at Yeah, so I have a little theory here. I may be wrong, because at this point I think it’s pure speculation and really anything could be a possibility still, but come on. I am a human. I’m also a dude. And dudes have this really weird thing about respect. At least some of us do. It might have something to do with a Meyers-Briggs or DISC personality test but some of us really hate it when we feel like we’re being disrespected. Some of us, like me, hate it so much that we build companies to prove others wrong, that’s about the most productive thing we could do. But some of us decide we’re going to be president and some who are president, decide to invade other countries and then, still some others, like the apparently super thin-skinned Stephen Paddock decide to kill as many people as he can, but in a very specific place. I’ll walk through each of these scenarios and see what we come up with.
First, lets look at the Vegas shooter. What’s got people baffled is that he doesn’t seem to fit a profile. He’s not an alt-right militia member, he’s not anti-government, he’s not ISIS, and he’s not a racist, or white supremacist, so what is the deal with this guy? He didn’t leave some kind of manifesto to inspire others to follow in his footsteps, so why did he do what he did? It just doesn’t add up. Or does it? We know that Paddock booked rooms in recent months at at least two other concert venues that overlooked the crowd. Now, some may think he wanted to mask his gunfire so he needed a loud and chaotic environment to make this happen. Plausible yes, but that’s not a real reason to do what he did, as I see it. Here’s what I think, and why I think he chose the venue he did.
It’s been said that Paddock was the most passive aggressive, but undoubtedly aggressive, individual you could ever know. It’s been reported that he would keep an unlit cigar around just so he could light it and blow smoke in the faces of people who pissed him off. Here’s my theory. And I think it’s way more plausible than any government cover-up. I think he pissed off the wrong guy one night in a casino. And that guy was either a concert promoter, an agent or, maybe a big-time tech guy who does festivals. Whatever the specific profession means little. All Paddock cared about was ruining him. Now he could have tracked down his family and killed them, or just killed the guy. But a twisted guy like Paddock knew the only way to really get in the craw of the dude who pissed him off was to destroy his livelihood. If this guy’s whole career and self-worth was built on concerts, especially outdoor concerts, then what’s the best way to destroy the dude? Shoot up one of his shows. If I were an investigator I’d be looking to see if there were any common players in the concerts that he’d looked at before choosing Vegas.
But here’s the real stupid thing about this type of vengeance, it never, maybe I should say, rarely, ever lands on the guy it’s intended for. If this crazy idea is the way it went down the concert dude probably doesn’t even remember Paddock. Like, it was probably such a non-issue, or a drunken stupor, that the guy wouldn’t remember this Paddock dude at all, or even remember ever having a run in with anyone for that matter. Hell, it could have been over some chick that Paddock thought he had dibs on. Who knows? That’s what’s so incredibly stupid here. But, that’s how this shit works for immature dudes. I know this. I’ve been there, when I twelve mind you, but I did something similar as a kid.
I remember in middle school getting slammed into a locker by a dumb bully kid. Did I say anything to him? Did he even know who I was? No clue. But that summer, I got out my yearbook, scratched his face out and plotted his murder. Right, because that’s the crazy stuff 12 year-old boys do. We have huge egos and huge emotions and we make ourselves crazy. But the really crazy thing is here’s the dude who’s murder I’m plotting doing flips off the high-dive all summer without a care in the world and he doesn’t even know I exist. I know this to be a fact, btw, that that’s what this dude was doing because I stalked him as I plotted the murder. But still, I meant nothing to him. Nothing. I doubt he even remembered the locker incident. I was just another target for him as he did what he did in the halls of school everyday. It wasn’t personal. I made it that way. It was my hell, not his.
