I felt as if I knew Craig Hicks, alleged murderer of three Muslim college students at UNC-Chapel Hill, before I read anything about his background. We have, in North Carolina, an unfortunate habit of letting the neighborhood Angry White Man run amuck. I have seen it in my neighborhood: the guy who seems to think it’s his right to confront people over things that are usually inconsequential annoyances. He yells at the neighbors, he yells at his family, he yells at his dog, he claims to be related to a judge or to have friends in the police department. When someone calls the police, the complaint is inexplicably ignored, and after that everyone knows there isn’t any point in trying to get the authorities to stop him.
It’s not about parking. It’s not about a barking dog. It’s about control. It’s about expecting everyone to conform to his desires. It’s about not wanting to see anything that irritates him.
While Craig Hicks was boasting about his firepower, Deah Barakat and Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, not long married, were providing desperately needed free dental services to the poor in Durham. The other victim, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, was Yusor’s sister, also a student, studying architecture.
It is beyond time to demand that authorities stop the neighborhood bully by taking complaints seriously the first time. Too many people in North Carolina live in fear of the “good ol’ boy” that always gets away with it, and every incident that they walk away from only makes them more arrogant. And they are terrorists. They terrorize their communities, often for years, before they finally erupt.