JournalismPakistan.com February 13, 2015
He didn’t just get up and decide, ah well, nothing much on the TV, so let’s go kill the neighbors. This was a religious hate crime and there were just three young people minding their own business in their own home when they were made into targets. Just another neighborhood turned into a scene of mayhem.
Of course the cold blooded killing will invite outrage and condemnation but is that enough. These are not gummen with the wild and woolly west doing a romantic churn in their heads. These are racially motivated killers who resent anyone who is different to them. Call it fear, ignorance, rage, it does not matter, it is the height of intolerance. We have all gotten used to this concept of the angry young (or not so young) man guarding his home and hearth and because media is slanted it refuses to call these people individual terrorists. That is what they are.
The 46-year-old man, named by police as Craig Stephen Hicks wasn’t just watching a movie with the boys when he had this bloody epiphany. He didn’t like his neighbors. In fact, he actively must have hated them and everything they stood for. He never saw the good in them because he never looked for it. His rage was on the boil and he felt justified in getting them out of the neighborhood. So visceral was the hatred and so strongly fanned by stereotyping that Hicks didn’t shoot them spontaneously in a fight over a parking space. If that had been the case the scenario would have been instant like pulling out a shotgun from behind the seat of the vehicle and letting fly at random.
His was cold blooded and planned. This guy had been posting hate messages on Facebook and no alerts went up.
The victims were newlyweds Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, a University of North Carolina dental student, and his wife Yusor Mohammad, 21, and Yusor’s sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha. All three were involved in humanitarian aid programs. Not that it mattered if they were not. The cruel fact is that Hicks went into their home and shot them each in the head. It was an execution and these were three young people who had done no one any harm.
The decreasing level of tolerance around the globe is a matter of great danger. The human mind is capable of becoming more and more self-absorbed seeing everything that does not fit into its parameters as threatening and dangerous. The gospel of hatred becomes easier to preach and people like Hicks abound. So deep is this animosity that they do not even see themselves as killers but as those providing deliverance.
For each tear that is shed for the death of the innocent the scary part is that there is someone who understands the Hicks doctrine of hate and encourages it.
(The writer is a Senior Editorial Advisor of Khaleej Times and the paper’s former Editor. He has also been the Editor of Gulf News, Gulf Today, Emirates Today and Bahrain Tribune)
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