On October 1, 2017, one of the worst mass shootings occurred in the United States of America. The shooter, Stephen Paddock, killed himself after injuring, and killing, over 550 people during the finale of a concert in Las Vegas. In the aftermath, many people had things to say about the gunman. Mayor Carolyn Goodman described the gunman as “a crazed lunatic full of hate” (CNN.com). News stations reported that Paddock acted alone and was not a terrorist. In the following days, social medias exploded, saying that he was a terrorist. Below is a screenshot from Snoopdogg’s Instagram page as one example.
However, this leads to me asking myself what a terrorist truly is. A terrorist is someone who uses violence and targets civilians, according to a few dictionaries. So, doesn’t that make Stephen Paddock a terrorist? In my opinion, it does. How does this reference back to Latin? The word terrorist comes from the French word terroriste. The word terroriste was used for people in the French Revolution who used violence to strive towards gaining independence from the monarch and setting up a democracy. And where does terroriste come from? It comes from the Latin word terrorem. The definition for terrorem means cause of fear or object of fear, which comes from the Latin verb terrere. Terrere means to frighten. And boom, that’s a connection from our Modern world to the Ancient.