Chattanooga Shooting Updates

[Content Note: Shooting; death; Islamophobia; disablism. Video may autoplay at the link.]

The names of the four Marines and one Naval officer killed by Mohammad Abdulazeez have now been released: Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan of Massachusetts, Lance Cpl. Squire "Skip" Wells of Georgia, Staff Sgt. David Wyatt of Arkansas, Sgt. Carson Holmquist of Wisconsin, and Navy Petty Officer Randall Smith of Ohio.

The four Marines were killed at the site of the shootings. Smith was severely injured, and later succumbed to his wounds at the hospital.

There is also more information trickling out about Abdulazeez. His family reports that he suffered from depression and was bipolar. He had sought therapy and treatment for mental illness and drug use. Last year, his family sent him to Jordan for an extended stay "to get him away from Chattanooga friends who they said were bad influences on him, the relatives told investigators. Some of Abdulazeez's relatives and friends told investigators they detected changes in his behavior since he returned from Jordan last year, a law enforcement official said."

We're certainly meant to interpret that as Abdulazeez got radicalized on his trip to Jordan, but I don't know if that's what the observations about changes in his behavior actually mean. Or if they're simply comments about his deteriorating mental state.

Either way, we are certainly meant to blame Abdulazeez's religion and the fact of his mental illness, the latter of which is usually a solid go-to for white male spree killers, but suddenly the media is eminently willing to push back on that idea when it comes to a killer named Mohammad Abdulazeez:
CNN law enforcement analyst Tom Fuentes stressed that depression doesn't necessarily make anyone more likely to kill.

"I think mental health professionals would be not happy with what the parents are assessing, in saying, 'Well, he was depressed, and therefore that's why he became a killer like this,'" Fuentes said. "People with depression do not turn, necessarily, into psychopathic killers -- as he did."
People with depression don't necessarily become murderers! Thanks for that terrific insight, pal!

I don't imagine it was strictly one thing or the other, but the confluence of a number of internal and external forces that led Abdulazeez to do this heinous thing. What I know is that his thoughts and actions didn't exist in a vacuum. And that all the othering in the world doesn't change the fact that he was raised and lived in the US, as one of its citizens.

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