It’s not clear yet whether the killing of three young Muslim students in Chapel Hill, North Carolina was the product of a parking dispute, as police initially suggested; a hate crime, as the father of two of the victims believes; or most likely, a combination of stupid and evil motives that led to a horrific act.

Many American Muslims are understandably afraid the killings–for which the admitted perp is being charged with first-degree murder–won’t get the scrutiny that, say, a similar act by a Muslim would attract. We’ll have to see; I’m guessing the more ideologically conservative media types, who aren’t fond of either Muslims or atheists (the perp was reportedly an active atheist mocker of religions on social media) aren’t sure how to play it just yet, if at all (the Fox report I linked to above seemed to promote the “nothing to see here but craziness” interpretation, but one from PJ Media identified the killer as an “anti-region atheist progressive [sic!].”

All kinds of people commit crimes for all kinds of reasons, but in this case in particular, I hope we don’t choose up sides based on axes to be ground.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.