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We still want answers Las Vegas Shooting investigation

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We still want answers Las Vegas Shooting investigation

I don’t claim to be the biggest expert on the Las Vegas Shooting, but the lack of answers and results from this investigation is truly scary. Think about it, a major mass murder and months later we know nominally more information than we knew a week after the incident. The media, relatively silent on what should have been a news story stretching on for months. I supposed they think Donald Trump is more interesting to the masses, but I disagree. Matt Walsh noted that his article “WALSH: 58 People Were Killed In Las Vegas, We Still Don’t Know Why Or How, And Nobody Cares” was read by over 100000 people in a matter of days. We Americans are quite interested in finding answers. Perhaps we aren’t going about getting the answers the right way, because we are relying on journalist to revive and “old” news story, and a corrupt FBI to report details on the investigation. As citizens, we might be sitting on our hands. But the lack of transparency and answers serves to only worsen the situation. At the very least, this is incompetence. At the very most, it’s a cover up. Both are unacceptable.

I am making bold accusations, but many fishy signs about the lack of information point to the lack of information we have about Stephen Paddock’s stay at Mandalay Bay. Small stories trickle but no major insight have we yet seen.

The Las Vegas Review Journal is doing a good job maintaining dialog about the Las Vegas Shooting. They published this article on January 5th. Here are some of the highlights:

Mandalay Bay staff interacted with Las Vegas shooter more than 10 times in days before Oct. 1

“Mandalay Bay staff, room service and housekeeping had contact with Paddock or entered his suite more than 10 times over the course of his stay, including the three days leading up to October 1,” an MGM Resorts spokesperson said in an email.

Several media outlets questioned whether Mandalay Bay staff would have noticed the dozens of weapons and thousands of rounds of ammunition Paddock had brought to his room had they checked on him. But Mandalay Bay staff had made multiple contacts with Paddock and had entered his room at least once, according to the MGM Resorts statement.

“As a result of these interactions, there was no need to conduct a welfare check,” the MGM statement said.

 “All MGM Resorts properties follow a health and welfare check operating procedure that stipulates a welfare check be performed after two consecutive days where a do-not-disturb sign has been displayed on the door and the guest has not interacted in-person or by phone with housekeeping or other hotel staff over the same period,” the email from MGM said.

Government Inefficiency?

Review Journal: FBI chief says report on Las Vegas shooting expected by anniversary

FBI investigation by the numbers

—400 specialists brought in

—1500 leads followed locally, 500 worldwide

—400 people interviewed about the gunman

—40 terabytes of data collected

—22,000 hours of video collected

—250,000 images collected

—14 days to comb through the 15-acre festival site

—13 days to collect evidence inside Mandalay Bay

—12 federal search warrants filed

—500 grand jury subpoenas issued

I can’t help but suspect this will just be Warren Commission 2.0. That’s a lot of data, a lot of people, and a lot of leads from which to gather more information. Unless there are other people involved and still free, withholding so much knowledge is irresponsible, only providing fodder for bad conspiracy theories and public distrust. If Stephen Paddock truly acted alone, providing a coherent timeline on the Las Vegas Shooting and events leading up to it, should have been done by now. Is the government being incompetent, inefficient, or hiding something? At very least, the FBI should answer key questions and publish its report in full detail later on.

Las Vegas culture

TruePundit would have you think that Andrew McCabe is behind all of this. I don’t trust TruePundit, but its hard not to take their articles into minor consideration. McCabe is a corrupt figure, but being involved is a stretch. However, after the Walsh article came out, I was reminded of the old saying “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” This may reveal why we don’t have the answers we need. MGM International Resorts is one of the most powerful companies in Las Vegas, and their Mandalay Bay so happened to be the crime scene. Now it’s possible for some nefarious reason they want to withhold as much information as they can. Hotels/ Casinos in Las Vegas are notoriously well monitored. TruePundit published an article on January 9th, claiming that:

“No one has seen that on the video we were provided by MGM,” a FBI source said. “Vegas (PD) has looked at the same video. Paddock is on surveillance video but the guns are not. He’s not carrying bags or cases with rifles.”

How did more than 12 assault rifles get into Paddock’s hotel suite then?

FBI sources noted that there could in fact be video proof of Paddock transporting a dozen guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition to his 32nd-floor hotel suite in Mandalay Bay but MGM Resorts International, who owns the hotel, could be hiding the video.

“They (MGM) control the surveillance video,” one FBI source said. “I have never seen that in any other case. We (the FBI) control the physical evidence.”

