Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, July 19th, 2018

Mass Killing in California

A couple of days earlier a couple massacred 14 people and wounded 21 others at a year-end office party in San Bernardino, California - the deadliest mass shooting in the United States since the Newtown school massacre in 2012.

The two attackers were later killed in a gun battle with police. They were US-born Syed Rizwan Farook and Pakistani national Tashfeen Malik and they had an arsenal of ammunition and pipe bombs in their Redlands home.

The investigators are trying to find out the real motive behind the attacks and they are now investigating the case as an act of terrorism. According to FBI Director James Comey, “The investigation so far has developed indications of radicalization by the killers, and of potential inspiration by foreign terrorist organizations,” He added, however, that there was no indication that Syed Farook, 28, and his 29-year-old Pakistani wife Tashfeen Malik were part of a network.

David Bowdich, the assistant FBI director in charge of the Los Angeles office told reporters that investigators were examining a Facebook posting in which Malik is believed to have pledged allegiance to Daesh leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, made around the time of Wednesday’s attack.

The massacre, if proven to be terror-related, would be the deadliest such assault on American soil since the September 11, 2001 attacks.

However, it is already evident that it is yet another example of mass shooting in US and adds a bad chapter to the list of such killings that have been carried out around the world mostly by individuals because of psychological perversions or perverted behaviors. However, there are possibilities that the killings allegedly carried out by Farook and Malik may have some different reasons.

Unfortunately, mass killings have a long history within human societies. They have taken place in different parts of world with different intensities, reasons and outcomes. Apart from the mass shooting in United States, there have been many other incidents as well around the world that have depicted the worst manifestation of violence by human beings. One such incident happened in Norway on July 22, 2011. The incident was carried out by Anders Behring Breivik. He set off a fertilizer bomb that tore the facade of the high-rise that housed the government’s headquarters, and drove toward Utoya unhindered as chaos reigned in the capital. Arriving on Utoya, disguised as a police officer and armed with a handgun and semi-automatic rifle, he unleashed a shooting massacre that sent panicked teenagers fleeing into a chilly lake or hiding behind rocks to save their lives. More than half of the victims were teenagers – the youngest had turned 14 five days earlier.

The incidents mentioned above clearly show how brutal such incidents can be. However, they depict the worst manifestation of violence in human behavior.

Though they are not very much systematic and happen randomly, they have been able to happen quite often in history. Some of the major reasons behind such actions are; psychopathy and depression, social isolation, insecurity, the impacts of movies and video-games and gothic cults. The impacts of such incidents are tremendous, long-lasting and agonizing. The ones who are able to escape such incidents can never erase the horrible chapters from their psychology and may be haunted by constant fear that may give rise to some sorts of psychological problems. On the other hand, the relatives of the victims, the spectators and the entire community cannot escape the influences and have to undergo an ugly experience.

As such incidents are carried out randomly and mostly in isolation, without consultation with others and in solitary abodes, there are great difficulties in stopping such incidents. The only way to counter them is to strive to reduce their consequences. On the other hand, some very important changes can be brought in social setup to reduce the social and psycho-social problems. As most of these incidents are because of the psycho-social behavior, the authorities and all the people can play their roles in making societies participatory, caring and dominated by positive and healthy social interactions.

It is because of the mechanical approaches in our society that give rise to the problems like depression, isolation and delinquency. Human beings are not born as criminals and killers; it is the societies that make them so.

The problems and troubles that human beings face in their social lives make them criminals, delinquents and murderers if they are not able to react to them appropriately.  Unfortunately, the belief systems that can play a very dominant role in providing contentment and satisfaction to human beings and can deal with their spiritual and emotional lives to a satisfactory extent are themselves the cause of division and hatred within human race. They, on most of the occasions, make human beings cruel enough not to bother while killing their fellow beings mercilessly.

In fact, behind most of such incidents, the society is involved in some way or the other.  Today, it can be claimed that they are carried out individually, but it is sure that they have their roots in the social atmosphere. Human societies need to take responsibility for such actions and should try to amend the circumstances that lead to such incidents.