Wednesday, October 04, 2017

1853 Autumn in Vegas

Las Vegas is a fake city. Oh, sure, there’s a piece of actual land with the name.  It has buildings and people and all those other place-y things.  But it shares a soul with Oz, Glocca Morra, Brigadoon, Moote Pointe and Washington DC, famous locations with no real geography.

It is a place where you go to admire hotel rooms with  flocked wallpaper, casinos without clocks and without heart, and really big shows with shopworn stars like Celine Dion, J-Lo, Wayne Newton and those creepy illusionists within an illusion Penn and Teller.  It’s a place where you can imagine Fredo putting down roots that will eventually grow into the “soon-to-be-all- legitimate” Corleone family business.

It’s also a place where they hide catastrophic water shortages, tolerate temperatures hot enough to bake a cake on the sidewalk and where it hails bullets not lumps of ice.

That hail storm was big enough for the Hurricane Center to give it a name. It was a non-nuclear neutron bomb, destroying living human beings and leaving buildings intact.

As people lie dead, dying, injured and wounded in Vegas, the cartoons in DC, the work of a demented Disney or a live action Bugs Bunny film go about their business as if nothing happened.  

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas? Not this time, Daffy Duck.  

Your congressman or woman remains on the job making your taxes rise and your standard of living fall. Oh. And doing nothing about people like Stephen Paddock, the shooter.  Not the “suspect,” mind you. The Shooter.

Paddock is the kind of guy who if he lived on the edge of a small town or in a mobile home park would be called a loner. Since he lived in a ritzy retirement community and evidently had a lot of money, he was called “reclusive.”  You know: Timothy McVey was a loner.  Howard Hughes was “reclusive.”

People who knew him said he hadn’t held a job in the past 30 of his 64 years.  That means one of two things: either he worked for Fredo or he made his money shifting other money and other assets around while adding nothing of actual value, kind of like your financial adviser or the “developer” who got your 120 year old Victorian house leveled to put up a parking lot.

Which leads us to Marilou Danley who
--was Paddock’s girlfriend
--was visiting relatives in the Philippines and apparently smart enough to get out of Dodge before the bullets hit the fans.
--was met by the FBI when she returned to Los Angeles.
--Is a citizen of Australia
--Probably was privy to a pillowtalk preview of Paddock’s plans but “not considered a suspect.”  Yet.

Paddock was not a known gun collector. His brother says he had a gun or two locked up in a safe in his house.

Paddock brought about a dozen of those “two” with him including semi automatic long range rifles converted to what amounts full automatic, which slips it through a loophole in President Reagan’s law against machine guns. Law enforcement found others in Paddock’s house along with ammunition and explosives.

Okay. Since he was relatively well off, we have to call him “a reclusive collector of weapons” and not “a hermit gun nut.”

Either way, he was no fancy marksman or sharpshooter.  It doesn’t take one of those to kill 59 people and wound or injure more than 500 others from 32nd story perch and using a high powered long range fully automatic gun, which is what he did.

Meantime up in that other fake city, Washington, Congressman Daffy Duck and his looney tune brothers have the power to close the loophole that bans machine guns but at the same time puts them in reach. But that’s less fun than running around in circles and building a wall that might protect us from the next guy who has a better machine gun and plan to go hunting.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2017

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