Thursday, October 5, 2017

Calling Agatha Christie to Las Vegas

With all the hubbub over guns, Congress, terrorists, and gambling addicts, the Las Vegas shooting has created a new variation on the one puzzle sure to rivet mystery readers from here to Australia and back. Even the shooting victims--in a most painful kind of extortion of the dead--have been hijacked to distract attention from one key fact in the Las Vegas atrocity. This hideous crime creates a locked room mystery. 

From the first reports to the most recent accounts of the awful tale, versions accumulate of the final 70 minutes of waiting before the SWAT team breached the gunman's door--and discovered his body. Perhaps video recordings will resolve discrepancies, but so far, readers have heard that HE shot through the door at the SWAT team; he killed himself after killing 58 victims and injuring 520 strangers below his windows; and his body, along with 23 weapons, lay on the other side of that door, waiting to be discovered by police.  

The police have explained that they were under orders to wait for the SWAT team to arrive before breaching the door. Meanwhile, no information has so far been released indicating the state of that body which awaited discovery. Was it warm or cold? Had rigor mortis set in, turning the flesh rigid? Analysts have observed that a single individual could not fire 23 weapons and accomplish a massacre of those proportions in the eleven minutes of recorded firing. So, who besides Agatha Christie could solve a crime this complex and baffling?

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