A Nevada news story achieving international coverage that happened on October 1 was the heinous shooting of innocent concert-goers in Las Vegas. Since this is being written a scant three days after the event and while the killer’s live-in girlfriend is being questioned in Los Angeles by authorities, the speculation of the shooter’s motive is just that—speculation. That the crime was extremely premeditated is obvious. From the selection of the shooter’s perch on the 32nd floor, which gave him a commanding view of the kill zone, to the amazing collection of automatic guns, firing pedestals and surveillance cameras which he installed reeks of a military-style operation.
As a former combat infantryman, I remember the first instruction we got was to “take the high ground”. This basic military maneuver was well-illustrated in the capture of Mt. Suribachi in WWII, in the long-ago Clint Eastwood movie, “Heartbreak Ridge” and in the recent Mel Gibson flick, “Hacksaw Ridge”.
In addition to Las Vegas, there was also a connection to Reno leading up to the event. It occurred when it was revealed that the girlfriend was a former employee of the Atlantis Casino and had lived with Paddock in the Montage and then in his house at Somerset. Also, several of his gun purchases were made at Cabela’s in Verdi.
Information that has been revealed was that the shooter had scanned several other outdoor concert sites that were easily overlooked by adjacent condominium complexes.
Immediately after the incident was reported, the usual left-wingers, headed by Hillary Clinton, started calling for more gun-control rather than offering commiseration to the victims’ families. This theme was quickly picked up by the drive-by media and Democrats in both the Senate and House.
Since the gunman in all of his purchases of weaponry was in compliance with current gun regulations, it indicates that those restrictions may be inadequate. Also, very few gun dealers are qualified psychiatrists that are able to judge the mental state of buyers.
One of the intriguing sidebars to this story is the fact that prior to the shooting, Paddock had wired over $100,000 to the Philippines. No recipient of those funds has been identified as of this writing.
As in the fictional Sherlock Holmes stories, there has got to be one seemingly insignificant clue that may solve the entire mystery of motivation.
Perhaps House Speaker Ryan touched on a very important issue when he stated that rather than making new gun laws, it might be best to look at our mental health problems throughout the nation.
A current motion picture that has gotten good reviews is entitled, “Battle of the Sexes”. It is a tennis tale of the famous match between Bobby Riggs and Billie Jean King. The title may be a little bit of double entendre since it spent an inordinate amount of time on Billie Jean’s lesbian affair to the detriment of the tennis coverage.
Actually, the film’s tennis scenes are extremely well done, especially the climactic match in which Billie Jean triumphed. As for Riggs, there is not enough coverage of his crazy antics in his exhibition matches. The best one shown was Riggs dressed as Little Bo Peep with several sheep on his side of the court.
I had occasion to meet both of the competitors, especially Riggs, who was a frequent Reno visitor and very well-known at the gaming tables at the old Riverside Hotel Casino. When he passed away I posted the following Memory in the local Reno newspaper: “He Was Always On—Reno in its glory days-was a glittering magnet for celebrities from all walks of life: Politics, Royalty, Big Business, Entertainment, and Sports.
A frequent visitor, though not many locals were aware of him in the 50’s and 60’s, was Bobby Riggs. A championship tennis player who had become a betting ‘hustler’, he would frequent the old Riverside hotel and ‘cut up touches’ with casino operators Mert and Lou Wertheimer, and play the table games with the original Nick the Greek. Riggs had a reputation of betting on anything—if the odds were right.
It was almost 20 years later that he showed up in this area when he was enjoying a mid-life celebrity ‘bloom’ by virtue of his TV appearances against female tennis players Margaret Court and Billie Jean King. The occasion was the opening of the tennis courts at Bob and Kathy Weise’s Lightning W subdivision development.
Riggs was a PR man’s dream to promote because he was always ‘on’. Resplendent in a bright yellow-and-red ‘SUGAR DADDY’ jumpsuit, he took on all comers on the court. One of his opponents was an equally juvenile Jerry Van Dyke (Luther Van Dam on TV’s ‘Coach’). Riggs entertained masterfully, hustled a few bets and neatly sidestepped the question of whether or not he had ‘tanked’ against Billie Jean.
Now he’s among a long list of celebrities who will never be seen in this area again.
Bobby Riggs died at age 77 in 1995.