By Allyana Belen,
Domestic News Writer
After the Paris shootings, the world stood on the edge of fear and anticipation of the next violent attack. It now seems as if the world did not have to wait for very long. On Wednesday, Dec. 2, Tashfeen Malik and her spouse, Syed Rizwan Farook, fired into a holiday party being thrown by a San Bernardino Environmental Health Department where Farook was employed.
As the FBI takes over the investigation, the citizens of California, the United States, and the world, question the safety of stepping outside the doors of their home. Is anywhere safe when a simple holiday party can be destroyed by radical ideology and the willingness to act? From this question comes another, more important question. How will the government’s reaction be exerted into policy and action?
During the morning of Dec. 2, Inland Regional Center’s employees gathered into a conference room, flooded with the exchanges of anticipatory holiday greetings and the simple joy of having a break from all the work left on their desks. Around this same time, Malik and Farook equipped themselves with two assault rifles and two semiautomatic handguns. According to the Huffington Post, these weapons would lead to a death toll of 14 and a wounded count of 21.
After four hours, Malik and Farrok eventually met their demise during the stand-off between themselves and the police.
Farook was a Chicago-born individual and American citizen who spent five years of his life working within the San Bernardino County Health Department. On the other hand, Malik’s native home was Pakistan. Their marriage was arranged online, but was celebrated in 2014.
In the beginning of the investigation, there was another theory that was placed alongside the idea of a terrorist attack. For a fleeting moment, law enforcement believed Farook may have held a vendetta against his co-workers. This theory was invalidated by the discovery of a laboratory devoted to the manufacturing of bombs and already completed bombs within the couple’s home.
As documented by CNN news, FBI official David Bowdich made the following comment in regards to the nature of this investigation.
“As of today (Dec. 4), based on the information and the facts as we know them, we are now investigating these horrific attacks, as an act of terrorism.”
Now, further into the investigation, the search for supporting evidence has turned from the material to the digital realm. Along with the discovery of the bomb-creation lab, the push behind the switch of the investigating team from California police to the FBI came in the form of phone calls between the one of the shooters and other personnel under investigation for connections to ISIS.
Yet, the most incriminating, albeit speculative, evidence is a Facebook post which pledges allegiance to the well-known ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Supposedly, Malik made this declaration of allegiance during the events of the attack, using an account under a different name than her given name.
According to a Facebook official who spoke with the CNN News team, the post, allegedly written by Malik, went online around 11 am Wednesday. Since Facebook has a strict policy against any post which seeks to advocate for terrorism and celebrate acts of violence, it was eventually taken down by Facebook faculty on Thursday.
While the specific wording of this post is not being made public at this time, Facebook is working alongside law enforcement in order to trace Malik’s digital footprint and see if this will aid in the on-going investigation.
Still, others state that this digital footprint is not solid support to associate this group with any terrorist organizations. David Chesley, the couple’s attorney, referred to this piece of speculative evidence as “hardly anything at all.”
The couple’s ability to camouflage their hidden agenda leads to the question of whether or not this attack could have been prevented.
Did officials overlook information that could have forewarned them about this attack? The road to this answer is not simple.
Malik and Farook bore no criminal record and, before the attacks, outwardly showed no radical outlook on Muslim edict.
They merely practiced Islam according to its usual traditions such as the separation of men and women within the household during gatherings. In addition, Malik wore a face veil.
The only known passionate outpour from Farook in regards to Islam was in the form of an argument with a co-worker regarding politics and religion.
Nicolas Thalasinos, who tragically was killed by Farook and his wife during the attack, was a Messianic Jew. Days before the attack, Farook and Thalasinos found themselves in a passionate discussion.
In relation to the beliefs Thalasinos held and could have expressed to Farook, Jennifer Thalasinos, his widow, made the following statement to CNN News.
“He’s very upset about what ISIS was has been doing and the radicalized Muslims.”
Thus, the investigation into the specifics surrounding this case of violence continues on.
As speculation and theories are filtered through with evidence, the question goes broader than the prosecution of two violent individuals.
It extends into the identification of preventative methods by the United States government and the governments of other countries.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, December 8th print edition.
Contact Allyana at