Not All Mass Murderers are Terrorists

Members Only Subscribe to read the full article

When Stephen Paddock indiscriminately rained bullets down on a crowd of concertgoers from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel on the evening of October 1, using rifles modified to fire as if fully automatic weapons, killing over 58 people and injuring 489 others, was he engaging in terrorism? As Aaron Blake noted, “plenty of people” had the question, “How could the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history not be terrorism?”

The answer is terrorism is defined not so much by how heinous, deadly, destructive or terrifying the act, but by the purpose of the actor – usually to intimidate or coerce a civilian population or government to act or not act in a given way, hereafter “to coerce.”

The Cipher Brief has become the most popular outlet for former intelligence officers; no media outlet is even a close second to The Cipher Brief in terms of the number of articles published by formers.” —Sept. 2018, Studies in Intelligence, Vol. 62

Access all of The Cipher Brief‘s national security-focused expert insight by becoming a Cipher Brief Subscriber+Member.

Continue Reading

Get access to all our briefs

Sign up Today

Related Articles