Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting A Day of Mourning
On October 27th, 2018, a man walked into the Tree of Life Congregation in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, armed with an AR-15 and 3 handguns. He open fired on those in attendance while screaming anti-semitic slurs. After he open fired on the congregants he attempted to escape and was met at the door by officers armed to take him down. He then exchanged gunfire with the officers injuring four. After this, he retreated back into the synagogue and barricaded himself in a room on the third floor, eventually surrendering. In the end, 11 people were killed and six injured, including the four police officers. He was federally charged with 29 criminal counts ranging from hate crimes, to use of a firearm to commit a murder. The massacre has been described as one of the deadliest against the Jewish community in United States history.
The man accused of committing this horrendous, anti-semitic act is Robert Bowers. This kind of action may have been brewing since he was a child. Bowers childhood friend Jim Brinksy gave some indications to Bowers troubled childhood. Brinksy said he had never met Bowers parents and that he suspected his home life was poor. While they were young teens the friends would build pipe bombs and blow up watermelons and small trees. This unusual childhood activity may suggest his violent nature later in life. Entering high school Brinksy said that Bowers was a ghost. He did not talk to anyone, did not participate in any sports or activities and did not even appear in the yearbook senior year.
As an adult, he worked as a truck driver, was barely home and was a quiet guy in person. However, online he had a very negative presence. Leading up to the shooting, Bower published post after post of hatred and anti-semitic messages on a social networking site called “Gab”, a site mainly used by white nationalists. In addition, Bower had 21 separate guns registered in his name including the AR-15 that he used in the massacre.
When asked if gun laws should change regarding this incident, President Trump responded that there should have been armed security present stating,
“You want protection, and they didn’t have any protection, they had a maniac walk in. The results could have been much better.”
President Trump wants armed guards at every religious service? What would that do to the morale of our country? Families going to worship have to be checked and get past guards armed with rifles, this certainly does not seem like an idea that would be popular in our society.