Wednesday, February 11, 2015


At Fusion, Amina Ata tells about her close friend Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, one of three young Muslims who were shot and killed last night after what's been described as a parking dispute with a neighbor, Craig Stephen Hicks, who's been arrested. Ata says that the night of the murder wasn't the first time Hicks had had an armed confrontation with Abu-Salha and her husband, Deah Barakat:
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....

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.
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.

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.


Tom Hilton said...

There are three huge angles on this. One is anti-Muslim sentiment. One is atheism (the angle of choice for wingnuts). And one is guns.

Even if this turns out not to be a hate crime, it'll still be another depressing example of the idiocy of making guns easily available to any deranged shitbag who wants them.

Victor said...

What Tom said.

Also too, though - not just easily available, but making these stupid open-carry laws, and/or giving loons carry-permits, so the people threatened can't complain!

Too many people look at their gun and/or open carry permits, as 'licenses to kill.'

mlbxxxxxx said...

Without the gun, he's just an petulant, angry asshole. I think guns are a kind of drug for some people. Gives them the feeling that they have a super power. Allows them to deal death without getting their hands dirty. Would he have beat them to death with a baseball bat? Maybe, but I doubt it. The gun made it easy.

Grung_e_Gene said...

Don't worry too much, the fact he's an anti-theist Dogs against Romney fan will allow Gun Nuts to disavow Hicks and rest comfortably with their fingers on their triggers and their sights set upon anyone who dares to step out-of-line.