Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting

Dan Meloy, News Editor

The shooting at The Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh happened on the morning of October 27th, 2018. The victims include 88 year-old Melvin Wax, 69 year-old Irving Younger, 66 year-old Jerry Rabinowitz, brothers 59 year-old Cecil and 54 year-old David Rosenthal, 97 year-old Rose Mallinger, 84 year-old Bernice and 86 year-old Sylvan Simon, 71 year-old Daniel Stein, 75 year-old Joyce Fienberg, and 65 year-old Richard Gottfried. Shouting anti-Semitic slurs, the aggressor opened fire, killing 11 people and injuring 6.

This has now been described as one of the deadliest rampages against the Jewish community in all of United States history, and the man who murdered these individuals on what was supposed to be a peaceful morning has now been charged with twenty-nine criminal counts. These counts include obstructing the free exercise of religious beliefs, which is a hate crime, and using a firearm to commit murder. He faces state charges as well, such as eleven counts of criminal homicide, six counts of aggravated assault, and thirteen counts of ethnic intimidation. The man being charged had apparently been spewing anger towards Jewish individuals and other ethnic groups beforehand on multiple social media sites as well, saying that Jewish people are “the enemy of white people”, and that immigrants are “invaders”.

Pittsburgh Tweet
Image from Twitter

Before the assault, the man tweeted out “I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in.” When interviewed about this tragic event and how it has affected them, William McCloud (12) said, “I believe that this tragedy has changed my views in that there are a lot more hateful people in our society.

The shooting makes me feel disgusted that there are people still in America who openly speak about hateful things, and commit atrocities like this. In order to prevent these things from happening, we should create boundaries regarding the mentally ill and firearms. For example, an individual with a mental illness linked to aggression should not be allowed to buy firearms and or be restricted to only having firearms inside the house and never outside. In regards of notifying the authorities of social media posts, racists comments should be notified to the police so that they watch their account for x amount of time to confirm that they are not dangerous.

Regarding Trump’s comments on the security of the synagogue, I believe that the security of the synagogue itself wouldn’t help the situation. Bystanders could be shot in the process as well as any security guards. It may protect the building itself, but not anyone outside. Additionally, security systems can fail and thus are not one-hundred percent reliable. Some places may not be able to afford the protection. Overall, prevention would be a better and more reliable solution as opposed to individual protection of establishments.”

Sajada Parker (12) had similar things to say, stating, “I believe that our generation, including myself, have become desensitized to gun violence. In a twisted way, it’s almost to be expected, and it’s truly concerning. I’m disappointed, but not surprised considering our current gun laws. We need to demand for regulation and not wait until the next tragedy ensues. There’s three solutions to the problem; regulate the distribution and usage of lethal weapons, providing adequate mental health resources, and instilling the importance of tolerance. Many people believe that controlling guns is the simplest solution, but there are a multitude of factors that create a situation such as this. I also believe that enforcing stricter security laws and regulating the web would help alleviate some aspects, but that opens up another can of worms. For a situation like this, it’s complicated to point out an exact solution, but I do believe that the previous hypotheticals open up a discussion about possible remedies.”

Overall, the tragic events that happened in Pittsburgh are something that will forever remain one of the most heinous attacks on a minority group in United States history.