Perhaps no place in region exemplifies this better than the Inland Empire area. Even though the metropolitan area is the 13th largest in the country, few people have ever heard of it.
I grew up in Riverside - in the middle of nowhere.
But in the middle of everywhere. In 45 minutes, depending on direction, I could be in Newport Beach, the deserts Palm Springs, the mountains in Lake Arrowhead or L.A.. Vegas is only a 45 minute flight out of Ontario.
But there is also a lot of crime and poverty in the area. Smog, gangs (Asian, Black, Hispanic and white-supremist) and drugs are as common as grass in many towns of the region.
Especially in San Bernardino.
While many surrounding areas have rebounded and even flourished since the housing and economic market crashes, San Bernardino seems to be getting worse.
Being one of Riverside's traditional sister cities (from downtown to downtown is only ten minutes), I am very familiar with the town.
Syed Farook (one of the alleged shooters in San Bernardino) is said to have gone to high school in my hometown at La Sierra (often referred to as 'Lousy Area' by those who live in better parts of the town). The shooting took place just blocks away from the Friday's at which I worked many years ago. Loma Linda hospital (the hospital to which the shooting victims were taken) is in a town which I once lived. The killing of two of the shooters in Redlands happened in another town in which I once lived. Police officers, Sheriffs and dispatchers in the area are still my friends. (In fact, it was from tweets and Facebook postings that I first learned of the shootings.)
But what of this terrorist attack?
(Yes, 'Terrorist' - as the media, citizens and law enforcement in my current town (2000 miles away) are all scared as shit thinking that the next event could happen here.)
I think it was a personal attack that will be claimed or spun to have political or religious motivations.
A Christmas party with co-workers isn't exactly a high-profile target.
San Manuel Casino (a few miles away) would have had a larger negative financial impact on the area.
The Mission Inn's annual Festival of Lights (a few miles in the other direction) is a much bigger party.
The area is filled with colleges and universities and some type of shopping mall can be found at most freeway offramps.
If the goal was to disrupt the most lives possible, there were clearly more visible targets in the area.
While searching facebook for Syed's page, I came across another man with the same name who was advocating the celebration and recognition of Muslim holidays by the government. Apparently some Muslims wish to be treated as equals in America.
IMOHO - This attack was one derived from personal motives.