December 2, 2015 another mass shooting happened on American soil. San Bernardino, California experienced a horrific act. 14 people were killed and 21 were injured.
According to ABC News, the attack is being investigated by the FBI as a terrorist attack. If the FBI proves it is, this will be the deadliest terrorist attack by Islamic extremist on American soil since 9/11.
Let’s start with what we know.
Syed Farook, born in Chicago and raised in Southern California, got married to Tashfeen Malik, who was from Pakistan but lived in Saudi Arabia. Malik came to the United States states through a fiancé visa. According to NBC News, “The fiance visa program has one of the more rigorous security screening processes — presenting far more hurdles than other avenues for foreigners to enter the U.S.”. That was all two years ago. David Seminara, a former diplomat who authored a report about Green Card Marriages for the Center for Immigration Studies, said “If I were a terrorist, and I wanted to bring myself and someone else into the U.S. quickly, the tourist visa is going to be the biggest vulnerability for that,” he said, adding “The least level of scrutiny is people from the visa waiver countries.” There are around 38 countries on that waiver list. The countries on that list only have to go through normal airport security checks when flying in and out of the U.S. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are not on that list.
Farook and Malik went into the Inland Regional Center where there was a holiday celebration being held by Farook’s employer. The two were wearing combat gear and immediately started firing as soon as they walked into the door. The fire sprinkler went off due to one of the bullets hitting it. A few minutes later Farook and Malik ran out of the center leaving behind a pipe bomb which never exploded.
The city immediately went into a panic. Police showed up and tried to locate the suspects but to no immediate prevail. A witness informed the police that one of the shooters was Farook which led the police to go to Farook’s residence. While there, they saw a black SUV that matched the description of the vehicle the suspects took off in. The police proceeded to follow the SUV which started shooting at the officers that were in pursuit. Officers killed both Farook and Malik in a bloody bullet face-off. Images of the aftermath can be seen here.
With all the anti-islam and anti-muslim that has been going around America, people have been lumping all Islam and Muslims together. Immediately following the shooting, Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, held a press conference. CAIR said at the press conference, “We unequivocally condemn the horrific act that happened today,” Hussam Ayloush, the executive director of the LA CAIR office, said. “We offer our heartfelt prayers and condolences to the injured, to the families of those who have been killed. … We stand in mourning, in sadness, for what happened.” Many were wondering why they held a conference so soon without the entire story even figured out on what happened. Why did CAIR get together and request media to attend? NPR reports that CAIR stated, “We believed it was important to get out in front of the story, because so often, if there’s some kind of Muslim reference in a horrific act like this, you soon get the stereotyping, the generalizations. So we wanted to make sure that the Muslim community’s condemnation of this horrific attack was clear, so that we no longer, hopefully, hear the “Why haven’t Muslims spoken out?” line.”
On the outside, Farook and Malik seemed like every other suburban couple. They registered at Target when they become pregnant with a baby girl, now 6 months old. They attended the local mosque. Waved hi to neighbors. This is why “investigators puzzle over their motives”.
Now, this isn’t the first mass shooting the U.S. has experience this year. On November 29, 3 dead and 9 injured when Robert Dear shot up a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
October 1, 9 dead and 9 injured when Christopher Sean Harper-Mercer went on attack at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon.
June 18, 9 dead when Dylan Roof, a suspect white supremacist, shot and killed church goers at a Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, a predominately black church, after he prayed with them. This was in Charleston, South Carolina.
Oh these aren’t all the shootings that have happened this year. Oh no. Not even close. Huffington Post reports that there have been “355 mass shootings in 336 days” (340 days at the time I’m writing this). It’s sad that we have had more shootings than days in the year so far.
PBS made a map of all the locations where the mass shootings have happened so far, which you can see below.
Obviously there is a problem here. A big question that comes up is, how exactly are all these people getting access to these guns? The New York Times broke it down for us and showed us how the guns used in the last 15 mass shootings were obtained. At least 8 of the gunmen had a history of mental illness yet they were still able to obtain a gun….legally.
I’m not sure how to solve the gun issue. I’m not a politician nor have I ever studied the legalization of guns and I have definitely never been a part of the NRA but we can see a BIG problem here and it needs to be solved. We can’t be having this amount of innocent people being killed. Things need to change and they need to change now.