Reasonable Inferences Are Not Facts

I just want to remind people that we still don’t know what happened in San Bernardino. At this point that Syed Farook’s Pakistani wife, newly imported from Saudi Arabia, was an Islamist terrorist and that they had much more devastating attacks in mind are reasonable inferences but they’re not facts. We may never know what happened.

18 comments… add one
  • ...

    I can’t really believe that this attack was to be the precursor to another attack. The so-called soft target/hard target sequence makes no sense to me – they had to know they’d get caught in short order. (He must have even if she didn’t. Cameras are pervasive these days.)

    So far the idea that makes the most sense (to me, obviously) is that they had something else in mind, but he got pissed off and said, “Fuck it, I’m killing those assholes at work” and they went on an impromptu killing spree. They apparently didn’t even try to use most of their pipe bombs, if indeed that’s what they all were.

    Basically, the pieces don’t quite fit together, although it’s impossible to believe that terrorism wasn’t the intent. You might have a lot of guns and ammo around the house, but no person w/o evil intent has a pipe bomb factory in the garage.

    As it turns out, this may ultimately turn out to be more terrifying than if they had attacked something not really connected to them, like a shopping mall.

    I don’t think it has quite sunk in yet what this means, which is this: That Muslim person you’ve been working with for years now, that you think is more or less just like you even if they’re on their knees praying to Mecca five times a day, just might be a terrorist like that guy in San Bernardino. Can you trust that guy?

  • PD Shaw

    Ellipses: Thanks for clarifying the grandmother bit. We’re still talking about an office party that started at 9:00 AM that he was seen at, and he left to head back to Redlands and return to the party with his wife where the first report of shooting was at 10:59 AM. Google maps indicates its a 15 minute drive one-way, but I’ve been to Redlands (my wife had family living there once) and wouldn’t count on the traffic lights making it easy.

    All of the physical stuff could have been done within that time period, but the mental stuff? Getting your wife to join you, before abandoning your baby? I’m reluctant to believe that the couple had not decided to do something soon. Probably best to divide this into long-term, medium-term and short-term planning.

    I still think the Paris attacks moved-up the time-frame in some fashion; that is at the very least what jihadists want to inspire.

  • PD Shaw

    Dave may not be willing to say it, but I will: Tashfeen Malik, possibly he worst mother ever.

  • Guarneri

    You may be correct, ice. I’m just relaying what someone more familiar than anyone here reported.

    You touch, though, in your last paragraph on something I’m concerned about as a knock on effect. No doubt the admonition that “most Muslims are peaceful” is correct, to the point of being vapid. However, minimization of the risks, and high minded calls for rational calm discount the inevitable irrationality that will ensue if additional events occur. And is there any reason to believe they won’t? That’s the real world dynamic that must be nipped in the bud before the vigilante mentality takes hold. I lived in NY metro after 9/11, and I can tell you that the general tone and tenor was not that of the faculty lounge. A few innocent middle easterners were dragged out and had the snot beaten out of them. Hell, ever been to a Jets / Giants tailgate party??

    Wait until they hit the local daycare or grade school…………..and Obama is still dithering about whether or not it’s terrorism, Nancy Pelosi is lecturing on gun control and Hillary is busy giving away tuition vouchers.

    The streets will get mean and Trumps poll rating will head to the moon. Not pretty.

  • ...

    PD wrote: I’m reluctant to believe that the couple had not decided to do something soon. Probably best to divide this into long-term, medium-term and short-term planning.

    Yeah, that’s what I was trying to get at. Sorry I wasn’t clear about that. As you say, the mental prep for this takes some time.

    Guarneri wrote: You may be correct, ice. I’m just relaying what someone more familiar than anyone here reported.

    ?? I’ll check earlier threads but I’m not getting this.

    I lived in NY metro after 9/11, and I can tell you that the general tone and tenor was not that of the faculty lounge.

    I was living in Baltimore. DC didn’t get hit as hard as NYC, but I still knew people who lost people they knew well. (And our company got clobbered, 290+ dead.)

