LAS VEGAS — At the last count, 59 people were killed and more than 520 injured in what has been called the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
There were as many of 22,000 people attending a Jason Aldean Route 91 Country Music Festival in an open area in Las Vegas when 64-year-old Stephen Paddock opened fire from the 32nd floor of his hotel room at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.
Paddock broke out two windows and began his assault with his stockpile of guns and ammunition. There were 23 guns found in his hotel room, including an AR-15 and an AK-47 as well as four Daniel Defense DDM4 rifles and three FN-15s. He had converted semiautomatic weapons into fully automatic weapons that would fire up to 800 rounds per minute.
How did he manage to acquire all the weapons he owned? How did he manage to get so many weapons and so much ammunition (1,600 rounds) up to the 32nd floor of the hotel? He checked into the hotel on Thursday and the massacre did not occur until Sunday. He had a “Do Not Disturb” sign on his door during all that time. Did that not cause some suspicion? What motivated him to do something so horrible and despicable as shooting hundreds of innocent people?
We have been told he made a small fortune in the real estate business and in other business deals. He did not seem to have strong political beliefs. He had never given anyone any indication that he was interested in firearms. He did not have a history of violence. He had no record of mental health issues.
The bullets from room 135 on the 32nd floor rained down upon the terror-stricken people for almost 11 minutes. It would have taken hours for law enforcement officers and SWAT teams to locate the one room out of the 3,309 rooms where the shooter was positioned, but the smoke from his weapons set off the fire alarm in his room. When the police burst into Paddock’s room, they found him dead from a self-inflicted wound and 23 guns scattered around the broken windows, two of which were mounted on tripods aimed at the crowd below.
Why did Paddock go on such a merciless rampage? Why did he plan to slaughter as many people as possible with premeditation and malice aforethought? That is the probing question that millions of Americans are facing today.
Did some terrorist group brainwash him into thinking he would honor their cause by going on some kind of murderous rampage? Was he trying to get revenge over a huge loss at the roulette table by ravaging America’s capital of gambling? Did he have a mental or an emotional breakdown? Was he psychotic? Did he have some terminal illness that altered his rationale? Did his descent into total anarchy signify that he had no fear of God’s judgment and eternal retribution?
I think Paddock became an agent of the devil. Consider the following: God created the world and it was good. He even created Lucifer as good, but Satan, having a free will, chose not to follow God. He is now “the ruler of this world” (John 14:30) and “the god of this age” (II Corinthians 4:4). His agenda is to “steal, and to kill, and to destroy” (John 10: 10). He causes pain and suffering and tempts men to sin (I Thessalonians 3:5).
Jesus said to those who were planning to kill him, “You are of your father, the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He is a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth” (John 8:44).
Satan is a bloodthirsty murderer. He can, and does, use people on this earth to accomplish his purposes. We are seeing more and more evidences of the devil’s scheme to plague the nations with death and destruction.
Since God has systematically been pushed out of our society, since the common moral conscience of our nation has been compromised, since the difference between right and wrong has been significantly blurred, since the Ten Commandments (including commandments four and six) have been removed from our school classroom walls, unfortunately we can only expect more of what happened in Las Vegas on Sunday night, October 1.
We must remember “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34).