In October or November, we went to dinner at Yusor and Deah’s house. Right after we left, Yusor heard a knock at the door and it was Hicks. She told us he was angry and said we were noisy and there were two extra cars in the neighborhood. We used visitor parking but he was still mad. He said we woke up his wife. It wasn’t that dark yet. It wasn’t late. And it wasn’t that loud. We were playing a board game called Risk. I mean, I know I was mad because they were beating me at the game, but that was it. While he was at the door talking to Yusor, he was holding a rifle, she told me later. He didn’t point it at anyone, but he still had it. Yusor called to check on us after we left, to make sure he hadn’t approached us....Ata doesn't make clear hat she means by that last statement -- did Deah Barakat not have trouble with this neighbor until his wife moved in? Barakat's wife and her sister (the third victim last night) wore hijabs (as does Ata), but Bakarat's clothes and facial stubble made him look like just another American kid. If Ata's saying that the troubles with Hicks began when Hicks started seeing veiled women at Barakat's place, then, yes, I think we've got a pretty good case for calling this a hate crime.
If [the murder] wasn’t a hate crime, what was it? If you have a problem with your neighbors, you write a letter; you don’t shoot people. I think they were targeted because they were different. He was always so annoyed with them for little things. They are talking about a parking dispute online -- that’s definitely not true. There’s plenty of space, and Deah had just gotten off the bus. I wonder if he just thought Deah was some white guy before his wife moved in.
But I still think it's a stew of motives. Hicks was an atheist who had contempt for believers. On the other hand, he seems to have a general self of self-righteousness that he felt justified in backing up with weaponry. I don't know if he would have pulled a gun on any neighbor who offended him for some real or trumped-up reason. Maybe. Or maybe a neighbor who wore a yarmulke or a minister's collar would have really wound him up. Or perhaps he's just paid too much attention to prominent atheists who issue frequent harangues suggesting that the quintessential example of religious irrationality these days is Islam.
My guess is that it's the latter. And the rage disorder. And the guns.