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?
Today brought news of another mass shooting. They all seem to be inexplicable, but this one was inexplicable, squared: three heavily armed, masked gunman show up at the Inland Regional Center, a social services center in San Bernardino and begin firing; the present count is 14 dead and 17 wounded, at least 10 of whom are in critical condition.
Why would anyone want to attack a social services center that helps developmentally disabled people?
At this point, no one has said what the motive was, but one thing is clear — the people came armed and intending to kill many people. Authorities say they were “on a mission.” Whether that mission was a random terrorist attack, or a revenge massacre by crazed former employees, or some other scenario, we don’t know. The fact that we are talking about a group of attackers using sophisticated weaponry who fled the scene, rather than a lone lunatic armed with handguns who ends up committing suicide after he’s committed his evil deeds, suggests that this incident might turn out to be different from the all-too-distressing norm.
When people are attacking schools and centers for the developmentally disabled, a part of the fabric of our society seems to be irreparably torn.I don’t know what we do to end the cycle of massacres in the United States, but whatever we are doing now just isn’t working.
Edited to add: Here’s the latest from the L.A. Times on the shooting. It looks like there is a lot still to learn about exactly what happened, and why a husband and wife team armed with assault gear chose this target.