Why the Vegas Attack Is an Act of Terrorism
Politics and Activism

Why the Vegas Attack Is an Act of Terrorism

We're so quick to label this as a mass shooting, but we should know better by now...

82
Outside the Beltway

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.


Except for what happened last night. When, during the Route 91 Harvest Festival near the Mandalay bay Casino, Stephen Paddock had opened fire onto the crowd, killing at least 58 people, and injuring hundreds more. We all know the facts: he was found dead in his hotel room afterwards, surrounded by tens of automatic weapons, he played poker for $100 a hand, and ISIS is baselessly claiming responsibility, his father was a troubled man, and amidst all these facts, one crucial detail is left unspoken; Stephen Paddock is a terrorist.

Yes. He is a terrorist. He isn’t a “lone wolf,” he isn’t a “gunman,” or a “murderer,” he is a terrorist. And it isn’t because of any possible ties to ISIS that I call him a terrorist. He is what he is because of what he did and it is an irrefutable fact. He was a deranged white man and he committed an act of terrorism. He condemned innocent men and women to death for crimes they didn't commit by the hand of someone who had no right to pass judgement.

But why is nobody calling this tragedy an act of terrorism?

It’s no surprise that people are remaining silent in labeling Paddock as a terrorist. After all, that’s a word we tend to reserve for one group of people. The word “terrorist” has been associated with Arabs, especially after 9/11. No one ever called the Sandy Hook shooter a terrorist, but they rushed to call the kid who made a clock out of a potato in Texas one.

Why?

Because they have privilege. Because they belong to a group that apparently cannot be convicted of terrorism. Because they’re a demographic of victims and people who can only be convicted of every crime except terrorism. Because, well… because they’re white.

Don’t get me wrong; not all white people fall under this demographic, but tell me, when was the last time a white man was recognized as a terrorist? The only one that comes to mind is Ted Kaczynski, commonly known as the Unabomber. Here’s the distinction between a terrorist, and a mass murderer; there must be some sort of political aspect involved. The shooting last night in Vegas was anything but politically motivated, as far as we know. But can we still call it terrorism, even if there’s no political motivation?

Absolutely.

Because terrorism shouldn’t be politically motivated. Killing people and instilling fear in a population shouldn’t require politics and is shouldn’t be labeled only as a mass murder, because that only implies that people were killed and there wasn’t any sort of intimidation or fear factor. And because, certainly, even if it isn’t explicit, and even if it doesn’t exist at all, there are some politics at play with the Vegas shooting. Because now, like after ever massacre we’ve had for the past decade, politicians will gather around and discuss one thing; the second amendment. And the debate will come and go as it always does and nothing will change, but the rhetoric for reform will still pulse on even after the tragedies we fight so hard to prevent occur. It's a war that can never be won but is still fought regardless because it's more about doing what's right than it is about winning.

But that's another discussion on its own.

And that is politics enough for the Vegas shooting to be considered an act of terrorism, because any sort of incident that’s large enough to start discussion in Congress is indeed an act of terrorism, because at that point, when the government needs to step in, you’ve introduced politics. And with some sort of political aim at hand, the holocaust that Vegas had just experienced is now indeed an act of terrorism. We've held the word in such a regard that it can only be used to describe attacks made by those who aren't American, but what we've failed to realize is that the moment the blood is shed by your bullets and the cries are heard because of your actions, you are no longer American.

It shouldn’t matter what his race was, or what he did in his life, what matters is the lives he took and the damage he caused. Undeniably, the Vegas shooting is the single greatest mass murder in the modern era. But because nobody will rush to call a white man a terrorist, that’s all it will ever be for time immemorial and forever more, because bystanders condemned to fleeting moments of death will not receive another opportunity on Earth.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

Everyone remembers the first time they went to one of the Disney parks. Spinning in teacups and having Goofy wrap his arms around my 8-year-old self were some of my fondest childhood memories, and I'm surely not alone in that.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

These Superfood Beauty Products Show Kale And Matcha Work For SO Much More Than We Thought

Just another summer's day with a cold glass of kombucha on my face.

I've been vegan for about six years now, so a love for fresh vegetables and superfoods has now become a core part of my being. Don't get me wrong. I love my indulgent, creamy pastas and truffle fries more than anyone. But I keep most of my focus on eating clean and healthy so I can indulge guilt-free.

But I'd say about a large part of my diet has always, unknowingly, included superfoods. Being Indian, lentils, beetroot, garlic, ginger, and whole grains have been core essentials on the family dinner table since I could digest solid foods.

Keep Reading... Show less

Now that college is around the corner for most if not all young adults, students once shook by a pandemic now have to shift their focus on achieving their career goals. As if we thought we had it together already! As an NYC girl, I have always seen myself as a hustler, hungry to advance my career in journalism by having one skill: working hard.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

5 BBQ Essentials Every Vegan Should Bring To Avoid Summer Cookout FOMO

You'll have your whole family drooling when you bring these goodies over too.

All vegetarians and vegans can relate when I say this: summer barbecues aren't fun when there's nothing you can eat.

Keep Reading... Show less

Kourtney Kardashian has decided to leave "Keeping Up With The Kardashians" after nearly 14 years and although we saw this coming, it breaks our heart that she won't be there to make us laugh with her infamous attitude and hilarious one-liners.

Kourtney is leaving the show because it was taking up too much of her life and it was a "toxic environment" for her.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

We Asked You How You Felt About Resuming 'Normal' Activities, And Some Of Your Answers Shocked Us

The New York Times asked 511 epidemiologists when they'd feel comfortable doing "normal" activities again, considering COVID-19. We asked our peers the same thing, for science.

Last month, the New York Times surveyed about 500 epidemiologists asking about their comfort level with certain activities once deemed normal — socializing with friends, going to the doctor, bringing in the mail. That's all well and good for the experts, but they are a very niche group, not the majority of the population. What do "normal" people feel safe doing? In certain states, we've seen how comfortable everyone is with everything (looking at you, Florida), but we wanted to know where Odyssey's readers fell on the comfort scale. Are they sticking with the epidemiologists who won't be attending a wedding for another year, or are they storming the sunny beaches as soon as possible?

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments