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Portrait of Vegas Terrorist Defies Cultural Stereotype

Many seek answers in the wake of Sunday night's massacre in Las Vegas.

Portrait of Vegas Terrorist Defies Cultural Stereotype
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 01: People run from the Route 91 Harvest country music festival after apparent gun fire was hear on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. A gunman has opened fire on a music festival in Las Vegas, leaving at least 20 people dead and more than 100 injured. Police have confirmed that one suspect has been shot. The investigation is ongoing. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

Stephen Paddock committed the worst mass shooting in American history over the weekend, killing 59 people and injuring more than 520 others, after opening fire on country music festival attendees from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. It seems almost routine––there have been at least 1,518 mass shootings since 2012’s Sandy Hook massacre, according to the Gun Violence Archive––and as the calls for gun reform mount yet again, the public is left leafing through the names of the dead and parsing through whatever details investigators can glean from Paddock's life to better understand why he decided to murder in the first place.

The Washington Post sparked controversy yesterday after its editors published an article which appeared to normalize Paddock's actions, describing him as a "high-stakes gambler who 'kept to himself'" before the killings, and while the article is symptomatic of a much larger problem (white American men––who are later memorialized by the media––with no connection to Islam pose a greater domestic threat than Muslim terrorists or foreigners), the general sentiment, that of shock from the murderer's relatives and loved ones.

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