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San Bernardino: 9/11 Style Jolt

by John on 12/04/2015

Is it just me? Does this attack in San Bernardino hit you differently?

It is different from the other domestic mass shootings. It is also different from the “for-sure” terrorist attacks we’ve seen overseas in Paris and Mali.

This one is excessively chilling for what it portends. This could change a lot of things for Americans.

A word of caution: we don’t know the full extent of the investigation yet.

But initial media and intelligence reports bring me these reactions.

This feels like 9/11; not the style of attack, but the jolt or surprise, like being t-boned by a car you never saw at an intersection.

San Bernardino has a similar shock reaction to the Twin Towers. “Flying two planes into the World Trade Center!?”

The San Bernardino attack is similar but maybe more ominous:

  • It hit an intimate setting: the workplace; a workplace that seemed to have an abundance of camaraderie. What’s next? Going into individual homes?
  • It targeted innocent people, not political or social icons.
  • There were no propaganda statements or even claims during or after the attacks.
  • The killers seemed poised for this attack – and maybe more attacks. There is a chance they just flipped out and got angry about something else and blew their cover as jihadists.
  • The male killer was born here.
  • The attackers were living what appeared to be the American dream. In addition, the male killer had a full-time, good paying job working in local government – for five years.

And that is the scariest point.

Usually when someone is radicalized most people – friends and family — are not surprised. This was different.

And if this is a trend, then we are in for some major psychological and social changes here.

  • We will become leery of public places even more so now.
  • We will become suspicious of fellow workers, family members, and new friends – especially if they are not of the same color and creed.

And who can blame us? At the expense of sounding like a right-wing paranoid, I get it. I favor a pluralistic society with different races and religions. But I am not ready to have my family and close friends gunned down innocently.

What will we see more of?

  • Stepped-up surveillances of everyone in the US
  • A lack of concern for refugees and victims of the wars in the Middle East.
  • Turning away talented entrepreneurs who might bring new technologies and innovations here.
  • Increased gun sales here.

What won’t change is the silly rhetoric from both political parties.

  • Already we have seen the GOP block access to guns for suspected terrorists. Sadly, the GOP is run by NRA money. I am no lefty wanting to take away the nation’s guns; far from it. But I would like to make sure military style weapons are restricted from people who shouldn’t have them and don’t need them.
  • And we also see liberals screaming just about gun violence when really this massacre appears to be more about extremism growing in the dark parts of our society. Yes, I don’t doubt our mental health laws are lacking, but that is not addressing this apparent problem.
  • Economically we can’t do much. We don’t have the ability to create a new Marshall Plan for the Middle East to make their economies viable. First, few Americans would allow it since we face our own fiscal mess in the next ten years as Baby Boomers retire at record numbers. Second, it would be a waste of money since most of the Arab nations are fighting a Sunni vs. Shia war – not the war against extremism that we are fighting.
  • So, it is left up to our military and foreign policy. But solutions recommended by either party will only fuel the problem further. Do we become isolationists? No, jihadists will take advantage of our absence to control the economy over there and destroy what allies we have – while still getting into our workplaces and killing us. Or do we become more hawkish and start, as Donald Trump said, “bombing the shit out of them?” That too will recruit more of the extremists who are brilliant on social media reaching these disaffected young people.

Pick your poison. Most of us will fight back and we will reluctantly become a country most of us don’t want to become:

  • Suspicious of our neighbors who are different
  • Fearful of going out into the public and being a part of the community.

Where Al Qaeda used the box cutters to bring down the twin towers with three planes, these new jihadists may be using social media and the freedom of movement to attack us.

Maybe ISIS is winning in the most cunning way by infiltrating our lifestyle and we don’t even know it.

Am I alarmists here?

What do you think?

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