Thursday, February 12, 2015

North Carolina Muslim Family of 3 Murdered

Deah Shaddy Barakat, right his wife Yusor Abu-Salha, and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, in an undated Facebook photo.
Deah Shaddy Barakat, right his wife Yusor Abu-Salha, and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, in an undated Facebook photo.

Huffington post

Three members of a Muslim family shot to death Tuesday in their home near the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus may have been killed over a parking dispute.

The suspect, 46-year-old Craig Stephen Hicks, surrendered and was arrested on charges of first-degree murder. He is accused of killing Deah Barakat, 23, Barakat's wife, Yusor Abu-Salha, 21, and Yusor's sister, Razan Abu-Salha, 19.

On Wednesday, police said the motive behind the shooting may have been an ongoing neighbor dispute over parking, rather than a hate crime.

In a press conference, Hicks' wife of seven years, Karen, said she "never would have expected this." She said that the shooting had nothing to do with race or religion, and everything to do with parking problems.

"This incident had nothing to do with religion or victims’ faith but instead had to do with the longstanding parking disputes that my husband had with the neighbors," she said, choking back tears. "He often champions on his Facebook page for the rights of many individuals. Same sex marriages, abortion, race, he just believes that everyone is equal. Doesn’t matter what you look like or who you are or what you believe."

She said she didn't know what drove Hicks to allegedly shoot three people, but her lawyers said that the suspect didn't single out the victims and had problems with other neighbors in the past. Hicks' ex-wife, Kristen, told The Huffington Post that she hadn't "heard from or seen him in 10 years," and had no further comment.

Still, the father of two victims, Dr. Mohammad Abu-Salha, believes hate led to the killings.
"It was execution style, a bullet in every head," he told the News Observer. "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."


  1. I wouldn't be surprised if doctors find a tumor the size of a melon in this guy's head.

  2. Very sad and disturbing story...Was it a hate crime maybe.....was it racism probably not

    1. How can it be a hate crime and not racism?

    2. How can it be a hate crime and not racism?

      If he hated them on some basis other than race. Maybe, for example, he's the kind of bigot who thinks a person's state of origin is a useful predictor of the person's intelligence and education.

    3. "How can it be a hate crime and not racism?"

      By being motivated by hatred for some factor that isn't racial--e.g. choice of religion, sexuality, politics, etc.

      As for this story, we'll see what comes out in time. The first headline I saw was screaming "White guy kills Muslims!" Next time I looked at the news the headline was "Police say Shooting of Three Muslims Likely Motivated by Parking Dispute, Not Religion."

      Frankly, I don't care for "Hate Crime" laws. I want to see this guy prosecuted just as vigorously for killing these people if it was over a parking dispute as he would have been if this was religiously motivated. Murder is murder.

    4. Motivation has always been a determination for type/amount of punishment in our justice system. "Hate crime" is not out of line with our judicial/criminal procedure history. If we can prove a person was murdered BECAUSE they were gay, why shouldn't the judge/jury be able to take that into account? Do you believe in laws and punishment being a deterrent? If so, than "hate crime" designation sends a message to society. If not, then maybe we should just get rid of laws.

    5. "By being motivated by hatred for some factor that isn't racial--e.g. choice of religion, sexuality, politics, etc."

      It seems to me that hatred of politics or religion is pretty much the same thing as racism in this case. Don't you think?

    6. It seems to me that hatred of politics or religion is pretty much the same thing as racism in this case. Don't you think?

      If Islam were restricted to one race, sure. I'd even let that slide if it were merely largely restricted to one race--but it's not at all.

    7. "It seems to me that hatred of politics or religion is pretty much the same thing as racism in this case. Don't you think?"

      No, Mike, I don't. For one thing, where does politics enter this? And what is the supposed link to racism there?

      As for potentially religious based hatred, no, it's not the same as racism. They could both occur in the same person, but they don't have to. Islam has people of all races, including a lot of white folk. People who dislike Islam for its own sake will have the same problems with white Muslims as black or brown ones. People who are racist will hate all Middle Easterners, not just Muslims.

      Your constant attempts to conflate dislike of Islam with racism just look pitiful.

    8. There are black Jews, does that mean antisemitism is not racist?

    9. Shelly,

      For one thing, Anti-Semitism typically refers to people who hate Jews as a racial group rather than as a religion, hence the usual classification as a racial thing. However, it would be possible to have a person who hated people for Jewish faith rather than ethnicity--who had no problem with non-religious Jews. Such a person would not be a racist, just hateful of people for religious reasons.

