Like many other of my fellow Americans, last night my attention was fixed to the story unfolding on my television screen of the shooting in San Bernardino in Southern California:
SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.—Police were still searching for a motive late Wednesday night after two shooters stormed a holiday gathering for county employees and killed 14 people in the deadliest mass shooting in the U.S. in three years.
Syed Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, dropped off their six-month baby girl with Mr. Farook’s mother early Wednesday morning, a family member said. Mr. Farook, a San Bernardino County employee, later attended a work holiday event and at some point, left the party in anger, law-enforcement officials said.
Mr. Farook, 28 years old, then allegedly returned 10 minutes to 30 minutes later, with Ms. Malik, 27. The pair, dressed in “assault-style clothing” opened fire, according to police, killing 14 people and wounding 17 others.
Hours later, the couple were killed in a gunbattle on the street with police, just 2 miles from where the mass shooting had occurred. Authorities said the pair were found armed with assault rifles and semiautomatic handguns.
Officials didn’t rule out terrorism and said they were investigating any possible connections to Islamic State, but so far had uncovered nothing linking the pair to the terrorist group.
Law-enforcement officials said they were just starting what would be a long investigation, and were searching for others who may have been involved in planning the attack. A third person was still in custody, but officials said it was unclear if that person was connected to the shooting.
Based on what we know now, the situation is a worst case: domestic terrorism and Islamist terrorism and workplace-related violence. Already there have been calls for simplistic solutions only tangentially related to this particular incident including from the president of the United States. Something I think we should keep in mind is that for some of our people a ban on certain classes of weapons is no less inflammatory (or unconstitutional) than a ban on Muslims would be to others.
Here’s my proposal. First, let’s stop the endless repetition of provably untrue generalizations. Then let’s start thinking in terms of mitigating risks rather than ending threats.