us if they could get away with it.

  2. It never ceases to amaze me that as soon as something like this happens the first instinct of the left is to try and disarm the next batch of potential victims. This is the “never let a crisis go to waste” mentality but I also think it has something to do with #1 above.

  3. I was listening to Rush when ESPN announced, post Vegas shooting that they were suddenly going to show the National Anthem before the Monday night game between the Chiefs and the Redskins. I’m sure the NFL and ESPN both figured that given the massacre and the heroic efforts of both law enforcement and ex military at the scene it was unthinkable that any player would be protesting the flag that night. They were wrong big time which bodes very poorly for this coming weekend for the public perception of NFL players and teams.

  4. We still have no clear idea what this guy’s motive was, all we seem to know is he was a rich gambler. My gut tell me that ISIS claim is full of it (which is a good sign in the sense that when you’re reduced making such claims it illustrates your importance). Given his wealth and lifestyle it hits me that the most frightening possibility is that he did this thing simply because he could, but when it comes right down to it, while finding such a motive might be cathartic to the public and eliminating any possibility of a conspiracy is important legally, none of it will make a difference for those killed or wounded.

  5. I watched the President’s speech on the attack as it happened. It was an apolitical message for an apolitical moment, put simply exactly what was called for. However CNN’s acknowledgement of this fact outraged the Washington Post for whom neither rain, nor snow nor the mass murder of Americans will shake it from it’s duty of making war on Donald Trump over all else. And the media wonders why people can’t stand them.