Renowned journalist Edward R. Morrow once said, “The obscure we see eventually. The obvious, it seems, takes longer.”
I thought about this quote as I was watching analysis of the events in San Bernandino, California last week. The cable news stations were inundated with “experts” who were trying to explain why Syed Farook and his wife chose the holiday party as their terrorism target. The consensus was the couple were “amateur” terrorists and past cases suggest non-professionals choose a location with which they are familiar.
But there is a much more obvious reason which seems to be completely overlooked. Witnesses report Farook left his coat on his chair when he left the room. The couple NEVER intended to become martyrs. The coat was to be part of Farook’s alibi. Not only would he not be the killer, he was a potential victim. You can almost hear his intended statement to the police. “I was just lucky. I had to go to the men’s room. When I heard the shots, I fled the building. I didn’t even retrieve the coat I’d left at the table where I was sitting.”
Other evidence supports this view. The couple left their baby with the maternal grandmother and left nothing behind on-line or in their apartment suggesting she would have to care for the baby in the event something happened to them. They fully expected to retrieve their child later that day.
The alibi would also have served Farook well if he and his wife had conducted a second attack as suggested by the weapons in the rented SUV. He could always have claimed to have been at the Inland Regional Center attending the holiday party and awards ceremony.
Remember, Inland was not where Farook worked. It was only the site of the office event. Therefore, he probably was not as familiar with the layout as the “experts” suggest.
This is only one example where expert analysts, in an attempt to demonstrate their grasp of events beyond that of most people, just try to hard. And by doing so, fail to see what is right under their noses. They would be better served to employ Occum’s razor, “All things being equal, the simplest explanation is the most probable.”
For what it’s worth.