Steve Hansen: Shooting hardens attitudes toward ISIS


By Steve Hansen
Former QCS Managing Editor

I commuted about 20 miles one way to a job in San Bernardino, California, for about a year.

That was nine years ago, but I’m sure not much has changed.

San Bernardino has long been in decline. Its government buildings are sometimes the only signs of life amid the blank, dusty windows of long-shuttered businesses and poor, short-lived attempts at entrepreneurship.

San Bernardino is the county seat of San Bernardino County, whose population is about the same as New Mexico’s.

The government sector thrives in the city, but little else does.

San Bernardino was once a thriving industrial and agricultural center, but the croplands and vineyards became suburbs and the industrial jobs, as they did elsewhere, went away.

There are even remnants of an old Air Force base nearby. Too many of the city’s residents live in poverty and crime rates are high.

It baffles me that an apparently home-grown terrorist couple targeted a routine holiday luncheon for an ordinary county department in this struggling city. There they conducted a bloody, meaningless massacre in the name of what they call a holy war.

They earned only their own inglorious deaths, leaving behind an infant daughter and mystified shock from their own relatives.

Even the radicals of ruthless, Wahabbism-besotted ISIS, whose name has been invoked in the couple’s emails, have issued only lukewarm endorsement of this act of pure cruelty.

In the U.S., it has only hardened attitudes toward ISIS’ irrational hard line and, unfortunately, all of Islam.

This “heroic” couple, then, accomplished the deaths of 14 people, hardship and sorrow for their survivors, and long, slow recoveries for the 21 who were wounded.

They have also turned more of their adopted nation’s attitudes away from Islam. Oh, and they got some headlines.

That’s it. And a black eye for a medium-size city that was already mired in misfortune.

Good job. If that’s what waging holy war has become, we have hope that jihad will soon become merely a bad memory like the rules of Stalin, Hitler and Saddam Hussein.

The names of this “heroic” couple?

Who cares?

Steve Hansen writes about our life and times from his perspective of a retired Tucumcari journalist. Contact him at:

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