This past Saturday, a horrific event took place at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 11 people died as a result of the senseless actions of one human being, one of them being a 97 year old Holocaust survivor. The gunman, Robert Bowers, allegedly entered the Synagogue around 9:50 am when Shabbat morning services were taking place. He proceeded to yell various anti-semitic statements upon entry, the most shocking being “ALL JEWS MUST DIE!” With him, Bowers carried an assault rifle as well as 4 handguns inside.
Police were called to the scene at 9:54 am and rushed to the scene with the FBI who brought the SWAT team along. The gunman started firing back at the police from the second floor of the Synagogue, injuring 2 SWAT members and 4 police officers. His reign of terror ended as he exited the space in fair condition with multiple gunshot wounds and surrendered. It was unknown at the time if the shooter acted alone, so police actively canvassed nearby neighborhoods to assess threat levels. As the shooter received medical attention, one SWAT member says Bowers told him that “All Jews must die” and blamed Jews as the cause of the nation’s problems.
President Trump, on his way to a Future Farmers of America conference, called the suspect a “madman” and praised the actions of law enforcement. In his statement, he controversially said that the shooting could have been prevented if an armed guard was outside. Additionally, he called for the need of the death penalty in these type of cases.
Robert Bowers has a known social media presence on Gab for being anti-semitic. On the topic of the immigrant caravans, he called out a Jewish advocacy group for wanting to “bring in invaders that kill our people.” The social media service Gab, also received scrutiny by many allowing this type of vile offensive language go unnoticed. Many sponsors pulled their plugs on the social media including GoDaddy.com in which Gab has their server on. Gab has since been shut down in short term.
In my view, the only thing needed right now is change. How many more shooting’s need to go by before we consider change? Many may consider gun control as the possible solution and others may say its the death penalty that needs to be involved more in these cases. Regardless of the route we choose to eradicate this problem, this is an incident that should never happen again. I personally disagree with our President in the stance that the Synagogue should not want to have a armed guard outside. No religion should have to live in fear of the incident happening. We should never be afraid of maniacs shooting innocent people in America of all places. Like this isn’t just Judaism who is receiving these attacks, it’s also Sikhs, Buddhists, Hindus, etc. At this point I don’t care what the President does to stop these attacks, but he needs to stick with a plan and execute it properly with dedication.