The lessons of Chapel Hill

He has expressed support for legalized abortion and gay marriage and antipathy for Republicans and conservatives. He’s also staunch supporter of gun rights. His current wife, Karen Hicks, says he wasn’t a bigot in any way. But he didn’t have much of a career and his first wife says he was obsessed with the 1993 movie “Falling Down,” in which a struggling white male who resents immigrants and racial minorities goes on a shooting rampage. Hicks was also obsessed, according to neighbors in his Chapel Hill condominium complex, with parking issues, and had previously threatened the people who were killed over parking spaces.

The “Falling Down” angle suggests that the great promise life held for the three high-achieving young Muslims only added to Hicks’ resentment. Their scholarly ways and successful career paths were more maddening than a head scarf.

Maybe it’s not that complicated. One of the most reasoned comments made in the days after the shooting came from Robert Maitland, Karen Hicks’ lawyer. He suggested that Hicks’ deteriorating mental health is the most likely culprit. “Obviously it’s not within the range of normal behavior for someone to shoot three people over parking issues,” he said.

Still, it’s not unfair to wonder whether the demonization of Christians and Muslims by the political left’s secular stars helped create a climate—at least inside the troubled mind of Craig Hicks—that ignited this terrible act.