Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Confusion, false reports arise from the Las Vegas concert shooting

Sunday night’s shooting at Route 91 country music festival in Las Vegas which left at least 59 dead in Las Vegas and over 500 injured has led to conspiracies and a lot of misinformation, according to New York Times.

Some of the conspiracies and falsehoods include a false identification of the gunman by some social media users.

See some of the claims below:

• False

Many bloggers and social media users have incorrectly branded a man, Geary Danley as the murderer before police later named Stephen Paddock as the gunman.

A right-wing blog, The Gateway Pundit called Mr. Danley “a far left loon” and noted that he had followed several pages dedicated to liberal politics on Facebook, but the post has since been deleted.

However, the damage had already been inflicted as his name and photos are being circulating by far-right Twitter accounts, accusing him of being a “neo-liberal” and “alt-left’.

• ISIS’ claim of the attack is untrue and lacked evidence…

A few hours after the incident, the notorious terror group, ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack and argued that the gunman had recently converted to Islam. But an FBI spokesman dismissed the claim insisting that there is no proof so far that Mr. Paddock had any ties to international terrorist groups.

Rukmini Callimachi, a New York Times reporter who has covered ISIS for several years, noted on Twitter that the organization has incorrectly claimed responsibility for two recent attacks, thus refuting any possibility of an ISIS connection.

In addition, Graeme Wood, who has reported on ISIS for The Atlantic, also noted that Mr. Paddock was a gambler and had committed suicide – an action deemed anti Islamic and odds with ISIS’ ideology.

• Incorrect information about an alleged accomplice

Social media users, especially on Facebook and Twitter have connected Marilou Danley who was a person of interest to the police with a circulating video suggesting that she had a fore knowledge of the shooting and is probably an accomplice.

Facebook and Twitter users have connected Marilou Danley, a woman whom law enforcement officials initially described as a “companion” of the gunman, with a viral video to suggest that she knew in advance the shooting would happen and was perhaps complicit in it.

Police has however dismissed the assertion arguing there was no evidence linking Danley to the video and have since said that Ms. Danley was out of the country at the time of the shooting, hence, she is no longer a person of interest.

• Confusion stemmed from the Las Vegas’ gun control laws…

The rapid rate at which Paddock fired on Sunday night compelled people to speculate that he had used a machine gun. But, police report suggests that he had at least 10 guns and thus, no one can say the exact gun Paddock used.

The speculation has however led to various confusing debates with many arguing that machine guns were illegal in Las Vegas. But nothing had been confirmed by the time these messages were posted to social media.

Though it is true that a provision of the Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986 banned civilian purchases of machine guns across the country, the provision also allowed weapons that were made and registered before May 19, 1986.

While there are restrictions on the possession of machine guns in addition to the 1986 law in several States, there are none in Nevada, says National Rifle Association which state that, “it is lawful to possess, purchase or sell a machine gun or silencer that is legally registered and possessed in compliance with all federal laws and regulations.”

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