Columnist calls San Bernardino victim from NJ a ‘bigot’ and ‘radical’
A New York Daily News columnist has called San Bernardino shooting victim Nicholas Thalasinos a bigot and a radical, saying the former Cape May County resident had more in common with shooter Syed Farook than he knew.
In the column, Linda Stasi draws parallels what she describes as the "two hate-filled, bigoted municipal employees interacting in one department."
"One man spent his free time writing frightening, NRA-loving, hate-filled screeds on Facebook about the other’s religion. The other man quietly stewed and brewed his bigotry, collecting the kind of arsenal that the Facebook poster would have envied," Stasi wrote. "What they didn’t realize is that except for their different religions they were in many ways similar men who even had the same job."
She lays no shortage of blame on Farook (refusing to name him and add to his fame, or that of his wife, who also took part in the shooting spree that killed 14 people). But she says it's dishonest to describe Thalasinos as a "kind and loving religious man."
"Make no mistake, as disgusting and deservedly dead as the hate-filled fanatical Muslim killers were, Thalasinos was also a hate-filled bigot," she writes. "Death can’t change that. But in the U.S., we don’t die for speaking our minds. Or we’re not supposed to anyway."
Her column drew overwhelmingly negative responses from Daily News readers commenting on the paper's website:
"Way to disrespect the dead, Quasi-Stasi," a commenter going by "Jerry" wrote.
"REVOLTING! So, Linda Stasi has found the 'justification' and the 'rational' for a bloody Islamic rampage that took 14 innocent lives," Rich Rider wrote.
"I see no reason to demonize the victim for his opinions. He wasn't the one who went on a killing spree. There are millions of people in cyberspace who rave and rant about religion and politics. It doesn't mean they should be killed," Mhatter Mhatter wrote.
Stasi's column seems to be based largely on Thalasinos' Facebook posts — often angry and adamant.
They speak to red-meat conservative views — fervently anti-Obama, pro-NRA, anti-abortion. pro-Israel and anti-Palestine (He's been described in news reports as having identified as a messianic Jew, but not formally as Jewish). Many of his posts speak to a mistrust of Islam — describing alleged crimes and atrocities by individual Muslims or Muslim culture. Under “Education,” he listed “Studied Conservatism at Limbaugh Institute of Advanced Conservative Studies.”
Thalasinos' Facebook page, which remained up in the days after the shootings, is no longer publically available. But the New York Post described some of his posts:
“On behalf of this guy . . . You can stick your Million Muslim March up your asses,” Nicholas posted on Sept. 11, 2013, with a photo of an office worker plummeting to his death from the blazing World Trade Center on 9/11.
A post from October 2013 also included a photo of a man falling to his death from the trade center. Above it, Nicholas posted the quote and attribution: “ ‘The sweetest sound I know is the Muslim call to prayer’ — Barack Hussein Obama.”
References to Israel and “turbanheads” began to fill Nicholas’ pages.
According to the Associated Press, Thalasinos' friend, Kuuleme Stephens, said she'd recently call him while he was working with Farook, and debating. Thalasinos loudly declared that Farook "doesn't agree that Islam is not a peaceful religion," the AP reported.
She heard Farook counter that Americans don't understand Islam, and Thalasinos responded by saying, "I don't know how to talk with him," the AP quoted her saying.
Thalasinos' wife, Jennifer, told the AP the two "probably did have debates" but "I never got the impression it was in a bad way."
As the Post notes, the night before the shooting, Thalasinos posted about a war of words he was having with an apparently anti-Semitic Muslim man who had threatened to kill him.
“My new hobby appears to be BLOCKING PAGAN ANTISEMITIC TROGLODYTES so I’m just passing this along to warn others,” Thalasinos wrote.
The man on the other side of the confrontation had posted as “Med Ali Zarouk,” writing "You will never sucsseed [sic] to make a country for jews, because you are criminals and cowards . . . soon you’ll get your ass kicked, you will die and never see israel as country believe me never.”