The Domestic Terrorism That Happened in Las Vegas Needs to Be Called Just That

Oct 2, 2017
7:48 PM

Las Vegas Shooting: 59 Killed and More Than 500 Hurt Near Mandalay Bay

That’s one of the headlines I read this morning about what transpired in the early hours of Monday morning. However, I have questions about the Vegas shooting, specifically, how it is and will be reported.

What happened?

So far at close to 60 people have died and more than 500 have been injured (so far). There was a country music festival going on. The shooter was firing from a hotel room at the Mandalay Bay.

Pay close attention to how the media reports this story. Look at all the headlines. Notice how they label him. How is he described? What picture will they use when talking about him? Will they go through his Facebook looking for a pic with him toting a bunch of guns? Or will they choose a pic that makes him look like the nice old man that lives next door?

Who was the shooter?

Stephen Craig Paddock, a 64 year-old white man, “a gambler who drew little attention.”

Why isn’t he called a terrorist?

Notice how quickly the media will label him a “lone wolf” (that’s to isolate him, separate him from the pack). It’s to show that not all whites are like him. But how many lone wolves are we going to have before we stop hearing about lone wolves? They will look to mention any mental illnesses. They will see if he was ex-military and did a tour outside of the US and perhaps may have had an episode of PTSD.

Imagine if the shooter was Muslim. Would he be considered a lone wolf or a terrorist?

Why isn’t this called “white on white” crime?

It was a country music festival. It is not a leap of logic to suggest that the majority of attendees were white. Had this been a hip hop concert, what would have been the headlines? Would the shooter be a thug instead of a lone wolf? Why is “black on black” crime a thing, but not “white on white” crime?

Pay close attention to what President Trump said about the tragedy.

The shooter was a white male, 64 years old. Basically a guy that looks like Trump. There will be no real talk of gun control from Trump. There will be no talk about terrorism. There will be no talk about national security,but clear talk about unity. Why? Because it doesn’t fit the narrative? Instead there will be condolences for the victims and their families, followed by praise for law enforcement and first responders. Had the shooter been Muslim, how many tweets would we have seen from the POTUS? Had the shooter been black, how many tweets would we have seen from the POTUS? Had the shooter been Latino, how many tweets would we have seen from the POTUS? If the shooter was Mexican, how much of the conversation would have been dedicated to deportation and building a wall?

I ask these questions because we need to begin to understand that the media is very influential and impacts how Americans perceive each other in this country. Ninety percent of the source of information in this country is control by just six corporations. Six! As of 2011, those companies are; Comcast, News Corp, Disney, Viacom, Time Warner and CBS. Startling, when one considers that in 1983, there were 50 companies that controlled the majority of media. Fifty!

Do you want to know why our country is so racially divided? Look at who controls the six companies that control the media and you’ll begin to understand. That’s a lot of money, with a lot of power that buys a lot of influence. News is a business now. Integrity took a back seat long ago. Ask questions like, who sits at the top of these companies? Which political campaigns do they donate to? Who are the politicians they support? Once you identify the politicians, ask, what are the policies and legislation they push and represent?

Media is a business. Listen carefully. Listen to the message. Listen to what they say specifically about certain people, certain groups. Listen to the promos they run all day that put fear into people so they can tune in. Fear sells! We know because a movie like Stephen King’s It can shatter box office records. Listen to the music they play during the promos and commercial breaks. All of this is to sell you fear. Then people walk around influenced by what they see and hear via media. It’s powerful. It sells. It works.

Unfortunately, it creates the type of culture we see today. A culture that does not value people of color. A culture that feeds on fear. A culture that believes it is entitled to its collective privilege. The narrative formulated is divisive and hateful. A narrative that values a flag and an anthem more than an individual who challenges this great nation to live up to its creed, that All Men Are Created Equal.

What happened in Vegas last night was an act of terrorism. Point blank. Here’s the real headline:

White Terrorist, Stephen Craig Paddock, Killed at Least 59 People Last Night and Injured Over 599 in Vegas Attack


Carlos Jiménez Flores is a storyteller, filmmaker and poet. He is a graduate of Northeastern Illinois University with a degree in Human Resource Development and Sociology. He currently resides in Chicago.