(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, WEDNESDAY OCT. 4, 2017) — Our series on the Berkshire Museum‘s art sale put several planned topics on hold. Today we thought THE PLANET would handle them, albeit briefly. Then, on Sunday evening in Las Vegas, Stephen Paddock broke a window on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino and began squeezing. As of press time, the latest official figures stood at 59 dead and 527 injured. They are sure to rise by the time you read this.

We shall leave to others the predictable ensuing debate over firearms. Do we need more gun laws? If you argue yes, then say how that will affect a situation where an already heavy load of current and previous laws have failed. The “prescriptive” laws have proven anything but.

THE PLANET will only say that it appears Paddock had nearly 20 rifles in his room, with at least one of them a fully automatic machine gun. Such a firearm is much harder to legally obtain than even a semi-automatic, giving full-metal-jacketed food for thought.

Video and audio of the shooting reveals long, continuous bursts of fire, leading one gun expert to guess Paddock had no military training. Such training teaches machine gunners to fire in short, pulsing bursts for greater control and accuracy. But with 22,000 live targets in full view from his looming hotel room, Paddock didn’t have to bother with such subtleties. He didn’t even have to aim. He simply needed to keep his finger on the trigger and move the gun back and forth like a lawn sprinkler.

Our focus will be on the impossible-to-resolve issue of freedom vs. security. Since The Patriot Act, a piece of Post 9/11 overreaction that issued draconian limitations on personal rights without improving security, the discussion — as with every national issue today — has splintered into two fundamental, uncommunicative camps. On the one end, civil libertarians offer an argument neatly summed by none other than perhaps the greatest American of all time. Benjamin Franklin said that “those who give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither.” The other side argues that securing personal safety comes first and to do that requires to voluntary sacrifice of individual freedom. This views holds that government should be allowed to violate constitutional and even moral rights when it decides conditions require such action.

The way out of this “dilemma” is to reframe the issue. Rather than an either/or approach — a Hobbesian all-powerful government vs. a impossible state of robust freedom (also known as anarchy) — we need to see this debate on a continuum with the Absolutist State of Hobbes at the far right and anarchy at far left. The proper response for a so-called “free” society should be well to the left of the center point, acknowledging that common sense and specific cases require individual attention.

Therein lies the problem with “more laws” and a blanket clampdown calling for more security. A blanket law cannot respond to every case. For example, the overarching, ultimately political rules from Big Government have turned every American into a suspected terrorist. Do you carry a smart phone? If so, you also carry a 21st century “ankle bracelet” that allows Big Data to track your every movement. Turn your smart phone to “off?” Doesn’t matter. The device still emits a treasure trove of information. Want to board an airplane or enter a ballpark to see a game? Then give up your backpacks, submit to a wand screening, empty out all pockets, and say goodbye to whatever items Clem, the Well Trained Security Dude, wants for himself. If your attractive and female, Clem says, so much the better. Pardon him when he lingers at certain body areas.

Back to Franklin: Note the astute qualifier in his statement. He talked of giving up “essential liberty,” which begs the question of what freedoms can be considered “essential.” The Founding Fathers thought “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” were among them, but those qualities are dad-burned difficult to define. Like a watermelon seed or a drop of mercury, when you try to pick it up, it slips away.

The Constitution tried to put some detail into the Preamble (the right to assemble peacefully, the right to say or print what we wished, the right to be free of unlawful seizure or searched, and so forth), into the body and the amendments. Nonetheless, the application of constitutional freedom can only be done on a case-by-case basis. That being the case, it will be important in the ensuing days and night to reject anyone who calls for extremity or who claims to have even “an answer,” let alone “The answer.”

Reason would have us all agree on the proper response to the Las Vegas mass murder and any such terrorist act. The power of government to unilaterally utilize its unprecedented power must be implemented in a way that respects individual freedom. Oversight and accountability must check the tendency of government to elevate proper security into a police state.

We realize that in today’s fractured, schismatic world where EVERY issue is politicized, this type of reasonable view has become unreasonable to expect. That reinforcement of screaming heads talking AT each other as an acceptable form of public debate will be the greatest cost of the Las Vegas shootings.

THE PLANET understands “freedom” as the “unalienable” right to act, think, and speak without physical, psychological, emotional, mental, or spiritual coercion. Unless one stands alone with an independence of thought based on the principle that “You own yourself,” that kind of liberty cannot happen.

