Thursday, December 03, 2015

San Bernardino Shooting

I woke up to the news that Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 27 are responsible for the murders of 14 people, at least 18 wounded. Farook attended a holiday party at the social service center for the differently-abled, the Inland Regional Center. He left the party angry, returned prepared to go, as we say, postal

More than postal, more like jihad.

They had prepared ahead of time, he and his wife, had discussed it over their Cheerios, calmly loaded assault weapons. Revenge could be a motive, fueled with idealism, maybe, terrorist ideology. We'll have to wait to find out.

It seems unlikely that whatever their reason for gunning down innocent people wasn't a good one, and very likely, one or both assailants had a mental health problem.

The Inland Regional Center, the largest state facility of its kind in California, has programs for four different age groups, 0-3, 3-15, 16-22, 23-59, and adults over 60.  The agency serves clients with developmental disabilities like autism, epilepsy and cerebral palsy, provides housing, work programs, therapy and social services to over 30,000 people. At least 550 people work there. 

This being a party, the building's doors were wide open. Readers of my other blog know how I feel about this. If it were up to me every public building would have an armed security guard and a bullet-proof foyer, preferably. Let's put our veterans to work.

Farook, an environmental specialist at the San Bernardino County public health department, might have been a Chicagoan. This chills me. Did he train here?
Farhan Khan, Farook's brother-in-law, joined leaders of the Muslim community to express condolences. He is totally baffled.
"Why would he do that? Why would he do something like this? I have absolutely no idea, I am in shock myself," Khan, who is married to Farook's sister, told reporters.  
Here is a lesser form of going postal, one with no terrorist intent, no ideology behind it. Still, it is anger, and some of us think that murder is anger amplified, most of the time. Controlled, calculated, but still anger.

Last week, at the post office to mail off a package, a man at the counter, at the front of the line, argued emotionally with postal workers who had moved back, stationed themselves two feet behind the service counter. The customer gesticulated toward his drawn, ill-appearing partner, now leaning precariously against the line-divider. Customers usually set their packages or purses on it, waiting to get to the front of these interminable lines.

The angry customer shouted, 
"How dare you!  How dare you tell him to move back! Can't you see he's sick! Can't you tell when a person has to get home, or go to the doctor? What is wrong with you! This man is dying and you dare shout at him to get back to his place! I'm not letting this go. You have to apologize. No, you have to change! No, you don't deserve this job, do you? What a terrible, terrible thing, no compassion. . . 
He continued for a long, long time. It felt like forever. 

Finally, another employee, the only one who could service customers at this point, there being only two workers, nodded to me to step forward. I asked him, "Should we call the police? Should I have dialed 911?"  

He just shook his head. He didn't know.



Mound Builder said...

I have been reading what I've been able to find about this particular mass shooting. This one seems especially hard to make sense of it. I keep trying to imagine being parents of a 6 month old child and leaving that child in order to go shoot a bunch of people, knowing that in all likelihood neither of you is likely to survive. Why do that to your child, if nothing else? This defies anything I can make sense of. And what in the world was going through the grandmother's mind, that her son returns from work angry and he and his wife dress in tactical gear and leave with guns. It's hard for me to imagine that the grandmother, who was living with them, hadn't noticed the weapons and the ammunition and the things to be used for making pipe bombs in the place where she was living. Didn't she wonder, just a little? And what about the person who apparently legally purchased the assault weapons? Did he just hand them over to Farook and Malik? I read somewhere (can't recall where but it seemed to be a credible news source as I generally avoid the ones that I have learned are not credible) that the person who owned the assault weapons had checked himself into a mental hospital. If that's true, I assume that was simply to evade questioning.

If this was an act of terror, inspired by Da'esh (ISIS) how does any nation or people combat that? If this kind of attack is what Da'esh hopes will happen then what is it that they hope will come of it? Usually, twisted or not, most nations that go around attacking others have some intention that is manageable, even if it is crazy; for instance, some megalomaniac dictator wants to extend his/her empire and invades countries. But what is the aim if there are small acts of war/mass shootings that take place randomly? How does that accomplish any larger goal? All I can see is that you end up with a lot of random acts of violence that kill small numbers of people (relative to countries that are at war) and with no hope of achieving any larger goal I can discern. Does Da'esh think that it will be able to enlist enough people to somehow win dominion over the middle east, northern Africa, Europe and North America? That's a lot of land and a big ocean in between and would require an awful lot of people. I'm baffled. I don't expect you to have answers to my questions, just saying them because I don't understand. And if this particular thing was some sort of hybrid of a person going postal somehow colliding with some domestic abuse (did the wife radicalize her husband, as some are considering? If so, how?) or some strange allegiance to ideology but without specifically being a part of Da'esh, well... then what? I just don't get any of this. And I also don't understand how it is that it's okay to have 4500 rounds of ammunition and it doesn't raise an eyebrow anywhere. If, as gunowners maintain, they want to be able to defend their homes, does it take 4500 rounds to do that? How often in anyone's life do they get broken into and therefore need to defend themselves? And for others who hunt and who maintain their right to do so, does it take 4500 rounds of ammunition to kill a deer? During the hunting season how many deer does someone shoot? 4500 deer? It's all very puzzling to me, all of it.

clairesmum said...

So, I followed you here from the posting on FB. How about adding a link to your other I can follow everything in one place?!

While gunowners have different interests and needs, the idea of massive amounts of stockpiled ammunition cannot be justified. A rancher in Texas who has packs of feral hogs roamed his land needs powerful guns that shoot fast and repeatedly - to protect his stock. There's no one else to call out there.
Similarly, someone who lives in a very rural area may legitimately view their own situation as one that requires the ability to protect home and property with more than a single handgun - the sheriff can be al ong way away in mountains or prairies where a 911 call won't bring help for more than an hour....
what a suburban or city dweller needs to have on hand - well, not so much firepower, to be sure.

i'm all for controlling access to large amounts of stuff, requiring licensing, testing operator ability, insurance, etc. just like we do with driving a car.
And safe storage - no more loaded guns in purses so the toddler in Walmart can accidentally kill mother, or 2 grade schoolers have a fatal playdate.

Jodi said...

TherapyDoc-- Love your blog so much that I nominated you for a Liebster Award! Check it out

therapydoc said...

Thanks for the award Jodi!

MB, as always, great questions, and you are right, I have no answers. Well, I have some opinions. Like, if you grow up as a victim of violence, when the people who are supposed to protect you don't value you enough to protect you, you blame yourself. You're a kid, after all, your references for identity are limited, nobody undoing the damage of verbal and physical abuse. You have been abandoned and you hate you, and you hear that if you become a monster, a violent person, you will gain approval of an entire nations! I'm in the middle of writing about it at Everyone Needs Therapy,

So you go postal, but you plan on it, you want the approval of someone, maybe just your wife.

About the guns, Claire's Mom, this country will never agree on anything when it comes to guns, but your ideas are brilliant. Might keep the New Wild America less insane, fewer rounds, better tests and licenses, maybe even home visits from the sheriff. Thanks for writing. I never knew that about hogs.