San Bernardino shooting.
I’m still not going to start discussing the “meaning” of the San Bernardino shooting. I’ll just list the dots:
1. 14 people were slaughtered in a shooting in San Bernardino yesterday, with another 17 wounded.
2. The two shooters were Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 27.
3. Farook was born in the U.S.
4. Malik was born in Pakistan, but most recently lived in Saudi Arabia before coming to the U.S.
5. Farook’s father identified him as a devout Muslim.
6. Farook attended the party that he and Malik later attacked, and left after a dispute.
7. Farook and Malik returned to the party a short time later, heavily armed.
8. Heavily armed means: They were armed with .223-caliber assault rifles and semiautomatic handguns, at least two of which were purchased legally. I read somewhere (and can’t remember where), that the quality of the firing indicated that some or all of the weapons were functioning on fully automatic mode.
9. Farook and Malik were also heavily protected, wearing full body armor and GoPros to capture the carnage.
10. Farook and Malik also brought three bombs to the shooting site.
11. Initial reports of Farook’s and Malik’s home indicates that it was a bomb factory, complete with IEDs and remote-controlled cars. In other words, while a fight may have triggered the slaughter yesterday, Farook and Malik had long been preparing for something big.
12. A neighbor knew something whacked out was taking place in Farook’s and Malik’s home, but did not report it for fear of being seen as racist.
13. Although the shooting is technically purely a local matter, the FBI immediately became involved in the crime scene.
14. The media continues to be mystified by the shooting.
15. Obama has identified the culprit: The Second Amendment
16. The media has fallen in line with Obama and, while mystified by the shooters’ motive, are demanding gun control laws that would have done nothing to stop Farook and Malik.
Those are the dots. You may connect them any way you wish. Also, feel free to leave additional dots — i.e., facts only, no speculation — in the comments.
America’s Obama malaise
Jimmy Carter was rightly reviled for leading into his own re-election campaign by saying that the country he’d been governing for three plus years was suffering from “malaise.” That’s not an inspiring incumbent campaign slogan. However, it might be exactly the right one-word eulogy for America today.
“Malaise” is an interesting word. The online etymology dictionary’s entry on the words origin reveals how the word describes a deep feeling of things being terribly wrong:
c.1300, maleise “pain, suffering; sorrow, anxiety,” also, by late 14c., “disease, sickness,” from Old French malaise “difficulty, suffering, hardship,” literally “ill-ease,” from mal “bad” (see mal- ) + aise “ease” (see ease (n.)). The current use is perhaps a mid-18c. reborrowing from Modern French. A Middle English verbal form, malasen “to trouble, distress” (mid-15c.), from Old French malaisier, did not endure.
I thought of the word “malaise” in connection with Obama’s presidency when I read Daniel Henninger’s WSJ opinion piece today, pointing out that Obama will not be leaving the country in bad shape; he’s leaving the country in appalling shape:
Whatever Mr. Obama promised in that famous first Inaugural Address, any sense of a nation united and raised up is gone. This isn’t normal second-term blues. It’s a sense of bust.
The formal measure of all this appeared last week with the release of the Pew Research poll, whose headline message is that trust in government is kaput. Forget the old joke about the government coming to “help.” There’s a darker version now: We’re the government, and we’re here to screw you.
In a normal presidential transition year, voters would be excited at the mere prospect of new leadership. Instead, the American people are grasping for straw men.
Liberals think the right is gloating at Mr. Obama’s end-of-term difficulties. No one is gloating. The nation is either furious (the right) or depressed (the left) at eight wasted, wheel-spinning years whose main achievement is ObamaCare—a morass.
Mr. Obama will go off to do something else, but he leaves behind a country littered with public and private institutions in disrepute. Whatever the cumulative causes for this, a president bears responsibility for maintaining some bedrock level of respect for institutions that are the necessary machinery of the nation’s daily life.
The New York Times trains its guns on Cruz
You know Ted Cruz is gaining traction when the New York Times trains its guns (rhetorical ones, of course) on him. This time, it’s an article by Frank Bruni, theater critic turned political pundit, and one of the hardest Left of the Left at the NYT. I don’t feel like dignifying the article with a link. Bruni’s shtick is that Cruz is unfit to be president because many in Congress dislike him. He’s “divisive.” He can’t work with people. To which I say Bullshit. (And yes, my feelings are running high if I swear.)
We already know that Ted Cruz works just fine with people. The problem for Ted in the Senate was that he had two choices: abandon his conservative principles upon being elected in order to be popular with the RINOs and Democrats; or stick to his principles, demand that Republicans live up to their campaign promises, and accept being reviled by the spineless congressional Republicans. He chose the latter path. No wonder the NYTs fears him.
If the Left wants a militia, let’s give them a militia
The Left insists that the only way that anyone in the US can have guns is if there is a well-regulated militia. (Never mind that it’s apparent from historic records that the Founders meant that all citizens should have ready access to arms so that, if a threat arose from within or outside of the U.S., they could quickly turn themselves into a citizen army — precisely as they did to counter British tyranny.) But let’s assume the Left is right. Steven Hayward suggests that we call the Left’s bluff:
The “militia” at the time of the Constitution was generally regarded as every able-bodied adult male. Since we cannot have police or even private security at every location where a terrorist or mentally ill person might turn up, how about we start a program encouraging Americans to sign up in large numbers to be state militia members, involving a short course in gun safety and threat assessment. Then instead of having signs at schools and malls and elsewhere declaring a “Gun Free Zone,” we’d have signs saying “This facility protected by state militia members.” We’ve already gone a small step in this direction with the decision, several years ago, to allow airline pilots to carry their own firearms in the cockpit.
Yes, yes, I know: we already have a “militia” after a fashion in states with concealed-carry permits, and gun safety programs are what the NRA is all about. (Incidentally—has there been a single instance yet of a mass shooting by an NRA member? I’m not aware of one. Yet yesterday Martin O’Malley went out of his way to suggest the San Bernardino shooting was the NRA’s fault.) But why not make this a formal part of our national counter-terrorism policy, so that the kind of attack that happened at the Paris music hall two weeks ago would be impossible here?
That sounds like a clever idea to me. What do you think?