Strangest Fruit

Painting of the first fruit of evil.

by baldilocks

David French sums up the surrealism in the aftermath of Las Vegas.

So, a person who’s “not a gun guy” has either expended untold thousands of dollars to legally purchase fully-automatic weapons, somehow found them on the black market, or purchased and substantially modified multiple semi-automatic weapons — and did so with enough competence to create a sustained rate of fire. This same person also spent substantial sums purchasing just the right hotel room to maximize casualties. I cannot think of a single other mass shooter who went to this level of expense and planning in the entire history of the United States.

And there was no real warning? [Stephen Paddock’s] family was unaware? His brother also reported that the shooter had no meaningful political or religious affiliations. “He just hung out.” At the same time, however, there are reports that a woman told a group of concert-goers, “You’re all going to die tonight.”

I’m not ready to draw any conclusions from these reports, but it’s worth highlighting how extraordinary this attack seems to be. Given the firepower and the packed mass of people, it’s easy to see how the casualty count was so high, even firing from an extreme range (by the standards of mass shootings.) This was the University of Texas tower attack on steroids, conducted out of nowhere, with meticulous planning and at great expense, from a person who doesn’t seem to fit any normal profile of a mass shooter. There is much we have yet to learn, but for now, this is one of the most chilling and mysterious events I’ve ever seen.

The Texas Tower sniper, Charles Whitman, was just as meticulous in the planning of his carnage; he was found to have a brain tumor. Read Whitman’s biography. There are startling similarities — besides the obvious — between Whitman and Paddock.

We’ll see what is reported about Paddock’s autopsy. Note the emphasis.

I blogged, glancingly, on the Massacre this morning, but my inner compass tells me something extra: the prevalence of these mass killings is a spiritual issue. I doubt that we will find any rational reason for this one or any of the others. People, sometimes, do what they inner voice tells them to and, as often as not, that inner voice isn’t God.

Evil and its father exist; evil produces its own justifications — it bears fruit.

And if we can’t understand such justifications, we should count our blessing for that alone.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done one day soon! Follow her on Twitter and on

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