An opinion writer in Haaretz.com tells our political leaders, and the rest of us, that We Pittsburgh Jews Don’t Want Your Thoughts and Prayers. Keep your facile words. Instead, show us some balls. Stand up, don’t cozy up, to the purveyors of hate, to the NRA, to the cowardly politicians who legitimized the synagogue shooter’s sentiments.
So many people - who know we live in Pittsburgh, and that we have called the Squirrel Hill neighborhood home for more than 40 years - thought about us, and wrote or called when they heard about the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue. We have been moved and heartened by their concern.
We told you, our friends and to our family, that we were safe, in the sense that we were fortunate not to be among the victims of Saturday’s terrible hate crime.
We are not really safe, of course, because this vile, murderous bigotry can - and has - hit all of our communities, especially those who are consistently “othered”: People of color, Muslims, LGBT people.
The sentiments behind the worst anti-Semitic atrocity in American history have been legitimized and weaponized by cowardly, unprincipled political leaders who will now fall all over themselves to send their thoughts and prayers.
Keep those facile words. Instead, show us some balls.
Stand up to the purveyors of hate, instead of cozying up to them.
Stand up to the NRA instead of licking their boots for campaign contributions.
Stand up for our communities, our diversity, for the founding dream of our society and our country.
That dream is missing, not lost, but it will take courage to find it again. Today’s victims, like others before them, deserve no less.
It gets worse. Not only are there just inffectual “thoughts and prayers”, the victims are blamed for not providing their own “protection” by the ineffectual idiot in the White House.
In his statement about the shooting to the media, Trump blames victims of synagogue shooting for not having ‘protection’ reports Mark Sumner of the Kos Daily Staff. Following are Sumner’s concluding snippets.
… "aghast” barely described the faces of the people looking at Trump. They tried again, holding out some glimmer of hope that the ugliness of his response might slip through.
Reporter: You think that all churches and synagogues should have armed guards?
Trump: I hate to think of it that way. I’ll say that. I hate to think of it that way. So … we’ll see you at the Future Farmers …
Reporter: But is that what you’re suggesting?
Trump: It’s certainly an option. This world … This is a world with a lot of problems. And it has been a world with a lot of problems for many years, many many years. And you could say, frankly, for many centuries. I mean, you look at what goes on. But … certainly you want protection. And they didn’t have any protection.
And in case anyone had missed the idea that it was the fault of the victims for not having an armed protector on hand, Trump ground that heel one more time into the open wound.
Trump: They had a maniac walk in, and they didn’t have any protection. And that is just so sad to see, so sad to see. The results could have been much better. It’s a very difficult thing. For me to stand as president and watch any of this go … You know, before I ran for office then i would watch instances like this with churches, and other things, I’d say “What a shame. What a shame.” But it’s even tougher when you’re the President of the United States and you have to watch this kind of a thing happen. It is so sad to see. So … we’ll see you at the … with the young farmers. There are a lot of them.
That was Trump’s closing statement. That this is hard … on Trump. He never reached out to the victims, or the families, and his only advice was … get a gun.
So what might that protection be?
An armed guard in every synagogue? That was Trump’s answer.
But in every church?
In every place of worship?
In every classroom?
On every playground?
In every mall?
In every restaurant?
In every bar?
In every theatre?
In every concert hall?
In every grocery store?
In every barber shop?
At every sporting event? (How many for the Astrodome?)
I ask the same about metal detectors in schools.
About kevlar vests for our children.
About razor wire topping every fence around every school.
The shooter is reported in the NY Times to have 21 guns: “Representative Mike Doyle, who represents Pennsylvania’s 14th District, where the synagogue is, said that Mr. Bowers had 21 guns registered to his name.”
Following a series of mass killings in late 2017 and early 2018 I wrote the “J’Accuse” series of posts to this blog.
J’accuse: Our national failure and disgrace: October 3, 2017
Guns 103: J’accuse - Our national failure and disgrace: February 17, 2018
The theme running through those “J’Accuse” posts is this:
I accuse the American people for tolerating the murders of their fellow citizens - adults and children alike - in the name of an archaic document. I accuse my fellow Americans of rewriting their Constitution so as to bestow a right to bear weapons of mass murder. I accuse my fellow Americans of living in mindless fear, of being so afraid of all that surrounds us. I accuse my fellow Americans of being gulled by the gun industry and the NRA and the political leaders into believing that more guns mean more freedom and security.
I accuse, then, most of all, the United States of America for its failure as a nation. I accuse the USA of failing “to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity …” I accuse the USA of inflicting unjust injury on its citizens. I accuse the USA of fostering domestic discord. I accuse the USA of harming the general welfare. I accuse the USA of the dishonest equation of guns and liberty. I accuse the United States of America of accepting and condoning the deaths of its citizens.
To this I add:
I accuse the President of the United States of America of intentionally fomenting a rhetoric aimed at stoking hatred and intolerance among his nationalistic, white, Christian, male following thereby setting the occasion for violent acts such the latest shooting in Pittsburgh.
Sasha Abramsky writes in The Nation, The Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting Is the Inevitable Result of Trump’s Vile Nationalism. Shame on all those who have been silent—or, worse, supported the president’s agenda.
It is past time for this viciousness, this godawful bloodshed, to stop. Whether the targets are Muslims or Jews, African Americans or Guatemalans, nothing justifies the toxic rhetoric and actions now coursing through the American body-politic. It is time for a moral awakening among ordinary American men, women, and children that shuts down this nationalist dystopia unleashed by Trump and his acolytes before it destroys us all.