Fact is, Americans love to lip-service Freedom but don’t want freedom. Land of the”free?” Unfortunately, only in song. Fact is, we are not free except to the extent that we do not apprehend the totality of our enslavement. Moreover, we have not earned the right to be free. What Eddie Poe called “the Imp of the Perverse” dwells coiled within the human heart, waiting to spring.


“Here come the Jets like a bat out of hell. Someone gets in our way someone don’t feel to well.” — The “Jets” theme from West Side Story.



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  1. Trumped Up
    October 2, 2017 at 7:45 pm #

    Dan, it’s 10 30 at night and just heard multiple shots, somewhere?

  2. Jonathan Melle
    October 2, 2017 at 7:58 pm #

    The United States was founded on both Freedom and Slavery! The ultimate double standard! “All men are created equal”, but the Founding Fathers owned hundreds of slaves, respectively! Then you had the Alien and Sedition Act under U.S. President John Adams. Journalists were jailed in the latest part of the 18th Century. Then you had the Gilded Age with a few Oligarchs controlling nearly all the wealth and power. At the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, 4-year-old children were put to work in factories instead of going to preschool. Then you had eugenics and racist immigration laws, which America modeled for Hitler’s Nazi Germany. Then you had Jim Crow in the South. Then you had “red-lining” in the North. Then you had the corporate takeover of the nation with “the Reagan Revolution”, with 99% of the wealth going to the top 1% for the past 4 decades. Now, we have a fascist U.S. President named Donald Trump who employed neo-nazis in The White House, who openly said they support the alt-right, and Trump even stated that white supremacist protesters are “very fine people”. We also have the 16th birthday of the Patriot Act, where they can spy on you, violate your right to privacy and constitutional rights, and send you to prison without a formal indictment.

    • Joe Blow
      October 3, 2017 at 3:19 pm #

      You are brainwashed if you think the President is a fascist! The real fascists are ironically called anti-fa. President Trump never said white supremacist protesters are “very fine people” Obama turned our intelligence agency’s into political weapons…now that sounds like a fascist.

      • Jonathan Melle
        October 3, 2017 at 6:30 pm #

        U.S. Prez Barack Obama was born in the U.S.A.
        Donald Trump was born on the Moon!

  3. mi
    October 2, 2017 at 8:03 pm #

    Dusty was mentioning about almost getting wiped out today by a couple of trucks, a couple months ago this clown in a truck ran me off the road. He cites there could write a hundred tickets an hour. I travel the South Street corridor on a daily base, try 200 tickets. Another beauty is Hancock Rd. there is no one that travels that road less than thirty miles per hour, two hundred tickets there also.

  4. May Hemm
    October 2, 2017 at 8:10 pm #

    Pittsfield is in a sad state.

  5. Pat
    October 2, 2017 at 8:41 pm #

    Great article Dan. I am also worried about the country turning into a police state. Both ISIS and domestic terrorism make everyone look to government to save us, but we have to balance our safety concerns with not losing our basic rights.

    We will have to suffer with the talking heads talking at each other for who knows how long over this issue trying to score political points, but not finding anything they can agree on. I agree with someone who said today that the people of this country will solve these problems not Congress. I heard someone else say today that the 24/7 news actually encourages this type of violence because unstable dangerous people want to get lots of exposure for their infamy.

  6. PVTV Link
    October 2, 2017 at 9:04 pm #

    Click below to watch Dan’s latest show.

  7. Radar
    October 3, 2017 at 12:27 am #

    Multiple shootings in Pittsfield tonight.

    Young woman caught in the crossfire, an innocent person who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    Airlifted to Baystate with what I hear is a GSW to the head.

    Gun violence is prevalent EVERYWHERE.

    • War Pigs
      October 3, 2017 at 5:24 am #

      But mayor Dan Bianchi said the general public was safe from these shootings. Guess that poor woman was part of the non-general public?
      “Pittsfield Mayor Dan Bianchi said he does not consider the shooting to represent a threat to the general public.”
      He was a total disaster of a mayor. Of course he was followed by another total disaster. And she’ll be followed by yet another.

      • Paul
        October 3, 2017 at 2:43 pm #

        War pig, you do know Dan is not the mayor right?

