Wednesday, 04 October 2017 22:18

How do you explain Stephen Paddock's people killing at Las Vegas?

Written by 


Ozodi Thomas Osuji

On Sunday, October 1, 2017, a sixty four year old Caucasian, retired accountant who reportedly is a multimillionaire decided to go kill some people. He bought forty nine guns and loads of ammunition. He checked into a Hotel room (Mandalay) at Las Vegas, Nevada. There was a country music festival going on at the Hotel's outdoor grounds (attended by a reported 22, 000 country Music Fans).  Mr. Stephen Paddock was on the 32nd floor of the hotel. He broke the windows of his room and began firing into the crowd of people below him. Apparently, he fired from 10: 08 PM to 10: 19PM at the crowd before the police confronted him in his room and he killed himself. Thus, for eleven minutes the man aimed his several guns at his killing field and killed 58 persons and wounded 530 persons.

From an impersonal, empirical, observational point of view, that is, science, all we can say is that the man killed and hurt persons.  Apparently, his father, a notorious bank robber, was on the FBI's ten most wanted lists and was diagnosed as a psychopath.

Let us assume that Stephen Paddock, like his father, was a psychopath. What is a psychopath? A psychopath, aka sociopath and anti-social personality disordered person is a person with no social conscience, no feeling of compassion for other people; he is a person who transgresses other people's rights without feeling bad; indeed, he enjoys inflicting pain on people; he is the type of person who derives sadistic pleasure from seeing people and animals suffer; he enjoys making people pained.

What causes psychopathy? We really do not know what causes psychopathy; some say that it is genetic and inherited (in which case Stephen inherited it from his father); others say that it is learned, is a result of witnessing it, or may be a product of broken homes, absent or abusive fathers and so on.

Whether you say that it is genetic or learned you are speculating, for the honest truth is that we do not know what makes people kill people and or enjoy hurting other people.

I accept that the phenomenon exists for I have interviewed persons who told me that they have no feeling of compassion for other people and enjoy seeing people in pain; I have had persons tell me that they engage in hurtful behaviors and do not feel remorse and guilt from their acts.

So a man, as a result of mental disorder that disposes him not to care for other people, goes out and kills as many people as he could before the police stop him? That tells me that any man can, for whatever reason, choose to harm or kill other people and do so, unless other persons stop him (it took the police to stop Mr. Paddock).

This tells me that if you choose to kill me or other persons you can do so unless I and the other persons you want to kill stop you from killing us.

This situation makes our universe a place without justice and fairness in it, for if there were Justice in the world what a person does not want to happen to him would not happen to him.

If there is justice in our world if folks do not want to be slaves no one can enslave them; if folks do not want to be socially discriminated no one can discriminate against them; if one does not want a disease it would not happen to one; if one does not want social rejection it would not happen to one; if one does not want to be killed no one would kill one.

But is it the case that those that bad things happen to do not want it to happen to them?  A course in miracles (written by Helen Schucman, published in 1976 by the Foundation for inner peace, Tiburon, California) says that nothing a son of God does not want to experience can happen to him.  It says that if one does not want something and it happens to one that God is not just and that an unjust God does not exist. According to it, God exists and is just and that his universe is a just place; in God's just universe only what one wants to experience happens to one.

In that sense, the people killed or hurt by Mr. Paddock wanted to be killed or hurt by him.  Paddock himself wanted to kill and hurt the people he hurt or killed.

Both parties experienced what they wanted to experience. Paddock wanted to kill people and then kill himself; those killed or hurt by him wanted to be killed or hurt by him.

Traditional religions, such as Catholicism (Christianity) would say that no one understands why bad things happen in the world and attribute it to the inscrutable will of God.

Why did Stephen Paddock kill the people he killed? Catholics would say that they do not know and that only God knows.

Put this way, particularly the way A course in miracles puts it, our egos would feel that the explanation is outrageous.  We would like to believe that the whole event is random, that as the narcissistic king, Donald Trump, said, a "sick and demented" man randomly killed innocent people.  A part of us ask: but why does the universe permit innocent people to be killed by a mad man?

If you accept the random events explanation you have just said that science is correct. Science says that the universe came into being as a result of accidental concatenation of events; according to science everything happens by chance and is random.

Science says that we are the product of accidents. Indeed, science says that our bodies and personalities are the products of accidents.

Do you accept scientism's idea that accidents, random and chance events determined the universe? If you do please do not ever talk about how God exists and how he is a loving and just God.