Look at our president, as an example. There was the, what 2011 White House Correspondents Dinner, where Obama lampooned and roasted him all night. Funny, really funny stuff, but Trump wasn’t laughing. That stone-faced bastard sat there, first plotting Obama’s murder, I’m sure. Just like me with the middle school kid. Just like Paddock, as well. But then Trump hatched a plan that would be even better than killing Obama and that would be to become president and systematically destroy his legacy. Sitting there in the hot seat that night, steaming his ass off, about to bust a gasket, he resolved to seek vengeance upon Barack Obama by hitting him where it could hurt most. Get in the White House and undo everything became the plan at that moment. And did Obama know, or care? It certainly doesn’t seem so. He’s moving on to building a lasting legacy with his foundation that builds real change because it’s non-political. It wouldn’t surprise me if that were Obama’s plan all along, trudge through the presidency so you could do more on the other side than you did in office. Ever heard of Jimmy Carter? Surely that had to be his plan. How else could you explain that administration?
Speaking of presidents and vengeance there’s the crazy deal with Bush 43. If you remember, during his dad’s presidency, we invaded Iraq because of their hostile takeover of Kuwait. It seemed like the right thing to do because we were taking up for the little guy. I, personally, was opposed to it and organized protests of the Gulf War on my college campus, me and maybe two others turned out, and we just got high and spoke a little louder than normal about peace and unjust war. We were on a pretty conservative campus and how we didn’t get our asses beat still astounds me. I guess we didn’t burn flags or take knees. We were probably viewed as the harmless stoners we were. Regardless, we tried to do our part. But back to my story, so after things settled down after the Gulf War and somewhere during the Clinton administration there was a big mosaic made of a likeness of Bush 41’s face that was in the middle of one of the most heavily traveled town squares in all of Iraq. Of course, in their culture, this is the worst thing you can do is offer someone the bottom of your shoe. It would be like if every toilet in the US had an image of Saddam Hussein in the bowl. But this was there in Iraq and Bush 43 knew it when he got in office, or before even. So he planned his vengeance.
And remember this? We had this team of UN weapons inspectors scouring the land looking for Weapons of Mass Destruction all over Iraq never to find anything, only for us to be the WMD in the end with our invasion and taking down of Hussein. Then we ended up with even worse with the Taliban and Al Qaeda and now ISIS. All because a cowboy got his chaps in a wad and decided to seek vengeance.
So thank God we have a real model of how this is supposed to work. I mean Jesus is pretty clear. Turn your damn cheek. Why? Because IF you do this, you are not plotting vengeance on anyone. You’ve let bygones immediately be bygones. You’re not harboring any of that rage, you’re not welling up with pride to the breaking point that you’re gonna go and wipe out as many people as you can just to take down the dude who slapped you. Hell no! You’ve let it go. Look at the crazy ass way Jesus went to trial. He could have been his own defense attorney and, no doubt, have been a great one. But no, he went silently like a lamb to be slaughtered. In honesty I’d be surprised if lambs, about which I know nothing mind you, didn’t go to slaughter freaking out, but Jesus didn’t. That’s some amazing super-human stuff when you think about it. But it’s our model and example for how to deal with things before rage gets the best of us.
If, if we really decided to take Jesus for the example he is we’d change the world. If we didn’t do crazy shit like shoot up concerts, or decide to be president even if we had to pay Russia to help us, or invade a country, but if we really just let it go, and not in the Disney’s Frozen Let it Go fashion, but in the Jesus way, how much happier would we be? And how much better would the world be?
Tonight at dinner, after a particularly challenging day with our oldest boy who’s 10, he turned to our 5 year-old son and asked, “How do you stay so happy?” To which our 5 year-old responded, without missing a beat, “Oh that's easy, just love Mama.” Wow, out of the mouths of babes, right? Just love. Just try that that hat on for a while and not the asshat and see what it does for you. Can we try to not be so uptight about every damn little thing? Can we give people the benefit of the doubt and realize that they’re really probably not out to get you, or that they probably didn’t even notice you? Can we stop plotting the deaths of those who piss us off that might just end up hurting or killing a lot more and then maybe not even really affect the one we wanted to screw?
I’ve heard it attributed to a few but I’d like to think it was Dorothy Day who said it for real and that’s this, “we love God only as much as the person we like the least”. Maybe start there. Not ready for love? That’s OK; just try a little bit more like in your life.