Seattle Jewish Federation Shooting

A mentally ill American Muslim shot six women yesterday afternoon at the Seattle Jewish Federation, killing one.

A Muslim-American man angry with Israel barged into the offices of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle Friday afternoon and opened fire with a handgun, killing one woman and wounding five others before surrendering to police. Three of the women were in critical condition late Friday.

A law-enforcement source identified the arrested suspect as Naveed Afzal Haq, 30, who until recently had lived in Everett, and said Haq apparently has a history of mental illness. Court records show Haq has a charge of lewd conduct pending against him in Benton County.

The shooting came a day after the FBI had warned Jewish organizations nationwide to be on alert after Hezbollah leaders in Lebanon and al-Qaida’s second in command urged that the war raging in the Middle East be carried to the U.S. However, the law-enforcement source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said there is no evidence Haq was involved with any group. “He said he hates Israel,” said the source, who is part of the Seattle Joint Terrorism Task Force, which was called in to help investigate the shootings. David Gomez, the assistant special agent-in-charge of the Seattle FBI office, said there is “nothing to indicate he is part of a larger organization.”

Tragic but apparently just a nut who got hold of a gun rather than evidence of a vast wave of Muslims coming to America to kill. More so than any Muslim problem (which I don’t deny; see any of Steve Emerson’s writings), this case highlights the problems with our current policy of letting those with “a history of mental illness” free range.

Michelle Malkin
isn’t buying it, though. She writes,

Gomez, get a clue. The Muslim shooting suspect is part of “a larger organization” of Jew-haters worldwide who hate Israel and want to see Jews dead.

I don’t doubt that he’s a Jew hater or that a huge number of Muslims worldwide are likewise. That doesn’t make them an “organization,” though. The FBI is concerned about groups acting in a coordinated fashion, not simply sharing characteristics. Short of rounding all the Muslims up, I’m not sure what the FBI would do about the “organization” as defined by Malkin.

UPDATE: Planck’s Constant informs us that “Muslims cannot be good Americans” and refutes the “lone wacko” explanation by citing a figure that claims “Islamic terrorists have carried out more than 5469 deadly terror attacks since 9/11.” Not knowing the scope or methodology of the linked site’s calculation, it’s rather difficult to refute. Let’s say it’s accurate, though, for the sake of discussion. How many murders have been carried out by Christians in the last 5 years? American Blacks?

For that matter, there can simultaneously be an organized conspiracy while individual acts are not part of it. For example, there are numerous street gangs consisting mostly of black or Hispanic Americans; yet, most murders committed by black and Hispanic Americans are merely isolated crimes. There are Italian, Russian, and Cuban mafias; most crimes committed by Americans of Italian, Russian, and Cuban descent, however, are not under the umbrella of “organized crime”. There are white supremacist groups comprised of white Americans; yet, most anti-black race crimes are committed by lone malcontents. Why, then, is it so difficult to believe that a given Muslim man who hates Jews enough to kill them is nonetheless singularly responsible for his actions?

That’s not to say that further investigation won’t show that Haq isn’t a shrewd al Qaeda sleeper agent. I had never heard of the man until this morning; all I know is what I read in the papers. The available evidence, however, does not point in that direction.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Fersboo says:

    Sweet Jeebus, do they now just need to say they are mentally ill? Isn’t that the same ploy used by the NC university MOSLEM who ran over his fellow students?

    Look JJ, my birth mother is mentally ill and I’ve had to deal with it for most of my 37 years. The freaking state of Maryland lets her wander the streets because the facilitate the behavior that contributes to her illness and will not let me control the situation, claiming that she has ‘rights’. She is crazy and sometimes doesn’t take her meds, thinks she is Christ one minute and Hitler the next, but she isn’t going to kill anyone.

    Nice try though. Let us apply Occam’s Razor or what it is called here; the man is a MOSLEM, he hates JEWS (and by extension the rest of the WEST), got hold of a gun, shot innocents; looks like TERRORISM to me. You know, walks like a terrorist, talks like a terrorist, kills like a terrorist, must be a terrorist.

  2. James Joyner says:

    Fersboo:

    The police press conference used the phrase. I presume, therefore, that he has some paper trail of having been institutionalized. That the system says we can’t lock people up when they’re in that state of mind is a big problem, I think.

    Not knowing any more than what I’ve seen in a couple press reports, I have no idea whether he’s sufficiently “insane” to escape criminal responsibility. He probably is not.

    There doesn’t seem to be much evidence that he’s a terrorist, let alone any that he’s involved with Hezbollah or some other organized group. That he’s a murderer–and an attempted mass murderer–is not in dispute, however.

  3. Fersboo says:

    I’ll allow Andy McCarthy to provide a rebuttal JJ.

    Excerpt:

    A Muslim man walks into not just any building in Seattle � not even just any identifiably Jewish location in Seattle � but into the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle, whose mission since 1926, according to the website it maintains, is to “ensure Jewish survival and to enhance the quality of Jewish life locally, in Israel and worldwide.”

    The Muslim man has obviously not only carefully chosen the target but cased the place. There’s a security system, so he waits until someone attached to the Federation enters using her access code, then he pounces, forcing his way through the open door. He brandishes a large caliber, semi-automatic handgun. He announces that he’s a Muslim angry at Israel. Then he randomly, wantonly opens fire � shooting six women, one of whom is pregnant, one of whom is killed.

    Plain and simple JJ.

    You know, if this was a sect of Christians murdering abortion clinic workers……..

  4. Bithead says:

    James;

    Your point about a paper trail is well taken.

    However,

    I guess part of the problem here is a rather variable definition of ‘sanity’.