    You mention day care. I was living in Reistertown, which is near Owings Mills which has a significant Jewish population. I left work immediately after finding out about the attacks, and met a woman on the subway. She was terrified, because even though she wasn’t Jewish, her child was in a Jewish daycare. The cabbie that took me home from the subway station (people started jumping from the towers before we came above ground, and before we got to the station the towers had started falling – my wife was watching and couldn’t control herself to drive) was Jewish. He told me he loved Israel, but that after this we just needed to nuke the entire Middle East and be done with it. Tough nuts to Israel. This is within an hour of the attack.

    So yeah, not a faculty lounge atmosphere. (Although truth be told, those are often pretty heated environments, too.)

    Weirdly, though, my wife’s family, living in the California desert, didn’t seem particularly moved by any of it. Far from the action and very unconcerned.

    But as it gets closer to home….

    One last thing: I still don’t see how Trump is any worse than any of the other candidates. And at least he’s hit on one issue that voters actually care about, and that all the rest of the politicians have an opposing view on – immigration.

    And how’s this for a knock on effect: While I’m not crazy about rich guys buying office, at least the political-industrial complex of advisers, pollsters, consultants, fund-raisers and all the rest will take it right in the ass if Trump gets elected. These guys will be more fucked than Charlie Sheen… or Leo Dicaprio after that bear got to him. That’s why some many of those types will support Hillary or Bernie over Trump. They know he’s the real threat to THEIR gravy train. That alone might get me to go to the poll booth this time around, though probably not. Still happy with my non-vote last year, still unhappy about every vote I have cast.

  • ...

    No doubt the admonition that “most Muslims are peaceful” is correct, to the point of being vapid. However, minimization of the risks, and high minded calls for rational calm discount the inevitable irrationality that will ensue if additional events occur.

    The point is that Muslims seem a bit more prone to terrorism, so why add to your risk by importing more of it into the country? I’ve seen some (admittedly by the source) anecdotal data that second generation Muslims in Europe that suffer from greater material disparity with the mainstream of their host country are more likely to become radicalized than those that are doing better in their host society.

    Do we really believe all these Syrian and Somali and Sudanese Muslims are going to do that well in the US? Or are we just inviting trouble 20 to 25 years down the line so that Obama can stick it to Whitey, and all the SWPL folks can lord up their moral superiority over all the hicks from the sticks. It’s a risk that NEED NOT BE TAKEN! It is especially galling to have Jews like Soros demand the US take on refugees when they’re supporting Israel’s efforts to keep refugees (and immigrants more generally) out of Israel with walls, fences and guns. Open Borders for Thee, But Not Open Borders for Me.

    Simple solution: Anyone that wants refugees brought to this country must sponsor them, and take them into their house. And any crime that the refugee commits THAT SPONSOR will be held culpable for as though they had committed the crime themselves. And if the refugee’s children do something bad, the sponsor’s children will pay for it. We’ll see what the open borders kumbaya thinks of Mohammedans then….

  • G.Shambler

    And Trump’s equivalents in Europe. If voters want Trump, we should have him, come what may. The current occupant puts American interests aside, indeed lecturing us about historical misdeeds and overreaction to Islamist terror. His keen eye is fixed firmly on the sea levels and glacial retreat. I’ve heard that Vallerie Jarret says He is actually too big for the job of POTUS, It bores his intellect.

  • TastyBits

    @Drew

    You touch, though, in your last paragraph on something I’m concerned about as a knock on effect. No doubt the admonition that “most Muslims are peaceful” is correct, to the point of being vapid. However, minimization of the risks, and high minded calls for rational calm discount the inevitable irrationality that will ensue if additional events occur. And is there any reason to believe they won’t? That’s the real world dynamic that must be nipped in the bud before the vigilante mentality takes hold. …

    The Obama Administration recognizes this as a greater threat than peaceful Muslims pushed over the edge by hate-filled Trump supporters.

    With competent leadership, this is greatly mitigated, but when you have the village idiot in charge, it probably ain’t gonna happen. People are willing to stay calm if the person in charge has some idea of what is happening.

    It looks like the Obama Administration is pulling out the old Bush playbook. It was not happenstance that there were no additional attacks. The shoe bomber might have been caught earlier with better human assets inside the network. To my knowledge, this was the one area that they never accomplished, and I suspect they relied on too much electronic communication.

