California shooting: Couple were primed for mass shooting #SanBernadino

December 5, 2015 5:43 am

San Bernardino attackers had huge arsenal, were in military-style gear and carried assault rifles

A young couple who killed 14 people in a shooting in had
amassed a huge arsenal and carefully planned their attack, authorities
said yesterday, refusing to rule out .
There were
competing theories as to what drove -born Syed Farook, 28,
described as a committed Muslim, and his 27-year-old wife Tashfeen Malik
to spray gunfire at a holiday party on Thursday in San Bernardino,
about an hour’s drive east of Los Angeles.

The attack, which left 21 people wounded, was the deadliest in
the since the 2012 massacre at a school in Newtown, Connecticut, in
which 26 people died, including 20 children.
San Bernardino
police chief Jarrod Burguan said Farook and his wife – who dropped off
their 6-month-old daughter with Farook’s mother shortly before the
killings – fired about 75 rounds during the attack at a disabilities
centre that required “a degree of planning”.
But the latest mass
shooting in the United States could have been worse, after Burguan
revealed that explosives rigged to a remote-controlled car were found at
the scene of the carnage but the device failed to go off.
1600 rounds of ammunition were found on the couple and in their
bullet-riddled black SUV after a police chase and shootout in which they
Two police officers were wounded in the rapid exchange of gunfire on a quiet residential street, though neither seriously.
About 5000 additional rounds, 12 pipe bombs and bomb-making material were also found at the home the couple shared.
just gets upset at a party, goes home and puts together that kind of
elaborate scheme,” Burguan said, after indications that Farook had
attended the party organised by the health department and left following
a dispute, only to return a short time later with Malik.

He said the duo were dressed in black military-style gear
and carried assault weapons and semi-automatic handguns when they raided
the Inland Regional Centre shortly before noon local time.
Barack Obama, who ordered flags to be flown at half-staff over the
weekend, cautioned that the motive for the carnage was not yet known,
but a terror attack could not be ruled out.
“At this stage, we do
not yet know why the terrible event occurred,” said Obama, who has
repeatedly called on the Republican-controlled Congress to pass tougher
gun control measures.
“It is possible that this was terrorist-related, but we don’t know. It’s also possible that this was workplace-related.”


The FBI also cautioned that it was “way too early” to speculate on the motive.
said that Farook, who worked for the local county as an environmental
inspector, married his Pakistan-born wife last year during a trip to
Mecca, in Saudi Arabia.
Burguan said the couple had no criminal record.
CNN quoted law enforcement officials as saying Farook had become
radicalised and had contact with known terrorism suspects overseas.
An imam at the local mosque that Farook attended denied that and said there was no indication he held extremist views.
fellow worshipper at the Dar Al Uloom Al Islamiyah mosque said Farook
used to pray there two to three times a week, but had not been seen for
about three weeks.
Another acquaintance said Farook met Malik online and they married in Mecca last year during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan.
“I saw her [Malik] a couple times, but never met her,” said Nizaam Ali, a university student.
“She was covered from head to toe in black.”

Names of the victims began emerging on social media before police released them.
“My husband, Nicholas Thalasinos, was killed in the shooting,” wrote Jennifer Thalasinos, a teacher, on her Facebook page.
to the site Mass Shooting Tracker, the latest attack brings to 355 the
number of mass shootings in the US so far this year.
A mass shooting is defined as four or more people shot in one incident.
Muslim officials in San Bernardino said that a prayer vigil was to be held at the local mosque to honour the victims.
condemn this senseless and horrific act of violence in the strongest
possible terms,” said Ahsan Khan, president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim
Community chapter in Los Angeles.
“Our community has been in San Bernardino County for nearly three decades, and yet have never seen such depravity.”
Ayoub, legal and policy director at the American-Arab
Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), said there was fear the attacks
would lead to a backlash against the Muslim community.
“We need
to stay cautious given the atmosphere and what happened in Paris a few
weeks ago and the fallout from that and the continued rhetoric,” Ayoub
said, referring to the recent terror attacks in France that left 130

