It’s been nearly two weeks since Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik, a married couple, murdered fourteen innocent people and wounded twenty-two more in their terrorist attack on a mental health facility in San Bernardino, California. Once the initial shock of that terrible event, the worst jihadist terror attack on American soil since 9/11, began to wane, awkward questions have been raised about just how effective our government’s efforts to combat violent extremism inside our country actually are.
Americans were shocked by the San Bernardino crime, and no wonder: Farook, a native-born citizen, coldly gunned down co-workers who were assembled at an office party, with help from his immigrant wife, both of whom had left their six month-old baby at home when they left for their suicide mission. While female participation in jihadist terrorism is nothing new, this was an unusually brazen and horrifying attack, particularly since given the size of their arsenal – with thousands of rounds of ammunition and multiple homemade bombs – Farook and Malik intended to kill many more people than they did.
Making matters worse, most Americans felt reasonably safe from the threat of domestic jihadism in recent years, despite repeated warnings about the rise of the Islamic State and terrible attacks like the recent mass-casualty atrocity in Paris. Although the November 2009 Fort Hood massacre, perpetrated by Army Major Nidal Hasan, killed thirteen, it happened within the confines of a military base and did not involve the general public.
Read the rest at the New York Observer ….