CHATTANOOGA—Mere days after another gun-fuelled rampage, this time at a military recruiting center, the nation’s media outlets are scrambling like Sherlock on crack in the search for clues to the killer’s motives.
“We have absolutely no idea of what caused this,” explained Sarah Kreeger-Knight, a freelance journalist from Brooklyn who never planned to spend any time at all in Tennessee. “My twitter feed is practically blank. Nobody can put a finger on why this young man came back from spending the last six months in the Middle East, grew a beard, blogged about an apocalyptic worldview, and then shot all these people. No information at all. No leads, just crickets. I tell you, Chattanooga sucks.”
The gunman, 24-year-old Muhammad Youssuf Abdulazeez, does not appear to have had an affinity for the Confederate flag, so investigators are unable to connect any dots that led to the attack. Rumors that he had been seen with the black ISIS banner are unconfirmed, and may simply indicate an affinity for bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd.
“There isn’t anything to tie him to any extremist groups out there, such as the self-proclaimed Islamic State,” said Orwell Peabody, chairman of the self-proclaimed National Public Radio. “He appears to have been self-radicalized, which is possible, just unaccredited. You can do it yourself simply by self-surfing the internet and self-reading materials of an extremist nature. My brother-in-law got a degree in medical office billing that way. ”
Bubba MacTaggart, Grand Koala of the Unfreckled Aryan Brotherhood Movement Association Organization, agrees. “He wasn’t one of ours,” he says. “When I saw his picture, I thought he might be one of the Duck Dynasty boys. But the day of the incident was the same day as our Fatback Festival, held on Jasper’s cousin’s neighbor’s uncle’s vacant lot just outside Paducah. That’s the Brotherhood Movement Association Organization’s big yearly fundraiser, so nobody would miss that, especially since Donald Trump was scheduled as the keynote speaker.”
Experts warn that jumping to conclusions based on Abdulazeez’ appearance could be misleading. Though he presented, and possibly even identified, as a fundamentalist of some sort, opinion is divided as to whether he simply wanted to start an NAACP chapter somewhere or win an ESPY Award.
“At this point it’s up to the coroner,” said Kreeger-Knight. “If he comes back with Quaaludes in his system, we’ll reassess everything we know.”