Following the massacre in Las Vegas, right wing pundits are searching for something more to explain what happened.
Faced with reporting on the worst mass shooting in modern American history — committed by a 64-year-old white man with no apparent ties to terrorist networks — some commenters have hesitated. Can we hate a man if we don’t know why he rained gunfire down on innocent concert-goers?
“Bin Laden — we knew who to hate. You saw Sandy Hook? We knew that mutant living in his basement. We don’t even know enough about him to hate him yet,” Brian Kilmeade, a co-host of “Fox & Friends” said during that network’s coverage of the shooting.
Meanwhile, others didn't even wonder how they might hate him, they simply placed blame elsewhere. Alex Jones, the conspiracy theorist host at Info Wars, cast blame on just about everyone including leftists, communists, globalist, Isis, and anti-fascists - or antifa.
"Why does the left bring the very groups that are trying to kill you?" Mr Jones asked on his show.
In response to the outcry from conservative pundits, the Daily Show's Trevor Noah mocked the idea that it would be hard to find a way to hate a mass killer.
"That is so true. How do you hate someone who's killed 59 people?" Noah said, including the shooter's death in the death toll. "Because he's not Muslim. He wasn't known to be mentally ill, he doesn't kneel for the anthem, he's just a rich white guy who shot people at a country music concert. How do you hate him? There's nothing to hate."
Stephen Paddock broke two windows in his suite on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino Sunday night and killed 58 people, while injuring nearly 500 more before killing himself. He had 23 guns in his hotel room, some of them modified so that they could shoot at a near-automatic pace.
While Paddock's motives are still unclear, he had amassed his stockpile of guns since 1982, with the last purchase just days before the shooting.
Las Vegas is the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history, with no other coming anywhere near matching the number of deaths and injured combined.
But, some right wing media pundits, echoing a sentiment often seen on bumper stickers, argue that it isn’t guns that kill people: It’s people — and their ideologies or sicknesses — who kill people.
“It’s clear Paddock was committing this atrocity for a cause,” radio Host Bill Mitchell, an ardent supporter of Donald Trump, said. “Considering the nature of his victims, most likely #Antifa or #ISIS or both.”
It later emerged that Paddock had booked stays looking over at least two other music festivals like Lollapalooza in Chicago, which don't necessarily have the same conservative audience as the Route 91 country music festival he ultimately targeted. But, just like with a motive for the shooting in Las Vegas, officials haven't said if he was planning on attacks at those events.
Echoing a similar sentiment, Fox News commentator Tomi Lahren also argued that gun laws in the United States — where mass shootings occur nearly every day — isn’t the point.
“Media focusing on guns,” she said. “There’s something bigger here. I think there’s something more about Paddock and his girlfriend that hasn’t been revealed.”
Marilou Danley, Paddock’s girlfriend, returned to the United States Wednesday, and her lawyer says that she plans on fully cooperating with the FBI’s investigation.
It is unclear what Ms Danley may be able to tell authorities to help them determine a motive behind the attack, but she did say that she saw no indicator that her gun collecting boyfriend would turn violent. In the gun shops that Paddock returned to repeatedly to buy the legal firearms, neither did the employees.