      Just as I'm sure that there are racists who hate Jews for their religion and for their ethnicity, I'm sure there are similar people who hate Muslims for both religious and ethnic reasons. The point of my comment wasn't that "Islamophobes" can't be racist, but that, contrary to Mike's repeated assertions, it is easy to conceive of a person who could be one and not the other.

      This is not a statement to justify one position or the other, but to point out that Mike's conflation of the two as being inextricably linked is obviously false.

    10. You're right. This is religious bigotry rather than racism. Unless of course, it was all about the parking space.

    11. Sandra,

      Apparently my crappy internet connection ate my previous reply to your questions, so I'll try again.

      I think the place where your analysis breaks down is your claim that motivation has a long history in the common law of being a basis for determining punishment. Instead, a more precise statement would be that Intent has been the basis. There is overlap between motivation and intent to be sure, but they aren't the same.

      For example, the level of intent is what makes the difference between involuntary manslaughter, voluntary manslaughter, second degree murder, and first degree murder. Motive can play a role in this, helping to kick something from one classification into another, either up or down.

      You ask, "If we can prove a person was murdered BECAUSE they were gay, why shouldn't the judge/jury be able to take that into account?" Absolutely YES, they should take that into account. That evidence should be brought and used to prove the level of intent and premeditation required for a conviction of first degree murder. This is what I want to see happen in any case of such a murder.

      You next ask, "Do you believe in laws and punishment being a deterrent?" Yes, I do. And I believe that heinous motivations to kill people because of something like race, religion, etc. shows an especially depraved heart and should be used during the sentencing phase to obtain a higher sentence--something else which is already possible under our long standing statutory and common law.

      As you can see, my problem with "Hate Crime" laws is not that I don't want the person's motives to be exposed and taken into account during trial and sentencing, and it is not that I don't support stiff sentences in these cases. Instead, my problem is setting up laws that say "Motives to kill these particular groups are more heinous," because this, by necessity, implies that motives to kill other classifications not listed in the law are less so. After all, is it not just as heinous if a poor person targets, tortures, and kills a rich person because he is wealthy as if he does it because the victim is gay?

      You may suggest that the solution is better writing of the hate crimes laws so that they cover all types of hate, and while I will concede that this would answer my my criticism, I will note that the result would basically result in giving a new name to a class of crimes that already are classified as first degree murder and are already eligible for the maximum penalty under the jurisdiction's laws. This type of legislating, making something already illegal even more illegal, is something that I see as a waste of legislators' time, whatever the topic. Instead, I would rather see them and their corresponding executives working to root out corruption, lax enforcement, and other factors that lead to miscarriages of justice, as well as evaluating the laws already on the books to see if they can improve the system.

      As for your final sentence, "If not, then maybe we should just get rid of laws," you and several other commenters seem fond of offering this false choice between the laws you support and a completely lawless system. This is such an obvious false dilemma so glaring and pureile that it should not be used by anyone who expects their words to be read and considered seriously. In spite of this, I have endeavored to give a serious answer to your other questions and points this time.

    12. ""Motives to kill these particular groups are more heinous,""
      If a law is to deter and send a message to society, than "hate crimes" are not out of line. To compare hate for rich people and the racist hate of lynching blacks, is beneath you. Lynching blacks was an almost cultural crime and rarely got prosecuted. In fact a lynching was a public affair and people bought their children to watch, along with the picnic basket. Attitudes and public acceptance of such vile acts have to be changed. A "hate crime" only comes under motivation, which is not the most important charge in a murder case.
      The gun loons that make the charge that laws don't work go onto say those laws should be eliminated, in other words no laws at all. It's not me being ridiculous, especially since they offer no other alternative like working within the system to improve laws, they just want to eliminate laws. George and Gunsmoke say murder laws don't work. Really? I happen to think most people try yo be law abiding citizens, but if it's not against the law more will do it. And how do we prosecute such acts if we don't have laws against it? If you find my comments so beneath you, than by all means don't ever respond to my comments again.

  3. Was Hicks a lawful gun owner, or not?

    1. So whatever his reasons, it's just another lawful gun owner turned killer.
      Maybe the parking spot was the straw that broke the camels back, in his deranged mind. Reports say these people had previos dealings with each other.

  4. Hmm--one of those folks who like to characterize themselves as "progressives":

    His Facebook Likes included 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 similar progressive pages.