  8. Spagirl
    October 3, 2017 at 2:29 am #

    When you have a need for 30 guns…that is a problem. Your background check is clean. Your mind is not. You are a domestic terrorist..

    • Make Pittsfield Great Again
      October 3, 2017 at 6:49 pm #

      There is nothing aberrant about owning 30 of anything. Some people own that many cars.

  9. Spagirl
    October 3, 2017 at 3:45 am #

    Clearly he had an illegal automatic weapon.

    • War Pigs
      October 3, 2017 at 5:17 am #

      If he did, whoever provided it to him – gun dealer or not – should be punished severely.

      • Spagirl
        October 3, 2017 at 6:23 am #

        It was a military style rifle that he modified with bump stocks to rapid fire.

    • Make Pittsfield Great Again
      October 3, 2017 at 6:51 pm #

      It’s not so clear. Bump stocks were classified as being in compliance with federal law by 0bama’s ATF.

  10. The school committee
    October 3, 2017 at 4:01 am #

    Pittsfield gangsters are taking advantage of the guns people love to fight wars with.Tyer and Mcandless,Yon and Taylor wont acknowlege people being murdered on th he sidewalks of our city.They dont hear us .You cant have good schools when Mom Dad are being shot at.Does Tyer live in Pittsfield anymore.

    • That girl
      October 3, 2017 at 6:07 am #

      Yes. In a gated community. In a $600 Thou house.

  11. The school committee
    October 3, 2017 at 4:11 am #

    Our police are in danger going to work,we are broke from our school system.We need many more police to overwhelm the gangs.Pittsfield has lost the war on drugs.All polititions are in denial.I dont want to hear about school testing from school committee and wha t a great job hero teachers do.I want Yon to address the drug problem in our streets and I want her and Sheran ,Mccandless to stop taking money from the police.Educators lie to Pittsfield and need to stop it.

    • Spagirl
      October 3, 2017 at 4:21 am #

      They are self absorbed with their own egos and greed.

  12. Wild in the Streets
    October 3, 2017 at 4:32 am #

    If there are no press conferences addressing the killings and lack of traffic citations issued, then you know it’s our Mayor.

  13. Pat
    October 3, 2017 at 4:38 am #

    Drugs have overtaken Pittsfield….a city that was once a great place to live. Things are so bad that we have politicians telling us that pot will be an economic engine for the area. Now we have a media and politicians in denial mode about what is happening. No mention of last nights shootings in any of the local media. The drugs, crime and poverty are all connected. Poverty has been ignored in the city also until the Boston Globe recently ran an article about it which local media was quick to say was not as extreme as the article portrayed. The BB ran an article on poverty about a month ago for the first time ever and claimed they had no idea so many people were living in poverty which was obviously not true since poverty is so obvious here.

  14. dusty
    October 3, 2017 at 4:46 am #

    There was too much TV coverage and too much detail on how he did what he did. This must have raised the adrenaline of a whole bunch of wannabee mass killers all around the world. I dread to think how many damaged minds got off on this and may now have the seed planted to go in that direction

    Hospitals should not go under staffed as we may need all the nurses we can get.

    Go nurses!!

    • Spagirl
      October 3, 2017 at 5:11 am #

      I respect the hell out of our local nurses! And the TV coverage was and is too much, dusty.

  15. Radar
    October 3, 2017 at 4:52 am #

    The woman has died. Another homocide victim in this horrible city.

  16. Radar
    October 3, 2017 at 4:58 am #

    We need to demand the resignation of Chief Wynn and DEMAND an effective real police chief – not an acting one. Clearly the city has completely gone to S$&+ under his watch.

    • Spagirl
      October 3, 2017 at 5:06 am #

      Denial is the tone in this City. This is a closed group of egotistical power heads who keep the Public uninformed, while stroking their own self gratitudes.

    • SojournerTruth
      October 3, 2017 at 5:50 am #

      Respectfully disagree R, a permanently entrenched, irreplaceable, potentially inept or politically corrupt police chief who has lifetime tenure isn’t the answer. Accountability or lack thereof has to be addressed. Who does Chief Wynn answer to ? Only the mayor and local media which are mutually protective of each other ? Where is any form citizen oversight of the PD ? No citizen review board or local police commission. Boston civil service doesn’t apply as it intervenes only in personnel issues. The police union panders to itself and road jobs,etc. ($$$). The PD is virtually a closed, secret political organization with no citizen accountability nor reasonable transparency.
      Give the kids the only keys to the sandbox and what behavior and results do you expect ?

