I am still in shock this morning over the events of yesterday in San Bernadino, California. Once again a seemingly unthinkable act of violence has unfolded in America and I am sick to my stomach over the carnage.
It would be simple to immediately write this off as a Jihadist Terrorist Attack. The information we have been given - the perpetrators were of the Muslim Faith and they came to play rough, dressed in tactical gear, body armor and using Assault Rifles to mow down 31 innocent people - seems to point solidly in that direction. They killed 14 of people. And now 14 families will be looking at empty chairs on Christmas day, while 17 families hold vigil at hospitals and pray for their loved ones to heal.
Yet, while I do not dismiss the idea that this is a result of radical Islamist beliefs I'm not yet convinced of it. There are too many odd variables. The target is a weird target - the workplace of one of the perpetrators, rather than a crowded mall or an amusement park or even a college campus.
Look, I am not a terrorist and do not pretend to be any kind of expert as to how these people think. It just seems to me that if my objective is to kill infidels for the glory of Allah as well as send a message to the citizens of the Great Satan to convert or die, taking out the co-workers who recently gave me a baby shower wouldn't be the way to spread that message. Blowing myself up outside of the Santa Claus display at a downtown mall at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon would be a hell of lot more effective, and terrible. All those 3 year olds waiting in line with their stressed out Moms and Dads, dressed up to get their picture taken with Santa and a guy dressed in an elf costume make a much more impressive target.
Yet, to dismiss this as one more act of violence by a mentally ill man and his wife, perhaps caught up in a Folie a Deux, might be missing the Truth as well. This is a pretty horrific act. Could it simply be a case of work place violence? Was he just another quiet time bomb ticking away, ready to go off?
As a Catholic, I know what my response to such horror is supposed to be and I am trying very hard to walk that path today. I am praying for the souls of those murdered (yes, even for the perpetrators' souls...that's what we do...we love our enemies even as they are murdering us). I am praying for the health and healing of those wounded in the attack, both mentally and physically, and I am trying very hard to put all of this into the Hands of God. I trust Him. I know that nothing happens in His universe in error and that while God does not cause or condone evil acts, He can draw good from that evil and does every day. I may not see the good in my lifetime but I trust Him.
Today I am willing to wait and let Law Enforcement do their job, while I do mine. I cannot imagine the horror, the pain and the anger San Bernadino is experiencing as a result of this violence. My heart goes out to the community.