Editorial Comment

Call terrorism by its name

The deadliest massacre in U.S. history took place this past Sunday, Oct. 1.

This is the third time a mass shooting has been labeled as such in the past 10 years, and the second time in 16 months.

64-year-old white male Stephen Paddock opened fire at a late night country concert, proving fatal for 59 people as of Oct. 2, and injuring over 500. Paddock took his own life after the massacre.

Paddock, under Nevada Law NRS 202.4415, is classified as a domestic terrorist. Still, few headlines cover that angle, rather they refer to him as a “lone wolf” and “retiree.”
In fact, The Rolling Stone and The Intercept are some of the few sources that have outwardly referenced Paddock as a domestic terrorist. Their articles addressing this issue mention white privilege and the need to politicize this shooting.

For example, The Washington Post published an article titled “Las Vegas gunman, Stephen Paddock, enjoyed gambling, country music; lived quite life before massacre” and twitter users were outraged.

Many are comparing the language used about Paddock to the language used to describe people of color who were aggressors in incidents in the past and find that the media often portrays them differently.

User StanceGrounded (@_SJPeace_) tweeted “White Privilege = white man commits the largest mass shooting & is fondly remembered as a country music fan.”

Even celebrities have chimed in, emphasizing that Paddock should be viewed as nothing less than a terrorist.
James Charles (@jamescharles) tweeted in response to the headline, “Las Vegas terrorist Stephen Paddock enjoyed terrorism before he shot and killed 50 innocent people & injured 200 in terrorist attack.”

The Washington Post article whose headline described paddock as a lover of country music is no longer found on the Washington Post’s website, but other sources, like Rolling Stone, Chicago Tribune, and The Inquirer also published said article.

The Islamic State group, IS, has claimed affiliation with the attack, but officials state they have found zero evidence to support the claim.

Whether officials prove this or not, Paddock still caused harm to hundreds of people, and should not be portrayed in a sympathetic light by any media.

In a nation where race has become a prominent conversation in almost all aspects of life, it’s not surprising that the public is questioning the way Paddock is being reported on. Especially when one takes into account how non-criminal people of color have been referenced in the past.

Whether he liked country music, or gambled, or had two planes, or had any other hobbies, does not change the fact that he is a domestic terrorist.
His skin color does not change this fact either.

His actions are the only thing that can truly make him a terrorist.

Despite not knowing his exact motives, we can assume his attack was premeditated. He had 16 guns with him, and 18 more at his home, along with explosives and thousands of rounds of ammo. Police also found ammonium nitrate in his car.

Paddock caused terror, not only to those at the event, but to the state of Nevada and the nation as a whole.

To call this attack anything but domestic terrorism would be diminishing the gravity of this atrocious event and the impact that it has on our nation.

We cannot stay true to our stance against terrorism without condemning this crime and all others like it.

If we can’t even call it by its name, we can never truly begin to fight against terrorism and lessen its impact within our nation, much less globally.

The editorial comment is composed by the editor-in-chief, opinion editor and two other editors each quarter. Opinions expressed represent the majority view of the group. News and assistant news editors are never involved in composition.

This article was posted in the section Opinion.
Editorial Board

The Editorial Board comprises the editor-in-chief, opinion editor and two other editors. The staff editorial, composed weekly, reflects the majority opinion of the group. News editors and the business manager are never involved with the staff editorial.

One thought on “Editorial Comment

  1. Thanks for your work in writing this option piece. The power of language and our capacity blind reinforcement of white supremacy clearly require the conscientious truth-telling that you make a case for in this piece. As a member of this community who shares your concerns and sees the deep disorienting double standard in our narratives, I do what to share that the first line of this piece troubled me almost enough to discount the rest. Perhaps it was meant to embody or stand in for the popular narratives adopted by much of the media when speaking about the events in Las Vegas. But without making this clear, the reader is left to assume that it is the Editorial Board’s perspective that the deadliest massacre in the US occurred on October 1st 2017. To describe it in such terms is to whitewash our nation’s history and to ignore the more deadly shootings, riots and acts of violence in this country, often directed toward minority groups, such as the East St. Louis Massacre in 1917 and the mass shooting in Colfax, LA in 1873, to name only two. It might be worth taking a moment to consider the power of adding a superlative to this tragedy and the lives and stories which we are disregarding. I know it’s a lesson I often must relearn and as a fellow traveler in search of justice, I offer it in hopes it brings some light and truth.

    If interested, you can find recent HuffPost whole piece here:


    Grace and peace to you in the journey. Keep up the good work!

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