Driver In Deadly Times Square Tragedy Said God Made Him Do It

On Thursday afternoon, Richard Rojas drove his car into the middle of Times Square in New York City, killing one young woman and injuring nearly two dozen more.

He later said he had… divine intentions.

CarTSNY

People initially thought it might be a terrorist attack, but the truth was much more mundane: Rojas was on drugs. The man who had been arrested twice before on drunk driving charges “tested positive for PCP” this time around. Rojas, however, had a different explanation, according to CNN:

[Rojas] told police that God made him do it, a law enforcement source told CNN.

The suspect, who suffered from “psychological issues,” told police he expected officers to shoot him, according to the source.

For me, this doesn’t seem like an instance in which religion motivated murder. But do you think that, if the suspect said, “Allah made me do it!” this story would have been covered differently no matter what drugs he was on? We’ve seen the mainstream media skip over the religious beliefs of a fundamentalist Christian and a pastor accused of murder when their religion didn’t appear to be the primary cause, while drawing attention to the fact that another man said “Allahu Akbar” during his crime that was also (seriously) unrelated to his faith.

This is almost certainly tragedy the result of drugs — and nothing more — but that doesn’t mean people wouldn’t try to spin it differently if the circumstances were altered slightly.

(Screenshot via YouTube)

About David G. McAfee

David G. McAfee is a Religious Studies graduate, journalist, and author of Atheist Answers: Rational Responses to Religious Questions, The Book of Gods, The Belief Book, Mom, Dad, I’m an Atheist: The Guide to Coming Out as a Non-believer, and Disproving Christianity and other Secular Writings. He is also the founder of The Party of Reason and Progress and a frequent contributor to American Atheist Magazine. McAfee, who writes about science, skepticism, and faith, attended University of California, Santa Barbara and graduated with bachelor’s degrees in English and Religious Studies with an emphasis on Christianity and Mediterranean religions.