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American Biking Couple Who Believed "Humans Are Kind" Killed by ISIS Group in Tajikistan

  • Kayla Koslosky

    Kayla Koslosky is the former Editor of She has B.A. degrees in English and History and previously wrote for and was the managing editor of the Yellow Jacket newspaper…

  • Updated Aug 18, 2018

EDITOR'S NOTE, Saturday, August 18, 8:52 p.m. EDT: We have changed our title on this article from, "American Biking Couple Seeking to Prove 'Humans Are Kind' Is Killed by ISIS Group," to its current title to avoid assuming a logical certainty of their motivations in biking through Central Asia, as suggested by Snopes.


The Pluralist reports that a young American couple was killed in last month in Tajikistan by Islamic-State terrorists. 

According to The Pluralist, and as reported by CBS News, Jay Austin and Lauren Geoghegan, who were on a world bike trip, tragically lost their lives on July 29 when they, along with two other bicyclists – one from Switzerland and the other from the Netherlands – were struck by a car and then stabbed to death by the car's occupants. ISIS later claimed responsibility for the murders.

​Austin and Geoghean, both 29, had embarked upon on a world bicycle trip when they decided to bike in an area that, according to The Pluralist, has high volumes of terrorist activity. 

The idealistic couple quit their desk jobs last year in pursuit of adventure and to help other people plan their own adventures. 

Austin said on his and Geoghean’s joint blog, "I’ve grown tired of spending the best hours of my day in front of a glowing rectangle, of coloring the best years of my life in swaths of grey and beige... I’ve missed too many sunsets while my back was turned. Too many thunderstorms went unwatched, too many gentle breezes unnoticed.”

After writing that statement, the couple prepared to go abroad and began documenting their trip on their Instagram accounts and their blog. The adventure-seeking couple seemed to suggest that they wanted to bike this route to show that people are not evil as "the narrative" suggests.

Austin wrote in a blog post titled "#22, Douar Sidi Mohamed Chelh, Morocco - Ceuta, Spain," "You watch the news and you read the papers and you're led to believe that the world is a big, scary place. People, the narrative goes, are not to be trusted. People are bad. People are evil. People are axe murderers and monsters and worse."

Austin continued saying, "I don't buy it. Evil is a make-believe concept we've invented to deal with the complexities of fellow humans holding values and beliefs and perspectives different than our own."

On July 25, Austin shared on Instagram that the couple had just reached the one-year mark of their journey. Sadly, their journey ended only a few days later.

While many are calling the couple naïve for entering this area, The Washington Post reports that an expert on the area, Paul Stronski, rejects this idea. "Central Asia generally is fairly safe," Stronski said.

Photo Courtesy: Unsplash/Oziel Gómez