Sudden Jihad Syndrome?

From the Chicago Sun-Times, a glimpse into the mind of Steve Kazmierczak, the man who shot and killed five people and then himself in a lecture hall at  Northern Illinois University.

 “Assalamo Alikum,” he would say to me, which means “peace be with you” in Arabic. He would proceed to ask me how I was doing and what I was up to, all in Arabic with a thick accent and a huge, excited smile.

Sometimes I was his walking dictionary and he would ask me, “What does this word mean in English?” or “What is this word in Arabic?”

We would debate on issues, sometimes argue, but he would always back his arguments with facts. It was about logic and things adding up to him.

Once we took a course called “The Politics of the Middle East.” At the beginning of the course, our instructor informed us a research paper would be due by the end of the semester. Steve decided on Hamas, which is known mainly to the world as being a Palestinian terrorist group, which was the first thing that interested Steve about the group. But he also heard Hamas funded many social services, which also interested him. How could one group be put into two completely different categories, Steve would ask.

Unlike most of us, Steve started his research from day one, reading every book he could find on Hamas. He’d give me a status report when we saw each other in class. Steve said that his perception of Hamas changed with all the research he did.

Read it all…

Unfortunately we will probably never hear of any other clues that might explain his sudden need to kill. Clues like an  interest in Islam, or reading the Koran, or supporting a group that illegally provided support to Hamas.

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