Police in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, say they’re investigating the role racial hatred played in the killing of three Muslim students by suspect Craig Stephen Hicks. They’re saying the 46-year-old white man had a history of fights over a parking space with the victims, suggesting the killings could be reduced to road rage.
By Steven Rosenfeld|Alternet/Raw Story
Meanwhile, Hicks’ social media posts show that he was an ardent atheist who equally mocked Muslims and Christians, an avid defender of the Constitution’s separation of church and state, and a gun nut who posted pictures of his revolver. The Associated Press quoted neighbors who say “he always seemed angry and frequently confronted his neighbors” and “his ex-wife said he was obsessed with the shooting rampage movie Falling Down” and showed “no compassion at all.”
The Wall Street Journal further reported that the father of two victims, who were sisters, “said this man was hateful. He was picking fights, knocking on their door.” The Journal also said Hicks obsessively called tow truck companies to have his neighbors’ cars towed, and once even met tow truck drivers in the street waving a gun.
We can safely say that Craig Stephen Hicks fits the profile of the most common type of domestic violent extremist—a white man with grievances and guns. Whether he was provoked by road rage, rage against neighbors who wore traditional Muslim clothing, or other simmering grudges and pathologies, his alleged killing of three young Muslims underscores a trend that mainstream U.S. media avoids: that the face of violent extremism in America since 9/11 is predominantly white. Muslims in America, while not exempt from crime, simply do not compare.
There’s no shortage of crime statistics confirming this. A 2001-2015 “Homegrown Extremism” analysis by the New America Foundation parsed the “ethnicity, age, gender and citizenship” of people who killed or violently attacked others, whether they were motivated by jihadist philosophies or other “right wing, left wing or idiosyncratic beliefs.” Of 448 extremists counted, white men who were U.S. citizens outnumbered every other demographic by wide margins.