Police Are Wrong Not Calling White Gunman A Terrorist
In Nevada state law, an act of terrorism is defined as ‘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’.
So why are authorities in Las Vegas reluctant to call last night’s fatal massacre as such?
At least 50 people have been killed with another 400 injured after 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, who is described as a local, lone-wolf-type character, used a ‘fully-automatic weapon’ and carried out the deadliest mass shooting on US soil in history.
Responding to questions about whether the killing was being treated as terror-related, Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said:
No not at this point, we believe it is a local individual, he resides here locally.
We don’t know what his belief system was at this time.
Paddock is thought to have shot at the crowd of 22,000 people enjoying the Route 91 Harvest country music festival from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel before shooting himself. ISIS has since claimed the attack.
This attack is clearly within Nevada’s definition of a terrorist attack, so what is it about the suspect that the police don’t think aligns with a modern terrorist attack?
Interestingly the police use the fact that the suspect is ‘local’ as an explanation for why the attack is not terror related, but the definition of terrorism does not include the nationality or address of the perpetrator.
The FBI definition of terrorism extends to include that the act is ‘in furtherance of political or social objectives’.
It only takes a small observation of very recent history to see that when an attack which falls into the FBI definition of terrorism is carried out by a white person, they are quickly deemed a ‘lone wolf’ with severe mental health problems.
On the other hand if the suspect is brown-skinned, they are quickly deemed as a dangerous radical and their attack is soon branded an act of terror by an outsider who has rejected ‘our’ culture and society.
When Dylann Roof waltzed into the Charleston church and shot nine African Americans dead, the media failed to report it as an act of terror. The same goes for the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooting when Robert Dear killed three people and injured nine others after expressing anti-abortion political views.
At a time when the truth is as elusive as Katie Hopkins’ logic and Donald Trump is branding anything he doesn’t like as ‘fake news’, it is important to separate facts from prejudiced falsehoods.
No matter how much you may hate Piers Morgan, his Twitter conversation with Katie Hopkins today is an illustration of the two ways people tend to think following an attack.
Katie Hopkins began with an irrational assumption the attack was somehow tied to Islam, followed by an outrageously provocative graphic reading ‘safer to be in Syria’. You know, that active war zone, Syria.
Clearly none of her tweets are based in fact, and instead come from an irrational place to provoke an emotional response. Whereas Piers waded through her smoke and mirrors to simply state the facts.
As Piers said, it is stupid and dangerous to blame Muslims for attacks before you know the facts. Terrorism doesn’t mean Muslim attack.
There are plenty of acts of terror being carried out by white people, whether the media admit it or not.
Reserving the term only for those of a certain race, instead of the crime itself, detracts from the real issue at hand and cements divisions.