Terrorists Attack San Bernardino, What are the Ramifications?

© Josh Sager – December 2015

On December 2nd, there was a terrorist attack in San Bernardino that took 14 lives and injured 21 Americans at the local Department of Health. This attack was carried out by a Muslim couple (I won’t name them because this kind of shooter wants to have their name plastered across the media and internet) who were clearly radicalized, but who may not have had any connection to a foreign terrorist group. As of yet, no terrorist group has taken credit for this attack, which tends to indicate that they were acting alone (terrorist groups almost always take credit for their attacks because that creates more terror and allows them to spread their manifesto).

The male shooter was an American who worked at the Department of Health as an inspector, while the female shooter was his fiancé who had recently emigrated to the US from Saudi Arabia (on a Pakistani passport) on a fiancé visa. They had a six month old daughter who is currently living with her paternal grandmother. Both shooters are now dead, after being killed in a shootout with police.

Law enforcement officers look over the evidence near the remains of a SUV involved in the Wednesdays attack is shown in San Bernardino, California

Law enforcement officers look over the evidence near the remains of a SUV involved in the Wednesdays attack is shown in San Bernardino, California December 3, 2015. Authorities on Thursday were working to determine why a man and a woman opened fire at a holiday party of his co-workers in Southern California, killing 14 people and wounding 17 in an attack that appeared to have been planned. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni – RTX1X3LQ

I have held off writing about this situation for the last two days because simply not enough is known about this couple to draw any concrete conclusions. This lack of information has led many to speculate and try to fill in the large gaps with their own preconceived notions, which is never a very productive exercise. While there are still many unknowns, enough information has been released today to draw a very cursory picture of what happened.

The San Bernardino shooters had been stockpiling large quantities of ammunition (1,600 rounds according to some sources), numerous weapons, tactical clothing that would allow them to conceal their identities, and had prepared several pipe bombs. Stockpiling these things would have taken some time, and it is clear that they had been planning some sort of violence for some time. Investigators found Jihadist propaganda and videos on their computer, and there are reports that the male shooter posted a “letter of allegiance” with ISIS during the attack.

Some speculate that this couple planned to stage a Paris-inspired attack, but an argument at the male shooter’s workplace caused them to perpetrate their attack early (in effect, they are both jihadists and workplace shooters). If this is the case, we may never know what their original target was, but we can count ourselves fortunate that more people were not killed. Given their preparation and armaments, they could have killed a massive number of people if they had attacked a more populated area (ex. sports stadiums and restaurants like in Paris).


Hopefully, this is an isolated incident, because, if not, it could indicate a very worrying realization in the part of Islamic terrorists. Specifically, that they could shift their weapon of choice from bombs to guns, and begin perpetrating mass shootings with far higher likelihoods of success than bombings. Jihadists have tried to attack the US with bombs and have met with epic failures—like the underwear bomber who ignited his own crotch instead of blowing up, the shoe bomber who couldn’t get his matches to light, and the Times Square bomber who locked himself out of his own car-bomb. Put simply, bombs are difficult to make without significant training, require materials that can raise red flags (ex. certain chemicals, blasting caps, etc.), and often fail to detonate (like the bombs made by the couple in this attack), thus are actually less dangerous than guns in this context. Conversely, any idiot can go to a gun show, buy a semi-automatic weapon, and be ready to spray bullets into a crowd within hours. A situation where terrorists begin using this to their advantage is a national security nightmare that may be impossible to fix given the amount of guns in the USA today.

In the coming weeks, there will almost certainly be a major political fight surrounding the proper response to this attack.

On one extreme, right wing nationalists and bigots like Donald Trump (or at least the character he is playing during the GOP primary) will use this as an excuse to demonize Muslims and push xenophobic policies. The war-hawks will try to use this as a justification to attack random Middle Eastern countries while the Obama derangement crowd will accuse Obama of personally letting this attack happen. These people are simply wrong and using a tragedy to push their extreme agendas—they must be discounted, marginalized, and debunked.

Using the action of a few Muslims to demonize all Muslims is simply wrong. Similarly, the idea that we need to abrogate the civil rights of Muslims or enter into stupid wars that kill thousands of innocent Muslims would make us little better than the terrorists we hate. American Muslims are among the most moderate on earth, and giving in the xenophobia of the right on this issue will only chase them into the hands of the extremists and make it far easier for the Jihadists to recruit more Americans to their cause.