    Fers, (who also blogs at BitsBlog,) myself, and DavidL, (who ALSO blogs at Bistblog,) have had a running discussion on this for some time, within the context of the recent verdict of Not Guilty by reason of insanity, in the Andrea Yates case. I bring it up here because it clearly draws the lines of the discussion, here;

    DavidL opines that:

    I am real troubled by any arguement that the crime itself proves the actor insane. By that logiic, it would mean that Eric and Lyell Menendez were insane, because only an insane person would murder their parents.

    Now grant that Mrs. Yatea was depreseed. Then that could because she was married to a jerk. Yet Mrs. Yates knew enough to plan her crime when her mother, or mother-in-law, wouild out of the house. She clearly knew that killing her children was wrong. I don’t buy the insanity defense, not in this case.

    I respond with:

    I’m not overly comfortable with the verdict either.

    On the other hand, we’re left with the question, ” What sane person does that’?”

    I rather suspect that the police brought up the subject of insanity because they know that’s the only logical course for any defense attorney to take who is taking on such case. And as with the Yates case, granted that there is probably some mental disturbance going on. The question becomes at what point does he become clinically insane? Is it at the point he pulls the trigger? If that’s true, then David’s fears are realized.

    I am equally troubled by Fersboo’s comments, however, in that while he is correct that the common thread here is the ‘religion of peace’, there again, the question becomes ‘where do you set up the legal wall?’

    We already have people among the The social left in this country claiming that religion, particularly the overt variety, is a sign of mental illness… as Fran over at Eternity Road has eloquently written recently. Frankly, I think that misidentifies the cause of the problem,(As does Fran) but there it is.

    At the same time, we are left with the only logical conclusion being that the only organization that runs common through all these threads of air of violence, is Islam.

    We have not dealt with this as a matter of law previously, simply because of the fact that the definition of sanity was driven as much by cultural guidelines as anything else. I suggest that this is been left open as a matter of law, to some extent, because lawmakers are loathe to codify culture in the law, any longer. The fear to upset members of other cultures.

    I fear we are now reaping the benefits of such lack of foresight.

    In a larger sense, I think part of the problem here is that we are still under the illusion that all cultures are equal, all religions are equal, and should all be treated as such. We’ve been getting a rather nasty lesson lately about the fallacy in that statement.

    As you see, I have more questions here, than conclusions.

  5. Kent G. Budge says:

    Society and the law have been conflating “mentally ill” and “evil” for quite some time now. I can’t claim any special wisdom in knowing where to put the line. However, I’m inclined to think that if a person is found not guilty by reason of insanity, his term in a mental ward should be at least as long as the prison sentence he would have gotten if judged sane. That protects the public while removing any incentive to fake mental illness.

    Yes, of course, if the law worked that way, you’d wonder why the distinction mattered. I guess that’s my point.

  6. Bithead says:

    First off, given that the law really doesn’t work that way is a major issue . Even assuming that the law does work that way, or, did going forward, it certainly doesn’t matter to those who are the dead.

    However, I suggest to you that since the law in fact doesn’t work that way, it does matter to those of us who were still alive. Because as Fers points out, that legal definition is the difference between such people being on the street or being locked up, where society will be protected from their actions.

    Even with that need more solidly identified, however, we are still left with a question of where to set that legalistic wall.

  7. moderate says:

    If it were Christians killing abortion doctors it wouldn’t get much coverage. The right has always been the biggest source of terrorism in this country, in the seventies they set more bombs than the left. they’ve shot dozens of cops and when a bunch of them in Wacko Texas gunned down some ATF the same people who usually advocate ruthless force jumped on the FBI because these people burned up their children.

    “Lone nut” is a term we use for individuals acting pretty much on their own. Michelle wants to imprison and maybe gas anyone who met him while deporting every other Muslim in the area. Most of us want some perspective. Michelle thinks that if you’re a good Filipino who talks like a kluxer they will like you.

  8. Bithead says:

    Oh, really?
    Do a quick search on Eric Rudolph.
    I’ll expect a withdrawal on this nonsense.
    Well, actually, I expect no admission on your part at all, regardless.

    Some ‘moderate’ YOU are.

  9. Bithead says:

    For that matter, there can simultaneously be an organized conspiracy while individual acts are not part of it. For example, there are numerous street gangs consisting mostly of black or Hispanic Americans; yet, most murders committed by black and Hispanic Americans are merely isolated crimes. There are Italian, Russian, and Cuban mafias; most crimes committed by Americans of Italian, Russian, and Cuban descent, however, are not under the umbrella of �organized crime�. There are white supremacist groups comprised of white Americans; yet, most anti-black race crimes are committed by lone malcontents. Why, then, is it so difficult to believe that a given Muslim man who hates Jews enough to kill them is nonetheless singularly responsible for his actions?

    Ostensibly, this is a fairly reasonable question.

    However, I will direct a question back to you, James; How many of these murders that you theoretically cite, are done Blacks, Christians Jews, etc.. By comparison, these are few and far between.

  10. jpe says:

    he hates JEWS (and by extension the rest of the WEST), got hold of a gun, shot innocents; looks like TERRORISM to me.

    A few months ago in NYC, a black guy killed a white woman because he hates whites. Per your definition, his act was terrorism, which just isn’t right. When the term is stretched to include too many things, it ceases to have meaning.

  11. Fersboo says:

    he hates JEWS (and by extension the rest of the WEST), got hold of a gun, shot innocents; looks like TERRORISM to me.

    A few months ago in NYC, a black guy killed a white woman because he hates whites. Per your definition, his act was terrorism, which just isn�t right. When the term is stretched to include too many things, it ceases to have meaning.

    Did the black guy cite a religion? Was it possible that he proclaimed that he was a Rastafarian? Apples and Oranges.