Chapel Hill shooting: My best friend was killed and I don’t know why


21-year-old Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha was shot in the head alongside her husband and her sister in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, on Tuesday. A preliminary police investigation suggests that the fatal shootings were the result of a parking dispute, but the possibility that it was a hate crime has not been ruled out. A 46-year-old neighbor, Craig Stephen Hicks, has been arrested and charged.

Here, Yusor’s friend, Amira Ata, a teacher, tries to make sense of the tragedy—and recalls an evening when the alleged shooter arrived at the victims’ apartment because he thought they were making too much noise playing a board game. He came to the door with a rifle, Yusor told her. 

As told to Latoya Peterson.

Yusor Abu-Salha was like a sister to me.

We’ve always been together. Starting in third grade, we went through elementary school, middle school, high school, undergrad in Raleigh, North Carolina. We were inseparable.

I’ve never…

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From the bowels of my hard drive

I love a good quote. I will save that shit and think on it when the right situation presents itself and I will be fucking INSPIRED or COMFORTED or some shit. Once upon a time, I had two text files I updated on the reg with quotes I stumbled across online. I haven’t updated it in like, over a decade, but I found the file buried on my hard drive tonight, so I thought I’d share some of my favorites.

I leave you my portrait so that you will have my presence all the days and all the nights that I am away from you

–Frida Kahlo

I believe in the brotherhood of man, all men, but I don’t believe in brotherhood with anybody who doesn’t want brotherhood with me. I believe in treating people right, but I’m not going to waste my time trying to treat somebody right who doesn’t know how to return the treatment.

–Malcolm X

Blessed is the influence of one true, loving human soul on another.

–George Eliot

Our life is frittered away by detail…
Simplify, SIMPLIFY.


You must do the thing you think you cannot do.

–Eleanor Roosevelt

Do not go where the path may lead,
go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

–Ralph Waldo Emerson

There are two ways of spreading light —
to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.

–Edith Wharton

If the person you are talking to doesn’t appear to be listening, be patient. It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear.

–Pooh’s Little Instruction Book

I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.

–Gilda Radner