The most deadly mass shooting in modern US history occurred last night in Las Vegas, Nevada during a country music concert. The gunman, Stephen Paddock, shot from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel/Resort. He used multiple automatic weapons and took his own life. At the time of this post, at least 59 people have been killed and a minimum of 527 have been wounded. At this time law enforcement reports that Stephen Paddock had no criminal history.
What follows is a partial nonverbal analysis of one of the interviews conducted earlier today of Eric Paddock - the brother of the alleged shooter, Stephen Paddock.
After this interview, the public became aware that Paddock's father (Benjamin Paddock) had robbed a bank and upon escaping from prison was one of the FBI's ten most wanted fugitives in 1969.
At multiple times during this television interview, Eric Paddock gestured with his left hand up to his temple - initially with his fingers and thumb held together - then, as his arm and hand were moving away from his head - his digits splaying apart. This dynamic illustrator is often used to express an event or idea which "Blew My Mind/Mind Blowing" - as well as a sudden idea, insight, or realization.
Eric Paddock expressed a nearly constant display of rapid lateral head shaking which is consistent with disbelief and emotional processing. This is, of course, a dynamic behavior and is thus unable to be captured via a still photograph. Please view the video to fully appreciate this movement.
Also very frequently, Eric Paddock retracted his head, neck, and upper torso backward. This is another common signal of disbelief.
However, the display captured in the image immediately above, during 0:11, when Paddock pulled his head back, neck, and torso backward and wiggled his head back and forth with high frequency, and opened his eyelids very widely - was out of context. Some would call this an affectation.
This expression of "Feigned Consideration" in a theoretical scenario in which he's reacting to news his neighbor perpetrated a similar event - is also an affectation or melodrama - and out of context.
A moment later (beginning at 1:02) Mr. Paddock said, "... I mean my brother did this - I - this was like it was done - you know, like he shot us - I mean - I, I - If he'd a killed my kids - I couldn't be more - dumbfounded ...".
Most everyone would say the theoretical scenario of his own brother killing his own children is an odd statement - disproportional and out-of-context. From a psychological standpoint, this is quite different than, for example, versus, if he were to say, "I can't imagine what they're feeling. I can't imagine what it would be like to lose a child, parent, or spouse to a gunman."
It's also important to point out that this display of Mr. Paddock's is not a display of empathy - rather it's a display of disbelief.
Discussing the death and wounding of so many people, by his brother - and the suicide/death of that brother - are all highly out-of-context situations for laughter. Mr. Paddock laughed several times when recalling his brother texting their mother after Hurricane Irma (1:24 - 1:32).
This was the expression Mr. Paddock made (1:47) after a journalist asked him, "Were you a close family?". Notice his smooth forehead. Mr. Paddock has had Botox treatments and this diminishes some facial expressions - as it does here. Mr. Paddock shows more emotional pain in this instant than any other in this particular interview - yet it's still significantly suppressed. Subsequently, many people won't "feel his pain" and empathize with him as much as they otherwise would have - had his central (medial) lower forehead displayed a "normal for context" dynamic, contraction.
During 2:01 Mr. Paddock rolled his eyes. This is a conscious/deliberate signal of impatient dismissal and contempt after he says, "I live here. He lives in - Mesquite - [stuttering] - once again, public record stuff you'll find out [stutter] - I mean I live here - He lives in - We're not that close [Eyeroll]".
He follows this with, "... and we talk on the phone occasionally [melodramatically opened eyelids, during 2:04]". This is further melodrama/affectation. Mr. Paddock is trying hard - some would say too hard - in distancing himself both physically and emotionally from his brother.
Summary: Eric Paddock is not displaying definitive deception in this video regarding his brother. However, his behavior is melodramatic and out-of-context. This is, to a degree, natural, for who would want to be associated with such a violent act? Although Eric Paddock's baseline behavior may be somewhat prone to melodrama - here he's trying too hard. Later in the morning, it was revealed that Paddock's father robbed a bank and was, for a time, on the FBI's ten most wanted list. It's perhaps this information that Eric Paddock was also, understandably, trying to distance himself from.
In this video, Eric Paddock displays little empathy for the families, loved-ones, and victims. Rather, his primary focus and emotions in this video were his disbelief and in distancing himself from his brother (and father).
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