On the other extreme, PC apologists and regressive leftists will try to completely sever this attack from any religious context and conflate criticisms of the Islamist ideology with blanket attacks on Muslims. While well-meaning, these individuals are almost as dangerous as the extreme right, as they will prevent many from actually addressing the underlying issue that motivates these attacks and could lead to more in the future.

The Quran, like the Bible and Torah, contains some heinous passages that, if taken literally, will lead to extreme violence and evil. The danger posed by these books is baked into all three major monotheistic faiths, but Islam is clearly the most dangerous of the three in the modern era. Judaism reformed thousands of years ago (in fact 70% of Jews are atheists), while Christianity went through its incredibly bloody phase hundreds of years ago.

Polling shows that millions of Muslims worldwide support violent extremism and, even in the “moderate” Muslim nation of Malaysia, 11% of the population supports ISIS (this amounts to approximately 3.3 million people). Similarly, 4% of the Muslim population in the “moderate” nation of Indonesia and 9% of Pakistanis support ISIS (which amounts to nearly 26.4 million people in these two nations alone).


Even by the most optimistic outlook on this polling (assuming all of the undecided turn against ISIS and that nobody lied about their support for ISIS out of fear of judgement), over 63 million Muslims in these nations alone support ISIS. To make matters worse, these polls are only possible in the “less extreme” Muslim nations, as Islamist nations like the Gulf States do not allow pollsters to act in their jurisdictions.

Obviously, this is a major problem that is intrinsically connected to religious extremism. If we deny this link, as many regressive leftists would like, we cannot address the problem and will have little hope of stopping future radicalization.

We must not fall into either extreme after this tragedy. Ideally, new gun control measures would be implemented to ensure that terrorists and lunatics do not get access to guns (background checks, closing the gun show loophole, universal registration of weapons, etc.) while we invest in outreach into the Muslim community. Hopefully, by cutting down on terrorists’ easy access to guns and gaining allies within the moderate Muslim community, we will abort the next potential attack before it can happen.

7 thoughts on “Terrorists Attack San Bernardino, What are the Ramifications?

  1. Josh, Great, great article. Well done! But I ask, can you cite the source where 70% of all Jews are atheist? I know we’re splitting hairs, but maybe non-religious would be a better definition?  As for Trump? Trump’s words about Israel might be the first”truth” he’s spoken – that compromise instead of US blanket supportfor Israel is a necessity for any semblance of peace; and that bringing peaceto the ME would be a great, great thing. Author Bruce Bueno de Mesquita proposed a unique market based approachin his book The Predictioneer’s Game. I reference those ideals in my novels. I encourage you to research Bruce’s thoughts. Whether realistic or not is not the point – it isthe thought process.

      Personally, I came to the conclusion long ago until we, inconjunction working with ALL parties mitigate or calm the ME, the the wholeworld is subject to rising instability – and you know what? That is exactlywhat is happening, ever increasing the odds we suffer the unthinkable; an”American Spring,” which are premises of my novels.

      It’s frauds like Rubio, the great enabler, literally quotingNetenyahu verbatim that is the real danger. It is my opinion, and opinion only,until Rubio and like begin to suffer consequences for their unyielding supportof Israel under any circumstances, we subject ourselves and the entire world,including Israel to even greater insecurity. And as we know, tit for tat eventually escalates to much, much more.


      Keith T. Bishop

    The Woodlands, TX



    |   | |   | |   |   |   |   |   | | keithbishopbooks.comHome page for Keith T. Bishop listing published books: The Republican Bond – Returning Negative Yields. SLOP – The Wild Boar Nation and Dusty the Cat. | | | | View on http://www.keithbishopboo... | Preview by Yahoo | | | |   |

      From: The Progressive Cynic To: keith.bishop@att.net Sent: Saturday, December 5, 2015 10:00 AM Subject: [New post] Terrorists Attack San Bernardino, What are the Ramifications? #yiv9101711717 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv9101711717 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv9101711717 a.yiv9101711717primaryactionlink:link, #yiv9101711717 a.yiv9101711717primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv9101711717 a.yiv9101711717primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv9101711717 a.yiv9101711717primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv9101711717 WordPress.com | jsager99 posted: “© Josh Sager – December 2015On December 2nd, there was a terrorist attack in San Bernardino that took 14 lives and injured 21 Americans at the local Department of Health. This attack was carried out by a Muslim couple (I won’t name them because this kind” | |


    • Thanks for reading and commenting.

