— ♛ℳelgeta Sama (@OGMelo_) October 2, 2017
On Monday, Oct. 2nd, around 5:45 a.m., I woke up and headed to the bathroom, grabbing my iPhone to check all my notifications. (I love me some notifications!!) Along with my notifications, there were a series of text messages from a cable news producer who wanted one of my clients on HLN’s “Across America With Carole Costelle.” Just when I thought it might be another police shooting of an unarmed African American, notifications from CNN were popping up as “news alerts” of a Las Vegas mass shooting.
By the time I brushed my teeth and turned on the tv, folks on cable news were reporting “Deadliest Mass Shoot in American History.” Apparently, another White man, loaded with guns, fired into a crowd of people enjoying an outdoor country music festival in Las Vegas. As of today, 59 (including the killer) are dead, and about 500 people were injured.
Who Is the ‘Lone Wolf?’
The shooter: Stephen Paddock. With meticulous planning, he made it rain in Sin City with bullets from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on the Las Vegas strip. And when his reign of terror was apparently coming to an end, he killed himself. As I continued to watch the news, anchors, reporters, commentators kept referring to Paddock as a “lone wolf,” and trying to paint this rosy picture of him not fitting the “typical” profile of a gunman.
He’s not a “lone wolf,” he’s a f*cking terrorist. And apparently, I wasn’t alone in my thoughts. Scrolling through tweets on Black Twitter, it became pretty obvious about my issue with the news coverage: White privilege strikes again! Well, if it walks like a duck, shoots like a duck, it’s a TERRORIST!
I know. I know. It’s difficult for some to digest that domestic terrorism can be found at the hands of a White man. Yet, it’s sooooo easy to believe that a Black man or teen or anybody in a hoodie can be a criminal. If the shooter was Black, Muslim or an immigrant, all hell would have broken loose in America. Heads would roll! Donald Trump would be tweeting his fingernails off about the gunman. If you think he doesn’t care about Puerto Rico now, if the Las Vegas shooter was a person of color, that hurricane-ravaged island would be an afterthought to him. Instead, Paddock was “a lone wolf.” **sigh**
— Wyllisa Bennett (@WyllisaBennett) October 2, 2017
I could go on, but I think columnist Shaun King conveys my sentiments in his piece, titled “The White Privilege of the “Lone Wolf’ Shooter.” I laughed when I saw a game of “White Terrorist Bingo” posted on Twitter.
Coverage for these mass shootings are getting to be pretty darn predictable, especially for a flack like me. On the news, there was Paddock’s brother, Eric Paddock, shocked and dismayed, rambling on about the killer as a mild mannered, well off, 64-year-old retired accountant, who loved to play video poker. Not some mentally-ill nut job with an ax to grind. No history of violence. No ties to White Supremacists groups or ISIS. Not even a parking ticket! Just an Average Joe. **sigh**
During Eric Paddock’s rather bizarre interview, he rhetorically asked: “Where the hell did he (Paddock) get automatic weapons? He has no military background or anything like that … .” SIDE NOTE: I would recommend some media training for Eric if he’s going to do interviews about his brother.
Well, to borrow a running joke from comic Jeff Foxworthy: if you’re a White man, secretly stockpiling guns, then YOU just might be a terrorist! As the investigation continues, it’s been reported that Paddock had plenty of fire power with an arsenal of more than 40 weapons – that is, 23 guns in his hotel room; plus another stash of guns and ammunition found in his two homes. In addition, 50 pounds of explosives and 1,600 round of ammunition was found in Paddock’s car, sitting in the hotel parking lot! Because of Nevada’s lax gun laws, it was perfectly legal and easy for him to buy them. That’s a lot of steel for one mild-mannered Average Joe.
Why Did He Do It?
Like a Sherlock Holmes, authorities are trying to find clues to solve the big mystery: Paddock’s motive. Why did he do it? I’ll tell you why he did it: BECAUSE HE CAN. Until we have gun reform, we’re going to have more incidents of mass shootings. Maybe Paddock didn’t like country music. Maybe he missed his girlfriend in the Philippines. Maybe he had gambling debts. Or maybe, he was just having a bad day. Who knows! For me, the “Why?” isn’t as important as the “What are we going to do about it?”
While the Democrats beg and scream for gun control, the Republicans offer prayers and condolences. Furthermore, the GOP says this “is not the time to talk about gun control.” If not now, when? I don’t understand how this issue is so political. Do people really need to hunt with semiautomatic weapons?
“The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” says the NRA. So, do we all need to become “good guys” and pack some heat? Since the Sandy Hook Elementary school massacre in 2012, there has been 28 mass shootings to date, according to Mother Jones. If Congress couldn’t/wouldn’t/didn’t do anything when 20 elementary kids were killed in Newtown, Connecticut, I’m not optimistic that things are going to change despite the deadliest mass shooting in American history.
It’s an uphill battle. Until we do something with gun reform, nothing is going to change. Nothing. Gun violence will continue in our homes, schools, concerts, movie theatres, streets, etc. And news of mass shootings will become normalized. Still, I won’t underestimate the power of prayer.
The NRA is betting that everyone will forget about the #LasVegasShooting by week’s end, and everything will go back to normal. By mid-week, the headlines dominating the news are Russia’s interference in the 2016 election; fake news reports by Facebook and Google; and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson calling Trump a moron. Well, the latter is not news to us.
Just saying… pic.twitter.com/iTTKF6njKf
— tracey ferguson3 (@tferg3) October 2, 2017