    Somehow, if he had liked Sean Hannity and the Southern Baptist Convention instead of Rachel Maddow and the Freedom from Religion Foundation, I don't think we would witness the media restraint we're seeing when it comes to connecting this killer's politics to his terrible deeds.

    And again, I would note the irony of his fondness for the Southern Poverty Law Center. By the SPLC's own logic, the SPLC shares responsibility for another hate crime. Now that the SPLC has been hoisted by its own petard twice in a few years, I hope it and other liberal groups act more responsibly the next time they want to blame a tragic crime on someone's personal politics.

    1. Yes Kurt '45 wimpyman' Hofmann, Hicks was a progressive -- and that is what will most likely save him from being prosecuted for this as a hate crime. As a progressive Hicks OPPOSED religious extremism, referencing specifically but equally both extremist Christians and extremist Muslims.

      However he was for LGBT rights, and he supported many moderate Muslim causes, including being supportive of the inaccurately called 'Ground Zero Mosque'. There is no evidence he was an Islamophobe.

      There is no evidence that he considered any of his victims to be extremist Muslims.

      Rather, the issue of his political leaning and his philosophy in place of religious belief is a red herring grabbed onto by fools like you as significant. It is a non-story.

      Rather what you SHOULD be taking away from his social media and other expressions of belief is that he was a rabid pro-gun guy, who apparently accumulated weapons and ammunition, along with knives, and other weaponry, body armor, etc.

      In that regard, he was one of you and your kind, and that is consistent with being a posterboy for the NRA demo --- old, white, flabby and crabby.

      He appears to have had a long standing problem with being viewed as always angry by his neighbors, not just these people, and of threatening them with violence. His previous ex-wife, as distinct from the one divorcing him after this shooting, describes him as lacking in empathy and compassion.

      And the reason for Hannity and the Southern Baptist Convention being problematic for hate associations is because they clearly ARE hate peddlers. The HuffPo, Maddow, the SPLC and the rest are not. The latter are in fact quite prominently pro-tolerance and pro-fact.

      No one in their right mind would ever accuse Hannity or his associates, or the SBC of being pro-fact. They are instead grotesquely fact-averse, substituting the most toxic of ideology that promotes wilful ignorance of fact, and which promotes fear.

      The only problem this guy seems to have was his love of guns, and the mistaken notion that having them entitled him to act like this --- hardly rare.
      And another reason there is zero justification to trust anyone who carries guns around.

    2. So what, Kurt? I thought gun ownership is not limited to conservatives? If that's true, then the dangerous lawful type of gun owner is not limited to just conservatives either.

    3. So what, Kurt?

      Glad you asked, Mikeb. I'll tell you so what. So, if his political leanings had been in the opposite direction, I wager that you would consider that to be very important, and probably find some blame to cast on what you consider to be "right wing" media.

    4. "And another reason there is zero justification to trust anyone who carries guns around."

      Does that mean that we have zero justification to trust you and Laci?

      Nice job, by the way, of missing the point, dog gone. I don't believe Kurt was blaming progressive politics for the crime, just pointing out the different way the media narrative treats politics. Had he been a conservative, and all other things been the same, there would be no more reason to blame his politics than there is now.

      Still, congratulations on the epic missing of the point and for not letting the truth get in the way of your jeremiad about evil people like Baptists.

    5. "The HuffPo, Maddow, the SPLC and the rest are not. The latter are in fact quite prominently pro-tolerance and pro-fact."......This Quotet is as honest and truthful as saying Maddow is heterosexual, Lawrence Odonnell is a Koch brothers fan boy and Ed Schultz thinks Scott Walker should be the next POTUS

  5. The WSJ says the guy had a legal carry permit, per the local PD. The local tow truck people say the (alleged) shooter was obsessive about parking complaints and having people towed, often calling daily, and that they eventually stopped responding to him.

    So Hick's obsession about parking and his other obsession about guns seems to be the only relevant issues here. And his progressive posts to social media DO appear to clear him of charges of racism or Islamophobia -- and may be the only good things about him.

    1. Another concealed carry killer.

    2. You'll notice that neither the conservatives nor libertarians here, nor even normal, sane liberals, tend to analyze killers here and say, "Well, at least he voted for X or supported X position. Otherwise he was a total shitbag, but he at least had that one good quality." Nope. We have to wait for dog gone to visit to get anything like that

    3. Dog gone: " And his progressive posts to social media DO appear to clear him of charges of racism or Islamophobia..."

      What are you saying here? Are you talking about specific language he used in posts, or that progressives can't be racists?