“Someday at Christmas there'll be no wars, when we have learned what Christmas is for. When we have found what life's really worth, there'll be peace on earth.”—Stevie Wonder
As America prepares to celebrate Christmas, the holiest of holidays, the mass shooting at a government building in San Bernardino severely undermines the sentiment of “goodwill toward men.”
On Wednesday, at least 3 gunmen went on a shooting rampage at the Inland Regional Center, killing at least 14 people and injuring 17. The shooting occurred in the conference center at a Christmas party, authorities say. The center was rented out to county employees for the celebration.
After an intense manhunt, police located the suspected shooters who reportedly sped away in a dark SUV. Authorities exchanged fire with suspects and killed two of them—a man and a woman. A third suspect has been detained.
Nearly 670 employees work at the Center, which serves those with developmental disabilities in Riverside and San Bernardino counties, according to the center’s Facebook. The center has provided services to more than 30,200 people with developmental disabilities and their families for at least 40 years. The nonprofit organization serves children, adults and seniors.
While this latest attack comes close to home, it unfortunately represents a drop in the bucket of violence that has occurred in 2015 nationwide. The Huffington Post reports that there have been more mass shootings this year than there have been days—355 mass shootings in 336 days to be exact.
There have been incidents that meet the ShootingTracker standard in 46 states and D.C. , Florida, Illinois and California have had the most incidents. In each state, there have been at least 22 shooting incidents in which four or more people were shot.
Mass shootings are at an all time high. However, only a fraction of them—like the killing of 9 people in a Charleston, South Carolina church in June—ever make the national news.
Police are searching for clues as to what led to the attack in San Bernardino. Some are calling it domestic terrorism. However, the center has also come under fire in the past.
In 2010, IRC was accused of ignoring children’s needs and for showing favoritism regarding vendor rates, the San Bernardino Sun reported. Employees also filed a civil lawsuit against the center alleging they were retaliated against for advocating for patients.
The Association of Regional Center Agencies (ARCA) which represents the network of 21 non-profit regional centers, including IRC, coordinates services for, and advocate on behalf of,
California’s over 280,000 people with developmental disabilities.
In a press release ARCA Board President Struthers said “ARCA, the regional centers, and the developmental disabilities community is united in mourning and support. The victims of today’s shooting were connected to us by service to those in need. Our hearts are with all those affected.”