‘Lone wolf’: Our stunning double standard when it comes to race and religion

  • In what police call the deadliest attack in modern American history, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock opened fire on concertgoers at a country music festival in Las Vegas on Sunday.
  • Despite the scale of the attack and Paddock’s being armed with more than 10 rifles, Las Vegas Sheriff Joe Lombardo immediately dismissed any ties to terrorism, classifying Paddock, a white male from a rural town 80 miles from Las Vegas, as a “local individual” and a “lone wolf.”
  • The Las Vegas shooting raises several questions linked to race and religion and how they figure into our imagining and policing of terrorism.
  • But why is one person “homegrown” while someone else is a “lone” or “local wolf”? An extensive list of exemptions has become available to white culprits of mass violence, most notably “lone wolf” or “insane,” and the Las Vegas shooting adds the status of being “a local individual” to the roster.
  • While we focus on Muslim boogeymen both near and far, we neglect hateful, armed white terrorists right here at home.

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