The Inland Regional Center (shown) in San Bernardino, California, the site of the massacre of innocents by a husband and wife on Wednesday, is a gun-free zone. This guaranteed that Syed Farook and his new wife, Tashfeen Malik, would face no resistance when they shot up the holiday luncheon celebration sponsored by the San Bernardino County Health Department.
According to observers, this was a carefully planned attack. Farook attended the celebration with people he had known for five years as a health technician responsible for inspecting restaurants and pools. During the celebration there apparently erupted a disagreement sufficient to cause Farook to leave in such a rush that he left his coat behind, returning 30 minutes later with his wife, dressed in tactical clothing and carrying semi-automatic rifles, handguns, and a quantity of magazines.
Over the next ten minutes, 31 people were shot and 14 of them were killed. By the time police arrived (in an estimated four minutes after they received the first terrified 911 call), Farook and his wife had left the building. It took police another three hours to hunt them down and kill them in a firefight involving more than 20 officers.
Police said it would take a “long time” to complete their investigation into the matter: Farook’s background, recent activities, his flight to Saudi Arabia earlier this year to retrieve his wife whom he met on the Internet, his religious affiliations, and, finally, his motive.
Some of those questions already have answers as this is being written: Farook was a devout Muslim, according to his father, leaving work several times a day to attend prayers at a local mosque. He and his wife had a six-month old child whom they dropped at relatives for the morning, claiming that one of them had a doctor’s appointment.
President Obama was uncertain whether the shooting was a terrorist attack, but he apparently knew the cause: the easy availability of firearms. And his solution: tighter background checks along with closing another “loophole,” i.e., the one that allows “suspects” on the CIA’s “no-fly” list to buy firearms. The fact that background checks would be an infringement of rights guaranteed under the Second Amendment and would have failed to pick up Farook as he maintained a low profile, or that restricting “suspects” on the “no-fly” list would be illegal without proper Constitutional authority, never entered the president’s conversation. It wouldn’t have impacted Farook as he wasn’t even on the no-fly list when he flew to Saudi Arabia to pick up his new wife.
Farook flew under the radar for the five years while working for the health department, leaving no clues of his murderous intentions. Said Griselda Reisinger, who worked with Farook, “He never struck me as a fanatic. He never struck me as suspicious.”
Only after the fact did those intentions become obvious, concluded a former CIA operative, Robert Baer. The attack on Wednesday “has the hallmarks of what we’ve seen in the Middle East” and was conducted with “a skill you don’t see unless people have had preparation and training.” This was confirmed by San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan: “They came prepared to do what they did, as if they were on a mission.”
Nowhere was the question asked, How could the victims have defended themselves? The couple was able to pass background checks when purchasing their weapons, so those checks were worthless.
And the rules for law-abiding citizens to obtain a concealed carry permit in San Bernardino are so onerous as to essentially make obtaining one impossible. The city has instituted a “may issue” rule for the county sheriff, rather than “shall issue,” giving him the freedom to decline issue without comment. An applicant must subject himself to a personal interview, and he or she is only allowed to list three firearms on a permit that must be renewed every two years.
The fees are stout: $254 for fingerprinting, administrative work, and a background check, plus another $100 for the mandatory firearms training course before the permit can be issued. The fees are more than the cost of an inexpensive handgun.
So, thanks to local politicians, innocents who otherwise might have been able to defend themselves died needlessly in the attack.
In an astonishing admission that the “gun-free” mindset that so enamors liberal politicians might be wrong after all, USAToday allowed a most reasonable letter from the publisher of The Truth About Guns blog to be printed. Wrote Robert Farago:
What would [more gun control laws] have done to prevent the slaughter? What would any gun control law do to prevent people from enacting their homicidal plans?... As the French terrorist attacks proved, gun control doesn’t work. Worse, civilian disarmament leaves innocent people defenseless against killers. Gun control enables — rather than prevents — homicide.
Politicians who have decreed that the couple’s victims would be defenseless are at least partly responsible for Wednesday’s grisly results.
Photo of police cars outside the Inland Regional Center: AP Images