THE blood-curdling, mind-boggling Sunday massacre of more than 59 people, with 527 others injured, at a Las Vegas country music concert — the worst shooting carnage in America ever — cannot but raise fears of sudden death even in almighty America.
“Pure evil” was how President Donald Trump described the mass killing by 64-year-old Stephen Paddock of Mesquite, Nevada, who fired from a 32nd floor Mandalay Bay hotel suite, where he had brought 23pistols and rifles, some with scopes, plus ammo, a computer, and more than 10 suitcases.
But as of Tuesday, police still had no idea why Paddock decimated the crowd, then shot himself before authorities reached his room. The man had no history of violence or even agitation, to hear it from his brother, and the authorities had no record of any criminal offense by him.
Now, what could drive an elderly, seemingly unassuming man to commit mass murder and suicide — the so-called “going postal” episode akin to a quiet postman unleashing long-seething grievances in a wild shooting spree?
The police and the Feds may not give it much attention, if at all, but demonic influence or even possession may have played a role in driving Paddock to plan and execute mass murder and suicide.
Law enforcers, prosecutors and judges tend not to give much credence to demons and other forces in criminal investigations and trials. In today’s world of reason and science, the devil is deemed outside competent, professional investigation, whether or not one believes in him.
Even more pertinent, criminal law does not include demons among factors affecting criminal acts and culpability. So, investigators don’t waste time and effort on what the devil may have done, and defense attorneys see claims of possession only as signs of impaired reasoning and decision-making. In short, the possessed may plead insanity.
Did the devil pull the trigger?
One prominent public comment did suggest or even point to the diabolical in the Las Vegas concert carnage: President Trump calling it “pure evil”.
That phrase certainly won’t apply to Paddock, who was law-abiding till he broke his room window with a hammer and started firing at the music fans with various guns.
His murderous eruption, on the other hand, was absolutely evil. Which brings us back to the main mystery in this massacre: How did a man with no history of grave evil, let alone acts of pure evil, commit such enormity?
Faced with this vast expanse between the despicable crime and the unseemly criminal, even the man of pure reason and science must at least consider the possibility that a being or force of pure evil had a hand in Paddock’s scheme to pick and book a hotel suite overlooking the country music show, drive over to the Mandalay Bay, go up the elevator with 10 suitcases containing rifles and handguns, telescopic sights, and hundreds of bullets with appropriate caliber; hammer the window glass, and fire away before making himself the 60th fatality that afternoon.
If demonic influence is seriously considered in Paddock’s swing from mild-mannered senior to murderous maniac, he would join other killers possibly prodded by the devil.
Serial killer David Berkowitz, also known as “Son of Sam,” killed six people in New York City in 1976-1977. Emmy-awarded journalist Jeff Kamen reported on the killings, sat close to Berkowitz during his trial. “Sitting there I felt as if I was in the presence of pure evil,” Kamen recalled.
Berkowitz testified that the devil possessed his neighbor’s dog and ordered the murders, for which he received six consecutive life sentences. In the mid-1990s, after becoming a born-again Christian, he admitted joining a Satanic cult, which planned the murders as part of a ritual.
There was a 1981 killing in Brookfield, Connecticut, which was the first in the sleepy town in decades. The 19-year-old killer, Arne Cheyenne Johnson, said he was possessed after he challenged the devil to take him during an exorcism done for his younger brother. Johnson fatally stabbed Alan Bono during a heated argument.
Two other mild-mannered men turning mass murderer were promising young San Diego-born neuroscientist James Eagen Holmes, who was 25 when he killed 12 and injured 70 in a Colorado moviehouse in 2012; and James Dalton, 45, Uber driver and father of two, who left his Kalamazoo, Michigan, home one day in February just last year and began shooting people.
In battle gear, Holmes attacked during the midnight screening of the Batman movie “The Dark Knight Rises“. He threw two gas canisters into the theatre before shooting, first with a shotgun, then a rifle, and finally with a pistol. He then went outside the cinema and continued firing.
One writer covering the killings wondered: “Was James Holmes taken over by Evil?” The accused himself pleaded not guilty due to insanity. The jury convicted him on all 165 counts against him, and he received 12 life terms for the murders, and 3,318 years in prison for the injuries to survivors.
In his police interrogation, Uber driver Dalton “acknowledged that he recognized the Uber symbol as being that of the Eastern Star and a devil head popped up on his screen and when he pressed the button on the app, that is when all the problems started…. Dalton described the devil figure as a horned cow head or something like that and then it would give you an assignment and it would literally take over your whole body….“
So, did the devil drive Paddock, Berkowitz, Johnson, Holmes, and Dalton to crazed killing? For sure, if the devil is involved, but never given any thought, then nothing is done to stop him, and he can strike again and again.
That’s like American security authorities dismissing as impossible the report by Philippine police before September 11, 2001, warning of a plot to hijack and crash airliners into skyscrapers. No way, they said, as they do about the devil.
And Lucifer laughs.