Kamala and the Killers

As they gathered for a holiday office party on December 2, 2015, employees of the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California, thought they heard fireworks outside. As a National Police Foundation report explains, the crackling noise was something else.

“Suddenly, a door swung open and a person clad in all black, with a mask shielding his or her face, stepped inside, wielding what appeared to be an automatic rifle. Without saying a word, the person, now believed to be [Syed] Farook, opened fire.” Then Tashfeen Malik followed. “She also wore all black and entered the room shooting. Together, the shooters fired more than 100 rounds.” The shooters then “hastily departed, heading out to a black SUV they had parked just outside, leaving behind a chaotic scene of noise, fear, and pain.” 

And death. 

American-born Syed Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik, a green-card holder born in Pakistan, murdered Robert Adams, Isaac Amianos, Bennetta Betbadal, Harry Bowman, Sierra Clayborn, Juan Espinoza, Aurora Godoy, Shannon Johnson, Larry Daniel Kaufman, Damien Meins, Tin Ngyen, Nicholas Thalasinos, Yvette Velasco, and Michael Wetzel—all employees of San Bernardino County’s heath department. Isaac Amanios, 60, immigrated from Eritrea to California in 2000 to escape violence and repression. Bennetta Betbadal, 46, fled to America with her family to “escape Islamic extremism and the persecution of Christians that followed the Iranian Revolution.” 

The state attorney general at the time was Kamala Harris, a former San Francisco district attorney and consort of Democrat queenmaker Willie Brown. In a December 17 statement, Harris said “we must seek justice for those who lost their lives in the recent attacks in Paris and San Bernardino,” but failed to name any of the 14 victims. The victim’s loved ones might have found Harris’ statement puzzling. She also failed to name Farook and Malik and offered no insight on what motivated the pair to kill 14 people and wound more than 22 others. The attorney general seemed to operate with a different set of priorities. 

“Ultimately,” Harris said, “not only is it immoral and contrary to our values to stoke fear and cast aspersions against an entire faith and the millions of law-abiding American Muslims, but it is also strategically unwise. This very community is a critical ally in the short and long term fight combatting terrorism and radicalization here at home and across the world.”

Harris was joined by officials from the Muslim Public Affairs Council and the Council on American-Islamic Relations, whose Los Angeles director Hussam Ayloush said “Islamophobic and xenophobic rhetoric by certain public figures has made Muslim communities an easy target for hate crimes.” Harris, Ayloush added, “exemplified leadership” by addressing “the spike in hate crimes against American Muslims and other minorities.”

In a statement one year later, Harris recalled “those who lost their lives and the loved ones they left behind,” but—again—named not a single victim, the loved ones they left behind, or any of the “brave first responders.” Those were the San Bernardino police, but the word “police” does not appear in Harris’ statement. Local officers might find that strange, too.

As the Police Foundation report notes, during the chase and gun battle the terrorists fired at least 81 rounds at the police, wounding one officer who stayed in the fight as another officer dressed his wounds. Police shooters hit Syed Farook 25 times, including one shot in the chin. The 13 shots that took down Tashfeen Malik included two to her head. So the outgunned police did achieve good “shot placement,” but there was more to it. 

Inside the terrorists’ SUV, police found “an additional 1,879 rounds of .223 ammunition and another 484 rounds of 9 mm ammunition.” Police also found a “trigger apparatus to detonate the secondary devices” at the Regional Center, a reference to bombs intended to increase the death toll among the first responders, a terrorist calling card. 

San Bernardino police fought as bravely as any troops in frontline combat, without assistance from the FBI, which did not come into play until after the massacre. Harris’ reluctance to mention the police may stem from a case during her time as district attorney in San Francisco. 

Gang member David Hill gunned down police officer Isaac Espinoza with an AK-47. Harris refused to seek the death penalty, a decision that put her at odds with police across the nation. Police and civilians alike might find little evidence for Harris’ claim that the Muslim community is a faithful ally against terrorism. 

Muslim convert Enrique Marquez, who procured weapons for Farook and Malik, pleaded guilty to federal terrorism charges in February 2017. Rafia Farook, mother of Syed, claimed she knew nothing of his deadly plans, which included attacks on schools and freeways, but she shredded a map her son made for the attack. As the U.S. attorney announced on March 3, Rafia Farook agreed to plead guilty to a one-count of “alteration, destruction, and mutilation of records.” 

In her run for state attorney general in 2010, Harris was the likely beneficiary of voter fraud. She moved on to the U.S. Senate in 2016 and during the 2020 presidential campaign talked up a “Harris Administration.” If voters wonder how such an administration would respond to terrorism, they can look back at San Bernardino. As they did in response to the 2009 Fort Hood mass murderer Nidal Hasan, the FBI would look the other way at Islamic jihadists. Politicians would pass off terrorist atrocities as “workplace violence,” or “tragedies” that simply “took place,” with no connection to Islam. 

Harris has also called for reallocating funds from police to public schools and Democratic ally, Black Lives Matter, seeks the abolition of the police and wants to replace officers with social workers. Good luck finding social workers who can take down heavily armed terrorists in short order, with no loss of innocent life and little collateral damage. Stay safe everybody. 

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About Lloyd Billingsley

Lloyd Billingsley is the author of Hollywood Party and other books including Bill of Writes and Barack ‘em Up: A Literary Investigation. His journalism has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Spectator (London) and many other publications. Billingsley serves as a policy fellow with the Independent Institute.

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images