59 Dead and 517 Injured, Tom Petty at 66

Mass Murder: The numbers coming out of Las Vegas are stunning.

Fifty-nine people are dead and 527 injured or wounded after a  shooter sprayed a concert crowd of thousands with machine gun fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel Sunday night. In addition to bullet wounds, concert-goers were trampled and some suffered cuts climbing over fences.

Equally stunning is the number of guns investigators have found: 42.

The number of dead surpasses the previous record of 49 set in the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Florida 14 months ago.

The shooter, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, a resident of a retirement community in Mesquite, Nev., was a retired accountant who had made a lot of money and liked playing $100-a-hand poker. He had no criminal record.   Police now say Paddock fired through his hotel room door and took his own life before the SWAT team breached his hotel room.

Police found 23 guns in Paddock’s hotel room and 19 in his home. They found thousands of rounds of ammunition and some explosive materials. Two of the guns had “bump stocks,” devices that turn a semi-automatic rifle into full auto.

His brother Eric in Orlando said Paddock had no extreme religious or political views and that he was not “a gun guy.” Their father, always estranged from the family, was Benjamin Paddock, a bank robber who was once on the FBI’s most wanted list.

The shooting started just after 10 pm when country music star Jason Aldean was about 30 minutes into his set. At first confused by the rattle of automatic weapons fire, Aldean then ran for the corner of the stage as people in the audience began to fall dead and wounded. Witnesses said the shooting just wouldn’t stop.

Dr. Heather Melton, an orthopedic surgeon from Tennessee, told USA Today that her husband Sonny, 29, shielded her and was killed. “He saved my life,” Melton said. “He grabbed me from behind and started running when I felt him get shot in the back.”

Las Vegas SWAT officers did an incredible job responding to the shooting, locating the source of fire, and blowing open the hotel room door. Investigators say they were able to identify the shooter’s room because other hotel guests called, and heavy gun smoke set off the room’s smoke alarm.

They said Paddock had a corner suite, broke out windows on each side, and had set up a scoped rifle on a tripod in both vantage points.

Interestingly, it is the second mass shooting in recent months committed by an older white male. The shooter who attacked the Republican softball team in Virginia was 66.

President Trump, in a brief television address to the country described it as “an act of pure evil.” Without addressing the plague of gun violence and mass shootings in the US, Trump said, “We call upon the bonds that unite us, our faith, our family, and our shared values.” He said,  “Our unity cannot be shattered by evil, our bonds cannot be broken by violence.”

Disaster Zones: The president visits Puerto Rico today and plans to go to Las Vegas tomorrow.

The situation in Puerto Rico is bad and not improving quickly, although the president told reporters yesterday, “It’s been amazing, what’s been done in a short period of time on Puerto Rico.”

Trump will visit an island where 55 percent of residents still do not have access to clean drinking water. About 10 percent of the island is inaccessible by land. Eighty percent of the island’s crops were ruined. Eighty-five percent of cellphone towers were destroyed and 85 percent of phone and internet cables.

Massive amounts of supplies have backed up in ports for lack of drivers to distribute the goods. Reports on the Federal Emergency Management Agency website don’t say whether the aid is yet getting to where it’s needed.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency in his state so he can provide help to an expected flood of refugees from Puerto Rico.

Eat, Sleep, Sit: Six American scientists have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology, Physics, and Medicine.

Three were awarded for their research into circadian rhythms, the body’s biological clock that synchronizes with Earth’s revolutions. The three are Jeffrey C. Hall of Brandeis University; Michael Rosbash, Brandeis; and Michael W. Young, Rockefeller University.

They identified a gene which produces a protein that keeps the body clock, basically controlling sleep and alertness, blood pressure, heart rate, body temperature, and reaction time.

Rainer Weiss, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Kip Thorne and Barry Barish, both of the California Institute of Technology, were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for discovering gravitational waves, which were predicted by Albert Einstein but had never actually observed.

The Obit Page: Rocker Tom Petty, whose band Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers pounded ears for the last 40 years, has died in a Los Angeles hospital after suffering apparent cardiac arrest at home. He had been found unconscious.

Petty and the Heartbreakers produced some of the evergreens of rock, including “Refugee” and  “Free Fallin’.”

He had just finished what he said would be his last summer tour, but he didn’t plan to retire. Petty told Rolling Stone, “I need something to do, or I tend to be a nuisance around the house.”

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Friday, October 20, 2017

Page Two

Jaw Meet Floor

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Small President

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Cuba Diaries

Sunday, March 13, 2016

An Alphabet of Maladies

Friday, February 26, 2016

The Healthcare Confusion Act

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Freedom from Speech

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Too Big to Fire

Friday, June 19, 2015

More Probable Than Not

Thursday, May 14, 2015

It's Been Said

This man in the Oval Office is a soulless coward who thinks that he can only become large by belittling others. This has of course been a common practice of his, but to do it in this manner–and to lie about how previous Presidents responded to the deaths of soldiers–is as low as it gets.  We have a pathological liar in the White House: unfit intellectually, emotionally, and psychologically to hold this office and the whole world knows it, especially those around him every day. The people who work with this President should be ashamed because they know it better than anyone just how unfit he is, and yet they choose to do nothing about it. This is their shame most of all.

-San Antonio Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich speaking to Dave Zirin of The Nation

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