On October 7, 2023, the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas cut their way through the fence separating Gaza and Israel, then engaged in a campaign of atrocities that shocked the world.
Yet not everyone thought what happened was a bad thing. Obviously, Hamas didn’t or else they wouldn’t have done it, but a lot of other people, including many in the US, thought they were justified in slaughtering innocent people who were at a music festival or just living their lives in their kibbutzes.
To say the disagreement has caused tension is putting it mildly.
We’ve seen a lot of anti-Jewish hate crimes here in the US, but that’s been the majority of the hate crimes’ focus.
Three Palestinian college students were shot in Burlington, Vermont, on Saturday evening, prompting calls from civil rights organizations and the victims’ families for authorities to look into possible bias by the attacker.
The 20-year-old men are all receiving medical care, according to a Sunday news release from the Burlington Police Department. “Two are stable, while one has sustained much more serious injuries.”
The students were walking on Prospect Street while visiting a relative in Burlington for the Thanksgiving holiday when “they were confronted by a white man with a handgun,” says the release.
“Without speaking, he discharged at least four rounds from the pistol and is believed to have fled on foot,” police said.
Police said that two of the victims are US citizens and one is a legal resident.
Two of the three students were wearing keffiyehs, traditional Palestinian scarves, according to the police department. Two were shot in the torso and one in the “lower extremities.”
Authorities said that “there is no additional information to suggest the suspect’s motive.”
And the lack of an obvious motive is interesting.
After all, there was no sign of robbery or that any of these three knew the attacker. That rules out the most likely scenarios.
Because of that, the families figure that the lack of an obvious motive actually suggests a reason for the attack.
In an interview with CNN, an attorney for the families of the victims described the incident as “a targeted shooting and a targeted crime.”
“The suspect walked up to them and shot them,” attorney Abed Ayoub said. “They weren’t robbed, they weren’t mugged.”
Ayoub said he believes the students were targeted in part because two of them were wearing keffiyehs.
In a joint statement, the victims’ families urged law enforcement to investigate the attack as a hate crime.
Now, was it a hate crime? There’s not a lot of ways to determine that. This could have been someone who wanted to shoot some folks and these three just happened to walk by at the wrong time.
I’m not saying that’s likely, only that it’s theoretically possible.
It’s also possible that one or all of these three knew the guy and there was some kind of beef between them, but they aren’t forthcoming for some reason. We seriously don’t know.
And yes, it could be ultimately what many would term as a hate crime.
While an arrest has been made, there’s been no mention of the suspect’s motive at this time, which means we don’t know anything definitively.
But what popped into my mind is how I’d deal with being the potential target of a hate crime. After all, there are a lot of people who believe that they’re likely to be the target of violence because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, favorite video game, or whatever. People like a group of Palestinian students walking down the street.
As such, if you think you might be targeted, doesn’t it behoove you to have the means to defend yourself from such an attack? Doesn’t it make sense to buy a gun, learn how to use it, and carry it?
Let’s remember that while Vermont has some anti-gun laws on the books, it’s also a constitutional carry state, shockingly. You don’t need a permit to start carrying if you find your group suddenly the target of violence–or you think it might be.
Of course, we have no way of knowing if this was a hate crime or not. When we don’t know the motivation of the shooter, it’s impossible to tell. Obviously, some want it to be a hate crime because victimhood is pretty popular these days, but we don’t know.
What we do know is that if you don’t want to be a victim, there’s nothing wrong with taking a long-term approach to changing minds, but you need a firearm in the short term.