Hillary: Imagine if the Vegas shooter had had a "silencer"; Update: Shooter used automatic weapon?

An A+ tweet, demonstrating not just ignorance but her trademark terrible political instincts.

Ignorance: Even someone like me who’s never fired a gun knows that “silencers” don’t actually silence. That’s a misnomer popularized by Hollywood movies about hit men, whose shots go from “BANG” to a soft “thwunk” once their, ahem, “silencer” is attached. In reality “silencers” are actually “suppressors,” and suppressors have less to do with stealth murder than with keeping gun aficionados from going deaf. Without a suppressor on and protection for your ears, you’re guaranteeing hearing loss at the range. *With* a suppressor on, the sound of the shot is still bone-rattling but manageable with ear protection. Banning silencers has become a fad among gun-grabbers lately, though, since the political case for banning them — prevent stealth murder! — is easily salable, if dubious. The best case you can make for Hillary’s tweet here is that the combination of a suppressor *and* the noise and music at the concert might have made the shots marginally harder to hear among the crowd. But they’d still have been VERY loud to anyone closer to the shooter’s location.

One other detail. Suppressors are tricky when firing rapidly, as Stephen Paddock did in Vegas, because the heat generated by the weapon can cause them to literally melt. You can see this in vivid detail in this clip. And as a psychological matter, why would a mass murderer want a suppressor in the first place? The M.O. of these lunatics is to go out in a blaze of glory, avenging their felt grievances by inflicting pain on innocent people. If anything, I’d bet this sort of degenerate would prefer his gunshots to be *louder*, to cause more fear by extending the range of earshot.

Terrible political instincts: When you have audio/visual evidence of a mass shooter firing what seems at first blush to be an automatic weapon, why the hell would you focus on silencers? The smart play politically is to zero in on “bump fire stocks” and “Gatling cranks,” devices that can be used to accelerate the rate of fire on semiautomatic weapons so that they mimic full automatics. One expert told USA Today that he suspects Paddock did use a trigger crank. Focusing on a cheap, legal accessory that can be used to replicate the Vegas shooting even if it wasn’t what Paddock used is the obvious move today for any serious gun-control advocate. Hillary just wants to posture, though, and she probably saw something on TV about the NRA defending “silencers” lately, so voila — she’s tweeting about silencers, which likely weren’t used at all in the Vegas horror and wouldn’t have mattered much if they had been.

Here’s video, almost two full minutes’ worth, of people huddled for cover while the shooter sprays fire, pauses to reload, then sprays fire again — repeatedly. (The guy who stands up, beer in hand, to flip him the bird at 1:20 is famous already on social media.) Listening to the audio this time, the rate of fire doesn’t quite seem perfectly consistent; it does sound a bit more like the “Gatling crank” video I linked earlier.

Update: On second thought, maybe it wasn’t a Gatling crank.

The gunman who authorities said killed at least 58 people at a Las Vegas music festival appears to have used at least one fully automatic rifle and had more than a dozen other firearms in his hotel room, a law-enforcement official said.

Investigators found 18 to 20 firearms, some fully automatic, in a room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, the law-enforcement official said. That is from where the suspect, identified as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, allegedly fired upon thousands of concertgoers below. The weapons included AR-15-style and AK-47-style rifles as well as a large cache of ammunition, the official said.

Update: An interesting point regarding Paddock’s motives:

Jihadis commit suicide all the time during attacks in order to inflict casualties on the enemy but is there a case of one committing suicide purely to avoid being captured or killed? A jihadi would have shot it out with the LVPD until they brought him down, no?

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David Strom 3:21 PM on March 24, 2023