Recovery from the Las Vegas massacre will never be complete. Family members, loved ones and colleagues and friends of the victims will always carry this tragic event with them.
The injured and their loved ones will no doubt have their lives affected permanently by this event as they make decisions in their lives to avoid such a nightmare again.
How can we ease their emotional and daily living burdens as they try to rebuild their lives after such a loss? One of the vital commitments this society can make is to tell the truth about what the investigation has told our officials and sharing that with these survivors of this dastardly attack.
The compelling and nagging question is motive. We keep hearing that the shooter (I will not use his name to dignify his humanity) was financially well off, lived a good life, enjoyed gambling, had a career as an accountant and was retired
Does that life reflect that all of a sudden, he decided to commit this atrocity? I think not. There is much agreement that this act took at least months to plan and that others may well have been involved.
First, we turn to the live-in girlfriend. How could she not be aware of dozens of guns, almost military artillery being brought to the home. Did he store the weapons elsewhere? If so, how is it that many weapons were found at his home by the FBI?
That brings us back to the question about the knowledge of the girlfriend. What we know publicly is still unsatisfactory in resolving her role, if any, in this attack.
Further, we know that the Starbucks they frequented each morning had employees who witnessed verbal abuse from the shooter toward his girlfriend. This was not a one-time incident but occurred on a regular basis.
If that is the case, how could she possible believe that he was loving and caring, gentle and kind as she indicated to the authorities during questioning? Was she living in a delusional state? The reality of his treatment toward her in public and he assessment of who he was simply do not match.
The next question is whether others were involved and no doubt that issue is being thoroughly investigated by the FBI and local police. Did he have instructors to show him how to modify semi-automatic weapons to convert them to automatic weapons? Any link to others supporting the shooter in this attack should offer a wealth of information about motive and how this operation was planned and executed.
There is some evidence that he planned other future attacks and we need to know what kind of attacks and where they would be. Apparently, he was investigating Fenway park as one of his sites and we therefore need to know if this venue was in his plans and whether it was to be a target during these playoffs.
This brings us to the most burdensome question of all. Was he either supported by, encouraged by, or inspired by ISIS?
We know that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi issued a 46-minute tape recently that may have some connection to the shooter. Baghdadi has not spoken publicly for more than a year. Terrorism experts have told me on my own programs that ISIS is careful not to take credit for terrorist acts when they have not been the instrument for the attack.
Baghdadi stated on the tape:
“You soldiers of Islam, supporters of the caliphate everywhere, step up your attacks and include the media centers of the infidels and the headquarters of their ideological war among your targets. Don’t you dare allow the crusaders and the apostates to enjoy a good and comfortable life at home while your brothers are enduring killings, shelling and destruction…Victory against the enemies and the enemy of God comes next.”
We have had ISIS repeat more than once that the Las Vegas shooter was one of their “soldiers.” The venue of this attack was certainly one of the great benefits of our society, the enjoyment of an outdoor concert. This would be the kind of venue that al-Baghdadi was referring to when he states that we should not enjoy “a good and comfortable life…”
We also now know that al-Baghdadi was not killed by the Russians as they indicated several months ago. We know this because al-Baghdadi refers to the North Korea confrontation with the United States and the information he presents is more recent than the time of the alleged assassination by Russia. Further, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence has stated that there is no reason to doubt the authenticity of the tape.
It is too much to believe that the shooter simply “snapped. That just does not square with the intense and focused long duration of planning this mass murder required. And, the fact that he was looking at other venues raises the specter of influence by ISIS.
We owe the unqualified truth in memory of the victims and for the injured, families and loved ones of the victims.
The authorities have an absolute moral obligation to publicly present all the facts and circumstances surrounding this attack without any hesitation. They have a right to know and the American people have a right to know.