The Las Vegas Shooter, Two Years Later

Greg Palast for Truthdig

Paddock. Palast. We sat next to each other at Fernangeles Elementary School, and later at Poly High in Sun Valley, Calif.

Steve was a chess prodigy and a math whiz.

He finally got to use his extraordinary gift to do complex ballistics calculations that allowed him to murder 58 people in Las Vegas in just minutes from a distant hotel window. That was two years ago this week.

Greg Palast, left, at 11 years old, and Steve Paddock in elementary school in 1964. (Photos courtesy of Greg Palast)

Steve should have gone to MIT, to Stanford. He didn’t. For that, he needed Advanced Placement calculus.

If you went to “Bevvie”—Beverly Hills High—you could take AP calculus. Or AP French. We didn’t have AP calculus. We didn’t have AP French. We weren’t Placed, and we didn’t Advance.

According to a state investigation led by Tom Hayden, our high school was situated on top of a toxic dump site. No surprise there.

In Sun Valley, Steve and I were required to take classes called “electrical shop” and “metal shop” so we would be trained to man the drill presses at the local General Motors plant. Or do tool-and-dye cutting to make refrigerator handles at GM, where they assembled Frigidaire refrigerators and Chevys.

And we were required to take drafting. Drafting, as in “blueprint drawing.” We sat at those drafting tables with our triangular rulers and No. 2 pencils so we could get jobs at Lockheed Martin Corp. as draftsmen and draw blueprints for fighter jets.

But we weren’t going to fly the fighter jets…

Read the full story on Truthdig.

Greg Palast

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