One must question CNN’s presentation of this story. Here’s what’s on their home page right now:
Notice what they highlight… “Iraq combat veteran.” “no red flags.” Then look at the picture. It’s a close crop of the original picture and put into grey scale to obscure the pattern on the scarf. It also cuts out the hand gesture he’s making. Here’s the original:
The scarf is one commonly worn by Muslims and the hand gesture is one commonly used by ISIS adherents. Here’s what it means:
Nathaniel Zelinsky writes in Foreign Affairs that the gesture refers to the tawhid, “the belief in the oneness of God and a key component of the Muslim religion.” More specifically, though, it refers to their fundamentalist interpretation of the tawhid, which rejects any other view, including other Islamic interpretations, as idolatry. Zelinsky writes that when ISIS uses the gesture, it is affirming an ideology that demands the destruction of the West, as well as any form of pluralism. For potential recruits around the globe, it also shows their belief that they will dominate the world.
At this point, we don’t know the motivation of the killer. He could be a guy who had a mental breakup. He could be getting revenge for some personal issue. He could be trying to make some political statement. He could have been trying to commit suicide by cop. Or… he could be an Islamic terrorist who was killing Americans in the name of ISIS. The fact that CNN tried to completely obscure that possibility is reprehensible journalism.
UPDATE: After a few hours, now their home page looks like this. That’s a bit better, but they still don’t mention the obvious keys in the picture in any of the headlines or blurbs. CNN has a clear agenda.