« I’m okay, you’re nothing, it’s boring


On October 1, 2017, Stephen Paddock opened fire from a hotel window in Las Vegas on an audience at a music festival, killing 58 people and wounding over 400 before taking his own life. Once again a mass shooter was discovered to be a poorly socialized white male; but in this case, at 64 years old, he was even older than George Sodini and in an age bracket notably low in violent crimes.

Like Sodini, Paddock was friendless and even more incapacitated for empathic relating to others. But surprisingly, in terms of the typical profile of such perpetrators and our hasty generalization that they are low-functioning "losers," Paddock was wealthy and had long been living the life of a high roller. He had a girl friend, albeit one he treated brusquely; and he spent his days and nights in glamorous Las Vegas casinos gambling with avidity, if not with any of the usual signs of enjoyment: he preferred video poker machines so that he did not have to interact with people at all – not even dealers of cards at casino tables.

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About Stephen Kennamer

For several years I have taught a course titled The Anthropology of Evil. I chose the term “anthropology,” not to indicate a restriction to the study of evil among primitive tribes, but rather to widen the lens to take in every relevant discipline: history, philosophy, theology, psychology, sociology, and current events.

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