The Death of "See Something, Say Something"
Less than 24 hours after the shooting in San Bernardino, California had come to an end, a few things were pretty clear: In an act of terrorism, two radical Muslims murdered 14 people, injured nearly two dozen others, and were well-equipped to carry out even more violence.
As is typically the case in the immediate aftermath of a mass-shooting in this country (when hardly anything is known of the situation), opportunistic politicians and political operatives were quick to dish out the regular talking points.
Hillary Clinton blamed guns. Fellow Democratic presidential candidate Martin O'Malley blamed the NRA. Markos Moulitsas, founder of the Daily Kos and Vox Media, blamed the GOP, even going as far as declaring that the shooters were Republicans.
Nice work, Markos.
As it turns out, this particular mass-shooting wasn't committed by some loner with a long history of mental illness and anti-social behavior. It was carried out by a husband and wife team, of Middle Eastern descent, who have now been identified as having connections to international terrorism.
Many on the left are continuing to insist that this story is about gun control, of course. They're sanctimoniously demanding that something be done to end gun violence, while totally ignoring the fact that several explosives were also part of this couple's arsenal. And of course the notion that gun restrictions would have somehow kept jihadists from killing people is, at best, painfully naive.
There is one thing, however, that this couple did have in common with the other mass-shooters who we've unfortunately come to learn about in recent years: They had triggered suspicions beforehand.
Several neighbors believed the family had been acting peculiar in the weeks leading up to Wednesday's violence, working late hours out of their garage, and receiving an unusually large number of packages in a short period of time. That (and presumably other activity) struck one neighbor as being curious enough to warrant reporting the behavior to the authorities. Only, she didn't follow through, fearing her involvement would be considered "racial profiling."
One can't exactly blame that neighbor for keeping silent. Our culture isn't what it was in the post-9/11 Bush years, when the concept of "see something, say something" made perfect sense to just about everyone. These days, if you see something, and there's some type of ethnic component involved, you'd better just shut your trap. Otherwise, you'll run the risk of being labeled a bigot, losing your job, and potentially even being sued for $15 million.
That's what political correctness has done to the War on Terror, at least in the involvement our government once asked of us. There's now a worse stigma that comes with erring on the side of caution, and being wrong, than there is accepting violence and death that otherwise could have been stopped.
If someone had reported the happenings going on with the would-be assailants, in the weeks prior to the attack, would it have stopped Wednesday's nightmare from happening? It's hard to say. It would have depended on the level of interest from the police department.
What's clear is that a nosy neighbor has a far better chance of disrupting a terror plot than tight gun restrictions (like the ones that exist in California) do. Unfortunately, "see something, say something" is dead because the P.C. culture has disarmed the wrong people.
Has it been worth it?