      • Spagirl
        October 3, 2017 at 6:12 am #


        Absolutely spot on.

    • Make Pittsfield Great Again
      October 3, 2017 at 6:53 pm #

      Radar, what should Wynn do that he isn’t doing now?

  17. h
    October 3, 2017 at 5:04 am #

    A neighbor of mine had windows shot at months ago,windows are still broken and nothing has been done to correct that situation. Living in fear is a terrible thing.

  18. dusty
    October 3, 2017 at 5:31 am #

    I heard someone on the telly say yesterday that there was a bill before congress to legalize silencers for guns. and he said he thinks it will pass because the NRA puts money in many political pockets.

    So while the country is headed to hell we might as well go with less background noise I guess.

    • War Pigs
      October 3, 2017 at 7:39 am #

      The will make the shot spotter obsolete.

      • danvalenti
        October 3, 2017 at 7:45 am #

        They had shot spotter in Vegas. It’s called people running in panic. In PIittsfield, it’s called Caught Dead in a Crossfire. But no one is supposed to know about it. That’s why the PPD brass refused to confirm actuality to the media, as iBerkshires reports. THE PLANET has a police source. We’re getting the story. It’s a doozy, involving … More to come.

        • dusty
          October 3, 2017 at 8:52 am #

          Oh sure Dan. Go ahead and spill the beans about shootings in Pittsfield. And the next time a business fails on North street because people are afraid of getting shot it well be your fault
          . Also, please be a good sport and help keep the secret that Pittsfield has a shot spotter. It is not something we put in the tourist literature because we do not want tourists to think we have so many shootings that we need a shot spotter.
          And it is set up to listen for shots on NORTH STREET for a reason. Wonder what that could be shoppers and movie goers.

        • Arial Black
          October 3, 2017 at 1:51 pm #

          I’m sure The Planet will be invited to the press conference.

    • 12 Gauge
      October 3, 2017 at 7:07 pm #

      Sound suppressors would be licensed. They wouldn’t be available to everyone. Sound suppressors will not automatically fit just any firearm. The gun has to be produce to accept a suppressor.The sound from any bullet moving faster than the speed of sound break the sound barrier and it’s impossible to muffle the crack of a bullet breaking the sound barrier. Most guns other that a .22 will still make a very loud noise even with a suppressor. Hilary Clinton doesn’t know what she’s talking about. But many voters figured that out last November. Bottom line don’t believe the fake news on TV and in papers like the Berkshire Eagle.

  19. Tricksie
    October 3, 2017 at 6:09 am #

    Get rid of the Mayor as the form of Gov’t. No accountability. 4 years of totalitarianism. Another murder – I heard Madam Mayor is getting bullet proof windows in her office. How sad.

    • War Pigs
      October 3, 2017 at 7:42 am #

      The only way to do that is vote her out. But by then the damage is done and her successor is very unlikely to improve anything at all.
      In order to be elected you have to have connections. If you have connections you are bought and paid for. It’s an endless cycle. If anyone thinks we live in a real democracy they are mistaken.

      • dusty
        October 3, 2017 at 8:57 am #

        The next mayor will be just like the current mayor and the last half dozen as well because they all are hand picked and get lots of financial backing that a regular citizen cannot match.
        Krol has already picked out his new suit for his inauguration and is working on his address to the city as to how things will be so much better. His slogan is MPGA and he thought of it all by himself.

      • Pat
        October 3, 2017 at 3:48 pm #

        Tyer has no intention of running for mayor again so she has nothing to lose.

  20. mi
    October 3, 2017 at 9:06 am #

    Send Barrett to Puerto Rico, Collingwood to Texas and Collelo to Vegas.

  21. Spagirl
    October 3, 2017 at 9:19 am #

    This town needs Citizens united. Taxpayers need a group with momentum.

    • May Hemm
      October 3, 2017 at 11:13 am #

      When men join When,you have an invincible group.

