Further revealing its racial bias, the White House again refuses to call the Las Vegas Shooting terrorism.
This is another short entry simply to post a video exchange between veteran reporter April Ryan and White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Reporter April Ryan offered the White House the opportunity to clean up President Trump’s official statement that refused to label the Las Vegas Shooting terrorism. However, the White House continues to resist calling Stephen Paddock, a white, wealthy, United States citizen whose motive remains unknown, a terrorist. The shooting, however, is statutorily defined as terrorism under Nevada law, something I explained in detail in my prior blog post on the subject. And while I have concluded that as a legal matter Nevada law deems the Las Vegas Shooting terrorism, I can think of no other moral, political or otherwise non-legal definition that would not also call it terrorism.
Ms. Ryan asked “was this terror, domestic terror?” The White House response:
I think that’s something for the law enforcement communities to define and identify. I think the bigger thing that this administration certainly has been focused on is the prevention and looking at how we can stop things like this from ever happening again. I don’t care how you label it it’s something that should never have taken place in this country and this President is committed to look for ways to prevent it.
The video of the exchange is below:
Wasn’t the Las Vegas Shooting terrorism?
Here is the entire question posed by Ms. Ryan
Sarah, over the last couple of days the President just used the words “fear,” “hate,” and “cruelty.” Since you say you’re talking–having conversations on different things as it relates to Las Vegas, what is the conversation when it comes to the issue of terror? You’ve not talked about it yet, you’ve not classified it as such, and talking to people from both sides of the aisle, they’re saying there’s no one settled or universal definition of terrorism.
But we’ve seen Timothy McVeigh with Oklahoma City. We’ve seen . . . Mother Emmanuel [Church] in Charleston. Under all circumstances that we’ve seen so far, people were intimidated, scared, ambushed military style, in a planned, thought out effort to be in–whether it’s political or not, they were terrorized.
Is this administration willing to start, since they’re having conversations about other things, was this terror, domestic terror?
It appears we have our answer. If it really is up to law enforcement to decide, then it was terrorism, as I explained in my prior post, The Las Vegas Shooting is terrorism under Nevada Law. The President may not care what we call it, but the state of Nevada does: a “terrorist” is “a person who intentionally commits, causes, aids, furthers or conceals an act of terrorism or attempts to commit, cause, aid, further or conceal an act of terrorism.” N.R.S. § 202.4439.
It matters what we call the Las Vegas Shooting because white people can be terrorists too.
Once more for the record is my own cynical take on why we are struggling to call the Las Vegas Shooting terrorism:
Stephen Paddock was a white, wealthy, senior citizen of the United States. His motive is not immediately clear. He was not black, brown, muslim, Arab, or any non-white, non-Christian person. Therefore, instead of being a terrorist, he was just evil. We reserve the term “terrorist,” at least in a non-prosecutorial, morality based context, for non-white criminals, while giving white criminals the benefit of the doubt until circumstances require us to use that word.
I have no doubt that, were the Las Vegas Shooter black, brown, muslim, Arab, or any other non-white, non-Christian person, the White House would be tripping over itself not to call it terrorism, given that under every legal, moral, or political definition, terrorism is exactly what took place.
War on Terrorism?
Finally, which war is it that we are fighting, again? We have declared war agains the label, not a country, and so the label very much matters.