A week ago, after three Manchester University students died in a car crash, Gov. Mike Pence (R-IN) tweeted his condolences. In December, after the San Bernadino shootings, Pence ordered flags in Indiana be flown at half-staff. And after last year’s Roanoke, VA shootings, the 2014 beheading of an Indiana aid worker by ISIS, and the November Paris attacks, Pence quickly offered out his “thoughts and prayers.”
On Wednesday, police reportedly found three young men dead in Fort Wayne, the victims of multiple “execution style” gun shots at a local hangout spot. According to Vox, the victims, Mohamedtaha Omar, 23, Adam K. Mekki, 20, and Muhannad A. Tairab, 17, all were “members of a predominantly Muslim diaspora community whose roots are in Africa’s eastern Sahel region.” While initial reports identified all three as Muslims, local community members have since identified Mekki as a Christian.
While police have said they have “no reason to believe this was any type of hate crime, or focused because of their religion or their nationality whatsoever,” Islamophobia hate crimes have been spiking in the United States. Pence, following the Paris attacks, called for a halt to Syrian refugees entering the United States.
Indiana has among the nation’s weakest gun laws, receiving a D- in a 2013 survey by the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence and the Brady Campaign. Since that time, Pence signed a law to allow guns even in school parking lots. Calling it “common sense reform,” he explained that “firearms in the hands of law abiding citizen’s makes our families and our communities more safe, not less safe.”