  22. The school committee
    October 3, 2017 at 11:39 am #

    Where the hell is our mayor,where the hell is Bouvier,Where the hell is Marchetti…..where the hell is everybody…….People in Pittsfield Ma are in the middle of a gun war

  23. The school committee
    October 3, 2017 at 11:41 am #

    Im embarrassed to tell people where im from,yhey all say the same thing ….why the hell do you allow gangsters in your yown

  24. The school committee
    October 3, 2017 at 11:43 am #

    I blame Yon and McCandless for people getting killed in pittsfield.No more money and cut 5 million.

  25. The school committee
    October 3, 2017 at 2:47 pm #

    Pittsfield sucks campaign.Our mayor is in denial,our newspaper is in denial,our councilors are in denial…..i want the State of Ma. To take us over and run our budget.

  26. The school committee
    October 3, 2017 at 2:53 pm #

    How did North Adams beat us out.Walmart doesnt eve n want to be here.

  27. Joe Blow
    October 3, 2017 at 3:09 pm #

    “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

    ― Benjamin Franklin

  28. Pat
    October 3, 2017 at 4:13 pm #

    A picture of the gunshot victim in Pittsfield last night thanks to Masslive. We have to depend on Springfield to get actual news coverage that we don’t get from our local media.

  29. Pat
    October 3, 2017 at 4:15 pm #

    Such a beautiful young woman. So sad. Only 22 years old. Her whole life ahead of her.

  30. The school committee
    October 3, 2017 at 4:45 pm #

    Balston Spa had a gun incident in the school there and channel ten news covered it live and want to fire superintendant for not informing parents….in pittsfield its standard practice to keep secrets… department Behnke keeps secrets 24 7…..they are creating new positions now after they told peopled they laid off 55 people

    • Len X Abhorant
      October 3, 2017 at 5:51 pm #

      Pay and keep quiet.

  31. Disapointed tax payer
    October 3, 2017 at 6:16 pm #

    Massachusetts has some of the toughest gun laws in the country how can we have all these shootings?? Hmm are the criminals just not following the law??

    I get it. Lets make it tougher for good tax paying American citizens to protect themselves, there loved ones, and property. Oh and when a thug is caught with a gun we will plead them down so they don’t do the mandatory year in jail for carrying without a FID / concealed carry permit.

    I am glad my wife took the class for concealed carry, now I just have to hope she can survive the 3 months before the system will allow her to have half a chance to protect herself from the criminals that now rule the streets..

    Time to boot out the judges, the DA, Tricca photo op farley-bouvier, and every other bleeding heart there all victims politician..

    God bless America!!

    • Pat
      October 3, 2017 at 6:43 pm #

      The bad guys always get the guns. A drive by shooting is what this appears to be, but the police are being quiet. Is this to avoid public panic? Houses have been shot at here in Pittsfield just recently and now we have this. Sirens were blaring throughout the city all this morning up to around 10 AM. Hopefully they were rounding up criminals.

  32. PVTV Link
    October 3, 2017 at 6:34 pm #

    Dan’s latest show:

  33. Mad Trapper
    October 3, 2017 at 7:21 pm #

    So how does one shooter hit 600 people in 10 minutes from 400 yards away and 100 yards up, at night?

    If EVERY shot connected, then that’s a shot/second. Think about it?

    Guns claimed shooter used had 30 round magazines, that’s a MINIMUM of 20 magazines. Thats if every shot hit.

    in between the shooting they claim he was running from window to window, and must have been reloading.

    Think they will find AT LEAST 600 rds of spent ammo/magazines?

    Being more realistic if every other , or third shot, hit a victim that makes the scenario presented by LE even less plausible.

    Think they will even find that much brass/magazines in the motel room?

    Besides the tragedy, and I’m sorry for the victims and loved ones, something stinks about this story.

    There were initial reports of other shooters located on the 4-5th floors of the building and ex-military said the sounds of the shooting resembled a REAL machine gun.

    It will be interesting to see how the facts play out, if we get the facts.

  34. jake E. Lee
    October 4, 2017 at 11:30 am #

    spa girl…. How many pair of shoes do you own? I am gonna guess more than 30. How many Barbie and ken dolls do you own? more than 30? How many Hillary posters do you own? ,than 30? If I choose to own 3 fire arms or 300 fire arms it doesn’t make me a terrorist. How many people are killed each day by selfish drunk drivers? lets ban alcohol, lets ban cigarettes hell lets ban scratch tickets. I would even vote for a ban on coffee, how many coffees to you drink In a week?