No loving and just God would allow Mr. Paddock to mow down his children having a little fun at a country music festival at Vegas.

So, my friend, how do we explain the event at a Vegas strip on Sunday?  Please do remember that every explanation assumes the presuppositions of the explainer.

If one is into spirituality and accepts a universe by design and determinism one says that those who died chose to die. Why not, if the world, as A course in miracles says, is a dream the dreamers may choose to exit the dream through a blaze of gun fire; what difference does it make if they exited it in their sleep or in a battlefield?

A dream is nothing; nothing done in dreams has been done in reality. Paddock was a dream figure; he seemed to have killed dream figures in their mutual dream that they are separated from each other; what is done in dreams have not been done so nothing happened. Paddock is still innocent, for he did not do what we see him do in a dream.

The son of God is always innocent regardless of what we see him do in his dream of separation, on earth. The son of God remains as God created him, one with God and all his brothers; he merely had a nightmarish dream in which he seemed to kill or hurt his brothers who volunteered to be killed or hurt in their dream.

Overlook what the son of God did in his dream and see him as God sees him: innocent, guiltless, sinless and holy. This is the teaching of A course in miracles; take it or leave it; do not delude yourself as to what it teaches; it asks you to forgive whatever people do, including murder and love them.

On the other hand, if you assume an accidental universe and presuppose that chance events cause what happens to us those Paddock killed were killed randomly.

Since a life that can be randomly destroyed has no intrinsic worth, except the ones we individually and socially give to us, which are not real, it does not matter that Paddock killed people.

If you accept scientism you say that life is pointless and valueless and that anyone who so desires it may kill people. Adolf Hitler decided to be a mass murderer and by the time he was done he and his sociopathic Nazi gang had killed 50 million persons and caused the rest of the world untold suffering.

In an accidental universe what Hitler and his fellow sociopaths did does not matter for nothing matters.

Try to cross a street and a drunk driver runs you over. You are not different from a rat crushed to death by a car; your life does not matter, deal with it; you are worthless.

The message of science is that human life is worthless.  Science actually tells people that they have no worth and that their lives are pointless, purposeless and meaningless! And people do not know the strange philosophy that science is teaching them! They think that science is this great deal; no, science is a philosophy of nihilism. Deal with it and do not delude yourself about what a beautiful thing science is.

So, how does one explain Stephen Paddock's mayhem?  I have no explanation to offer you. I just wanted to explicate how folks from different perspectives, philosophies would interpret it; and show that their interpreting instruments influence how they interpret it, perceive it and explain it. Ones explanatory tools shape how one sees the world.

Old time Christian theologians, such as Saint Augustine and Thomas Aquinas, told us that God created us and endowed us with freedom to choose whatever we want to do. According to that line of reasoning, Paddock chose to kill people. A cynic then asks: did those killed choose to be killed by Paddock? To make Christian theology reasonable we must conclude, as Helen Schucman did, that we choose whatever, good or bad, happens to us!

Who knows what explanation, perception, interpretation is true? I do not know, do you? If you do know why these dastardly sorts of things happen could you please tell me.

And while at it, do not tell me that it is the will of God, for if God has such will he is worse than Mr. Paddock, he is a criminal psychopath!

Anyway, God is not self-evident, God is your idea; God is my idea; God is our idea; God is a social construct; God is not a self-evident reality!

If God exists he must be beyond our ego constructs of him; what he is we, in our limited ego state, do not know.

I end by asking you: how do you explain what happened at Vegas on Sunday?  I am a curious kind of guy; my curiosity wants to hear how folks explain the existence of evil in our world. For fun, I will read your explanation.  However,   I do not expect you to convince me why there is evil in our world. I know that there is evil in our world; why, I do not know!

Ozodi Thomas Osuji

October 4, 2017


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Ozodi Osuji Ph.D

Ozodi Thomas Osuji is from Imo State, Nigeria. He obtained his PhD from UCLA. He taught at a couple of Universities and decided to go back to school and study psychology. Thereafter, he worked in the mental health field and was the Executive Director of two mental health agencies. He subsequently left the mental health environment with the goal of being less influenced by others perspectives, so as to be able to think for himself and synthesize Western, Asian and African perspectives on phenomena. Dr Osuji’s goal is to provide us with a unique perspective, one that is not strictly Western or African but a synthesis of both. Dr Osuji teaches, writes and consults on leadership, management, politics, psychology and religions. Dr Osuji is married and has three children; he lives at Anchorage, Alaska, USA.

He can be reached at: (907) 310-8176