It’s a word we’ve all come to know living in America. I had never heard of the term until September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center, but I have since had to grasp a more fluid understanding of what it means to be a terrorist.
This week, a man by the name Stephen Paddock unleashed a barrage of bullets into a crowd of 22,000 concertgoers. He killed approximately 58 people and injured over 500 more. He took the lives of complete strangers into his own hands and without a word struck them down. Paddock then went on to engage in a firefight with the local SWAT team who attempted to confront him. Paddock then proceeded to cowardly take his own life before authorities could get to him.
Since the story broke, news outlets have been rushing to get the most information of what exactly happened, and why. Through investigation we know who the suspect is, as previously stated, we are aware where Paddock is from, and we know some of his family history.
The thing is, however; we also know some information he didn’t ask for, or particularly care about. These same news outlets have gone on to publicize the ordinary facts Stephen Paddock’s life. He liked to hunt, worked for the post office, was a loner, retired, etc. All I would like to know is why has no one in the media called Paddock what he was, a terrorist. I find that (qWhite) interesting to say the least.
It’s all too familiar in cases like this when a white person goes off the deep end and commits a mass shooting. The media attempts to humanize the suspect as much as possible, so the public doesn’t associate his whiteness with the face of a criminal and a terrorist. Those terms are reserved for minority groups only it seems. How can I not come to that conclusion when every time we hear about an unarmed black man getting killed, CNN, FOX News, or MSNBC dig up the victim's 8th-grade report card in an attempt to prove why he deserved his fate.
I think I speak for us all when I say I am tired of the same story the media tries to run when a situation like this arises. We saw the same media reaction after the Charleston Church shooting by Dylan Roof. We were force fed this information (that again we didn’t want or ask for) about his normal childhood, or how he was a loner who happened to have a black friend. The media also refused to call Roof a terrorist initially as well.
What I also find interesting during this whole situation; is that it is repeatedly being called the deadliest mass shooting in American History. Well, it is if you don’t want to include the bombing of Black Wall Street, the Bloody Island Massacre, or the Colfax Massacre, then yeah I guess ya’ll can have that. But when you take into account this nation's history of killing black bodies you must re-visit your record books. I am certainly not keeping score, and it’s nothing to be proud of, but the fact must be stated. The Las Vegas shooting is not the most deadly shooting in American history. It is just yet another example of everyone agreeing on a fable, and erasing important and uncomfortable facts of this nation's history, but I digress.
Back to my main point, Stephen Paddock single-handedly caused fear and terror as a result of his actions. He murdered with impunity and showed no remorse. Although his motives and alliances are still unclear its time to call him what he is, a terrorist.
Malcom X. Bowser is a writer, curator, and founder of Urban X.