Christmas, the holiday of joy, is just around the corner. But for the people of San Bernardino, California, it looks like Christmas this year will be a silent one, marked by mourning over the 14 people killed on December 4, 2015, in a mass murder.
The local Department of Health was holding a Christmas party on December 4, 2015 when fellow employee Syed Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, stormed the venue. They fired more than 70 rounds of ammunition and attempted to set off three pipe bombs before they were killed by police. The firing spree left 14 dead and 21 wounded.
The police are baffled by Farook and Malik, who were described by friends and family members as being a sweet and soft- spoken Muslim couple. Malik kept an especially low profile, and little is known about her. The couple initially met online before meeting in person in Saudi Arabia in 2013, where Farook performed the Hajj (a required pilgrimage to Mecca). After a year of extensive paperwork, Malik moved to America as Farook’s wife. They had a baby girl together and (lead → led. past tense) a happy life as devout Muslims. Then, the couple abruptly left their 6- month old daughter with Farook’s family, with Malik pledging allegiance to the leader of ISIS via private message on Facebook before leaving for the shooting.
Farook’s family is still struggling to recover from shock. Farhan Khan, Farook’s brother- in- law, said in an interview:
“I didn’t see at all. Normal person … as normal as you can think. I mean, you know, a person that … go to work, come back home, you know, play with the kid, eat dinner, sleep. Normal person.” (NBC news)
The FBI is also confused by Farook and Malik’s actions, as neither had been on its radar. “There is much that doesn’t make sense, even for people that do this for a living,” Director James Comey said Friday.
Much must be done to make sense of the issue. As of now, we can only offer our deepest condolences to the families of the victims.