Thoughts on the Tree of Life Synagogue mass murder

Once again, I’m forcibly reminded that there’s people who want to kill me, simply because of my religion.

On Saturday, Pittsburgh experienced the worst mass murder against Jewish people in the history of the United States: 11 people were killed and several more were wounded.  The murderer was a virulently antisemitic & racist psychopath, who also wounded several police officers before he was captured.

The results from this have been predictable.  The usual suspects of gun control immediately screamed about the need to ban AR-15s & push other legislation.  The Mayor of Philly has been very vocal about this:

But what particularly galls me is his retweet from Everytown:

Peduto is protected by a police detail 24/7; he has armed guards watching him around the clock, so the chutzpah needed to make this sort of proclamation after 11 people were murdered by a lunatic who was screaming about satanic Jews…. it’s unreal.  If armed guards aren’t the answer, why doesn’t Peduto give up his security?

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The answer, of course, is because he thinks his life is worth defending, just like every other antigun politician – they want protection, but they don’t want you to protect yourself.

Which brings me back to 11 unarmed Jews being massacred in the basement of a Synagogue, because again, I’m Jewish, and people want to kill me because of my religion.

I’m in my mid 40s, so when I was growing up in the 70’s-80’s, Holocaust survivors were much more common in the Jewish community.  Periodically in Sunday School, we’d be graced with their presence and told about some of the horrors endured.  Seeing faded blue ink tattoos on forearms, hearing about family members who died horrifically, learning about how that same level of hatred was still present in the Middle East… it all coalesced into a crystal clear realization:

Nobody is going to load me into a cattle car to be shipped off to a camp.

When I was in grade school classes, we learned about the High Holy days. As an adult, I realize how many of them involve the deaths of our enemies. Passover, celebrating Moses leading us to freedom after centuries of slavery at the hands of the Pharaohs.  Hannukah, where we learned about the Maccabees revolting against the Greeks, and restoring the Temple.  Purim, in which we learned about Haman’s plot to kill all the Jews in the Persian Empire, and how Mordechai & Ester turned the tables on him.

When I got slightly older, I learned more about the atrocities of the Holocaust, and how heroes like Mordechai Anielewicz resisted against the German’s attempts to exterminate us.  How his Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, though outnumbered and vastly outgunned, made the Germans pay a toll for their desires.  How the fledgling state of Israel was invaded in 1948, by multiple Arab armies intent on finishing what Hitler had started.  How complacency almost caused Israel’s destruction in the Yom Kippur War.  I visited Israel & saw Masada, where Jews held the Roman army at bay, then decided that death was preferable to slavery.

Our written history is covered in bloodshed, horror, and loss.  Thus, I find it difficult to ignore the past and the costly lesson learned: There will always be those who wish to see us dead.

Now, in the 21st Century, Anti-Semitism is flourishing in Europe, with Jews fleeing the UK due to rising anti-semitism and targeted violence in France causing an exodus to Israel.  Here in the US, attacks on Hasidim are happening in broad daylight in New York.

Pundits say that this is because of President Trump… ignoring that Trump’s daughter converted to Judaism, his son-in-law is Jewish, and his grandkids are Jewish.  Meanwhile Louis Farrakhan is conveniently ignored by the news media, despite his close ties to prominent Democratic figures

I do not have the luxury of pretending this isn’t happening.  I’m all too aware that millenia old hatred has never gone away, it has just found new ways to spread.  And it’s not confined to the right-wing, since the left has aligned themselves with the Boycott, Divest, Sanction movement.  I experience or observe casual antisemitism through work, or on social media, on a daily basis.

Then 11 unarmed Jews are murdered in a Pittsburgh Synagogue while attending the Bris of a newborn.

Being against hate does not mean that hate will not come for you.  Disarming good people does not render harmless those who desire to see you dead.  When seconds count, the police are only minutes away.   Safety begins with you.

I carry, every day.  Especially to Synagogue.  I train.  I observe.  I will not get loaded into a cattle car, nor will I pray for divine intervention if facing a psychopath.  I know that mass murder is best stopped by putting a bullet into the face of the killer.

Those of you promoting gun control need to wake up.  “It can’t happen here” or “the police will protect us” ignores history.

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