Editorial: Horror in Las Vegas and our incredible power to forget



UNLV students hold a moment of silence for the victims of the mass shooting that killed 59 people and injured more than 525 on Oct. 2, 2017 in Las Vegas. (Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

We’ll forget you existed, Stephen Paddock.

You are now the worst mass shooter in U.S. history, but we’ll forget you.

You murdered nearly 60 people in Las Vegas on Sunday night. You injured more than 500. You sprayed bullets into a crowd of sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, parents and grandparents, beloved friends — happy people enjoying a country music concert.


You must have wanted to draw attention to yourself.

You won’t have it for long.

Police say you were a “lone wolf” — and that you had at least 17 firearms in your room. Your brother says: “We’re horrified. … We have no idea in the world.” Neither does anyone else.

The usual calls for tighter control of firearms that can inflict enormous carnage in seconds will emerge.

They will be met with the usual counterattack saying we need such weapons to protect ourselves from the likes of you.

And then, after a few days, a week or two at most, the president will be tweeting about the latest distraction and we will move on.

We will choose to be distracted, and we will forget.


Sandy Hook, Tucson, Aurora, Boston, Virginia Tech, Orlando, Oak Creek …

Some say an evil is loose in the world. I just don’t know.

But I do wonder how you navigated most of a lifetime to arrive, at age 64, in that room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. You were, it seems, just another guy. No significant criminal history, it seems.

Maybe no one knew you were becoming a danger. Maybe, no one saw it coming.

But I bet you sent signals, as did all of those who came before you.

Whatever we do learn in the next few days, we won’t learn why. You took that answer with you, if you had one.

Sandy Hook, Tucson, Aurora, Boston, Virginia Tech, Orlando, Oak Creek, Las Vegas …

Wherever your miserable soul has landed, Stephen Paddock, you will be forgotten, too. I can promise you that.

It’s what we do.


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