57 Survivors Live with Aftermath of San Bernardino Terror Attack

Islamic terror attacks have marched on since the December 2 murders in San Bernardino, California that left 14 dead — but that day is still all too fresh for the 57 survivors battling to carry on in life.

Tracie Thompson took a bullet to the thigh in that attack, when 14 of her coworkers were murdered, the Los Angeles Times reports. In addition to the 14 killed, 22 were physically injured in the attack. On a recent day outside a grocery store, the Times notes, the sound of a far-off shot returned to Thompson memories of shots that brought her to her knees, her husband quick to embrace her.

It has been over six months since Islamic terrorists Syed Rizwan Farook and K-1 visa wife Tashfeen Malike attacked her and her coworkers at a holiday party. 49-year-old Thompson now backs up to walls and watches for exits in crowded rooms according tot the report.

Jessica Ballesteros recounted for the Times that because of exceedingly long waits and red tape, some of the victims ended up back at work before seeing a therapist. Ballesteros emphasized to the Times that the injures suffered that day weren’t just physical. Her memories of escaping the room were less vivid than the screams even from her own mouth and looking into Farook’s eyes. “For us, there were 57 in that room. We get lost in it.”

The Times notes that for those who have returned to work, the bureaucratic fallout, lined with endless streams of paperwork has served as a source of bonding.

The Times reported of Sally Cardinale:

Cardinale, who went back to work in May, said she can’t shake the dread she felt hiding in a bathroom during the attack. She huddled with three other women in a stall. Drywall exploded off the walls from all the bullets. Everyone who had been sitting at her table had been killed or badly injured.

Cardinale described struggling between being acutely aware of her surroundings after the attacks and “looking crazy.” Slamming doors spark shaking for the woman, whose dreams turn violent.

Post-attack meetings have helped some survivors, the Times reported. Tracie Thompson recalled the meetings as a place where everyone could share while figuring out how to respond to questions from the public.

Meanwhile, memorials and tributes continue, beyond the national media spotlight. On June 30, the local Rock Church honored firefighters that responded to the attacks, according to the San Bernardino Sun.

In the immediate wake of the December 2 attacks Inland Regional Center employees had been evacuated to the church, located just a couple of miles from the site of the attack.

The Islamic terror attack that killed 49 in an Orlando, Florida nightclub last month re-opened the emotional wounds of the San Bernardino survivors, one told the Times.

Farook had attended fundamentalist mosque Dar al Uloom al Islamiyah in San Bernardino, part of the Tablighi Jamaat sect of Islam, known to some as the “army of darkness.” Farook’s wife came to the United States on a K-1 finance visa, and doubt remains that the two ever met as required before she arrived in America.

Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana 


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