Two American Tragedies, Two Very Different Responses


Mia Egerman, Editor in Chief

The opinions, viewpoints, and beliefs expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent the opinions, viewpoints, or beliefs of the Titan Times newspaper, Tuscarora High School or Frederick County Public Schools.



Tuesday, October 31, horror struck the streets of Lower Manhattan. 29 year old, Sayfullo Saipov, drove a rented Home Depot truck onto a bike path killing eight people. However, this isn’t the first act of terror we’ve seen in the last month. The Las Vegas attack, done by white male Stephen Paddock, created a very different reaction throughout the country. Although both events shook the country and reminded us of the dangers all around us, the reactions to these events were decidedly different.


Flashing back to October 3, Paddock’s conspired terrorist attack was seen as “a very sad event” (Trump). Though this lone gunman shot 500 people, President Trump released a statement saying that “The wires were crossed pretty badly in [Paddock’s] brain. Extremely badly in his brain.” Once again, chalking the deadliest mass shooting in our country’s history up to a couple of ‘crossed wires’. There was no bluster or promises or pledges to enact political action to make us safer. 

In no circumstance are the actions of Sayfullo Saipov justified. He had a motive and that became clear when the note was recovered from the scene. He claimed his allegiance to the Islamic State and is facing the death penalty. However, there are clear disparities between the official responses to each attack. For one, Trump refers to the Uzbek immigrant as “this animal”. What he doesn’t shed light on is that Saipov’s legal status checks out. Secondly, the political outbreak of calls for gun laws following the Las Vegas shooting was gradually muted and considered insensitive following the Vegas tragedy. If we’re going to assert that politics should be placed on hold after a violent attack because we, as a nation, need time to grieve, comfort, and mourn, then such an assertion should be applied to any violent attack, not just the ones perpetrated by white males with firearms. 

Trump eventually tweeted that “The terrorist came into our country through what is called the ‘Diversity Visa Lottery Program.’” For clarification, the ‘Diversity Visa Lottery Program’ is a visa program that “issues up to 50,000 visas a year to people from dozens of countries” (Saccheti). A program that creates opportunity and accounts for a strong portion of our country’s melting pot, is more actively [than before] being called into question after the work of 1 individual. Trump may have been saying since the beginning of his presidency that “he would be much smarter and much tougher in the fight against terrorism than President Barack Obama”, but what he fails to recognize about the “fight against terrorism” is that such programs also account for people like “Plamena Petrova, a 31-year-old software engineer in Houston who works for Fitbit.” Petrova’s “parents had a software business in Bulgaria before her mother won the visa lottery in 1999, when she was 12. Petrova went on to graduate from an Ivy League college and later worked for the Navy and a defense contractor. Her father is a software engineer at Boeing, working on the International Space Station at NASA.”


Unfortunately, terror is always going to be in the back our minds, and attacks, whether they’re committed by a man from Uzbekistan or a man from Las Vegas, are an unfortunate reality of our times. Sure, desperate times call for desperate measures, but if you think that people like Saipa are animals that can and must be stopped while people like Paddock are just guys with crossed wires and there’s nothing we can do about them- then you might just have your own ‘terrible’ problem in your own heart.