Las Vegas shooting not labeled terrorism, local experts explain why

2 weeks 6 days 12 hours ago Tuesday, October 03 2017 Oct 3, 2017 Tuesday, October 03, 2017 6:30:00 PM CDT October 03, 2017 in News
By: Chris Joseph, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - The Las Vegas shooting tragedy left more than 50 dead and more than 500 wounded, but President Donald Trump and major news outlets have not labeled it as a terrorist attack.

The possible reasons for this vary. 

Frank Bowman is a criminal law professor at MU and said it's impossible to legally label an action terrorism until a motive has been determined. 

"The thing that really distinguishes terrorism from any other offense is not so much the nature of the conduct, it is the actual or intended effect," Bowman said. 

Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock's motive has not yet been released by investigators. 

U.S. code defines "domestic terrorism" as an act "appeared to be intended-"

  • To intimidate or coerce an civilian population;
  • To influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or 
  • To affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination or kidnapping

Boone County Prosecuting Attorney Daniel Knight said he would bring 1st degree murder charges against Paddock if the shooting happened in Missouri, but no charges for "terrorism."

There are no statutes or definitions in Missouri which directly address the term "terrorism;" however, terroristic threats and "agroterrorism" are both defined specifically. 

MU Journalism Law Professor Sandy Davidson said journalists need to use other adjectives with the term "terrorism" if they do eventually use it.  

"The emotional content of some terms, I think, increases the duty of journalists to make sure indeed that is the term that is applicable," she said. 

Amer Ahmed is the director of intercultural teaching and faculty development at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He spoke at MU Tuesday night on social justice issues.

Ahmed said the term "terrorism" has been used to racially profile people who look like him and white male shooters are only referred to "lone wolves."

Ahmed's website states he was born to Indian Muslim parents in Ohio. 

"We all get grouped in together, therefore suspicion comes onto people who look like me, and experiences of racial profiling and discrimination ends up being attached to people who look like me," he said.

The Las Vegas tragedy is still under investigation. 

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - There’s a month for everything — even squirrels. October is Squirrel Awareness Month and MU’s campus is... More >>
16 minutes ago Tuesday, October 24 2017 Oct 24, 2017 Tuesday, October 24, 2017 6:26:00 AM CDT October 24, 2017 in News
FULTON - A public hearing at Fulton City Hall Tuesday night will address the proposed 2018 budget for the second... More >>
3 hours ago Tuesday, October 24 2017 Oct 24, 2017 Tuesday, October 24, 2017 3:04:00 AM CDT October 24, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Due to the growing population in Columbia, the city is hoping to keep up with its expenditures with... More >>
8 hours ago Monday, October 23 2017 Oct 23, 2017 Monday, October 23, 2017 10:36:56 PM CDT October 23, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - A day care with a history of violating state regulations has closed its doors. The facility, Lots... More >>
8 hours ago Monday, October 23 2017 Oct 23, 2017 Monday, October 23, 2017 10:00:00 PM CDT October 23, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS - It's not every day you get married, and it's not every day a celebrity crashes your party.... More >>
9 hours ago Monday, October 23 2017 Oct 23, 2017 Monday, October 23, 2017 9:14:00 PM CDT October 23, 2017 in News
KANSAS CITY- A circuit court did not block a measure which would restrict access to abortions in Missouri starting Tuesday.... More >>
10 hours ago Monday, October 23 2017 Oct 23, 2017 Monday, October 23, 2017 8:22:00 PM CDT October 23, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education wants local school districts to implement the Missouri Seal of... More >>
10 hours ago Monday, October 23 2017 Oct 23, 2017 Monday, October 23, 2017 7:56:00 PM CDT October 23, 2017 in News
FULTON - The Callaway County Sheriffs Office is currently looking to expand its domestic violence investigation staff by hiring an... More >>
10 hours ago Monday, October 23 2017 Oct 23, 2017 Monday, October 23, 2017 7:50:00 PM CDT October 23, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Jim Marshall says losing a child is never easy. "It hurts. It's just, you gut it out... More >>
10 hours ago Monday, October 23 2017 Oct 23, 2017 Monday, October 23, 2017 7:48:00 PM CDT October 23, 2017 in News
GLASGOW - Chief of Police and City Administrator Kevin Atwood has been suspended with pay for 30 days. This came... More >>
12 hours ago Monday, October 23 2017 Oct 23, 2017 Monday, October 23, 2017 6:36:00 PM CDT October 23, 2017 in News
FT. LEONARD WOOD - A program that brought more than 150 Afghan soldiers to the United States to train currently... More >>
13 hours ago Monday, October 23 2017 Oct 23, 2017 Monday, October 23, 2017 4:59:00 PM CDT October 23, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Two men, who pleaded guilty to child pornography charges in May, were sentenced in federal court Monday.... More >>
14 hours ago Monday, October 23 2017 Oct 23, 2017 Monday, October 23, 2017 4:04:00 PM CDT October 23, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA – As temperatures begin to cool, it is time for people to prepare their homes for winter. Boone County... More >>
14 hours ago Monday, October 23 2017 Oct 23, 2017 Monday, October 23, 2017 3:48:00 PM CDT October 23, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Cole County Sheriff's Office is warning of a scam similar to one that has popped up... More >>
15 hours ago Monday, October 23 2017 Oct 23, 2017 Monday, October 23, 2017 3:05:00 PM CDT October 23, 2017 in News
ELLINGTON (AP) — An 86-year-old southeast Missouri man has died, days after a gunman killed his wife. The Missouri... More >>
16 hours ago Monday, October 23 2017 Oct 23, 2017 Monday, October 23, 2017 2:23:00 PM CDT October 23, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Two separate crashes on Highway 63 North slowed traffic Monday morning between the Stadium Blvd. and Broadway exits.... More >>
16 hours ago Monday, October 23 2017 Oct 23, 2017 Monday, October 23, 2017 2:12:00 PM CDT October 23, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Voters in St. Louis will soon be asked to weigh in on a half-cent sales tax... More >>
17 hours ago Monday, October 23 2017 Oct 23, 2017 Monday, October 23, 2017 1:32:15 PM CDT October 23, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Police are asking the public to help find a teenager who reportedly ran away and may be trying... More >>
17 hours ago Monday, October 23 2017 Oct 23, 2017 Monday, October 23, 2017 12:50:00 PM CDT October 23, 2017 in Top Stories
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 49°
7am 42°
8am 44°
9am 45°
10am 46°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

6:00a
KOMU 8 News Today
7:00a
Today
9:00a
Megyn Kelly TODAY
6:30a
Cops
7:00a
Maury
8:00a
The Steve Wilkos Show

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
The Voice
8:00p
This Is Us
9:01p
Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders
7:00p
The Flash
8:00p
DC's Legends of Tomorrow
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld