On December 2, 2015, 14 people were killed and 22 were seriously injured in a terrorist attack at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California, which consisted of a mass shooting and an attempted bombing. The perpetrators, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, a married couple living in the city of Redlands, targeted a San Bernardino County Department of Public Health training event and holiday party, of about 80 employees, in a rented banquet room. Farook was an American-born U.S. citizen of Pakistani descent, who worked as a health department employee. Malik was a Pakistani-born lawful permanent resident of the United States.
After the shooting, the couple fled in a rented sport utility vehicle (SUV). Four hours later, police pursued their vehicle and killed them in a shootout. On December 3, 2015, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) opened a counter-terrorism investigation. On December 6, 2015, in a prime-time address delivered from the Oval Office, President Barack Obama defined the shooting as an act of terrorism.
The horror of such mass shootings on American soil, whether they be acts of terrorism or otherwise, is a scab that never seems to heal. Each new shooting opens the wound anew and there are times when I fear it will never heal. I already knew that one of the victims of the San Bernardino shooting was a friend of a friend. This made the unthinkable even worse.
The scab opened up again when I read a New Yorker article on the shooting by William Finnegan [February 22]. In his second paragraph he wrote this about another of the victims:
Nicholas Thalasinos was fifty-two. He was a restaurant inspector who, according to his widow, loved Godzilla - he once took his two sons to a Godzilla convention in Chicago.
I am 64 years old. I love Godzilla. In July, I’m going to Chicago’s G-Fest with my adult son Eddie.
I have no answers for you, only my conviction that neither treating all Muslims as our enemies or allowing completely unfettered access to guns and other weapons can alleviate the hatred and violence at the center of such unthinkable crimes. There needs to be a better way to move forward to peace and security.
Nicholas Thalasinos loved Godzilla.
© 2016 Tony Isabella