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Vegas Sheriff: Gambling Losses May Have Pushed Shooter to Murderous Depression

The main Republican way to avoid talking about the role of guns in gun violence is to talk about mental health care (not that Speaker Ryan and Rep. Noem are going to do anything about mental health, either, but o.k.).

Las Vegas Sheriff Joe Lombardo acknowledges that mental health played a role in the terrible shooting his city suffered a month ago. But the “determining effect” behind that deadly mental illness may have been Las Vegas’s bread-and-butter, gambling:

Police say the man who shot and killed 58 people and injured more than 540 others in last month’s deadly massacre in Las Vegas was a status-obsessed narcissist who had lost a “significant amount of wealth” in the last two years, something authorities now believe may have been a “determining factor” in the Oct. 1 attack.

In a wide-ranging interview with KLAS-TV, the local CBS affiliate, Las Vegas Sheriff Joe Lombardo said gunman Stephen Paddock was a successful real estate investor and prolific gambler whose wealth had fluctuated over the years. But, according to the sheriff, Paddock had been losing money since September 2015, triggering “bouts of depression.”

“This individual was status-driven, based on how he liked to be recognized in the casino environment and how he liked to be recognized by his friends and family. So obviously that was starting to decline in the short period of time, and that may have had a determining effect on why he did what he did,” Lombardo said. “He was going in the wrong direction” [Holly Bailey, “Portrait of Las Vegas Gunman: A Narcissist on a Losing Streak,” Yahoo News, 2017.11.03].

Remember, gamblers: the longer you play, the more surely you will lose. Casinos depend on math that makes life a losing streak for everyone but the house.

A gambling addict $80K in the hole shot up a casino in the Philippines last June; 37 people died of smoke inhalation from the fire he set.

Research shows a strong correlation between gambling and violence:

The researchers found a statistically significant link between gambling and violent behaviour, which became starker the more severe the gambling habit. Just over half of pathological gamblers, 45 per cent of problem gamblers, and 28 per cent of ‘casual gamblers’ reported some form of physical fight in the past five years.

In contrast, among the non-gamblers, only 19 per cent reported being involved in violence.

Additionally, gambling was associated with an increased likelihood of weapons being used in acts of violence, with more than a quarter in the pathological category, 18 per cent of problem gamblers, and seven per cent of non-problem gamblers reporting weapon usage [University of Lincoln (UK), “Gamblers More Prone to Violent Behavior,” Science Daily, 2016.09.06].

Other research shows legalized gambling leads to violent crime and other problems:

Melissa Kearney, an economist at the University of Maryland, released a literature review in 2005 summarizing work on gambling done to date. A study by Maryland’s William Evans and Julie Topoleski that focused on Indian casinos found that they created a significant number of jobs. The ratio of jobs available to adults increased, on average, by 5 percent. This in turn lead to a 2 percent decline in mortality, as residents’ economic conditions improved.

But the casinos also lead to a plethora of social ills, including increased substance abuse, mental illness and suicide, violent crime, auto theft and larceny, and bankruptcy. The latter three all increased by 10 percent in communities that allowed gambling [Dylan Matthews, “Studies: Casinos Bring Jobs, But Also Crime, Bankruptcy, and Even Suicide,” Washington Post, 2012.10.30].

Casinos themselves may not result in increased crime rates in their neighborhoods, but that may be because police patrol around casinos more frequently. Las Vegas ranks 28th for violent crime rates out of 76 American cities with populations over a quarter million, better than Miami, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Minneapolis but worse than New York, Boston, Seattle, and St. Paul.

Second Amendment absolutism makes a rational conversation about restricting guns impossible in Congress. So how about a discussion of restricting the gambling that may have pushed the Las Vegas shooter to reclaim his narcissistic self-esteem in a final act of male power projection?


  1. Rorschach 2017-11-04 15:31

    We will probably not get a firm answer why Paddock shot up this concert, but the evidence indicates that he was probably scoping out events to shoot up for some period of time before actually pulling the trigger, literally. My theory is that he was bored with his life and wanted to go out with a bang, literally. It may be that gambling with other people’s lives gave him more of a thrill than gambling with his own money.

  2. mike from iowa 2017-11-04 18:43

    Slightly off topic- Bowe Bergdahl won’t serve jail time for walking away from his post. He was dishonorably discharged and diagnosed with mental problems. Yet, with his dishonorable discharge he lost his veteran’s health care and would seem to be a likely candidate to go postal on other people in the future.

    Is that a chance we have to take?

  3. jerry 2017-11-04 19:03

    Our dumbarsed prez could not even run a casino and lost millions and millions. He fits the pattern though of these assassins, with his narcissistic ways. Keep bozo away from the codes.

  4. leslie 2017-11-04 21:51

    the aurora shooter was very ill and planned the same way, methodically; this LV guys screams of serious undiagnosed mental illness. 527 people injured and killed? and gun nuts are gonna just walk away and do nothing.

  5. mike from iowa 2017-11-05 15:41

    BBC Breaking News


    At least 27 dead in Texas church shooting, @BBCBarbaraPlett provides updates on events in Sutherland Springs
    2:26 PM – Nov 5, 2017

    They’re baaaaack. Now is not the time to talk gun control!

  6. jerry 2017-11-05 18:30

    Yet another crazy white boy with mental issues armed and wanting to shoot unarmed folks in a church of all places. These fellers are gonna have to work hard to beat the Las Vegas dude though. 600 is now game, set, match.

  7. mike from iowa 2017-11-06 19:19

    How’s this for detecting work- It was not immediately clear whether Kelley died from the self-inflicted gunshot wound or from the shot by the resident. “However, investigators found evidence at the scene that indicates the subject may have died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound,” Martin said.

    What’s not clear? Had Kelley died from being shot earlier there would have not been a necessity to shoot himself in the head.

    Are there any smart people in the world. Oh BTW- the Air Force neglected to send Kelley’s criminal records to data clearinghouse. Had they done so this guy would not have been able to get guns- legally.

  8. mike from iowa 2017-11-07 12:01

    Anyone know whether Marlboro Barbie counselled Texas massacre victims that they are responsible for themselves and should have presented themselves as smaller targets?

    Just looking for a little consistency from the Sinator.

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