Actual details of Wednesday’s killing of 14 people and wounding of 17 at a holiday policy in San Bernardino in California were still sketchy before opportunists swarmed social media with claims that served various political agendas.
Some, of course, blamed it all on ISIS, the radical Islamic state that brought terror to Paris recently and currently dominates the war-torn Middle East.
Others blamed it on America’s gun culture while those on the other side said more guns on the street would provide a level of “self-defense” to take such mad shooters out quickly to reduce casualties.
President Barack Obama and Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton called for more gun control. The right-wing dominated Republicans said arming ordinary Americans is the answer.
We still do not yet know what drove U.S, citizen Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, his 27 year-old wife to barge into the holiday gathering and open fire with their assault-style weapons.
Farook, a college graduate with a degree in environmental engineering, worked for the San Bernandino county public health department for five years, was born in Illinois from parents who immigrated to America from Pakistan. He met his wife reportedly on a visit to Saudi Arabia. Those who knew him said he was quiet, nonpolitical and not driven by any extreme connections. He was, friends say, a devout Muslim devoted to its religious teachings. He and his wife, dressed in tactical gear, entered the holiday party and opened fire. Both died in a hail of gunfire in a police shootout after a chase from their home.
Federal authorities say the incident “might” or “might not” be considered “an act of terrorism.” Investigations are under way, Neither Farook or his wife were targets of any FBI investigations. Neither had criminal records. At least two of the assault-style long guns were purchased legally in California.
Their backgrounds sparked anti-Muslim rants in social media. Those who knew him called him devout and not an extremist. We do not know what sparked the attack.
What we do know is that he was an American citizen with all rights under the law. The weapons they used were purchased legally. The massacre in California Wednesday was the 355th mass shooting this year.
Yes, something is incredibly wrong in a society where so many violent acts in this country but it does not, at this point, appear to be an act of ISIS. It was something that has become far too common in a place called America and as long as too many people use the event to promote one of their political agendas nothing of substance can be done to try and bring it under control.
“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars / But in ourselves, that we are underlings,” wrote William Shakespeare. The great Edward R. Murrow ended his pointed examination of the political extremes of Senator Joseph McCarthy with a slight modification of what Shakespeare wrote in Act I, Scene II of Julius Caesar: “Cassius was right — The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves. Good night, and good luck.”
It most likely wasn’t ISIS murdering people at a holiday party Wednesday in Caliornia. It was an American living the “American dream.”
Sadly, that dream is now a nightmare.