Chapel Hill Shooting: Atheists / Anti-theists Are Responsible?

Craig Hicks, charged with shooting death of 3 Muslims in N.C.

Some less than spectacular people out there on the Inter-webs are calling for vocal atheists and anti-theists to own up to the Chapel Hill Shooting being our version of the Charlie Hebdo Massacre. No, we won’t be doing that. At least not at this time. Should the available facts on record change, such as a confirmed manifesto being released, any reasonable person would adjust their views to include this. But what we have here is a horrible tragedy with no clear motives, nothing more. Charlie Hebdo was killing in the name of religion being held higher in importance than freedom of speech and human life; no comparison.

Standards of acceptance of evidence is probably the core difference between atheists and theists. For instance: I don’t see any evidence that is at all compelling for a historical Jesus of Nazareth nor for a God of Abraham. The commonly used “personal experience” routine is crap on multiple levels but mainly because people lie to further their own goals all the time and religious labels don’t instantly cure a person of unethical behaviors.

I’ve studied the Bible at length, researched non-canonical texts, applied the standards of historical veracity to both the Old and New Testaments and none of it amounts to the claims of “divinity” and “divine truth” made by Bible-believers. At the most, and this is being very generous, there was a Jewish rebel priest put to death by the Romans that had a chain of hearsay turn him into a demigod in the eyes of certain men who were all born around a hundred years after his execution.

Islam and the Quran are different in the sense that the central figure is much, much more so a verified historical figure but shares in the same issues of the Torah and the Bible where none of the claims to divinity and ultimate truth are any more compelling than when the Greeks, Egyptians or the Pagans wrote of their mastery of the ethos of life and contemplation. The endless contradictions anyone can find with enough time spent with almost any “holy book” placed to the side, the issue with any form of religious extremism boils down to dehumanizing those who will not conform to the point where an act of torture or murder upon them is not only acceptable but mandated from on high.

Thing to remember here is some people believe in UFOs and anal probes but it’s rare to the point of being unheard of that one of them would go shoot up a skeptic conference in the name of being unhindered to spread the message of the coming alien overlords to the masses. But both radicalized Christians as well as Muslims, and even the heavily pacifist Buddhists, have done exactly these kinds of actions in both isolated and organized acts of violence. All this in recent decades and not even bothering to dredge out old history books citing violence over the centuries committed in the name of religious “purity.”

No respected atheist anywhere is advocating you solve your disputes with acts of murder or that the best way to silence an ideological opponent is to kill them in their home or place of business. But I could troll the right-wing radio Christian waves for awhile and bring back some moron who is doing exactly that and same with the nationalistic Islamic newsgroups and forums. This would not in turn implicate all Christians and all Muslims in those statements but only those who identify with the speaker’s views which is not an easy thing to assess unless someone declares it to be so.

Deah Barakat, his wife Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha and her sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha.

 

As always when I cover tragic stories my deepest condolences go out to the family members and friends of the victims of this horrible event.  I do not speak merely for myself when I say that this man should face the full force of the legal justice system and hopefully this will bring you some measure of peace.

R.I.P. Tyler Tenorio

The Santa Cruz Community has suffered a great loss. A young man taken from us in his prime.

Whatever the circumstances, this horrible violence has touched me and I don’t feel I conveyed the depth of my thoughts on the matter when I spoke of it previously.

When I was sixteen, I was really stupid. I didn’t know Tyler, and I have recently discovered some of my friends in fact did know Tyler or his family. I am making an assumption that perhaps teenagerist stupidity was at play in this stabbing based on myself, not Tyler.

I feel what must be said is that I believe in my heart of hearts that Tyler Tenorio rests in peace with God.

This young soul taken from us before his time.

My heart is with all those who have lost loved ones.

I apologize if any person took offense from my previous post in regards to Tyler. I was awarded an “Editor’s Pick” on Open Salon for my efforts, but in retrospect I should have expressed my emotions on the matter rather than pure dispassionate conjecture.

