President Obama was in Paris yesterday, when 14 people were murdered in San Bernardino. Obama cited the shooting as illustrating the need for stricter gun control, telling reporters that “The one thing we do know is that we have a pattern now of mass shootings in this country that has no parallel anywhere else in the world.”
The Associated Press is reporting this morning that the shooters in San Bernardino were Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik. According to one of Farook’s co-workers, “Earlier this year he traveled to Saudi Arabia and returned with a wife, later growing a beard.” In addition to gunning people down, Farook and Malik also planted three bombs, which were later detonated by police. The FBI is investigating both terrorism and workplace violence as possible motives. (Those killed were co-workers of Farook’s).
The city Obama is visiting has seen two horrific mass shootings by Islamic gunmen just this year, shootings that French gun laws did nothing to deter. Of course, it may turn out that the shooting in San Bernardino had nothing to do with terrorism. But to breezily declare that there is no parallel to what happened in San Bernardino is to ignore the worldwide pattern of Islamic militants gunning down innocent people. That, it seems, is one parallel that Obama has no interest in mentioning, much less exploring.
Thomas Piatak is a contributing editor to Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He writes from Cleveland, Ohio.