      I was using a Pew poll from a couple years back that surveyed religious intensity across multiple nations and groups. I can’t find a reliable link to it but will reply with one when I find it. When I said 70%, that includes both hard and soft atheists (don’t believe in god and don’t know) and those are functionally identical when it comes to worship. This is supported by other polls, like the one by Gallup that found that 65% of Israel is either “not religious” or “atheist,” and this includes the 20% Muslim population who tend to skew more religious.


      Blowback is a serious concern in the Middle East, and I agree that we risk a lot when entering into any conflict in that region. Unfortunately, so much anger is already directed at us that our actual role in the Middle East is muddled–for example, a lot of Iraqis believe that the USA is backing ISIS: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/iraqis-think-the-us-is-in-cahoots-with-isis-and-it-is-hurting-the-war/2015/12/01/d00968ec-9243-11e5-befa-99ceebcbb272_story.html

      This makes complete detachment very difficult, if not impossible.

      On the issue of Israel, things are even more complicated, as there are toxic class and profiteering situations that fly below the radar. Most people don’t know this, but the Palestinian leaders live in extreme luxury, and many reside in Qatar. They skim the aid money that should be given to their people (ex. Arafat died a billionaire) and get the extremists to fight in order to perpetuate the war/aid stream. They don’t have any incentive to deal, as they are not the ones dying and every death of their people is a PR victory. In fact, if there ever is peace, they will lose tons of money and will be held to account for mismanaging funds (it is really east to skim funds and let your people stagnate when you can blame Israel for destroying infrastructure and blockading you) Israel has let their right get out of control as well, and they are willing to fear-monger and use severe retaliation tactics in order to appear strong and retain political power.


  2. “Regressive leftists”, I like that term. It’s a shame that there weren’t any victims that were armed. Had this attack been perpetrated in a red state, the outcome may have been VERY different. Do you understand now why our police need access to military style equipment?


  3. Terrorists always choose soft targets. Planned Parenthood. A center for the Disabled. Doctors in their homes. Schools inhabited by children. Public parades or races. By the very nature of being a terrorist you are a coward. In a nation where military-style guns can be obtained through the internet or at unregulated gun shows it is possible for anyone to obtain any weapon they want. That is the fact of modern America. The gun dealers, through their mouthpiece the NRA , have been successful in selling their product. That is the reality.

    There was an opportunity to use sensible regulations and limit the availability of terrorists (foreign and domestic) to obtain military-style weapons, but that horse has left the barn. The forces of violence have won that battle. They have purchased Congress and intimidated decent gun dealers (like the gun dealer in New Jersey who attempted to sell child -proof guns).

    If we choose to use data, rather than emotion, we find that the states with the most lax gun laws have the highest death rates from gun violence (Louisiana, Mississippi, Alaska, Wyoming, Montana). And the states with more gun control and in the northeast have the lowest rates of gun deaths (Rhode Island, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey). Is it a cultural phenomena? Is it related to the overall educational levels? Is it a philosophy of using violence to solve problems? We cannot say it is causal but there is certainly a correlation. Stricter laws and fewer deaths. It is data. It is evidence. It is undeniable IF one chooses to accept facts rather than emotion.


    The US has a very long history of exporting violence around the world. In the form of military excursions and also in the form of selling all types of weapons to anyone (government or rebels or individuals)who wanted to buy them. Both our government and arms dealers have been doing this for years. Perhaps the chickens are coming home to roost. Blowback. Karma.

    Keep in mind that the same politicians who kiss the ring of the NRA and demand easy access to military-style weaponry will not allow those weapons into their government buildings. No weapons allowed in the Capitol Building. The NRA held its last convention in a “gun-free” zone so no weapons could be brought into its meeting. Rather cowardly and cynical in my opinion. But, as log as the money continues to change hands Congress will be happy to “pray” for the victims. keep those “prayers” handy because we will continue to see more and more victims.


    • Even with some of the toughest gun laws in the nation this still occurred in California. The whole state is a soft target. This time however, the shooters were actual terrorists. Don’t expect the majority of Americans to suddenly denounce the NRA. Gun store owners are going to have a very merry Christmas.


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