Paddock supposedly stayed as a guest at Mandalay Bay for several days prior to his alleged role in the rampage which gunned down over 500 people, including 58 who were killed. Yet, FBI sources show no video of him transporting guns to the 32nd floor?

I don’t trust anonymous sources, even if they are saying something with a reasonable possibility of being true. However, this could also be the reason as to why with 22000 hours of video basic questions have gone unanswered. The more credible Las Vegas Review Journal published details on a lawsuit filed against Mandalay Bay, among others, for gross negligence and even instances of wrongful death. Perhaps, Mandalay Bay would like to not pay millions in a lawsuit for something that smells profusely of gross negligence. This is preferable to believe as opposed to the ugly conspiracy theories out there.

The Silence

The Review Journal article got some conversation going, but we are still far from where we need to be. I’m going to quote Matt Walsh on this

In fairness, some media outlets have sued the FBI to gain access to information about the shooting, but they could put more pressure on the Powers That Be if they actually reported on the story and asked this question publicly. Or this question:

How did he do it? We know he used a gun. Or guns. He had dozens of guns in the hotel room with him. How did he get them all in there? How did he set up a kill room in a major American hotel without anyone noticing? How did he manage to shoot hundreds of people from 500 yards away at night? Was he trained? Where did he train? Who trained him?

We cannot allow ourselves to become complacent on the issue allowing several questions to go unanswered. As I noted in my previous article on the Las Vegas Shooting is so tragic, it’s had a ripple effect of other victims. More people are dying and I imagine the lack of information available fails to mitigates the tragedy at all. Thus it is all the more important to keep up the conversation.

#BoycottMandalayBay to make some noise?

The Las Vegas Review Journal has done a tremendous job, but others should step it up, too. Mandalay Bay only answered a handful of questions in for their January 5th article, leaving other key questions unaddressed. Mandalay Bay already seems to be hurting from the fallout of the shooting, but perhaps people voicing a boycott could get the Las Vegas Shooting trending again. To me, this beats waiting nine more months to get answers. I spitball ideas because the public has waited long enough for answers. There is a good possibility that Mandalay Bay is hiding information, as well as the FBI and LVMPD.

Possibility of New Information

Another recent story was tweeted by Craig Fiegener as well.

On January 16th, we may get more information about Stephen Paddock. A court hearing is scheduled to possibly unseal the findings of the exercised search warrants. What is currently known about the search warrants are that the police obtained text messages dating back at least a year on seven phones Stephen Paddock had. This may be our only chance for a long while, and we can only hope that the media lawyers bring their A game.

Closing Thoughts

I find it highly unnecessary to wait until the Warren Commission 2.0 comes out with their report in October. We the people need answers. Local media is doing some investigative journalism but we as citizens all need not remain silent over the Las Vegas Shooting. 58 people died and it’s still a mystery to the public. We need to vocalize our dissatisfaction with the FBI, LVMPD, and Mandalay Bay over the information they have withheld from us and perhaps a false narrative they have perpetuated. Don’t forget. Never forget. Keep the conversation going. Let us not relent again.

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Culture and Religion

Is Mike Pence too political for church?

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There have been a lot of talk lately about Mike Pence speaking at the SBC. Many complained claiming it was divisive and political. Jonathan Leeman wrote an article for The Gospel Coalition criticizing the very idea of Mike Pence speaking. I will address this article in greater detail on the points that I agree and disagree with. But first, let me answer the very question I posed: Pence isn’t too political to address a congregation, but his speech was.

In short, Mike Pence’s address offered zero substantive theological content. It was merely about his privilege as serving as Vice President. While acknowledging this privilege merited a short section in the beginning, it needed no more continuation. Instead, Mike Pence droned on and on about his experiences and the administration’s accomplishments.

I think there’s only one way you can sum up this administration: It’s been 500 days of action, 500 days of accomplishment. It’s been 500 days of promises made and promises kept. 

Pence’s address followed a pattern of praising Trump with loosely intertwined references to God and praising his hosts as guest speakers often do. The intertwined religious language while praising the accomplishments, not of God, but of the President is the briefest summation of Pence’s speech to the SBC that can be offered. The only biblical passage cited was Psalm 126 in reference to a story that served as praise to the Trump administration. God wasn’t working though Trump in Pence’s speech. Instead, Trump was working. At the end of his speech, Pence did offer a superficial message about praying for America with a quoting scripture.

Mike Pence had an opportunity to address the leaders of many churches. He blew it. But would all politicians do the same?

