By The Piper
They started a bloodbath, shooting with deadly effect at the faces and bodies that Farook knew only too well. In a very short time fourteen people lay dead and another two dozen were left grievously wounded. Farook and Tashfeen made good their escape in an SUV.
They did not get far, however, and were soon taken out by law enforcement officers only a short distance away from the scene of the mayhem. This was the most deadly attack by jihadists in the United States since September 11, 2001.
You may recall that the details of the carnage came bit by bit. A dead body was on the road not far from the SUV with a thousand bullet holes, windows blown out, and the doors flung wide open. Law enforcement from every branch of local, state, and federal agencies were on hand. There was rumor of a third shooter and police officers were seen in all manner of tactical outfits, crouching, running, going from backyard to basements, looking for the third killer.
The situation was truly tense as seen on TV, and as usual the media was ‘all over the story’, helicopters and all. There was something quite different on this day, however, a difference that is truly worth acknowledging. You see, unlike the expected massive attacks by media types, on this day, American journalists conducted themselves with great dignity.
They went to extraordinary lengths to make subtle distinctions, all of them aimed at caution, at tamping down on fear and the usual racially motivated nationalism. The call was not to rush to judgement and some commentators actually blamed right wing militia groups.
When it was clear that it was two Muslims – Sayed Farook and Tashfeen Malik, the media chose to describe them as persons who had been ‘radicalized’, rather than the usual concatenations of Islam and terror.
As always, there was soon to be an exception, this time in the unbelievable call by Donald Trump to ban all Muslims coming into the United States. Trump’s political opportunism did not, however, go unanswered. Of course, the White House came out and rejected Trump’s idea. As expected, so did Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Howard Dean even crept out from the woodwork, and so did Alan Dorshowitz. But it went beyond the usual liberal quarters.
The Pentagon made an official statement on the subject, as did conservative Senator Lindsay Graham. The British Prime Minister David Cameron condemned Trump’s idolatry, and so did the indefatigable Mayor of London.
There are now numerous reports of a backlash against Muslims in the United States. The same must be going on in Paris, London, and perhaps all across the ‘Western’ world. But judging from the sheer outrage of what happened in San Bernardino, and what had just happened in Paris, we must conclude that the aggressive assertion of a liberal position did indeed make a difference. The backlash could have been worse.
Finally, I have been wondering what the Government of Guyana might be doing to reach out to Guyanese Muslims overseas. The Piper strongly encourages the GoG and the opposition PPP to find ways of connecting and supporting Guyanese Muslims wherever they might be.