Analysis & Opinions - CNN

Massive Gun Violence Terrorizes Us All

| Oct. 02, 2017

The mass shooting in Las Vegas on Sunday night -- now the single most deadly shooting in modern US history, with 58 dead and over 500 hurt -- is, no matter what the motivation of the shooter, a form of terror against us. This is not a legal or political position, it is purely a matter of psychological impact.

Stephen Paddock, 64, who allegedly fired hundreds of rounds into the crowd below his hotel room, apparently had every intent of unleashing terror on those who were, up until those last moments, enjoying a Jason Aldean concert.

The usual plea by government officials is that we wait for more assessment or analysis of what happened before talking about terrorism. In truth, the only analysis appropriate right now is the one that reminds all of us that here we are again. Facts are facts and this much we know: In America, access to weapons of mass destruction elicits terror too frequently. We now need to rethink crimes to reflect the substance of the conduct, rather than just the motivation.

Security is about both minimizing risks and maximizing defenses. Soft targets will always be soft. We can try to make them "harder," but even though we have minimized some of the threats to concert arenas by installing metal detectors or implementing pat-downs or showing a greater focus on the use of cars to kill people in crowds, an elevated shooter from a nearby hotel makes all of that effort moot.


For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Kayyem, Juliette.“Massive Gun Violence Terrorizes Us All.” CNN, October 2, 2017.

The Author

Juliette Kayyem Headshot