Politicians Should Be in the Pew, Not the Pulpit?

Jonathan Leeman’s article for The Gospel Coalition draws this conclusion. He has five reasons for not allowing politicians to address a church event.

  1. No reason to give attention to a politician’s words over a plumber’s or an accountant’s, at least not in our assemblies or associations.
  2. Having a political leader address our churches or associations of churches tempts us to misconstrue our mission.
  3. Undermines our evangelistic and prophetic witness.
  4. Hurts the unity of Christ’s body

Reason one is most certainly true. However, I believe we ought to separate the person from the profession. On the basis of spiritual maturity and calling should a politician or any notable guest address an assembly. This first reason is the one I believe to have the most merit in regards to the situation at hand. Inviting a politician to address a Congregation is wrong if the only reason is that they are a politician. However, if the politician is a member of the church, what is wrong with having a fellow member speak?

Reasons two and three are certainly tied together in there logic. I believe these reasons hold merit for Pence’s sacrelidgious speech but are not inherently true of all politicians who accept such similar offers. Reasons two and three open a multitude of separate issues both independent and dependent on the circumstances. Meaning, yes this could happen, but the degree in which we can mitigate the temptation are limited for Satan is the tempter. In the case of Pence, reason three was definitely true. Many would see that the SBC tied itself to Trump. But that is not the fault of the SBC per se. But that is Pence’s fault for giving a campaign rally speech instead of a message. If Pence gave a theologically sound speech there should be little temptation to misconstrue the mission. The third reason is inevitable. Since the beginning, Christians witness has been undermined by the lies of Satan. The original Christians were thought to be cannibal and even atheists. We can’t always prevent these lies, but it would be good not to validate them which Pence did.

Now hurting the unity of the body of Christ is a weak point. Leeman’s fourth point is basically saying that Pence is too polarizing, because Trump is… Trump, on a National level to address a church. Pence is polarizing, but he was polarizing before Trump. The polarizing premise is true but, assuming Pence is indeed a follower off Christ, this would be the result of living a Christian life. Here’s another polarizing figure: Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cake Shop. Would polarity disqualify him from speaking? If we are to apply national likability to our church speakers, we’re going to end up with a lot of TV personalities who don’t comprehend dyophysitism.

Like Jack Philips, Pence has taken a lot of flak for being a devout Christian. Isn’t this the kind of person who may have a good message to the assembly? Seemingly so. Again Pence under-delivered. To be fair, Leeman clearly states he doesn’t blanket outlaw politicians from speaking.

I can envision a few circumstances where there is some measure of mission overlap that could justify it. Maybe a group of Christian college presidents asks the secretary of education to address them. Or a Christian conference on work asks a Christian congressman to talk about working as a Christian on the Hill, so that attendees can apply the principles to their own settings.

But while it’s not an outlaw, such an unwritten policy places constraints on the church that are not inherently necessary. Leeman supposes some similar justification was used when The Gospel Coalition had Ben Sasse speak. In 2017, Ben Sasse addressed The Gospel Coalition and gave a theological speech. He was noted for sounding more like a pastor than a politician.

To me only two things matter:

  1. Theological substance
  2. Correct theological substance

On these two requirements I think the body of Christ would remain unified with a clear picture of its mission.

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Democrats

Family separation battle will save DACA and lead to citizenship for illegals

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The latest outrage du jour by the Washington Establishment comes from the news that children are being temporarily separated from their parents as they try to enter the country illegally.

In her latest presentation of the gospel according to Nancy Pelosi, the part-time Catholic and full-time idiot, blasted “all people of faith in our country” for depriving DREAMers of the “respect they deserve” and for “taking babies away from mothers and fathers.” Meanwhile, National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Steve Stivers (R-OH) issued his call for an end to family separations at the border.

In the Senate, GOP Senator Lisa Murkowski (AK) called for an end to the “zero tolerance” immigration policies. On the other side of the aisle, Democrats rushed to the border to grab a handful of election-year photo ops to document what former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro called “state-sponsored child abuse.”

Melania Trump, in addition to four former first ladies, shared how they “hated” to see families separated and called on America to “govern with heart.”

The outrage over family separation is coming from both sides, but it’s fake. These reactions are nothing more than election-year grandstanding by politicians in both parties who have no interest at all at fixing the immigration problem.

As I wrote last week, the GOP-controlled House is already working on an immigration bill that makes DACA permanent and provides a pathway to citizenship for approximately 1.8 million DREAMers. House Speaker Paul Ryan made sure to point out that this legislation also includes a provision ending family separation.

Yesterday, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) announced that he will introduce a bill that ends family separations at the border, which in an amazing bit of coincidence comes at a time when his Democrat opponent for the US Senate, Beto O’Rourke, also called for the separation policy to end. Cruz’s proposal enjoys the unanimous support of Senate Democrats.

For the record, this “for the children” approach to illegal immigration is how we ended up with DACA in the first place. Also note, as this article shows, that Trump is lying when he blames Democrats for the family separation fiasco.

The family separation issue is being used as a primer for the eventual surrender on immigration. And for those who believe that Trump won’t support this surrender, consider this: he allowed Melania to openly oppose his immigration policy, and he recently announced that he’s open to anything that Congress puts on his desk, even if it means doing the opposite of what he promised to get elected.

Originally posted on The Strident Conservative.

 


David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative. His daily radio commentary is distributed by the Salem Radio Network and is heard on stations across America.

Follow the Strident Conservative on Twitter and FacebookSubscribe to receive podcasts of radio commentaries: iTunes | Stitcher | Tune In | RSS

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Opinions

It isn’t Never-Trump or Always-Trump destroying conservatism, it’s Sometimes-Trump

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One of the craziest—or should I say laziest—accusations leveled against me by Trump’s die-hard loyalists whenever I dare to call him out for breaking a campaign promise, getting caught in a lie, or promoting unconstitutional non-conservative ideas, is that I’m a liberal. Sometimes, they go so far as to accuse me of working for George Soros.

As I’ve said many times in response, I don’t work for Mr. Soros, but since money’s been a little tight at the Strident Conservative lately, if anyone has his number, I’d appreciate it if you’d send it my way.

It’s a sad reality that these pathetic taunts are what passes for political discourse in the Age of Trump. Gone are the days when differences could be civilly discussed based on facts instead of emotion.

Another sad reality of this behavior is that it’s a sign that the end of conservatism is near, as Trump’s small army of loyal followers attempt to rebrand conservatism by spreading the lie that he is a conservative and, using binary logic, accusing anyone who opposes him of being a liberal.

This rebranding effort has had an impact. Last week, RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel warned Republican hopefuls that anyone who opposed Trump’s agenda would be “making a mistake.”

McDaniel’s threat was issued following the GOP primary defeat in South Carolina by conservative Mark Sanford after he was personally targeted by Trump himself. Sanford’s crime? Disloyalty to the NY Liberal.

Another source of damage to conservatism has come from evangelicals and the so-called conservative media. In the name of self-preservation, they choose to surrender their principles by promoting the lie that Trump is a conservative. Some of these voices have taken to labelling conservatives who oppose Trump as Never-Trump conservatives, or worse, branding them as liberals and/or Democrats, as was recently written in a piece at TheFederalist.com:

“Trump may be an unattractive and deeply flawed messenger for contemporary conservatism. But loathe though they might be to admit it, what’s left of the Never-Trump movement needs to come to grips with the fact that the only words that currently describe them are liberals and Democrats.”

Then there are those who have adopted a Sometimes-Trump attitude about the president, where everything Trump does is measured using a good Trump/bad Trump barometer. While it has become fashionable for Sometimes-Trump conservatives to stand on their soap boxes condemning both Never-Trump conservatives and Always-Trump faux conservatives, I believe that this politically bipolar approach to Trump is the greatest threat of all to Constitutional conservatism in America.

Sometimes-Trump conservatives have accepted the lie that it’s okay to do a little evil in exchange for a greater good. Though they may fly a conservative banner, their lukewarm attitude about Trump is much like the attitude we see in the Laodicean church mentioned in the Book of Revelations (3:15-16).

“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”

Trump is a double-minded man unstable in all his ways (James 1:8). When lukewarm Sometimes-Trump conservatives choose to overlook this reality, they end up watering-down conservatism to the point that it has no value or power to change America’s course.

As lukewarm Sometimes-Trump conservatives point to the Always-Trump and Never-Trump factions as the reason for today’s conservative divide, remember that it’s the unenthusiastic, noncommittal, indifferent, half-hearted, apathetic, uninterested, unconcerned, lackadaisical, passionless, laid back, couldn’t-care-less conservative imposters in the middle who are really responsible.

Originally posted on The Strident Conservative.

 


David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative. His daily radio commentary is distributed by the Salem Radio Network and is heard on stations across America.

Follow the Strident Conservative on Twitter and FacebookSubscribe to receive podcasts of radio commentaries: iTunes | Stitcher | Tune In | RSS

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