What kind of mother would say goodbye to her six-month-old daughter, then drive with her husband to his workplace one morning to calmly, deliberately slaughter as many of his co-workers as possible?
Tashfeen Malik was that kind of mother. It was she who evidently radicalized her husband. It was she who was first to open fire. It was she who declared her loyalty to Islamic State in a Facebook post, and fired back at the police before the couple were mowed down in a hail of bullets.
The slaughter in San Bernardino introduced a new face – and phase – of terrorism. It was the first IS-inspired attack on American soil, committed not on military targets but, as in Paris, on ordinary civilians. Yet the immediate knee-jerk responses were entirely predictable. Guns are the problem! No, refugees are the problem! Just get rid of guns (or refugees) and we won’t have to worry.
Tighter gun control and better border screening would both, no doubt, be good things. But neither of them would solve the terrorism problem. And both liberals and conservatives are evading the central issue: What kind of new mother would do this?