As new developments continue to come out about the shooting in San Bernardino, California, the New York Times is reporting that the female shooter, Tashfeen Malik, used a Facebook post to reveal that she shares the views of the terrorist group ISIS. There is, however, no evidence that Malik and her husband, Syed Rizwan Farook, were ordered by the Islamic State itself it carry out the horror they perpetuated on their victims; indeed, it seems that they are what the authorities refer to as “self radicalized.” Speaking anonymously, one official opined:
“At this point we believe they were more self-radicalized and inspired by the group than actually told to do the shooting.”
This is likely the product of the slick internet propaganda ISIS has become so well-known for producing. This is how they get operatives in countries around the world, including the United States, to pledge their alignment with the group’s murderous cause and carry out worldwide terror attacks. This couple is far from the first people to become radicalized by ISIS without actually being present in a territory controlled by the terrorists. The FBI says that they have tracked roughly 3 dozen potential ISIS fighters on U.S. soil in the last year. FBI Director James B. Comey says of the situation, considering ISIS’s abandonment of their efforts to actually get vulnerable recruits to actually make into the areas they control in Syria:
“We’ve especially focused on the portfolio of people we’re investigating for the potential of being homegrown violent extremists. That is, people consuming the propaganda. So those investigations are designed to figure out where are they on the spectrum from consuming to acting.”
Warning that people who agree with the ways that ISIS operates might be inspired by the Paris attacks, Comey continued:
“Within that group we’re trying to focus on those we think might be at the highest risk of being a copycat. And so we are pressing additional resources, additional focus against those. That’s the dozens.”
Malik and Farook definitely seemed to have fallen victim to ISIS’s online presence. The couple appears to be a product of the online dating boom, as Farook had profiles on dating websites looking for a Muslim partner, whom he seems to have found Malik. The attack seemed planned, as it appears that efforts were made to delete digital footprints.
Hopefully, this attack leads to the ability to stop the internet radicalization of would-be ISIS fighters. If it doesn’t, we definitely have a whole new breed of homegrown terrorism on our hands. After all, Farook was born and raised in the United States, and was American through and through. That alone should make people realize that the terror is most definitely here at home.
Featured image via Flickr