San Bernardino Shooting Updates

[Content Note: Guns; terrorism; violence; death.]

Previous posts: Wednesday; Thursday.

Late last night, I updated yesterday's post with the names of the 14 people who were killed in the shooting: Robert Adams, 40; Isaac Amanios, 60; Bennetta Bet-Badal, 46; Harry Bowman, 46; Sierra Clayborn, 27; Juan Espinoza, 50; Aurora Godoy, 26; Shannon Johnson, 45; Larry Kaufman, 42; Damian Meins, 58; Tin Nguyen, 31; Nicholas Thalasinos, 52; Yvette Velasco, 27; and Michael Raymond Wetzel, 37.

My sincerest condolences to their families, friends, and colleagues.

You can find out more about their lives here.

There still isn't much to report with regard to motive, which remains a big question mark. There was no manifesto left behind to be discovered. There is no evident online footprint that provides context. There are no obvious red flags. Even the most reactionary, reductive assumption that it was religiously motivated doesn't immediately make sense:
At the Islamic Center of Riverside, where [Syed Rizwan Farook] had worshipped until about two years ago, mosque director Mustapha Kuko described him as quiet, private and devoted to Koran study.

"He knows that we believe that to take one life is to take all life. So for him to do the opposite of what we as Muslims believe … I don't know," Kuko said.

One victim, who worked in the same department as Farook, was also a member of the congregation, he said.

"He shot her," Kuko said. "Point blank."

The victim's husband reported she is in stable condition, he said.
It is possible that even she failed to meet the standards of a newly radicalized Farook. Some law enforcement sources have said that he "had been in touch with people in the Los Angeles area who have expressed jihadi-oriented views. Intelligence sources told NBC News that Farook appeared to have been in some form of communication with people overseas who are persons of interest to U.S. authorities."

Whether that will turn out to be anything meaningful, however, remains to be seen. There are lots of people who are "of interest" to authorities for no legitimate reason. Just earlier this week: "Man held at Guantánamo for 13 years a case of mistaken identity, say officials."

So the investigation continues. [CN: Video may autoplay at link] Electronic devices recovered at the scene "had been smashed when they were found by investigators." FBI computer forensics analysts "will try to reconstruct and extract any digital information they can, which sources said will be painstaking work. One law enforcement source told ABC News that while investigators have some capabilities to mine information from damaged digital media, 'they are not miracle workers.'"

Pakistani authorities are also working with US authorities to further investigate Tashfeen Malik, though, given that Malik entered the US on a fiancé visa, I don't know what will be found that didn't come up during that screening process. As noted at the link: "The K-1 visa program has one of the more rigorous security screening processes—presenting far more hurdles than other avenues for foreigners to enter the U.S." And, having been through that process, I can attest that it contains an extraordinary level of investigation, of both the foreign and citizen applicants.

I hope the mystery of their motivation is solved, especially for the injured victims and survivors of those killed. I can't even imagine being harmed by someone in an act of mass violence, or losing a loved one to an act of mass violence, and not knowing why it happened.

Searching for some explanation himself, Farook's brother-in-law Farhan Khan said: "He was a bad person, that was his personal act." That much is true. And maybe that's all we'll ever be able to say with certainty. They were bad people, who did an unfathomably terrible thing.

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