On Saturday morning during Shabbat at Tree of Life Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, a shooter opened fire on the Jewish service being held there, shouting anti-Semitic obscenities as he shot up the temple.
A tragedy of this magnitude — the murder of peaceful worshippers as they pray and celebrate their faith — is only amplified in such a small, tightly-knit community. Sadder still is the fact that this particular temple had actually worked with the Department of Homeland Security to develop an active shooter escape plan, but had only planned for security presence during high holy days.
The most recent president of the synagogue told CNN that the building would generally have around 100 people inside it during the time when the shooter began his killing spree. At least twelve people have been shot. Three police officers have been shot, but it’s unclear now whether those three are part of the twelve, or whether the total is now fifteen.
The terrorist attack comes on the heels of similar hate crimes carried out against Donald Trump’s political adversaries, and could even be tied to the same kinds of comments by the President that led Cesar Sayoc to mail twelve pipe bombs to various individuals that Trump has publicly attacked.
During a speech to the Young Black Leadership Summit on Friday, Trump overtly mentioned the “globalists” he felt are ruining the country. The term has become synonymous with Jews among white supremacists in the alt-Right, a group that has given Trump crucial support. As Trump mentioned “globalists,” an audience member actually shouted out the name of a prominent Jew who was among those attacked by the pipe bomber, and Trump laughed when they said “lock him up.”
Following the attack on the synagogue, Trump was reached for comment, and his response to the hate crime was to suggest that temple-goers should possibly have been armed in order to prevent an attack such as this. One assumes he means the rabbi or congregants since police officers on scene were also shot, so their having been armed clearly didn’t change anything.
If they had protection inside, the results would have been… far better. This is a dispute that will always exist, I suspect. But if they had some kind of a protection inside the temple, maybe it could have been a very much different situation. They didn’t, and he was able to do things that unfortunately he shouldn’t have been able to do.”
Watch the video from ABC News:
The “dispute that will always exist,” one presumes, is Trump’s way of saying that Jews will always be hated, although that seems crude to say immediately following a shooting at a temple. Still, no one has accused Trump of being too sensitive to the feelings of others.
On Twitter, he attempted to address the tragedy in a more meaningful way, but Americans were not in the mood. Perhaps the response can be best summed up in a single tweet:
You incite this garbage. If you want to truly be meaningful then change the gun laws that keep wackos from having access to deadly weapons.
— KC Fx (@krayoncolorz) October 27, 2018
Featured image via screen capture