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So wait, murdering 3 people over a parking space in America isn't a big deal?

The debate over the murder of Muslims in North Carolina obscures a more depressing problem -- we've stopped giving a damn about gun violence, again.

Wednesday night was made for staying up late on the World Wide Web --the evening had been a little bit like Pearl Harbor for media-news junkies, after all, thanks to the dueling departures of Brian Williams and Jon Stewart. Indeed, on Twitter there was little talk of anything else. Maybe that's why it was shocking to wake up early today and see that many of the tweets were about the brutal slaying of three Muslim-American students in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. That had happened at 5:15 in the afternoon -- hours before CNN treated Stewart's departure like the "fake news"-caster was a missing Malaysian jetliner.

Where had been the mainstream news coverage of a human tragedy that had, circumstantially, all the trappings of an act of religious terrorism? Many folks had that reaction -- and when they tweeted their shock, sadness, dismay and outrage, they added a hashtag with a powerful undertone: #MuslimLivesMatter. "Why deaths of muslims are not noticed in a terrorist incident?," posted Twitter user @shahzad2404. "They are humans too! #MuslimLivesMatter." A cartoonist, citing the example of the terror-attacked French satirical Charlie Hebdo, posted his own rendering of three young corpses on the pavement, observed by a yawning TV cameraman proclaiming "no news here" in the killing of three Muslims in a Southern college town.

But the three murder victims were anything but cartoons, and the details that emerged of who we lost were truly beyond heartbreaking. Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, and Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21, had just been married two months ago; the last known photo of Abu-Salha shows a beaming young bride dancing at her wedding. Her husband, Barakat, of Syrian descent, was heavily involved in charity work said to include building homes for Habitat for Humanity, offering free dental care to the homeless and destitute of nearby Raleigh, and raising money for the same type of care in war-torn Syria. Ms. Abu-Salha's sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19, was, like the other two, a top student; she'd just won an award at North Carolina State University for her work in 3-D modeling. What's more, amid a climate of increasing Islamphobia in this country, the man arrested and charged with the murders was an avowed atheist who's written of his hatred of religion on social media.

Amid the rising flames of social outrage, the police in Chapel Hill arrived to pour water on the fire. Their initial investigation, said town police chief Chris Blue, suggested that the triple-murder was not a "hate crime," at least not of the ethnic or religious variety. No, the chief explained, "[o]ur preliminary investigation indicates that the crime was motivated by an ongoing neighbor dispute over parking."

In other words, nothing much to see here, activists and news media. This was not a national story but just your routine triple homicide by gun -- the type of bloodshed that is becoming tragically as all-American as a slice of apple pie.

Two things:

1) First of all, the jury is still out on what motivated the murders, and no one should jump to a either direction. At the same time that police chief was presenting his information about a parking dispute, the father of the women, local psychiatrist Dr. Mohammad Abu-Salha, told the Raliegh News and Observer that his newlywed daughter feared the alleged gunman and that he believed it was religiously motivated. "This was not a dispute over a parking space; this was a hate crime," he told the newspaper. :This man had picked on my daughter and her husband a couple of times before, and he talked with them with his gun in his belt. And they were uncomfortable with him, but they did not know he would go this far."

2) It's beyond tragic that we've reached the point that a triple gun murder in America isn't particularly extraordinary without extenuating circumstances -- terrorism, or a "hate crime" (even though ending three promising young lives over a parking space seems pretty hateful). But, yes, triple shootings do, unfortunately, happen all the time in this country. The activist and online writer Paul Waldman, who tracks gun-related mayhem, noted this morning: "Other recent triple shootings: Lawrence, KS; Bourne, MA; Pittsburgh; Philadelphia; Louisville; Clinton, MD; Orlando; Tulsa; Warren, OH..." This weekend, a man killed his ex-wife, her boyfriend and two children in Georgia before turning the gun on himself.

Did you even know about that?

The reality is that there've been three stages of gun sanity since the horrific mass murder of grade school children in Newtown, Conn., 26 months ago 1) A rising of many voices calling not for a ban on guns but simply for a few common-sense measures -- closing the so-called "gun-show loophole or banning high-capacity magazines 2) A quieter din of frustration as the mass shootings continued and the politicians did nothing and 3) complete radio silence.

People have given up, but maybe the answer is just a different approach. Running into the wall of dark political influence known as the NRA again and again and expecting a different result is the modern definition of insanity. The gun-common-sense movement shouldn't be abandoned, but maybe for now the main focus should be the most intractable causes of American violence. That means a treatment-based approach to addiction instead of the wasteful "war on drugs," a tighter focus on domestic violence -- the biggest driver of the murder rate -- as well as more, smarter spending on mental health programs, which many states slashed after the 2008 financial crisis. We can -- and will, though maybe not in my lifetime -- reduce the gun part of gun violence. But tackling the root causes of our violent society -- very hard work -- may be the path of least resistance.

If these three wonderful souls -- Deah Shaddy Barakat, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha -- were in fact killed because they were Muslims, that is unconscionable. #MuslimLivesMatter. But if they were murdered over a parking space, that's intolerable in a civil society. Either way, there's one thing that you and I can do about it right away.

Start giving a damn about gun violence...again.