Skip to Content

Mandalay Bay: Top O' The World, Ma! (PART TWO)

The Second Amendment Is Not a Suicide Pact

As a smart, savvy and capable loner like Stephen Paddock becomes aware of himself “deteriorating,” as his girlfriend told investigators, as he becomes aware of the much vaunted control of his life falling away, as he becomes aware of how cold-blooded and predatory the legal bureaucracies in such a “paradise” can be, as he immerses himself in the sexy gun culture and accumulates more and more very lethal weapons -- does what he ended up doing make logical sense in a warped mind? When the life of someone like Paddock becomes troubled and when even his warmest relationships may no longer provide anything but reinforcement that he’s losing his grip, does going out in a storm of violence make sense? Might this be a “motive”? And might it qualify as the destined death Freud spoke of? A man like Paddock sees “other people” as threats to avoid or overcome -- or they are seen as there to serve his needs. Crowds of people may have been abstractions for Paddock, not flesh-and-blood people worthy of empathy. Paddock seems not to have been the sort of man who would “age gracefully” or seek “help” from others. Was he a man caught in a web of personal decline with no way out? No way out, that is, except all those empowering guns he was amassing? As a woman candidate for US Senate in Nevada put it a few years ago, did Stephen Paddock employ “a second amendment solution” to punctuate a personal baby-boomer crisis of aging? Mass murder as a cry for help?

The term running amok comes from the Malay/Indonesian word meng-âmuk. It’s defined as “An episode of sudden mass assault against people or objects usually by a single individual following a period of brooding.”

How does a society politically break the cycle of right-wing obstruction and restrict the availability of so many incredibly lethal weapons? Is it really all about money and corporate profits? The 58 victims of this crazed event deserve to be counted for something, to be a voice, so to speak, in the struggle for shared meaning. Australia is a very macho nation and it successfully cut down on gun violence by legal restrictions. To watch leaders like Mitch McConnell following such a disaster is truly demoralizing. All they do is distract and stall, hoping through that process opposition will be seen as futile and events like Las Vegas will be forgotten -- until the next incident. It makes you think of Nero playing his fiddle.

In 2006, Newt Gingrich wrote an item in the conservative publication Human Events arguing that the First Amendment should not be allowed to provide cover for terrorists. “Either before we lose a city, or, if we are truly stupid, after we lose a city, we will adopt rules of engagement that use every technology we can find to break up [terrorists’] capacity to use the Internet, to break up their capacity to use free speech. ... Free speech is not an acceptable cover for those planning to kill.” The following headline topped the piece:

“The 1st Amendment Is Not a Suicide Pact.”

That was 2006. In 2017, with Stephen Paddock’s actions in mind, it’s fair to wonder whether, thanks to the political right, the NRA and the gun industry, the 2nd Amendment has become a suicide pact.

Link to: Mandalay Bay: Top O' The World, Ma! (PART ONE)



story | by Dr. Radut