On the night of October 1, the city of Las Vegas suffered the worst mass shooting is U.S. history. A lone gunman shot down on a crowd of 22,000 people from a window on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel during a country music festival, killing 59 so far and injuring over 500 people in attendance, according to the New York Times.
The news has identified the victim, done some extensive reporting, and the president made some remarks, but all of them failed to call the incident what it really was: a terrorist attack.
Merriam-Webster defines terrorism as, “the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion.” Unfortunately, the attack of Las Vegas does not live up to this definition, although the gunman terrorized innocent people when and where they least expected it: at a concert.
People believe that terrorists are exclusively Muslims who are affiliated with terrorists groups, but anyone who terrorizes or marginalizes a great number of people should be labeled a terrorist.
The shootings in Sandy Hook, Columbine, Charleston, and Aurora were not labeled as terrorism. Before 9/11, the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building that killed 168 people was not labeled as terrorism. All these acts cause terror and harm lots of people, not just mortally, but mentally and psychologically as well.
It is time for people, the media, and the government to acknowledge the term “terrorism” isn’t exclusively for people affiliated with an actual terrorist group or who use terror for systematic reasons. The definition should be made more broad, to include anyone who terrorizes or marginalizes a great number of people. It’s common sense. The root word of terrorism is “terror,” so anyone or anything that causes terror to a great number of people should be labeled as so.