Attempting to throw a spanner into the humming rumor mill, the wife of the Chapel Hill killer told the media on Wednesday that her husband could not possibly be guilty of a hate crime because he was a committed progressive. “This incident,” Mrs. Hicks insisted, “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.” As evidence of her spouse’s bona fides, she noted for the record that he “often champions on his Facebook page for the rights of many individuals” and is in favor of same-sex marriages and abortion. “He just believes that everyone is equal,” she concluded. It “doesn’t matter what you look like or who you are or what you believe.”

Unless you park your car in his spot, of course. Then you’re liable to be summarily executed.

It is, of course, entirely possible that the shooting was the product of a quotidian parking dispute, and that Craig Hicks was a terminally fussy busybody with a lethally short fuse. If anybody would know, one would presume it would be his wife. But it is also possible that these were merely proximate causes, and that Hicks really did have a sincere dislike of Muslim Americans. Certainly, one does not wish to kick a grieving wife when she is down. But it strikes me nevertheless that Mrs. Hicks’s blind rejection of the latter possibility is worthy of comment, for as far as she is concerned, the notion that her husband could have loathed Muslims to the breaking point is an inherently impossible one. “He couldn’t have done this,” she seems to say; “he supports all the right things.”