Las Vegas Shooting Is A Test Of Donald Trump’s Presidency

Updated on

Nevada police are having trouble defining the Las Vegas shooting which killed at least 50 people on Sunday night. Nevada State law clearly suggests that the massacre can be defined as a terror attack, although officials had said earlier that they hadn’t found evidence that the gunman had links to international terrorist organizations. Either way, the massacre could be a major test of U.S. President Donald Trump’s leadership.

The gunman, identified as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, opened up a rapid-fire barrage on an outdoor Las Vegas concert on Sunday night. Firing from a hotel room, the resident of Mesquite, Nevada, killed at least 50 people and injured 400 others before taking his own life. Earlier news reports suggested that police had shot and killed the suspect, but more recent statements from officials indicate that the gunman committed suicide before police could reach him.

The news around this mass shooting is changing rapidly, so while initial reports estimated the death toll at over 20, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police put the death toll at more than 50 in the early morning hours on Monday. However, police still say they are not treating the incident as an act of terrorism “at this point.”

Nevada State law, however, defines the Las Vegas shooting, which is the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, as a terror attack.

Chaos grips Las Vegas

The suspect, who was believed to have been traveling with a woman identified as Marilou Danley, reportedly fired hundreds of rounds from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino before killing himself. Police said they have successfully located the woman, who is believed to be living at the shooter’s address in Mesquite.

Thousands of people fled the area at the time of the Las Vegas shooting, with reports indicating that some were forced to flee the festival by running onto an airport runway. The police department also tweeted that two on-duty LVMPD officers were injured during the shooting.

Witnesses described the Las Vegas shooting as automatic gunfire and said it went on for about more than 30 seconds before the music stopped. The shooting unfolded as country music singer Jason Aldean’s performance was underway on the stage. After the music stopped, another burst of weapon fire was reportedly heard for five minutes.

Is the Las Vegas shooting a terror attack or not?

Nevada police say it’s too early to define the Las Vegas shooting an as act of terrorism, arguing that the shooter, Stephen Paddock, was “a local individual, he resided here locally,” according to Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo.

Addressing reporters hours after the deadly shooting, the sheriff said police are not treating the incident as a terror attack “at this point.” He added that police “don’t know what his belief system was at this time.” Police’s definition of the massacre has drawn criticism in the media, with many calling it a “double-standard” problem because the attacker was of Caucasian origin.

Nevada State law, meanwhile, separately defines the Las Vegas shooting as an act of terrorism. According to state law, 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.” Nevada’s statutes also define a terrorist attack as “any act that involves the use or attempted use of sabotage, coercion or violence which is intended to cause great bodily harm or death to the general population.”

With many questioning whether or not Paddock had any ties to ISIS, some linked the Las Vegas shooting to an ISIS propaganda video that included threats against the city’s major landmarks in May. In the video, ISIS called for lone-wolf attacks in Las Vegas, which prompted local authorities to beef up security in hotels on the famous Las Vegas Strip.

U.S. law enforcement officials estimated that roughly 250 Americans tried to join ISIS last year.

Las Vegas shooting is now the deadliest in the U.S.

If Las Vegas Metro Police establish a link between ISIS and Paddock, the lone-wolf attacker in Sunday night’s massacre, it wouldn’t be the first deadly attack carried out by the terror group in the U.S. In December 2015, 14 people were killed and 22 others suffered severe injuries in a terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California. The perpetrators, a married couple, swore allegiance to one of ISIS’ leaders shortly before the attack.

In June 2016, another member of ISIS killed 49 people and wounded 58 others in a terrorist attack at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. The terror attack in Orlando had been considered the deadliest terror attack since September 11, 2001, but the Las Vegas shooting on Sunday night has taken its place because at least 50 people were killed in it.

Even though police reported that Paddock was a lone-wolf attacker, their attempts to locate his female roommate, described as Asian and 4’11”, raised concerns in the media. The reports of multiple gunmen at the festival put the shooting on the level of the Bataclan massacre in Paris, France in November 2015. That terror attack killed 89 people at the Bataclan Theatre.

Deadly terror weekend around the world

The past weekend was quite turbulent and bloody around the world. On Saturday, a 30-year-old Somali refugee, Abdulahi Hasan Sharif, attacked a police officer in downtown Edmonton, Canada. The attacker, who fled the scene by running over pedestrians, is reportedly now in police custody.

On Sunday several hours before the Las Vegas shooting, a man who reportedly shouted “Allahu Akbar” used a knife to kill two women at the Saint-Charles train station in Marseille, France. French police started treating the incident as a terror attack almost instantly. In its statement on social media late Sunday, ISIS claimed responsibility for the Marseille attack by calling the attacker a “soldier of the Islamic State.” France is notorious for suffering large fatalities from ISIS-related terror attacks.

In the November 2015 terror attacks and the 2016 Nice cargo attack, 130 and 86 people were killed, respectively. The number of injured totaled over 800 in the country’s two deadliest terror attacks in history.

It was the May 2017 suicide bombing during Ariana Grande’s concert in Manchester, United Kingdom that prompted many nations — including the U.S. — to strengthen security measures at concert venues. The terror attack, which ISIS claimed responsibility for, killed 22 and injured 59 others.

Las Vegas shooting is a test of Trump’s presidency

President Trump tweeted his “warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families” in the early hours on Monday.

The Las Vegas shooting — if identified as a terrorist attack — will be the first such deadly attack during Trump’s presidency. He has been a vocal critic of terrorist attacks and a staunch supporter of tighter measures aimed at preventing terrorism in the U.S.

Trump’s immigration order, which he signed just days after being sworn into office in January, is still a subject of much controversy in the country. The executive order attempted to bar citizens from certain Muslim-majority nations from entering the U.S. in an attempt to prevent terrorist attacks in the U.S.

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