Repost: The Tragedy at Fort Hood

1109_fthoodbh

(Image: PBS.org)

The tragedy at Fort Hood had nothing to do with religion. No matter what some Muslim-hater says.

The tragedy at Fort Hood cannot be properly termed that this point an act of terrorism. No matter what some fear-monger says.

Jon Soltz, of VoteVets.org, appearing on Alan Colmes Radio agrees with me that saying such unfounded statements about this tragedy is completely disrespectful to the fallen.

Those equating this incident with terrorism are an insult to this nation.

The raw truth of this, is that this was a mass murder by a highly-unstable person.

My heart goes out to all those who lost loved ones in this senseless violence. The nation mourns your loss.

I find it unfortunate in the extreme that unethical broadcasters like Bill O’Reilly use this horrific mass murder on a U.S. Army base to spread the Politics of Fear in the nation.

This was a senseless killing of Americans by a deranged individual.

Media Hate-Profiteers may say otherwise, but care nothing for following the facts and care everything for spreading anti-Islamic sentiment while promoting baseless public fear.

At this stage, to call this anything but a mass murder of co-workers by a disturbed individual is purely motivated by a divisive political motive, and the attachment to the issue of the shooter’s religion or ethnicity is motivated purely by the motives of hatred for others based on creed or faith.

I find it a shame that we have a corrupt Media-giant promoting the Politics of Fear and the Politics of Hate under the guise of the credibility of a news group.

I find it a shame that some people have such unethical practices and then claim the title of “journalist,” as Bill O’Reilly does.

Gangland Stabbing in My Town

A young man was stabbed to death in front of a 7-11 parking lot in Santa Cruz, California. Tyler Tenorio was sixteen at the time of his death on October 16th around 10 p.m.

20091024__CSS53015~5_GALLERYFriends of Tyler Tenorio (Shmuel Thaler/Sentinel)


20091024__CSS53015~4_GALLERYMore than 300 people gather on Laurel Street Friday evening to voice their opposition to gang violence and to remember Tyler Tenorio. (Shmuel Thaler/Sentinel)


The Santa Cruz Sentinel

What was conjecture of the locals the day prior has become an issue of major concern for the District Attorney and the police department.

Was Tyler representing gang membership or making a claim to belong to a gang surrounding the time of his death?

Those like myself who read the original article published in The Sentinel on this tragedy saw this element of the story coming ahead of time.

I don’t wish to cause anyone to be troubled but in my estimation Tyler, and likely his friends as well, were representing themselves as being in a gang called “Westside” that associates with the color red and is local to this side of Santa Cruz.

The history of “Westside” is not my focus here, but it is a gang that is mainly people claiming to belong to it and has very few (if any) actual members beyond teenagers wearing colors.

It is my contention that Tyler Tenorio was wearing red clothing, and having his shirts pressed by his mom, because he wished to be associated with a local gang that would never seek recrimination upon those who falsely claim to belong to it.

This is a very common occurrence in Santa Cruz youth, to claim to be part of “Westside”.

This case underlines the need to be aware of what our children and our friends are doing around us.

There is another element I feel I should touch upon as well.

There is a possibly that this tragedy was not as strongly related to gang affiliation of any sort, but rather was a case of prideful arrogance boiling into sheer violence on behalf of both parties.

The entire scene of violence could have been avoided if only Tyler had chosen to keep driving and avoid the confrontation itself.

It is within reason to assume that this young man is dead because of man-pride and the need to prove yourself right at the end of a fist.

After the shouting, the driver pulled the car onto Myrtle Street, parked and Tenorio and his friends got out. One friend told police he was angry and got out to fight, according to the court document.

I was not present for this event. I can only read news reports and hear what people have to say around town about it. But based on what I know it is a possibility that this senseless death was fueled by the arrogance of the young men in both parties, or it also possible that this was a gangland stabbing that involved a false gang member being stabbed by a real gang member who assumed that other was affiliated.