Joel Mowbray

Hiding behind potted plants, Naveed Haq laid in wait for a 14-year-old girl he could use as a hostage. With a gun in her back, he pushed his way past security and through the door. He coldly, deliberately shot six women. When a wounded Pamela Waechter tried to flee up some stairs, he followed her, leaned over a railing and killed her.

Are these the actions of a crazy person?

A crazy person might cause harm to himself, maybe even someone close to him. Haq, though, did not know anyone at the Seattle Jewish Federation. He traveled some distance late last month from central Washington, getting there after determining his target following an Internet search for “something Jewish.”

That wasn’t all of his planning. Because of Washington law, Haq waited to purchase his two semiautomatic handguns, picking them up one day earlier.

Premeditation is the antithesis of crazy. So why is it that the mainstream media has either ignored or played down this story? The New York Times has written only one article. Ditto for the Washington Post. Both papers buried what little coverage they did offer, on page 22 and page 13, respectively.

Most of those outlets that publicized the shootings have focused on Haq’s history of mental illness, the most serious of which was bipolar disorder. Great attention has been paid to his apparently having acted alone. And some have reported that sometime last year, the accused murderer was a practicing Christian.

In other words, media outlets have spent fantastic energy exploring every possibility—except the obvious one. Moments after spraying bullets across the offices of the Jewish Federation, he announced, “I’m a Muslim-American; I’m angry at Israel.” So while Haq’s short-lived apparent conversion to Christianity might be interesting, it neither inspired the murderous rampage nor serves as evidence that something in his Islamic environment did not.

Where is the investigation into what messages Haq heard in his hometown mosque, which was founded by his father? Or how about a look at the culture and attitudes of his hometown Muslim community?

No doubt that sensitivities and hang-ups in part prevent such inquiries, but isn’t it possible that those issues are ignored out of fear? Having one case of homegrown terror wouldn’t just be about the single incident. With over 1,200 mosques in the U.S.—and that’s not counting the thousands of makeshift ones in homes and storefronts—the enormity of the potential threat becomes terrifying. How many would need to be bad seeds for another 19 to line up for the “glory” of killing another 3,000?

Joel Mowbray

Joel Mowbray, who got his start with, is an award-winning investigative journalist, nationally-syndicated columnist and author of Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Threatens America's Security.

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