So the woman apparently swore allegiance to ISIS on Facebook – that’s what AP and others report – meaning she viewed her womb as nothing more than cover. Staying in the US while deflecting suspicion – what better way than to have a child.
Both are right.
As this case unfolds, it seems to have more to do with fanaticism than anything else. The real question is, as this fanaticism spreads, should we be complicit in our own demise?
The ISIS connection, I guess, now doesn’t surprise me. This couple clearly had been planning some attack, given all the ammunition (thousands of rounds) and tools they possessed to make a dozen pipe bombs. So her entry into this country should only be viewed with suspicion.
Then, within a few years of returning from Saudi Arabia (home of Wahabi fanatics and the oil that we are addicted to), they’re married, with an infant daughter and, after much late-night work, they choose a holiday party of county employees a few weeks before Christmas to go off, kill people and leave their daughter an orphan.
All of that reeked with something more sophisticated than the typical insane killer a la Tucson or Aurora.
But the guy was a U.S. citizen, mild-mannered, county employee, from a family of at least one decorated US Navy sailor. How many of those are there in our country? Millions.
The question is: How easy are we making it for terrorists to do their job when someone can buy these kinds of assault weapons? That someone bought them for them is no surprise. This kind of straw purchase takes place at Arizona gun shows all the time. L.A. street gangs get their weapons this way, too.
Why is that an easy thing to do? That should not be easy – I see no reason why it should be legal in most cases at all. These guns are designed for the simple mowing down of people. Nothing else. Why don’t we know where each of those guns is and who owns them?
Senate Republicans just voted en masse against a bill that would have prevented the sale of arms to people on the FBI’s terrorism watchlist. That seems irresponsible. Particularly as they don’t appear to have any other solution to this problem, other than the mass arming of every American, a fanatical idea itself, it seems to me.
That is their final solution: A garrison state outside every holiday party and keeping the world out of the country.
Given Paris, Colorado Springs, South Carolina and now this, we are confronting something that combines classic political fanaticism with run-of-the-mill insanity. Mixing one more than the other, depending on the case.
Dostoevsky had some things so say about that in his novel, The Devils, also known as The Possessed – an 1872 novel increasingly relevant to our times. It’s the denial of the individual, of one’s own existence, doubts, intellect, love and connection to others — all that prostrate before some perceived higher cause. At the same time, it’s an attempt to shred, destroy community, the public coming together of human beings.
Southern California has seen this before. The best example I’m aware of is in our street gangs, where nothing short of a brainwashing occurs in kids in their teens, teaching them that their 12-square-block area, their clica, is worth you dying or going to prison for. Hence, they dominated parks and street corners and didn’t pay too much attention to where their bullets flew. Saw that many times.
Heroin addicts display these brainwashed characteristics in devotion to their dope, I’ve noticed.
We saw it, too, in Colorado Springs or South Carolina, where loonies were killing for what they perceived was some higher cause. Even the Tucson guy, who was out of his mind, had some higher calling in mind, even if he couldn’t articulate it in a way any of us could understand.
In San Bernardino, the fanaticism is especially pronounced, of course. Even a womb was employed in its furtherance.
The guy now seems a toady in comparison with the blind devotion of this woman he married – though we can only take that verb with a grain of salt.
What gives greatest pause is the couple’s target. Unlike the targets of previous killings, it’s unclear what a holiday party of county employees has to do with the larger goals of ISIS. Unless, of course, it’s simply to kill the way Americans live, the openness with which we conduct everyday life.
Any target is fine – place or human. That seems the clear conclusion here: sowing fear, shredding community, isolating us from each other.
Question is, then: Given that keeping that attitude out is almost impossible, are we going to be complicit in our demise?