alf a week after the Las Vegas shooting, which left 59 dead and over 500 injured, gunman Stephen Paddock has yet to cleanly fit into the portrait of mass shooters before him. He was a multimillionaire, according to his brother, an ex-accountant with a comfortable lifestyle who enjoyed cruises and gambling.
In many ways, he did not seem like the typical mass shooter. Except... Paddock was white, male, and he fulfilled the most important criteria of all...
Paddock was a domestic abuser.
In an interview with the LA Times, Starbucks employee Esperanza Mendoza remembers Paddock berating his girlfriend Marilou Danley whenever they were in line.
“It happened a lot,” Mendoza stated. “He would glare down at her and say — with a mean attitude — ‘You don’t need my casino card for this. I’m paying for your drink, just like I’m paying for you.’”
According to Mendoza, Marilou was much smaller than Paddock. She came only to his elbow. Yet the much larger man berated her every chance he got, which was a huge warning sign…
Put downs are a classic sign of domestic violence, especially when done in public.
Humiliation, especially public humiliation is one of the key signs of domestic violence. So is an abuser controlling how and when a partner uses money. The abuser’s motive is to control his or her partner’s behavior.
Paddock always succeeded in this.
Mendoza noted that Danley “would softly say, ‘OK’ and step back behind him.”
In fact, most mass shooters are domestic abusers.
A report by Everytown For Gun Safety found that “in 57 percent of mass shootings (61 of 107 incidents), the shooter killed a current or former spouse or intimate partner or other family member. In 18 percent of the mass shootings, the perpetrator had been previously charged with domestic violence.”
These are troubling statistics, and they have been reiterated and verified over and over and over and over again. Domestic violence is one of the key indicators of a propensity towards violence in general.
Just goes to show, if you can abuse the person closest to you, you can do so much worse to others.
So what is being done with this knowledge?
To be brief – nothing.
Max De Haldevang said it best in his excellent article for Quartz.
“After a mass shooting, [the] link between domestic violence and gun violence usually gets overlooked: First there’s a heated debate on gun control. It’s big and angry, and goes nowhere. After that, details arise about the killer’s past history of abuse, and there are one or two laments about the link between domestic violence and mass-murder. And these will be largely ignored.”
Which is a damn shame, because this will just keep happening.