First of all, if we can just please dispense with the perversely comical description of Stephen Paddock, the guy who just finished killing 59 people and injuring 527 more in Las Vegas before killing himself, as a ‘lone wolf’. That hardly describes the man and practically portrays him as sympathetic and socially awkward. A nerd with a dark side.
But the bloody tragedy this man inflicted upon so many innocent civilians at a Sunday evening country music concert was committed domestically, and it was an act that wreaked sheer unadulterated terror among the hundreds of victims and onlookers alike. Not to mention all of us who witnessed this nightmare on the news as it was unfolding.
So… to me? This sounds like it should logically be classified as domestic terrorism. Which would make Paddock a domestic terrorist. But according to the online Merriam Webster dictionary, the true definition of terrorism is “the unlawful use or threat of violence especially against the state or the public as a politically motivated means of attack or coercion.”
In other words, terrorism isn’t something likely to be committed by crazy lone wolf murderous white guys with a whole lotta guns in a hotel room who are just, well, crazy. To be an actual, card-carrying domestic terrorist you apparently have to be responding to a higher calling when you snuff out all those lives. You have to be crazy with a purpose.
Not just anybody gets to be a terrorist in America. These things have to be earned. If you’re going to be an American terrorist, then for goodness’ sake do it right; at least yell “Death to America! (Good)” or “Death to the Great Satan! (Better)” or “Allah be praised! (Best!)”.
But here’s the other thing, and it’s kinda delicate, but since this was a country western music concert then my guess is a significant number of those 22,000 attendees in the audience were Trump’s base. And if I were a member of that base, I think I’d want more from my Chosen Guy than a tweet saying how awful Paddock is, because I would already kinda know that. I would think perhaps that base might want their Chosen Guy to raise absolute hell with the NRA and demand that this blood-soaked organization be brought to task for being the one entity more responsible than practically any other for permitting – and practically promoting – this gun-crazed culture in which we (try to) live as we dance back and forth trying to avoid being target practice for The Next One.
Because we know this is coming again. This is only the worst incident of its kind for the next year or so until The Next One shows up and we go through this all over again. And again. And again. And again. And…
Wait. Understand that what happened Sunday night in Las Vegas was the worst kind of terrible, the kind that should not happen to anyone. Ever. But I can’t help but wonder if this was a crowd harboring more than a few supporters not only of Trump but of the NRA philosophy that everybody everywhere should be packing heat to keep everybody everywhere safe. Because mutually assured destruction is our best hope of….
Exactly. Because maybe this can be the time that causes somebody – or somebodies – to think again, and again one more time, about how good (???) it is that we live in a country where we all have government-sanctioned targets branded on our backs. Because, as Fired-From Fox Bill O’Reilly actually said, “This is the price of freedom.”
Mass murder on loop.