A run amok driver mowed down pedestrians in San Francisco today, and is believed to have done the same in nearby Fremont earlier. His name has finally been released, and Bookworm has done a little sleuthing, finding that his name is common in Afghanistan. Obviously, no conclusions can be drawn, but you can be fairly sure that the local and national media will not be interested in pursuing any possible terror angle.
Updates (via Bookworm Room):
—This may not be Popal's first run in with traffic problems. In March last year, in the Stanislaus County criminal courts, Popal was a defendant for an unidentified traffic infraction.
—According to SF mayor Gavin Newsom, Popal is a 'relatively young man.' In other words, we have a young, probably Muslim, male, who killed one person and attempted to kill more than a dozen others. I know I'm leaping to conclusions, but I see a pattern developing here. I'll do my mea culpas, of course, when it turns out that he's a man with a history of mental illness utterly unrelated to religious principles.
—Apparently since 2001, Fremont has had one of the largest, not the largest, Afghan community in America.
—An unidentified cousin claims that Popal, who is indeed Afghani, is delusional and on medications.
—Michelle Malkin also makes much of the neighborhood's Jewish character. The fact is, though, while there's definitely a Jewish block — the JCC, Jewish Family and Children's Services, etc. — his rampage was wider. Also, the neighborhood is affluent and yuppified but, again, but for that one block, it's never struck me as a particularly Jewish neighborhood. (Indeed, San Francisco as a whole is an exceptionally un—Jewish City, something I never understood growing up there, until I had the chance to visit Los Angeles and New York.)
—The killer was, in fact, a kind and gentle man who was simply suffering from a bad case of wedding jitters.
—I just watched local coverage. Apparently several witnesses reported that Popal referred to himself as a 'terrorist.' The police quickly denied this. Either the police are trying to hide something (why?) or the witnesses are succumbing to mass hysteria. The truth is in there somewhere. This coverage also had the single relative who claimed that Popal was crazy. Apparently he had dreams about the Devil. I'd like to point out, as someone only marginally informed about psychiatric disorders, that it's my understanding that, if you know it's a dream and not reality, you're not delusional.
Update via Sweetness & Light:
...the [San Jose] Mercury article mentioned Popal's is his first cousin, Hamid Nekrawesh.
Mr. Nekrawesh appears to be a devout follower of Islam, or at least greatly interested in it. He is also interested in the progress of the reconstruction of Afghanistan.
Nekrawesh is also a contributor (of $50) to the anti—war Bush—hating crackpot Lyndon Larouche.
The other relative mentioned, Zarghona Ramish, has been issued an order from the state of California (view pdf file) to desist and refrain from her pyramid scheme:
7. During 2001, 2002, and 2003, Ramish, Ghias, Farzana, Tamiz, Abawi, and Aziz were active participants in an organization operating under the name of Women Helping Women (WHW), Women Empowering Women (WEW), Women Helping Women Dinner Party (DP), or The Women's Garden Party or Garden Circle (WGP).
8. WHW, WEW, DP, and WGP operated as a pyramid scheme.
9. Women in these groups operated by inviting women to a "potluck" gathering at individual's homes and/or community centers or conference rooms. The gathering was described as a "support group." During the gatherings, women would be recruited to contribute money to the group.
Women Helping Women (WHW) raised money for women suffering in Pakistan after the 2005 earthquake. (As we know, the plotters who wanted to blow up all those planes from the UK to US last week were also raising for Pakistan quake relief, and funded their plans with some of it.)
But perhaps I am needlessly suspicious.