  • Guarneri

    Ice

    I had relayed that comment from someone on a cable news show. CNN I think. You may have seen something independently.

    TB.

    Peaceful Muslims pushed….by hate filled filled Trump supporters??

    Say what?

  • ...

    Ah, okay, now I understand. Thanks Drew.

  • I’ve heard that Vallerie Jarret says He is actually too big for the job of POTUS, It bores his intellect.

    Then by all means he should resign and leave the job to a lesser mentality. Wouldn’t want him to be bored.

    If this is what passes for a great mind in today’s Democratic Party we are in a world of hurt. Some are born to idiocy, some achieve idiocy, others have idiocy thrust upon them.

  • Ken Hoop

    If she was Paki maybe one of her family, friends or acquaintances, not a member of the Taliban or kindred, got killed in one of Obama’s drone attacks-(in which rules of “engagement” among others I believe the guy in Colorado can push a button and any males within 5 miles are considered collatoral damage if not actually resistance fighters themselves.) The Albanians aren’t the only folks big into revenge, ya know.

  • ...

    The Albanians aren’t the only folks big into revenge, ya know.

    Pretty much all mountain folk are big into revenge, wherever the mountains. Hatfields & McCoys, anyone?

  • ...

    Some are born to idiocy, some achieve idiocy, others have idiocy thrust upon them.

    And America has achieved all three! Yeah, America!

  • TastyBits

    @Drew

    Islam is a peace loving religion, and Muslims are peaceful. As Secretary of State rightly noted, they will only attack with a reason. In the case of Charlie Hebdo, they asked for it, in the case of 9/11 and every other US attack, Americans asked for it. He was baffled by the Paris attacks, but the San Bernardino is most likely due to Trump or some other Republican.

    I just gather the statements and follow them to their conclusion. There was probably some microaggression at the Christmas party that triggered the event, or it was the word “Christmas”. They are not terrorists. They are victims.

  • steve

    I suspect ICE has it right. This is not that similar to most terror attacks. It seems clear based upon the pipe bombs they were planning something. (Not the guns or tactical gear. I would wager that half the gun nuts in the US have that many guns and that much ammo at home at any given time, and they all have “tactical gear” of some sort. Usually came so they can run around and play Rambo.) There were reports of an argument at work and the wife says he had prior arguments with a Messianic Jew at his workplace. Probably decided to get his revenge while the guy who pissed him off was still there.

    Steve

  • CStanley

    Heh, I read the post and noticed the number of comments and wondered if Dave anticipated that everyone would want to posit their own inferences.

    And now I’ll do the same….

    I don’t think it’s likely that he actually made the decision to initiate the attack while he was at the party. So if the initial plan was a different target, I think the alteration was made prior to that day.

    Equally possible, IMO, is that he was more or less a wannabe and planned to target his workplace. There are reports that the bombs were straight out of the DIY articles in the DAESH propaganda magazines. If I’m not mistaken I think those same publications are urging people to attack wherever they see opportunity.

    The reports about him leaving the party in anger are vague and somewhat contradictory. One person at his table reported that he assumed he had gone to the restroom and only later realized he’d been gone awhile. Hardly consistent with a major altercation, and perhaps those who saw him angry may have seen agitation. For all we know a timing device may have failed and he was panicky.

  • ...

    Inferring something is fine, you just need to remember that’s what it is. Hopefully an inference can lead to some form of testable hypothesis, but since we don’t have the means to investigate the matter ourselves inference is all we have until more comes out.

    And frankly this case is weird. Did the mother really not know anything was going on while she was living in a mini bomb factory? Was the wife really that shy before going all Bonnie on everyone? Did the neighbor really see the stuff she claims she saw? If so, who were the people? What were the packages?

    DIY bombs have a long and funny (in a Darwin Awards sort of way) history here. Anyone remember the Anarchist Cookbook? A couple of the crazier guys in high school got their hands on copies although I don’t think they ever did anything with them.

    I heard descriptions of Farook liking to work on cars and shoot weapons with his sister and thought it sounded like half the guys I grew up with.

    CS, I like your inference about a device not going off and then they panicked. That would jibe with them having another target in mind.

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