Photo of the day

From the Telegraph’s week in pictures:

Nasa astronaut Terry Virts tweeted this astonishingly beautiful photo of the British Isles with the aurora borealis glowing over Scotland

Nasa astronaut Terry Virts tweeted this astonishingly beautiful photo of the British Isles with the aurora borealis glowing over ScotlandPicture: @astroterry

Guns, hate crimes, and parking disputes

I did not ever have the good fortune to meet the two recent NCSU alums and one current student who were senselessly gunned-down in Chapel Hill earlier this week, but I know many who have and this certainly hits close to home.  It is kind of amazing to me how some people really want this to be about a parking dispute and some people really want it to be a hate crime.  By all accounts, the murderer was a horrible person and very much an equal-opportunity hater.  That said, it seems to stretch credibility that the fact that the victims were all obvious pious Muslims didn’t have at least something to do with it.

One thing that did have something to do with it… basically any horrible, crazy, person in the US can have pretty easy access to a gun, and even a concealed carry permit.  Love the caption my friend DJC put with this chart on FB:

“Seems like parking your car is much safer in other parts of the world”

Exactly.  Adam Gopnik— always great on issues of guns– has a very good take in the New Yorker that really cuts to the heart of things:

Let’s try to imagine that Craig Stephen Hicks, who massacred three of his neighbors in a Chapel Hill condominium on Tuesday, really did it for no other reason than to settle a difference of opinion about parking-lot etiquette.

That’s how the police are explaining Hicks’s decision to invade the home of the twenty-three-year-old Deah Shaddy Barakat, his twenty-one-year-old wife, Yusor Mohamad Abu-Salha, and her younger sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, and shoot them repeatedly—in the head, according to their family members.

That’s Hicks’s wife’s story, too…

So there you have it. Some people are sensitive about parking. One such person stood his ground. Now three young innocents are dead, and he’s being held without bond in the county jail. A lamentable affair, but, told like that, shorn of all context, it’s not unlike a song on the radio, folkloric. Our imaginations are primed to grasp it.

What’s hard to get one’s mind around is that everyone who’s singing this tune—the police, the wife, the prosecutor—seem to think that it’s reassuring. Getting blown away by a neighbor just because he’s pissed off at you for some ridiculous reason has become the equivalent of a natural disaster in our country, with our gun culture. It’s got nothing to do with the killer’s ideology, or with the victim’s identity. That’s the thinking. And, with this “parking” alibi, we’re being asked to imagine that these killings are a private tragedy, not some big public deal—not terrorism, not even like terrorism. We’re being told to believe that the vigilante killing of three young Americans is socially and politically meaningless… [emphases mine]

Far more Americans are killed each year by the shooters in our midst like Craig Stephen Hicks than have ever been killed by all the jihadist terrorist outfits that have ever stalked this earth. That’s the price, or so the rhetoric goes, of our wild freedom.

Sadly, too many politicians and too many Americans are unwilling to honestly admit that this is the price and do anything about it.  Until that happens– whether hate crime or not or even just parking dispute– this is just one more in the endless drumbeat of senseless killings that are modern American life, but not the same background noise in other “modern” countries.

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