Elda Flores (centre) with her daughter and grandchildren at a candlelight vigil for the shooting victims.  Photo / AP
Elda Flores (centre) with her daughter and grandchildren at a candlelight vigil for the shooting victims. Photo / AP

Prayers and politics: new debate in the US

have been plenty of prayers in the wake of the latest mass shooting in
the United States, but little concrete action on gun control is expected
from lawmakers, despite pressure from Americans weary of the violence.
isn’t fixing this,” the New York Daily blared on its front page in
a dig at lawmakers – and presidential candidates – who offer their
“thoughts and prayers” to victims and their families but balk at
strengthening gun controls.
To hammer home its point, the
newspaper included tweets from several Republican presidential hopefuls –
Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Lindsey Graham – offering prayers for the
victims and their families.
President Barack Obama – who has been
visibly angry after recent mass shootings – has called his inability to
enact “common sense” gun controls after the Newtown shooting in
December 2012 the biggest disappointment of his time in office.
support for stricter gun control is on the rise – up to 55 per cent of
Americans in a recent Gallup poll from 47 per cent last year – Obama’s
rival Republicans, who control both houses of Congress, have blocked all
attempts at reform.
Guns are a potent political symbol in the US, where the right to bear arms is enshrined in the constitution.
powerful National Rifle Association has helped shape the response to
gun violence in recent years by arguing that “the only way to protect
people from a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun”.
Millions of average Americans heeded the warnings.
number of people with licences to carry concealed weapons in public
nearly doubled in the past four years to an estimated 11.7 million last
year from 6.9 million in 2010, according to the National Shooting Sports
A common refrain after every mass shooting among
lawmakers is that “now is not the time” to talk about gun control, as it
would politicise a tragedy.
“These folks only want to think and
pray – the NRA pays them to only think and pray about gun violence and
not to do anything else about it,” Igor Volsky, a blogger with
ThinkProgress, told MSNBC.
Critics say that waiting until a
respectful time has passed to talk about gun control means the
conversation can never take place because there are more mass shootings
than days in the year.
According to the site Mass Shooting
Tracker, the latest attack brings to 355 the number of mass shootings –
defined as four or more people shot in one incident – in the US so far
this year.
The sheer numbers mean that only the most shocking
incidents make the national news, and even then the coverage and
response has become routine, said Jess Cagle, editorial director of
People magazine.
In a sign of how the debate has reached all
sectors of American society, the usually fluffy entertainment magazine
published the contact information for all members of the US Congress and
urged readers to demand change following a shooting at an Oregon
college in October.
“We all ask ourselves the same questions: How
could it happen again? What are we doing about gun violence in America?
There are no easy answers, of course,” Cagle wrote at the time.
argue for stricter gun laws, others say we should focus on mental
health issues, some point to a culture that celebrates violence.
this much we know: As a country we clearly aren’t doing enough, and our
elected officials’ conversations about solutions usually end in
political spin.”

Shoppers, get your guns

will soon be able to snap up the latest firearms from the comfort of
their sofas with the launch next month of GunTV, a 24-hour shopping
The new channel is being launched by an organisation
called Social Responsibility Network, which says it is addressing a need
for “education, information and safety regarding firearms commerce in
The channel will also, it says, responsibly provide
“extraordinary access to purchasing the most diverse representation of
firearms in the world”.
It will function like other home shopping channels, displaying merchandise which can be ordered by telephone or online.
24-hour live shopping network brings to life a vast array of firearms
and related consumer goods in a groundbreaking format that inextricably
fuses the social responsibility message with the traditional shopping
channel format,” says a promotional web page.
The channel will be
available to 34 million subscribers of satellite television. But
instead of delivering guns directly to consumers, it will ship the items
to a local firearms dealer.
GunTV co-founder Valerie Castle told
the Guardian newspaper that the channel would meet existing demand
while offering more education and information.
“I don’t really know that it’s going to put more guns on the streets,” she was quoted as saying.
will need to fill out forms and go through required background checks
at licensed dealers before taking the firearms home.
One of the
dealers signing on with the channel is Sports South, described as one of
the oldest and largest gun sellers in the United States.

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