As always seems to be the case when a white man commits mass murder, mental illness has also been floated as a cause.
I think that we will hear a lot more about this story, partly because the killer seems to have been almost comically evil and scary:
Craig Stephen Hicks was feared by his neighbors. He obsessed over parking spaces and always appeared angry. He used to watch a movie about a man who goes on a shooting rampage over and over again. His ex-wife said he found the film hilarious.
While his victims, on the other hand, come across as pretty amazing human beings:
Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, a Palestinian-American, graduated from North Carolina State University in human biology and wanted to be a dentist. She and her mother last year collected dental supplies from the Muslim community in Raleigh and delivered them to the Turkey-Syria border for Syria's victims of war, Nida Allam, one of Mohammad Abu-Salha’s closest friends, told Al Jazeera.
. . .
Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha studied architecture and environmental design at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. “I always thought she was the coolest girl because she’s always posting pictures of her project that she was doing,” Allam said.
On Jan. 29, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha won the university’s weekly #ThinkAndDo competition for a time-lapse video capturing 3-D model making.
Aya Zouhri, 22, a childhood friend of Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha’s, told Al Jazeera that she “had the kindest soul.”
When the two were in third grade, they made BFF bracelets together and promised each other they “be best friends forever” and “go to each other’s weddings and be neighbors,” Zouhri said.
“I still have the BFF necklace,” she said. “I don’t know how to come to terms with that.”
Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha participated in fundraisers for Palestinian relief and volunteered with Global Deaf Muslims, a nonprofit dedicated to accommodating the deaf in mosques and other Islamic organizations.
Islamic Relief, the largest Muslim charity organization in the U.S., said in a statement that the three victims were “dedicated to humanitarian causes and volunteered regularly with humanitarian organizations, including Islamic Relief USA.”
This case certainly has the potential to be used as a cudgel in a variety of hot-button issues, from atheism to Islamophobia to gun control and mental illness. There doesn't seem to be enough information to draw a lot of firm conclusions as yet, but even when and if there is, I hope we can talk about this tragedy with an attitude of mutual respect and respect for the dead.
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/13/us/ch ... tml?ref=usMr. Hicks’s Facebook page suggests that he has a strong interest in atheism and is contemptuous of religion; the page is filled with posts and cartoons mocking the intelligence of people who believe in the Bible. His anger appeared to be aimed primarily at Christians — in fact, in 2010 he decried as hypocritical opposition by Christians to a much-debated proposal for a mosque to be built near ground zero in Manhattan.
He also indicated that he was proud of owning a weapon: Last month, he posted an image of a gun on a scale with the words, “Yes, that is 1 pound 5.1 ounces for my loaded 38 revolver, its holster, and five extra rounds in a speedloader.”