On December 2nd, 2015, at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino California, Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik had attended a holiday party in which according to witnesses, Farook had an argument with another employee. Many details of the attack will surface in the coming days, however the incident clearly identifies the need to distinguish between ideological terrorism and acts of calculated violence perpetrated by a lone wolf.
Farook, a 28 year old who had been employed there for 5 years then left the party with his wife only to return at around 11a.m. The couple came back to the party prepared for war. They had assault rifles, handguns and a full complement of tactical gear. They then proceeded to open fire indiscriminately on the people attending the holiday party.
In the end, 14 people were killed and 17 wounded. The obvious coordinated attack was no suicide mission as we have witnessed many times in these active shooter incidents. No, the couple made their getaway in a black SUV. The police chased the SUV that wound up in a shoot out that left Farook and Malik dead while wounding two police officers.
The couple was not on any FBI watch list, but as the investigation continues, the search for links to terrorist groups will become clearer.As it stands, the couple also pre-positioned explosive devices at the scene that was likely to be remotely detonated upon their safe escape. This may have been pre-planned for a secondary attack on first responders or as a secondary attack on the holiday party.
And as if that were not enough, a search of the couple’s home revealed another dozen pipe bombs, bomb making materials and enough ammunition for a small war.
One major factor in the emerging investigation for authorities will be to construct a time line and a deeper understanding of the couple’s motives and if they were operating alone or if they had any support from a larger terrorist network. If ties to any organization materialize, this would be cause for authorities to consider other potential soft targets that could be next.
The continued onslaught of these violent attacks underscores the need for education and training to prepare, as these incidents become part of our lives. Safety as you go about your daily life should be at the forefront of your thinking.
Your brain is your most important weapon and it is with you all the time. Does it not behoove you then to arm yourself with the knowledge and tools to prepare for an active shooter threat? Developing the right mindset, one of both security and survival is quintessential and places you in a superior tactical position to recognize and avoid potentially dangerous situations. And when avoidance is not possible, to evade or even counter to increase your chances of survival should you be faced with this type of threat.