Here’s another reason to add to the infinite list of reasons to be thankful for your mother: she didn’t drop you off at Grandma’s house before suiting up, declaring her allegiance to a terrorist group, and then heading off to conduct an inexplicable massacre of innocent people.
That is the most astonishing aspect of the apparent back story of the San Bernardino shooters: one of them was a new mother who allegedly dropped her child off at her mother-in-law’s house before heading out for a murderous rampage with her husband.
People used to refer to the “maternal instinct” — the notion that there was an innate impulse, possessed by every mother, to love and fiercely guard her children. It’s an old-fashioned concept, and probably passe in modern times, but the San Bernardino attack certainly undercuts its presumed existence. No one with “maternal instincts” could knowingly bring explosives and weaponry into the home where she was raising an infant and then callously drop off the kid before blazing away at strangers.
President Obama, and others, frequently respond to terrorist incidents by talking about our “shared values” — as if all of the people of the world had the same perspective on things. Of course, we don’t all have “shared values”; that’s the problem. San Bernardino puts the lie to that concept as well. How can we reasonably speak of “shared values” if something as fundamental as a mother’s love can be overcome by a terrorist ideology? If we can’t trust a mother to stick with her child . . . well, what can we trust?