October 17th, 2017

When anyone begins a conversation with some form of “Now, don’t take this the wrong way,” or “Don’t be offended,” we all know that we’re about to take whatever artless words that follow in precisely the way the speaker is certain to blame us for misunderstanding. Here’s a clue, if you think what you’re about to say (or write) could me understood, stop.

David French, writing in The Las Vegas Shooting Is Still Very, Very Strange should have stopped. French begins with:

Before I begin, let me re-emphasize what I stated in a post the afternoon after the shooting. Do not read this post as implying any sort of conspiracy theory. In fact, even now—more than two weeks after the terrible event—we don’t even know enough facts to concoct a conspiracy. We do know, however, that the story keeps getting more bizarre.

In other words: Blah blah blah blah CONSPIRACY blah blah blahh TERRIBLE EVENT blah blah blah blah blah blah CONSPIRACY blah blah blah. Speculation, the need to fill dead air (or pages) gets us into trouble.

French is troubled by two facts: first, he doesn’t know where security guard Jesus Campos is:

Just before Campos was scheduled to appear at numerous media interviews, he allegedly went to a “Quick Care” health care clinic and hasn’t been seen since. [Oops, JH] There was an armed security guard outside his house, and now that guard is reportedly gone. No one seems to be suspecting foul play, and as the president of his union notes, “Somebody knows where he is.” But this elusiveness is obviously not quite normal. Campos’s disappearance is but one odd element in the story. Another, of course, is the shifting timeline of the shooting.

And second, nearly three weeks after the massacre, French doesn’t know why Paddock did what he did:

The fact that a man could plan one of the worst mass murders in American history and do so without leaving the typical trail of clues and intentions is deeply unsettling. Time and again when mass shooters strike, they leave a trail of bread crumbs—whether they’re deteriorating mentally or radicalizing (or both), the warning signs are often obvious and warnings have often been given. Not this time.

The commenters on French’s panic attack are not kind.

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