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Mandalay Bay: Top O' The World, Ma! (PART TWO)

The Second Amendment Is Not a Suicide Pact

So it’s the night of the concert. There’s no evidence revealed to the public that anyone knows of Stephen Paddock’s plans other than he. The wild intensity inside Stephen Paddock’s mind must have been extraordinary as he watched from the 32nd floor as the crowds gathered. If it’s true, as Ms. Danley reportedly told investigators, that Paddock was deteriorating mentally and physically, it’s likely his life’s successes and failures passed through his mind as he meticulously set up his shooting nest. Since he shared a house in Sun City, Mesquite, with Ms. Danley, he may have been aware of stories like a recent controversy at another Del Webb active adult community, Sun City Aliante. As reported recently in a New Yorker article by Rachel Aviv called “The Takeover,” greedy predatory behavior threatened aging baby-boomers with money. The phenomenon is known as legal guardianship. It's the sort of thing that could really disturb a wealthy, aging man obsessed with control and independence.

The New Yorker piece starts in 2013 with two residents who had been married for 55 years. Rudy North was 81; Rennie was 79. They were in their home minding their own business and there was a knock on the door; it was a woman named April Parks, accompanied by three other people. Parks owned a company named A Private Professional Guardian. “Parks told the Norths that she had an order from the Clark County Court to ‘remove’ them from their home. She would be taking them to an assisted-living facility.” The couple was stunned and confused. “Go and gather your things,” they were told. “One of Park’s colleagues said that if the Norths didn’t comply he would call the police.” Without notifying them or their children, who visited them regularly, they had been deemed by a Clark County judge to be wards of the state. Rudy may not have been a track sprinter, but he read the newspaper regularly; he read popular novels, “or, if he was feeling more ambitious,” he read Sigmund Freud and Friedrich Nietzsche. In a notebook, he had recently written: “Deep below the rational part of our brain is an underground ocean where strange things swim.” To make a very long and troubling story short, the couple was moved 40 miles away to Lakeview Terrace, an assisted living facility. When their daughter Judy came to visit, she found her parents missing; it took her days to figure out where they were. When she finally called Parks and told her: “You can’t just walk into somebody’s home and take them!” Parks calmly replied: “It’s legal.” And she was correct; it was all legal. The North’s home and belongings were sold by a company called “Caring Transitions.”

Since then, newspaper stories blew the lid on the scam and the court was shamed into backing away. Parks is facing trial for perjury and theft. In a culture that too often values marketing and profit over justice, these people had figured a scam to get your money from your wallet to their wallet. Like Paddock had figured out how to “flip” houses to make money, these people, in cahoots with legal operatives, worked the laws to fleece aging and vulnerable people. They especially targeted aging couples without children. And, again, it was all legal.

story | by Dr. Radut