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When a person commits a murder, does it really matter why he or she did it? It shouldn’t.

Last week, three college students were murdered in Chapel Hill, NC. Deah Shaddy Barakat, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha were shot dead by Craig Hicks outside of an apartment complex for unclear reasons. Some speculate that the shooting was over a dispute over a parking space, as Hicks allegedly confronted the victims multiple times over it prior to the shooting. Others believe this was a hate crime, as Hicks is clearly an atheist judging from his Facebook posts, and all three victims were Muslims.

If it was a dispute over a parking space, shame on Hicks for getting that upset over a petty issue such as this. If it was over religion, shame on Hicks for being so closed-minded and hateful as to take lives over a difference of beliefs. Either way, Hicks is a murderer and should be punished as such; I don’t think the motive should be such a big deal at this point.

Think of it this way, for example: A man murders his boss for firing him, and it just so happens that the boss had an affair with his wife. It’s unclear whether or not the employee knew about the affair. What was the motive for his actions? The firing? The affair? Both? Does it matter? The important thing is that he took someone’s life outside of self-defense, and that’s bad.

A murderer’s motives doesn’t make him or her any less of a bad person, so why debate over what they were?