Shocking Twist Casts Doubt On 'Islamophobia' Claims In Vermont Palestinian Trio Shooting

Written By BlabberBuzz | Tuesday, 16 January 2024 04:30 PM
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On November 25, three Palestinian students were shot in Burlington, Vermont, sparking a wave of reactions from Democrats and left-leaning individuals who momentarily shifted their focus from criticizing Israel's counter-terrorism efforts to suggesting that Islamophobia played a role in the non-fatal shootings.

However, the suspect in the shootings, which seemed to have slipped off the liberal media's radar in the subsequent weeks, is a mentally unstable individual who has previously defended Palestinians and Hamas.

The victims, 20-year-old students Hisham Awartani, Kinnan Abdalhamid, and Tahseen Ali Ahmad, were out for a walk during Thanksgiving break while visiting friends in Burlington. According to VTDigger, two of the victims were wearing Palestinian scarves at the time of the shooting.

The alleged shooter, 48-year-old Jason James Eaton, confronted the trio around 6:30 p.m. after stepping off a porch on North Prospect Street, according to police. Eaton is said to have opened fire without uttering a word.

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Despite being wounded, all three victims, two of whom are U.S. citizens, survived. Eaton was arrested and charged with three counts of attempted second-degree murder and may face a hate crime enhancement. His next hearing is scheduled for March 8.

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Burlington Police Chief Jon Murad stated, "In this charged moment, no one can look at this incident and not suspect that it may have been a hate-motivated crime." Chittenden County State's Attorney Sarah George added, "Although we do not yet have evidence to support a hate crime enhancement, there is no question this was a hateful act."

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The victims' families released a statement urging law enforcement to treat the shooting as a "hate crime." The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) quickly issued a statement suggesting it had "reason to believe this shooting occurred because the victims are Arab."

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ADC national executive director Abed Ayoub stated, "The surge in anti-Arab and anti-Palestinian sentiment we are experiencing is unprecedented, and this is another example of that hate turning violent."

President Joe Biden responded to the shootings by saying, "There is absolutely no place for violence or hate in America." Vice President Kamala Harris added, "We know that far too many people live with the fear that they could be targeted and attacked based on their beliefs or who they are."

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Democratic Sen. Peter Welch (Vt.) emphasized, "We do not tolerate hate or Islamophobia in Vermont." Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) expressed his shock and upset, stating, "It is shocking and deeply upsetting that three young Palestinians were shot here in Burlington, Vermont. Hate has no place here, or anywhere."

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Vermont Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman, speaking at a rally held by various anti-Israel groups, said, "I think it's hard not to see the attempted murder of three young Palestinians wearing the Palestinian keffiyehs, the scarf, at a time when we're seeing increased attacks throughout the U.S.," as reported by Vermont Public.

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Rep. Becca Balint (D-Vt.) pushed the phobia narrative in Washington and wrote, "Dehumanizing, Islamophobic, anti-Arab rhetoric has violent consequences. For Hisham, Kinnan, Tahseen, and for all Palestinian Americans, we need to make it crystal clear that we stand against this kind of hate and bigotry."

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Contrary to the initial suspicions of left-leaning individuals, the suspected shooter appears to be a fellow traveler. Although Eaton's social media account has been set to private, Seven Days, an independent Vermont paper, obtained a collection of the suspect's posts from an anonymous follower on the platform.

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Eaton, who was reportedly fired from his job with a financial services company just weeks before the shooting, wrote in response to Rep. Balint's call for a ceasefire, "What if someone occupied your country? Wouldn't you fight them?"

Weeks after the Oct. 7 terror attacks on Israel, Eaton wrote, "the notion that Hamas is 'evil' for defending their state from occupation is absurd. They are owed a state. Pay up."

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An archival snapshot of Eaton's social media account from 2022 shows him engaging with posts by Sen. Welch and the Libertarian Party. The bio for Eaton's account reads, "Radical citizen patrolling democracy and capitalism for oath creepers." The banner is captioned, "Libertarians want trans furries to be able to protect their cannabis farms with unregistered machine guns."

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Seven Days highlighted how Eaton was named in 37 reports made to police agencies in Onondaga County between April 2007 and November 2021. However, Lt. Matthew Malinowski, a Syracuse police spokesman, indicated there did not appear to be a "big history or anything that's racially motivated."

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Mary Reed, Eaton's mother, told the Daily Beast, "Jason has had a lot of struggles in his life but he is such a kind and loving person." Reed indicated her son suffered from depression and other mental health issues but had been "in such a good mood" hours before the shooting.

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A police report concerning a grievance from one of Eaton's former romantic partners similarly suggested Eaton had a "history of mental illness," reported Seven Days. Eaton's estranged partner corroborated Reed's sense that he was neither racist nor hateful.

Dick deGraffe, a New York farmer, told Insider that the "progressive" Eaton he had known for 25 years had never evidenced any signs of extremism, racism, or Islamophobia.

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