A gunman is accused of killing at least 58 people Sunday at a country music festival in Las Vegas, according to local authorities, and many are wondering why the media and authorities aren’t calling him a terrorist. Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old man, was a resident of Nevada and sent thousands of Route 91 Harvest Music Festival attendees running when he opened fire on fans taking in singer Jason Aldean’s set.
Las Vegas Police Department Sheriff Joseph Lombardo wouldn’t use the term “terrorism” to describe Paddock’s actions.
“We have to establish what his motivation was first,” Lombardo told CNN Monday, Oct. 2. “There’s motivating factors associated with terrorism other than a distraught person just intending to cause mass casualties. Before we label with that, it’ll be a matter of process.”
Additionally, Lombardo told reporters that. “Right now we believe it’s a solo act, a lone wolf attacker,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
While gunmen in other countries are swiftly labeled terrorists, such as those who opened fire on the United Nations in Timbuktu, many are wondering why no mainstream media outlet has identified Paddock as such.
— AllyMinks (@AllisonMinks) October 2, 2017
— Hannah Collins (@rennah) October 2, 2017
The American Terrorist Narrative
This White Male TERRORIST Murdered 50 people and injured over 400!! I’ve yet to see any news outlet call him a Terrorist!! Why?! @CNN @NBCNews @CBSNews @ABC @NPR @MSNBC @UnivisionNews @SenateGOP @HouseGOP #domesticterrorism #LasVegas #StephenPaddock pic.twitter.com/2f4LwlOrNM
— BCarrz (@bcarrz) October 2, 2017
Users are also pushing back against the narrative of the “lone wolf” and mental illness notion that usually creeps up in cases such as these.
Can y'all honestly sit here and say that America would be discussing mental illness if #StephenPaddock had been a Syrian refugee with PTSD?
— Black Aziz Ansari 👏 (@Freeyourmindkid) October 2, 2017
It’s so frustrating how #StephenPaddock is being afforded any humanization. He is a terrorist who killed at least 50 people!
— Stephanie. (@qsteph) October 2, 2017
Wait for facts. Mental illness. Lone wolf. Brace yourselves for the white justification gymnastics #StephenPaddock
— Mrs.Gougisha (@lawrencialg) October 2, 2017
In addition to the 58 people who Paddock shot and killed, multiple news outlets more than 515 were injured in a crowd of 22,000. Paddock opened fire from his room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino Oct. 1. Variety reported he checked in on Sept. 28 and Lombardo told reporters Paddock did so by using identification from Marilou Danley, a woman police say is his roommate in Mesquite, Nev., according to Business Insider. Authorities suggested Danley is out of the country and said she is no longer a person of interest. Authorities believe Paddock killed himself before SWAT entered his room.
Listen to police audio as officers entered the hotel room of the Las Vegas shooter.
— CNN International (@cnni) October 2, 2017