Column: Looking for answers to extreme gun violence

Maybe it’s this law or that law, or a ban on this rifle or that handgun, but gun ownership is in Americans’ DNA.

What kind of mother would leave her six-month-old baby girl with her mother-in-law, pick up an assault rifle then, with her husband, go to his workplace and brutally slaughter as many people as possible?

The tragic carnage in San Bernardino, California, last week left 14 dead and 21 injured. And the murderous perpetrators, Tashfeen Malik and Syed Farook, were killed in a shootout with police.

Malik was the mother who calmly walked away from her daughter. She must have known what the outcome was going to be. She must have known that, in hours, her child would be an orphan.

And she must not have cared.

According to all accounts, she radicalized her husband, was the first to open fire, and posted her loyalty to the Islamic State on Facebook.

Now recognized as a terrorist attack by all U.S. enforcement agencies, the mass shooting in San Bernardino is the deadliest attack on American soil by Islamic extremists since 9/11.

Of course, the instant reaction was to step up gun control. Every time there’s a critical mass shooting, the cry goes up for more weapons legislation. But that’s not going to happen. There are more guns than people in the U.S. and the right to bear arms, entrenched in their Constitution, is fiercely defended. No one yet has enough ‘oomph’ to step up to the plate to repeal the Second Amendment.

But, still, President Barak Obama is adamant on the need for more gun restrictions, pointing to the absurdity that someone on the no-fly list (who can’t get on a plane) can walk into a store in the U.S. and buy a firearm. That law needs to be changed, he said.

Maybe it’s this law or that law, or a ban on this rifle or that handgun, but gun ownership is in Americans’ DNA. A Gallup poll last year found that 72 per cent of those polled think that there should not be a ban on possession of handguns. However, 55 per cent believe laws covering the sale of firearms should be more strict and 86 per cent favoured a law requiring universal background checks for all gun purchases using a centralized database across all 50 states.

But will change happen? Ever since the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012 when 20 children were slain, there was an outcry for more gun control. Nothing happened. There is a mass shooting – defined as four or more people shot in one incident – almost every day somewhere in the U.S.

“We have a pattern now of mass shootings in this country that has no parallel anywhere else in the world,” Obama said.

As gun control became the knee-jerk reaction to last week’s tragedy, Donald Trump shocked the country with a call to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. On Tuesday he called for a “Total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until the country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”

His proposal is a sweeping prohibition affecting everyone of Islamic faith. The White House reacted quickly, saying Trump’s proposal is inconsistent with American values and disqualifies him from serving as President. Republican and Democrat candidates, logical thinking people everywhere and world leaders around the globe were outraged and denounced Trump’s comment as divisive, racist, and stoking hatred.

But calls for weapons laws or controlling the movement of Muslims won’t address extreme jihadism. Misguided and brutal-minded devout followers see Western society as the cause of everything not to their liking. In their twisted minds, adhering to extreme political, social or religious ideals justifies their ends by whatever means.

Even if it leads to their own baby becoming an orphan.