Two possible motives have been discussed, as I'm sure you know:
... in the absence of hard facts about Mr. Hicks’s motives, two competing narratives have emerged. The first, which spread almost instantly around the world on social media, was that the shootings were an anti-Muslim hate crime.It's clear that Hicks was obsessed with parking -- or to put it another way, there's no question that Hicks use the issue of parking as an outlet for his excessive anger.
Mr. Hicks’s wife, Karen Haggerty Hicks, suggested another motive. The killings, she said at a news conference the next day, had nothing to do with the victims’ faith, but were “related to a longstanding parking dispute that my husband had with the neighbors.”
But even Mrs. Hicks’s lawyer, Robert N. Maitland II, acknowledges the parking dispute theory was speculation on her part. “Here’s the thing: Nobody knows,” he said. “Why did he lose it that particular day?”
The housing association allowed residents to have improperly parked cars towed. But Mr. Hicks abused this power until the housing association asked him to stop, his wife’s lawyer said. According to a police search warrant, he kept “pictures and detailed notes on parking activity” on his computer.And, yes, he despised religion:
There is no question Mr. Hicks had a problem with religion. His Facebook page was full of quotations and memes denigrating Christianity. On Jan. 27, he shared a graphic that may have made reference to Islam: “People say there is nothing that can solve the Middle East problem ... I say there is something. Atheism.”So it's plausible that he took out his rage on three people who were practicing Muslims, two of whom made a show of faith by wearing hijabs.
But there's a third possible source of Hicks's anger that the Times story mentions only in passing:
On Feb. 5, Mr. Hicks got more bad news: A judge had ordered a March 19 hearing over $14,189.54 in unpaid child support to his first wife, according to court records.That was five days before the shootings.
Here's a rage junkie who, we're reminded, was not like many of his neighbors, including the victims:
The contrast between the paunchy, balding Mr. Hicks and the rest of the complex’s residents was stark. Many were aspiring professionals and academics at a premier public university. Mr. Hicks was unemployed, taking night classes at a community college in hopes of becoming a paralegal.He was angry because the victims were religious, and he was angry because, in his parking-obsessed brain, they were parking scofflaws. But I think he was also angry because his own economic failings had put him in the hole for a five-figure sum after of a first marriage that, according to the Times story, was "disastrous" (we're not really told why). He failed at being married when he was young, and it left him in debt, and I think that helped make him angry, and was one of several reasons he lashed out at two young newlyweds and the wife's sister.
I'm not trying to downplay bigotry as a motive. I just think he'd cooked up a huge stew of resentment, with several ingredients, and the pot boiled over.