Step one in trying to understand the Las Vegas shooter, Stephen Paddock, is realizing the extent of contempt for humanity that exists. Paddock shot at, wounded and killed people he didn't know, people in the abstract. It's easier to be lethal with strangers, especially when you have contempt for them, and many of us have contempt for humanity in the abstract.
Fire-bombing German and Japanese civilians in World War II was made easier by the contempt that was held for these people at that time. And today many hold contempt for humanity — people in general. Contempt for humanity has been a characteristic of those disgusted by what they view as humanity's sinful nature. Disgust with humanity in general was a fascist characteristic, expressed by the Nazi who said that when he heard the word "culture" he wanted to reach for his pistol.
There was the disgust for humanity expressed by Kimveer Gill, the Canadian young man who said, "life sucks." He thought people were deceivers, manipulators and ill-mannered. He defined people with the grossest of profanity. He disliked their cruelty to animals. School, he wrote, sucks, and work sucks. He had not pursued an interest in making himself useful to society. The philosopher Epicurus believed in enduring, smelling the roses and friendship. Gill went out at 25 smelling burned gunpowder, friendless and disconnected. Gill went on a shooting spree, alone on a college campus in Montreal, killing one woman and injuring nineteen. It was a violent one-against-all spend-all for immediate satisfaction power trip on September 13, 2006.
Stephen Paddock didn't show much interest in being useful for humanity. He made a living beating others in power plays called gambling, where one wins at the expense of others or is beaten by others. He speculated in property buying. He wasn't an educator, or a scientist, a builder or investor or the kind of businessman who wants to provide people with a good product.
Marilou Danley said days later: "I knew Stephen Paddock as a kind, caring, quiet man." She was no idiot, but perhaps a bit narrow in judging his character — something that can go beyond normal empathies and involve philosophy.
Paddock was sixty-four and apparently tired of the everyday. He appears to have not been the kind of guy curious enough to want to keep watching the world go by. Perhaps he was bored and in place of the routine he wanted to go out big, a big power play, with that instrument of power: automatic weapons. He was nervy, calculating and cold, which served him as a gambler.
Copyright © 2016 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.