WASHINGTON – Based on no evidence whatsoever, Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz has labelled the killings in San Bernardino, Calif. a “terrorist” attack and “proof” that our nation is at war with Islamic terrorists.
Cruz made these remarks at a conference being held here by the Republican Jewish Coalition.
Cruz’s making irresponsible statements is nothing new. He does it constantly. Acting irresponsibly is nothing new, either. He single handedly shut down the U.S. government over a tiny budget issue and has called for America to return to the gold standard for banking currency, even though all experts agree this could cause another Great Depression.
But calling the San Bernardino tragedy a “terrorist” attack is a new low even for Cruz. His statements could very well fuel virulent Islamophobia and push unstable individuals to attack innocent people.
Dylann Roof, the murderer of African American worshippers in their church in Charleston, S.C., was motivated, at least in part, by the white supremacist rhetoric he had heard.
It would be tragic if the American public as a whole jumped to the conclusion that the San Bernardino murders were acts of terrorism.
Police authorities themselves are saying they do not yet know why a man and a woman opened fire at a holiday party of his co-workers in San Bernardino, killing 14 people and wounding 17.
At first, the media treated the tragedy as another in the wave of mass killings that are plaguing our country. Then it was revealed that the murderers, who were killed by police, have Arabic-sounding names and the tone of coverage changed.
That’s when Cruz made his pronouncement without checking the facts.
The killings could have been motivated by any number of circumstances, including Syed Rizwan Farook’s anger and resentment at being trapped in a low paying healthcare worker job.
What is known is that the two assault-style rifles and two handguns recovered at the scene of the shootout were bought legally in the United States.
At a news conference called by the Los Angeles area chapter of Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the brother-in-law of Farook, Farhan Khan, said he was bewildered by the news.
“Why would he do that? Why would he do something like this? I have absolutely no idea. I am in shock myself,” Khan said at the news conference in Anaheim, California, south of Los Angeles.
Hussam Ayloush, executive director of CAIR in the Los Angeles area, has appealed to the public not to jump to conclusions about the suspects’ motives.
“Is it work? Is it rage-related? Is it mental illness? Is it extreme ideology?” he said. “We just don’t know.”
There have been more than 350 shootings this year, in which four or more people were wounded or killed in the United States, according to the crowd-sourced website shootingtracker.com, which keeps a running tally of U.S. gun violence.
“I don’t think any community is immune,” San Bernardino Mayor Carey Davis told CBS. “Certainly, we don’t anticipate that kind of thing happening here. It was a shock.”
Instead of whipping up hatred, Ted Cruz could have contributed to the movement for preventing mass killings by calling for stricter gun control laws in the U.S.
Photo: After the mass shooting in San Bernardino. Jae C. Hong | AP