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The Las Vegas Shooter, Two Years Later

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The Las Vegas Shooter, Two Years LaterGreg Palast, left, at 11 years old, and Steve Paddock in elementary school in 1964.
The Las Vegas Shooter, Two Years LaterGreg Palast, left, at 11 years old, and Steve Paddock in elementary school in 1964.
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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.

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 placed 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. Somewhere at Phillips Academy Andover, a dumbbell named Bush with an oil well for a daddy was going to go to Yale and then fly our fighter jets over Texas. We weren't going to go to Yale. We were going to go to Vietnam. Then, when we came back, if we still had two hands, we were supposed to go to GM or Lockheed.

And any pretty girl at our high school could always make decent money in Sun Valley, then the porn film capital of America.

Those were the choices we were given. As long as they lasted: After NAFTA, GM shut down and shifted to Mexico.

Our school, and our incomes, didn't qualify Steve for anything other than San Fernando Valley College. Any dumbbell could get in. And it was nearly free. That's where Steve was expected to go, and he went, with his big math-whiz brain. And then Steve, with his "Valley" degree, went to Lockheed, like he was supposed to. Then Lockheed shut down plants in 1988. Steve left, took the buyout.

Here's a little info about the pleasantly named place where Palast and Paddock were bred. Sun Valley is not really a city. It is the anus of Los Angeles. Literally. It's where the sewage plant is. And the garbage dump. It's in a trench below the Hollywood Hills, where the smog settles into a kind of puke-yellow soup. Here's where L.A. dumps both its urine and the human refuse it only remembers when it needs cheap labor when the gusanos don't supply enough from Mexico. And cheap soldiers for your wars.

The home of "Okies" and Chicanos.

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Greg Palast's investigative reports appear in Rolling Stone, the Guardian and on BBC Television. His latest film, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, on how Donald Trump stole the 2016 election, is available on Amazon. Palast is Patron of the Trinity (more...)
 
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David Watts

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Opportunity is equal in America. That's what they tell us. They tell us, just work harder. They say, anybody can do it. We are told to just keep dreaming the American dream; dream about those TV commercials with that beautiful house, that beautiful car, and that beautiful wife that you can have; all you have to do is try harder; its all out there for you. If you don't work hard enough and you don't get all of those beautiful things, then it is your fault. If you don't try hard enough, don't come asking for welfare and food stamps and help with your health care and help with an education. Its not our fault, its not the system's fault, its all your fault. Its nobody's fault but your own even if you were dragged up from the gutter, from the wrong side of the tracks.

"Slum Kids" (kinks)

We're just slum kids, and we know it,
And we never stood a chance.
We were dragged up from the gutter,
From the wrong side of the tracks.

So how dare you criticize,
When you don't know what it's like
To be dragged up from the gutter,
From the wrong side of the tracks.

Why do rich kids get all the breaks,
While the poor slum kids have to work, sweat, struggle and slave?
Why, Lord, there's so much injustice in this world?
Slum kids never stand a chance.

Look at all the slum kids all around you,
Oh, they never stood a chance.
We were dragged up from the gutter,
From the wrong side of the tracks.

Why do rich kids get all the breaks,
While the poor slum kids have to work, sweat, struggle and slave?
Why, Lord, there's so much injustice in this world?
Slum kids never stand a chance.

Look at all the slum kids all around you,
Oh, they never stood a chance.
We were dragged up from the gutter,
From the wrong side of the tracks.

So how dare you criticize,
When you don't know what it's like
To be dragged up from the gutter,
From the wrong side of the tracks.


Slum Kids The Kinks All the staff become part of my private collection. In any moment I don't want to use ilegally reserved rights. Opened channel without any lucrative purpose.
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Submitted on Saturday, Oct 5, 2019 at 6:16:28 AM

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nelswight

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God be with you and PROUD of you, Greg Palast from the Valley

of slums.

Submitted on Saturday, Oct 5, 2019 at 1:43:45 PM

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Peter Frank

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This article tells it like things really are. Our society is capitalist, which means there are supposed to be lots of losers and a few winners. The only reason we don't all revolt is that society has successfully convinced us that the losers exist because of some innate cause. That cause could be psychological, medical, racial, cultural, etc. The blame is always on the victim. The success of the blame the victim strategy tells us that people prefer to believe what they know are lies, than to look deep into what they know is the truth. On the surface, it's a paradox. Our problems are caused by corrupt rules. Our inability to fix our problems is caused by psychology. I say on the surface, because the rules of society, capitalism, are themselves psychological. Private ownership of the means of production puts absolute control of people's survival in the hands of a few private owners. How crazy is that? Nobody in their right mind would agree to this if they were truly free. What keeps us in chains is mental, not physical. Not hard to see how the media keeps us submissive via the divide and conquer strategy. Two sides, red and blue, with two sets of abusers and two sets of victims. Both sides chasing false demons while the real abusers sit above us, laughing.

Submitted on Saturday, Oct 5, 2019 at 4:50:07 PM

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Peter Frank

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Not paid member and Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

  New Content

This article tells it like things really are. Our society is capitalist, which means there are supposed to be lots of losers and a few winners. The only reason we don't all revolt is that society has successfully convinced us that the losers exist because of some innate cause. That cause could be psychological, medical, racial, cultural, etc. The blame is always on the victim. The success of the blame the victim strategy tells us that people prefer to believe what they know are lies, than to look deep into what they know is the truth. On the surface, it's a paradox. Our problems are caused by corrupt rules. Our inability to fix our problems is caused by psychology. I say on the surface, because the rules of society, capitalism, are themselves psychological. Private ownership of the means of production puts absolute control of people's survival in the hands of a few private owners. How crazy is that? Nobody in their right mind would agree to this if they were truly free. What keeps us in chains is mental, not physical. Not hard to see how the media keeps us submissive via the divide and conquer strategy. Two sides, red and blue, with two sets of abusers and two sets of victims. Both sides chasing false demons while the real abusers sit above us, laughing.

Submitted on Saturday, Oct 5, 2019 at 4:59:28 PM

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