Lone Wolf and White Privilege

October 4, 2017 Opinion , OPINION/NEWS , United States

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Ahmed Tharwat


Mental illness, converted to Islam, troubled man, psychopath, gambler, divorced twice, lives in retired community, quite man, a family man, and most of all a “Lone Wolf”; these are the different ways the media and officials tried to avoid labelling the man who committed the “biggest mass shooting in American history.”

First of all, this wasn’t the biggest mass shooting in American history (later they added ‘modern‘), the massacre at Wounded Knee was by far the biggest mass shooting in American history, where in 1890, the U.S. Army’s 7th Cavalry surrounded a band of Ghost Dancers under Big Foot, a Lakota Sioux chief, near Wounded Knee Creek, at the end 150 (some give a much higher number) Native Americans were slaughtered, mostly women and children.

Last Sunday, as more than 20,000 music lovers enjoyed a festival on the open streets of Las Vegas, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, of Mesquite, Nevada, was staying 32 floors above them in his Mandalay Bay hotel room. Mr. Paddock broke two windows of his hotel suite overlooking the crowd, then began shooting indiscriminately, loading and reloading again as the crowd ran for cover. In the end, 58 were dead, and more than 500 injured, yes, over 500 injured.

Police said that Mr. Paddock had 22 rifles and hundreds of rounds of ammo in his room, and later found an additional 19 rifles at his home. Mr. Paddock, as an American, was exercising his god (NRA) given right to bear “Army”, not Arms. All the focus was on Mr. Paddock’s mental health, history, gambling habits, and his relationship with his girlfriend. He doesn’t fit the typical mass shooting profile said the police chief. As a matter of fact he does, he is white, and most of the mass shooters in this country are white, there historically being white folks’ tendency to mass shoot strangers.

The White House spokeswomen advised us this was not the time to politicize the incident. President Trump thinks NFL players taking a knee during the National Anthem to protest racism and police brutality against color people, are “sons of bitches” and should be fired. He also thinks Muslim immigrants are a potential threat and is trying to ban them from coming to America. President Trump, the man who wants to build a wall to keep America safe and great, is now refraining from calling this cold-blooded killer a terrorist, a man who terrorized thousands of people who were sitting ducks, shooting them from the comfort of his 32nd floor hotel suite, is apparently not a terrorist.

The man who committed the biggest mass shooting, as they say, in American history came from a country that wasn’t on Mr. Trump’s ban list or crossed the border where the wall is going to be built. This ‘white privilege’ is not enjoyed by people of color, Muslims and African Americans. As columnist Shaun King brilliantly explained in The Intercept; “The privilege here is that the ultimate conclusion about shootings committed by people from commonly non-white groups often leads to determinations about the corrosive or destructive nature of the group itself. When an individual claiming to be a Muslim commits a horrible act, many on the right will tell us Islam itself is the problem. For centuries, when an act of violence has been committed by an African-American, racist tropes follow – and eventually the criminalization and dehumanization of an entire ethnic group.”

White privilege is an entitlement that the sheer color of your skin, not your character, gives you, an exclusive treatment from police, jurors, people on the street, work, and so on. Trump brags about calling crimes committed by Muslims, which for the most part are driven by social economic political conflicts and grievances, ‘Islamic terrorism.’ However, when terrorism is committed by whites he can only send warm prayers. Where is the outrage from all moderate racists? The fact that Mr. Paddock is white somehow releases not just white folks from the deep hatred, rage and condemnation of entire ethnic groups or race. It also releases Muslim communities from being on edge, fearing the reflexive backlash and retribution against them every time there is an attack committed by someone who happens to be a Muslim, because in the Muslim World there is no “Lone Wolf”.






Ahmed Tharwat

Ahmed Tharwat is the Producer and Host of the Arab-American TV show BelAhdan. His articles are published in national and international publications. He blogs at Notes from America,www.ahmediatv.com and his articles appear in national and international publications. Follow him on Twitter @AhmediaTV.

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