Mercyhurst University Intelligence Studies Experts Explain Why V - Erie News Now | WICU & WSEE in Erie, PA

Mercyhurst University Intelligence Studies Experts Explain Why Vegas Attack is Not Considered Terrorism

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Las Vegas shooting case not considered terrorism Las Vegas shooting case not considered terrorism

The mass shooting at a country music concert in Las Vegas can be described as traumatic and tragic, but so far investigators are not calling it a case of terrorism. To be considered an act of terrorism, foreign or domestic, the perpetrator of a crime must be trying to advance an ideology. Investigators don't see that in this case, which is now considered the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

We went to the Intelligence Studies Department at Mercyhurst University, to learn how investigators will now dig into the mind and motives of 64-year old Stephen Paddock. The retired accountant, was divorced, liked to play 100-dollar-a-hand poker, and had been living with a woman in Mesquite, Nevada about 80 miles north east of Las Vegas.

Mercyhurst professor, Benjamin Baughman has an extensive criminal justice background, with a focus in crisis intervention, and hostage negotiations. He told us that in this case, it appears that there were no signs Stephen Paddock was radicalized, or that he acted with any one else. He appears to be a person who was affluent, with a lot of weapons at his disposal, who showed no warning signs of what he was about to do.

According to Paddock's brother, their father was a known bank robber, so there is criminal behavior in the family history. Baughman believes the investigation will reveal that the shooter was in some sort of crisis that went largely undetected, and he may have resorted to the same type of "problem solving" he's seen others do, because sadly this isn't the first case of its kind, just the worst.  "Somebody else has used this method of problem solving and it gets some notoriety, not in a good way that others would want to pick, and then you mix that into just a pure emotional soup that is hard to logic because it's not logical," Baughman said.  "Unfortunately it is a method for problem solving sometimes and it's hard to boil that down to why take other innocent souls with you," he added.

What investigators will be looking for now is what Professor Baughman called "leakage," that will add up to a motive. Maybe there were small signs, comments dropped to different people that when put all together will show he was in crisis. Sadly investigators learn mostly from the aftermath of incidents like these and modify their "risk" profiles in hopes that they may prevent another one.  

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