Late Sunday, 64-year-old Nevada resident Stephen Paddock opened fire on a country music festival with tens of thousands of attendees, killing at least 50 people and leaving hundreds more wounded in the deadliest mass shooting in American history. (The previous deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history was the 2016 incident at Orlando, Florida’s Pulse nightclub.) The attacker was operating from his room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, firing on the music fans gathered at ground level.
Questions have abounded as to the shooter’s motivations, but now there is at least a suggested answer to the question of why he did it — Islamic State influence.
The Islamic State terror group has, multiple outlets are reporting, now claimed responsibility for the attack. This claim of responsibility does not answer every question, because sometimes, the group claims incidents that it did not actually direct but simply wants to be associated with. The Independent reports that the “wording of the release is similar to other attacks that have been inspired, rather than directed, by Isis.”
The shooter is claimed by the Islamic State to have “converted to Islam several months ago.”
A portion of the terror group’s post-Las Vegas statements reads:
‘The Las Vegas attacker is a soldier of the Islamic State in response to calls to target coalition countries.’
The Islamic State terror group has been working to maintain its global prominence throughout recent weeks, having recently released a recording of its supreme leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi — who Russia claimed to have killed in battle — urging followers to “intensify one attack after another against the infidels.”
The president will no doubt seek to jump on even the appearance of an Islamic connection on the part of the shooter, since even though a large number more Americans are killed each year from gun violence that has nothing to do with Muslims than are killed by Muslims, in Trump’s world, Muslims are among the permanent “bad guys.”
The Trump Administration has been working for months to impose a Muslim-targeting travel ban, having recently updated their plans by adding non-Muslim countries to the ban in an attempt to deflect accusations of bias against Muslims.