Wednesday, February 11, 2015


I suspect that the motive for the murders of three Muslim students in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, last night was a stew of religious anger and other factors. Multiple reports now say that the confrontation came about as the result of an ongoing dispute about parking. The man in custody, Craig Stephen Hicks, was vehemently anti-religion.

Right-wingers are cherry-picking Hicks's now-blocked Facebook page in order to depict him as a lefty:
A review of the Facebook page of the man charged in these murders, Craig Hicks, shows a consistent theme of anti-religion and progressive causes. Included in his many Facebook “likes” are the Huffington Post, Rachel Maddow, the Southern Poverty Law Center, Freedom from Religion Foundation, Bill Nye “The Science Guy,” Neil deGrasse Tyson, gay marriage groups, and a host of anti-conservative/Tea Party pages.
But the Daily Dot paints a somewhat different picture of Hicks:
Under "political views," Hicks expressed libertarian leanings, writing, "I don't care about parties, just each individual and the rights of such in the Constitution! Some call me a gun toting Liberal, others call me an open-minded Conservative."

This libertarianism is reflected in his other Facebook posts, which identify him as a supporter of LGBT equality and a handgun enthusiast.

An Amazon wishlist reportedly belonging to Hicks includes numerous other combat supplies, including a rifle scope, tactical blades, and a camouflage ghillie suit, along with more everyday items like Dragon Age: Inquisition and the Val Kilmer crime thriller The Salton Sea.
And, of course, there's this:

Whether or not this was a hate crime, it almost certainly a crime that arose out of an American man's sense that he has the absolute right to resolve any and all disputes by pointing a gun at people.

More, from
WRAL reporter Arielle Clay quoted neighbors in saying the parking in the Finley Forest complex is “confusing.” She then posted a photo that explained towing in the area....

The Raleigh News & Observer adds:
The father of two of three students shot to death in Chapel Hill on Tuesday says the shooting was a “hate crime” based on the Muslim identity of the victims....

But the women’s father, Dr. Mohammad Abu-Salha, who has a psychiatry practice in Clayton, said regardless of the precise trigger Tuesday night, Hicks’ underlying animosity toward Barakat and Abu-Salha was based on their religion and culture. Abu-Salha said police told him Hicks shot the three inside their apartment.

“It was execution style, a bullet in every head,” Abu-Salha said Wednesday morning. “This was not a dispute over a parking space; this was a hate crime. This man had picked on my daughter and her husband a couple of times before, and he talked with them with his gun in his belt. And they were uncomfortable with him, but they did not know he would go this far.”
That's plausible -- but this is America, where people will shoot you for texting in a movie theater.

I'm not saying it wasn't also a hate crime -- there's a very strong likelihood that it was. But it's also a crime that resulted from a sense of gun privilege that so many Americans feel.


Victor said...

Like Anthony Weiner, you can get into trouble for sending dick-pick's - even if they're in your underwear (holster).

But, there's no issue with sending your metallic dick-pic - whether it's in underwear or holster; or, nekkid, for that matter!

Just another day in gun-crazy, ammosexual America!!!

Victor said...

Holy shit!

I checked the map.
And that complex is not too far at all away from the one that I live in for 3 1/2 years - Southern Village.
Probably less than a mile or two.

I was never in it, but those are all very, very nice apartment complexes.
The one I live in never had any parking problems.
I can't say that for others. but usually the management companies made sure that parking never got out of control.
People were paying too much in rent to have problems parking.

I'm not saying it was a hate crime, but having lived nearby, I have difficulty imagining that there were too many parking problems.
At least, not enough to kill people over.

Though, again, I don't know...

Ten Bears said...

Didn't take the mainstream corporate media long to label him a "militant atheist". Or you "vehemently anti-religous". And that may well be. However, speaking from a position if authority on "militant atheism" and "vehement anti-religousity" uhuh, no, not one of us. We actually subscribe, rather than pay lip service, to a strict set of moral standards. Racism and murder - lynching - isn't among them. This is a hate crime. It may be a spur of the moment crime of passion, of anger, perhaps an alcohol and aderall fueled anger, but it's manifestation is that of white anglo-saxon protestant exceptionalism. No different than the god-damned Christians, or the god-damned Jews, or the god-damned Muslims. He's not one of us, is not Human.

I am, as ever, laughing at the "superiority".

Paul Canning said...

Yours is the sole piece I've read that has pointed out that shooting people over parking disputes is a perfectly rational possible cause!

Of course, everyone else is jumping to conclusions ...

[Melissa McEwan is calling for "a day of reckoning for the most visible leaders of movement atheism who routinely engage in hyperbolic anti-Muslim rhetoric"]

Looking around as I got into a row online I spotted this, which you may recall Steve, being a NooYorker >

I found it because it was listed in an AlJazeera piece about the 'wave of anti-Muslim hate crime' in the US ...

Also noticed that some (well, a few) are comparing today's media and social media to what happened around the Kansas City Jewish community murders ('executions'?) last year.

there are 5 times more hate crimes recorded by the FBI against American Jews than against American Muslims.

aimai said...

The AP is reporting that it was definitely about the parking spaces and the guy had confronted the family before, gun on hip, about the parking. The gun culture part of this is that they couldn't report him for threatening them with a gun because he had a legal permit. He should have been locked up years ago for using his gun to try to get his way over small things. But thanks to gun fantasist culture and the laws that cater to them that wasn't possible.

My take on it is that he did it in a rage and then realized that he'd 1) killed three people and 2) couldn't get away with it. Too many people knew about his previous interactions with them and other people over parking. So he turned himself in. But what kind of society enables people like this: enraged, spoiling for a fight, entitled, incapable of handling conflict to carry a gun?

I think he might have shot any kind of person, regardless of religion, but I have no doubt that the climate of anti muslim hysteria and generalized hatred and fear made him even more justified in his rage and led to this.

Ten Bears said...

Thank you a, as ever, you say it best.

Philo Vaihinger said...

@aimai, so there are reports he also had confrontations with other people about parking?

I missed that.

Makes it more probable this was a rage crime rather than a hate crime, like those winter killings in which men who shovel snow out of a parking place shoot other men who take advantage and move their cars right into the newly cleared spot.

Grung_e_Gene said...

It seems cynically hypocritical for Right-Wingers to be villfying Hicks for doing, on the small scale, what their latest dreamboat superhero Chris Kyle did, on the large scale; Murder innocent muslims.

Steve M. said...

Well, Gene, they're already attacking Brian Williams for allegedly telling tall tales about Katrina, even though Chris Kyle told tales about Katrina that are even more dubious (as well as being rather sociopathic).

Grung_e_Gene said...

Steve M,

Anyone who told such lies and oozed pride at killing so many innocent people (even if his numbers were inflated) like Chris Kyle is a sociopath.

As the trial of his killer begins, it's clear Kyle believed guns were a universal cure all. He thus lived and died by the sword.

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