Still watching the Las Vegas dice: Did Stephen Paddock leave a note? Was he taking Valium?

Still waiting. Still reading.

Still watching, every now and then. And I remain convinced that some kind of religion/beliefs shoe is going to drop in the Las Vegas massacre, no matter that Eric Paddock says about his brother Stephen's lack of political or religious ties that bind.

However, I will add this concern, even if it is only receiving attention on right-wing news sites and in a UK tabloid that is consistently NSW quality.

The question: Did the gunman leave a note behind in his suite at the Mandalay Bay? There is discussion, with a photo, at The Daily Star:

Images have leaked showing Paddock lying dead on the hotel room floor with blood pouring from his mouth. The gunman appears to be wearing a brown shirt, black slacks, loafers and a pair of gloves.
Chillingly, he appears to have left some kind of note on the side table.
Paddock’s motives remain a mystery, with the millionaire property developer having no criminal history. He appears to have checked into the high roller hotel days before in a meticulous plot to kill.
A note left by the gunman may offer clues to his reasons for slaughtering country music fans at the Route 91 Harvest Festival.

Readers cannot tell, of course, what kind of information is in the note seen in the photo. It could be Paddock's room-service form, for all journalists know. Still it will be interesting to see if and when this discussion is validated by investigators and, thus, breaks into mainstream media. (I have not visited the world of 24/7 cable news in several hours.)

In most discussions of the "Why?" factor in this story -- click here for a typical list -- it is also clear that reporters are taking seriously some kind of inherited mental illness, in light of the FBI most-wanted list history of Paddock's father.

Several GetReligion readers have asked if investigators are checking medical records, to see if the gunman suffered from a fatal illness or even a brain tumor that might steer him into madness. The Las Vegas Review-Journal has published a story in which sources say Paddock, in June, was given a prescription for Valium, which raises questions about anxiety attacks.

Then there is the Islamic State. While the ISIS statement claiming a connection to the attack was greeted with scorn (which seems appropriate), there was an interesting moment in a press conference featuring Sheriff Joseph Lombardo of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. The Guardian noted:

The evidence offers an insight into Paddock’s careful planning of the shooting. Lombardo said: “I’m pretty sure he evaluated everything that he did in his actions, which is troubling.”
Paddock’s motive remains unknown. “This person may have been radicalised, unbeknownst to us, and we want to identify that source.” ...
Lombardo added: “It’s an ongoing investigation and when I say I don’t know, I may know … I assure you this investigation is not ended with the demise of Mr Paddock.”

Yes, close observers of the case noticed that statement.

Meanwhile, The New York Times offered a more cautious take on that section of the press conference. What's missing in this?

Law enforcement officials have said they are confident that Mr. Paddock, who had no prior criminal record, was the sole gunman on Sunday. Though the Islamic State group has claimed that he was one of its followers, officials say that, they have found no evidence so far that he had ties to any extremist group.
But Mr. Lombardo stressed that investigators were still looking into what roles others might have played. “I assure you this investigation is not ended with the demise of Mr. Paddock,” he said.

So what is going on? Who knows?

However, I would like to point GetReligion readers to this Graeme Wood essay at The Atlantic: "Why Did the Islamic State Claim the Las Vegas Shooting?" This is a must read.

The bottom line: The ISIS news operation has made false claims before, linking itself to mass killings. But this has happened very often. This long passage is helpful:

The vast majority of the Islamic State’s claimed attacks were undertaken by men acting in its name, often after leaving short video statements confirming their intentions. The Amaq news agency is the preferred venue for the initial claim, usually within a day. (Sloppy reporters sometimes mistake the rejoicing of online supporters, meteorological or not, for an official claim.) If they were really so promiscuous with their claims, we would long since have ignored them, as we do claims from other yahoos who have tried to take credit for atrocities authored by others. The idea that the Islamic State simply scans the news in search of mass killings, then sends out press releases in hope of stealing glory, is false. Amaq may learn details of the attacks from mainstream media -- and often gets those details wrong, also like mainstream media -- but its claim of credit typically flows from an Amaq-specific source.
This Las Vegas claim may yet turn out to be false as well. They have offered no evidence -- no cell-phone video from the killer, pledging allegiance in broken Arabic; no selfies of him, raising a finger of monotheism. Another absent sign of Islamic State involvement is videos from Paddock’s rifle-scope. At attacks like the Holey Bakery in Dhaka, Bangladesh, the killers have uploaded real-time images, exclusive and corroborating imagery for Amaq. As with many subsequently verified attacks, we have not yet, in these early hours, seen any such evidence.
If their claim is a rare false one, it will not even be the first false claim to feature a casino. In June, a gambling addict shot up and torched the Resorts World casino in Manila, Philippines. The Islamic State claimed credit, with a dubious follow-up alleging that Jessie Javier Carlos, 42, converted to Islam some months before, without telling anyone. That explanation appears to be a total lie. A false claim of credit in Las Vegas will effectively shred the Islamic State’s news agency’s credibility. It will become a news agency that was once reliable, and now associates itself indiscriminately with heavily armed crazy people in casinos.
I see little advantage in such a shift.

Read it all. And please let us know if you see interesting material elsewhere, especially in mainstream television news reports.

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