Who is a Terrorist?
The mass- murderer behind the killing of over fifty humans and injury of at-least five-hundred more, on Sunday night October 1st, is a 64 year-old white male, Stephen Paddock, whom according to Federal Laws cannot yet be identified as a Terrorist until further investigations determining his motives can be conducted.
While gun violence issue and the American gun laws cries for a reform, this is a costly opportunity to re-address American Gun Violence along side Mental Health but for this piece, the issue of homegrown “terror-acts” being the epicenter of mass casualties is an issue facing this nation; it will serve well to call a Spade a Spade!
CNN reported that Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said authorities have found no connections between Paddock and any terror groups. “We have to establish what his motivation was first,” Lombardo said. “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.” It appears he acted alone, Lombardo said.
According to NY Times, F.B.I Special Agent Aaron Rouse says there is no immediate relationship between this incidence and an international terrorist organization; but does this make this attack less terrorizing to the victims and their families?
To the over fifty dead and the hundreds injured or in critical state, this murderer is a “Terrorist” to them. This murderer is a “Terrorist” to that community and the Nation at large.
One of the responses that gave a well thought out briefing on this was from Journalist Dan Rather:
Why is labeling important? The face of a “ terrorist” is popularly based on religious intent—let’s just say if this was a Muslim it would have been immediately related to Isis or a terrorist act. If this murderer was black, then probably this cold case would have angered and provoked racists backlash, the label would have been “gang-shooter”. Labels puts a face and an identity on entities.
This post from a Rabita Tareque speaks volume:
The word “Terrorist” should and must be used boldly to categorize this case because it matters to put the face of an old-white privileged male as the face of a “Terrorist”. It will showcase that acts of violence is not the biological child of a Black man or a Muslim male or a Marginalized Youth. It matters because people’s minds need to be open that anybody can have suspicious movements that warrants and subjects them for questioning! If this old white male “lone-shooter” whom one would never have guessed to be a “Terrorist” had been suspected of suspicious movements in his hotel, maybe his mission would have been halted.
According to the Business Insider, despite the unprecedented number of casualties, the incident doesn’t qualify as terrorism under federal law, which defines terrorism as the “unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.”In other words, without any knowledge of an attacker’s motivations, authorities are unable to officially call something an act of terrorism.
Today of all days, we take our time to research, we take our time to carefully spell out and google for the dictionary meaning, the State codes and Federal laws to define a “TERRORIST” when a Privileged White Male took his ammunition and massacred fifty plus civilians injuring over five hundred others. No one could be careless with words on this day to call this killer a Terrorist but there is more rage, more outrageous words been used in other scenarios.
To the victims, again this was a terrorizing incidence, to their families, this is Terrorism and to the Community and Nation, this man’s face should be an opportunity to redefine the face of a “TERRORIST” and not protect him.
From an article by the National Review Under the U.S. penal code (section 2331(5) of Title 18), a violent act meets the definition of “domestic terrorism” if the actor was seeking: (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping.
Nevada’s code has a more expansive definition of terrorism than does federal law. Under the Nevada statute (NRS 202.4415), an “act of terrorism” is any act that involves the use of attempted use of sabotage, coercion or violence which is intended to (a) cause great bodily harm or death to the general population; or (b) cause substantial destruction, contamination or impairment of (1) any building or infrastructure, communications, transportation, utilities or services, or (2) any natural resource or the environment.
According to Nevada’s code, it appears safe to regard this murderer as a Terrorist however under Federal Laws, until further investigations are done, he remains known as the “gunman”.