On Sunday, I reviewed the reported evidence here at PJ Media on what we knew about Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez, the killer who gunned down four Marines and one Navy sailor in Chattanooga last Thursday, as both investigators and the media puzzled over his possible motive.
For many in the media, the motive remains elusive:
Chattanooga shooter was possibly troubled; motive a mystery http://t.co/9gxzwZwdRT
— WSB-TV (@wsbtv) July 21, 2015
And as our friends at the Washington Free Beacon have chronicled, this is a point that the media is at great pains to let you know.
But the killer’s family has given the media the narrative they’ve been searching for: Abdulazeez was mentally ill, depressed, drug addled, a troubled youth with financial debts.
This was pushed out yesterday by ABC News after the family presented the killer’s diary:
Four days after the shooting, the FBI has not found any connection to overseas terrorist groups, but Mohammod Abdulazeez’s diary says that as far back as 2013, he wrote about having suicidal thoughts and “becoming a martyr” after losing his job due to his drug use, both prescription and non-prescription drugs, the family representative said.
In a downward spiral, Abdulazeez would abuse sleeping pills, opioids, painkillers and marijuana, along with alcohol, the representative said.
Most recently, the 24-year-old was having problems dealing with a 12 hour overnight shift, and had to take sleeping pills, according to the representative. The young man was also thousands of dollars in debt and considering filing for bankruptcy.
Three months before the shooting, Abdulazeez was arrested on April 20 — a day celebrated annually by marijuana users — and charged with drunk driving. The arresting officer noted a smell of marijuana in the car.
But wait a second. Did they just say that going back to 2013, he wrote about “becoming a martyr,” which ABC News quickly translates into him having “suicidal thoughts”?
Well, that’s one way to spin it, I guess.
They also quickly leap over this important point:
The gunman who killed five American troops in a Chattanooga shooting spree last week did online research for militant Islamist “guidance” on committing violence that he may have believed would wipe away in the afterlife his sins on earth including drug and alcohol abuse, an arrest and a lost job, officials said on Monday.
The Internet searches were discovered on electronic devices such as his smartphone analyzed over the weekend by the FBI Lab in Quantico, Virginia, several counter-terrorism officials confirmed to ABC News.
So since 2013 he had written about “becoming a martyr,” and also he had conducted online research for Islamic “guidance” for committing violence.
But it wasn’t just any “guidance” he sought, but the teachings of al-Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who the U.S. killed in a drone strike in September 2011, the New York Times reports:
The authorities who were examining Mr. Abdulazeez’s computer found that he had viewed material connected to Anwar al-Awlaki, the radical American-born cleric who was killed in Yemen by an American drone strike in 2011, according to a person with knowledge of the investigation.
And yet that tidbit was also buried by the New York Times underneath the family’s claims of mental illness, clinical depression, drug use, financial problems, etc.
It is important to note that the only source for these claims is the killer’s family. And many are quick to buy the narrative they’re peddling:
— Max Abrahms (@MaxAbrahms) July 21, 2015
Reuters also reports that in addition to trips that Abdulazeez had recently taken to both Jordan and Yemen, he had also made a mysterious trip to Qatar:
The man suspected of killing five members of the U.S. military in Tennessee last week was in Qatar at least once during a 2014 trip to the Middle East, according to two U.S. government sources who said reasons for the stopover were still unknown.
U.S. investigators are trying to piece together Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez’s travels to the region to see if he was radicalized by a militant group such as Islamic State. But they have no evidence he was in contact with militant groups or individuals.
On a seven-month trip to visit family in Jordan, it is uncertain how long he may have spent in the Qatari capital, a political crossroads in the region. Qatar is home to jihadist supporters as well as a U.S. air base…
Abdulazeez returned from a trip to Jordan in 2014 concerned about conflicts in the Middle East and the reluctance of the United States and other countries to intervene, according to two friends who had known him since elementary school.
Abdulazeez went to the Middle East in 2010 and visited several countries, one of his friends told Reuters. He then went to Jordan in 2014 to work for his uncle, and lived with his uncle and his grandparents there, he said. Both friends spoke with Reuters on condition they not be named because they feared a backlash.
The killer’s family assured ABC News that his trip had nothing to do with his radicalization:
A seven-month trip to Jordan last year was an effort to “get him away from bad influences in the U.S.,” not part of a path to radicalization, the family told agents.
And yet his friends told a different story about his change in behavior after returning from his recent travels:
Abdulazeez’s friends said he had returned from a trip to Jordan in 2014 concerned about conflicts in the Middle East and the reluctance of the United States and other countries to intervene.
He later purchased three assault rifles on an online marketplace and used them for target practice, the friends said.
“That trip was eye-opening for him. He learned a lot about the traditions and culture of the Middle East,” said the close friend who received the text message.
Abdulazeez was upset about the 2014 Israeli bombing campaign in Gaza and the civil war in Syria, he said. “He felt Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia were not doing enough to help, and that they were heavily influenced by the United States.”
Another friend said, “He had always talked about it, but I’d say his level of understanding and awareness really rose after he came back.”
And immediately upon his return he began purchasing long guns:
According to Abdulazeez’s friends, he purchased three guns on Armslist.com after returning from Jordan, including an AK-74, an AR-15, and a Saiga 12. They said he also owned 9mm and .22-caliber handguns.
So just as a matter of review for those still searching for motive in Abdulazeez’s killings last week, we have evidence that:
- As far back as 2013 he had expressed his desire to “become a martyr.”
- According to FBI officials, he had viewed materials from Al-Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who had encouraged Muslims in the West to conduct attacks in their own countries.
- He texted a friend just hours before the terror attack quoting an Islamic hadith saying, “Whosoever shows enmity to a friend of Mine, then I have declared war against him.”
- Less than a week before the attack he posted two blog posts online that cited the examples of the companions of Muhammad, noting that “Every one of them fought Jihad for the sake of Allah,” and adding that, “After the prophets, they were the best human beings that ever lived.”
- We have testimony that Abdulazeez’s closest mentor was a former Chattanooga police officer who “would constantly exhort militant Islamic views and threatened anyone who bad-mouthed the faith.”
- We have officials that have said that Abdulazeez’s father was investigated TWICE for supporting a terrorist organization, and was put on the terror watch list.
- His father was not alone in promoting extremist views, as his sister frequently circulated anti-Israel hate material on her Facebook page and elsewhere.
- Abdulazeez recently returned from a lengthy trip to the Middle East, which reportedly included time in Jordan and Yemen, as well as a mysterious trip to Qatar.
- According to his closest friends, he returned from that trip upset at U.S. policy for not intervening in the Syria conflict.
- Upon his return from the Middle East Abdulazeez purchased several long guns, including an AK-74, an AR-15 and a Saiga 12 clip-fed semi-automatic shotgun.
- Abdulazeez was recently spotted at a local gun range practicing with three other individuals sporting long beards, such as he wore.
But his motive is a complete mystery that we may never know, say officials close to the investigation.
Conversely we have his family and their anonymous representative pushing mental illness, depression, drug use and financial pressures as motive.
Again, all of the media reporting pushing this narrative is sourced to the family and their representatives, or officials who had talked to the family. Of course, the family would have no ulterior motive floating this story line at all.
And then there’s this from last night:
— WVLT News (@wvlt) July 21, 2015
No doubt investigators will continue to piece together the events that led to this horrific terror attack. Meanwhile, none of us should be surprised as the media grinds its preferred narrative.