OPINION: White terrorists are still terrorists


Ken Lund / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Fifty-nine people were killed and 527 were injured Sunday night in what is now the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

Khanlin Rodgers

On Sunday night, 59 people were killed and 527 were injured in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

The attack took place in Las Vegas at a music festival with approximately 22,000 attendees. As the crowd enjoyed the music and festivities of the show, they were peppered with gunshots from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel.

Under any other circumstances, there’s no doubt in my mind that this would be considered a terrorist attack. Everything from the number of injuries and casualties to the planning and forethought that went into sneaking enough firearms and ammunition to arm a small militia into the suite of one of Vegas’ most popular resorts screams terrorist attack.

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However, because Stephen Paddock was a white, American male, the label of “terrorist” just doesn’t seem to apply to him. According to Fox News, CNN and even the Las Vegas Police Department, Paddock was nothing more than a “lone wolf” whose actions, apparently, aren’t reminiscent of anything we’ve seen before.

Unfortunately, we have seen similar events happen, and we’ve heard narratives and arguments like this in the past. It happened with both Dylann Roof, when he shot and killed 9 churchgoers, and the “Oregon Occupiers,” who held a federal building hostage in order for their political views to gain traction.

The question is, why? Why is it that white men are are responsible for more mass shootings in American history than any other group? Why does it seem like the problem is only getting worse?

Well, one of the vital issues is that none of our major news outlets will identify the problem and call it what it really is, so how do we expect to fix it?

Let’s say you go to the hospital because you have a broken wrist. It’s obvious from the way you’re clutching your hand and wincing in pain that something is wrong with it, and everyone in your immediate area can easily identify the issue.

Everyone except for your doctor.

He diagnoses you with the flu and treats that instead, ignoring the giant, glaring issue that is clearly causing you pain and discomfort. You would never return to that doctor again, right?

Without identifying the issue and accurately calling these terrorists what they really are, we deprive ourselves of the opportunity to find a real solution.

Sure, you could argue that the amount of guns here in the states is out of control, or that our 2nd Amendment needs to be updated in order to be effective, but without being able to identify and target acts of domestic terrorism (by people of all ethnic and religious backgrounds), making changes to the latter would prove futile.

The bottom line is our narrative needs to change, and it needs to change now. Without a clear issue for us all to focus on, there’s no way we can make any real progress as a society and fix the issues that we have.