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Atheism Claimed as Reason for Shooting in Marshall County High School


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Atheist Republic (News)

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): n.d.

In January of 2018, a 15-year-old named Gabriel Ross Parker shot two classmates in Marshall County High School. In the midst of the shooting, Parker injured several others as well. Since Parker is now 16, he is being charged as an adult with a few court documents and videos made public too.

There does not seem to be any reason for the shooting, but the carnage took place. Parker may have wanted to see the classmates’ reactions and see how the community and police would respond to the “science experiment.”

There is a public conversation based on one of the videos that shows County Sheriff’s Capt. Matt Hilbrecht of a conversation between himself and two lawyers. Hilbrecht is the person who investigated the crime. He was asked about Parker’s motives.

The response from Hilbrecht was that Parker was an atheist and that Parker felt life had not purpose or meaning, and same with other people’s lives. He was wanting to make society better through science and had been studying science, Hilbrecht stated in the recording. He thought that since he was failing a science course and that there is no reason to life meant that there was no reason to his own (Parker’s) life.

Parker, apparently, wanted to “break the monotony.” Hemant Mehta, a publicly known atheist, opined that this meant that Hilbrecht is a professional and was doing his job, but that he was concerned that religious conservatives would use this as “proof” that the morally bankrupt in the world are atheists.

Mehta, in a commentary on the recordings captured and brought to light, noted that atheist does not equate to nihilism and many atheists see meaning in their lives without God. Mehta continues on the note that he does not know the inside of Parker’s mind, but does not know how Hilbrecht made the conceptual leap from atheism to a lonely and empty person.

Hemant Mehta concluded on the point that the boy, Parker, did not kill in the name of atheism and those making accusations that the those who have the most atheism kill without meaning in their lives has to explain a more important factor; that the most religious countries in the world have the highest rates of gun violence and the nations that have the least religion and religious fervour tend to have the lowest rates of violent crime.


In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


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