Last Wednesday, Dec. 2, in San Bernardino, California, 14 people were killed and 21 wounded when two terrorists, Tashfeen Malik and Syed Rizwan Farook, shot up a holiday party.
Yes, I said they were terrorists, although it took American officials several days to come to the conclusion that two Muslims with roots in the Middle East, wearing tactical clothing and killing innocent people with assault rifles, were, in fact, terrorists.
Even after the FBI stated it was treating the bloodbath as an “act of terrorism,” U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch “urged the public not to jump to conclusions about the motive for the attack or the couple’s ties to ISIS,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
So Loretta, were Tashfeen and Syed just a young married couple having a bad day?
What the neighbors saw
And then there are the neighbors who saw suspicious activity but didn’t report it because they didn’t want to be accused of “racial profiling.”
One woman saw a lot of packages arriving at the couple’s townhouse, and noticed they were working in their garage late at night. She didn’t call authorities.
A man saw a half-dozen Middle Eastern men in the neighborhood before the shooting, and wondered what they were doing there. He also said nothing.
Why is there hesitation about naming this senseless killing as “terrorism”? Why were people more concerned about being called a “racist” than protecting community security?
Some have labeled it an overabundance of political correctness. I actually think the issue is bigger than that.
I think we don’t want to admit to ourselves that evil exists.
Government, churches, schools and advertising agencies always tell us that “we’re all created equal” and “everyone deserves a chance.” This is absolutely true — for about 88% of the population.
But nobody tells us that there are exceptions. Nobody tells us about the 12% of people who are sociopaths. They live in our communities and look just like us, but have totally different life agendas.
These exceptions are not motivated by love or a desire to “live and let live.” They are motivated by power and control.
Were Tashfeen Malik and Syed Rizwan Farook sociopaths? I don’t know. But if they themselves weren’t sociopaths, they were certainly influenced by sociopaths.
ISIS is a cult, its leaders are cult leaders, and cult leaders are sociopaths on steroids.
So how do we tell the difference between someone who truly wants the same things we do, but is simply from a different culture, and someone who looks like us but has evil intentions? Our instincts have the answers.
Our instincts are our built-in early-warning systems. Our instincts are designed to notice something out of the ordinary and alert us to danger. The best thing we can do is learn to trust them.
The instincts of Syed Rizwan Farook’s neighbors were working. Unfortunately, because we are not taught to listen to our instincts, the neighbors ignored what their guts were telling them. I’m sure they now regret not contacting the authorities.
If your instincts ever trigger an alarm about someone — whether it’s a possibly sociopathic romantic partner or terroristic neighbor — pay attention. Even more importantly, act on your internal warning.
Your instincts are the best tool you have for staying safe — and protecting others.