In what police call the deadliest attack in modern American history, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock opened fire on concertgoers at a country music festival in Las Vegas on Sunday.

Despite the scale of the attack and Paddock’s being armed with more than 10 rifles, Las Vegas Sheriff Joe Lombardo immediately dismissed any ties to terrorism, classifying Paddock, a white male from a rural town 80 miles from Las Vegas, as a “local individual” and a “lone wolf.”

We have yet to determine whether Paddock was motivated by anyone or anything, so many are tiptoeing around terms such as “terrorist.” But if Paddock were Muslim, his status as a local individual would be entirely irrelevant, and the motive of “Islamic terrorism” or “jihad” would likely be immediately assumed, even if there is no evidence.