As hundreds of victims struggle to recover from the horrific wounds sustained in the latest mass shooting incident to take America by storm, a number of reasoned individuals are taking to social media to criticize the police and the media for not calling the attacker what he is: a terrorist.
Stephen Craig Paddock, 64, was named the gunman behind the single worst mass shooting attack to have happened in modern United States history. The late Sunday incident killed nearly 60 people and injured over 500 others. The horrific attack took place at a country music festival, and the shooter carried it out from the 32nd floor of a Las Vegas, Nevada, hotel.
On Twitter, users pointed out the fact that while most of the media and the Las Vegas police haven’t called the gunman a terrorist, many in law enforcement have referred to similar incidents as terrorist attacks.
As The Independent suggests, Nevada law states that any mass shooting targeting at least 50 people should be defined as an act of terrorism.
According to the law, an "act of terrorism means any act that involves the use or attempted use of sabotage, coercion or violence which is intended to cause great bodily harm or death to the general population."
Others pointed out that only Muslim attackers are the ones called terrorists when such incidents are being announced. When they are white, Twitter users argued, they are “lone wolves.”
Good question. Sheriff was asked "Is this terror?" He said unequivocally, "No. The shooter is local." Perhaps he needs a refresher. https://t.co/7btxBoz0zb— Rosa Hwang (@journorosa) October 2, 2017
Say it with me: "Domestic Terrorist". Not "Lone Wolf"... DOMESTIC. TERRORIST. See, isn't that easy? #LasVegasShooting— David C. Cobb (@davecobb) October 2, 2017
Everyone knows (even if won't admit it) that in the early stages of mass shooting, "no signs of terrorism" means: "shooter isn't Muslim." https://t.co/zFWDySMrET— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) October 2, 2017
Lone Wolf vs. Terrorist pic.twitter.com/XJ2cnaPUgw— Paul Iacono (@paul_icon) October 2, 2017
As U.S. and other world leaders offer condolences to the victims and their loved ones, and President Donald Trump calls this attack “an act of pure evil,” we’re still waiting to hear any official assessment of the attack that clearly explains why it isn't being handled as a terrorist attack.
This attitude forces us to ask the question: Are they refraining from calling the attacker a terrorist simply because of his ethnicity and because of his “distraught” mental state?
Sheriff says officials aren't labeling it terrorism because shooter could just be a "distraught person."— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) October 2, 2017
If law enforcement officials want to keep their image of racism and bigotry alive and well, this is exactly the kind of attitude they should continue to embrace.
Look we don’t know yet what motivated the shooter in Vegas.— Sally Kohn (@sallykohn) October 2, 2017
If it *was* political views/ideology, then it is terrorism. By definition.
But we should wait for facts. As we should with *any* shooter regardless of race or religion.
Either officials and media begin to be consistent, waiting until all investigations are thoroughly finished to call the attacker a terrorist or lone wolf regardless of the religious or ethnic background of the attacker, or they will continue to be discredited every time a new, deadly attack occurs.
When such horrific attacks take place, it’s important to strike at the heart of the matter so we may arrive at solutions that will actually help to fix the problem. When we allow bigotry to call the shots, the terrorists win because the media and police are too busy distracting us from the nature of their actions.
Banner and thumbnail image credit: Reuters/Steve Marcus