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Synagogue attack strikes heart of country

by Christopher Suarez - Campus Talk Editor
Tue, Nov 6th 2018 10:00 pm
DEVASTATED Suspect Robert Bowers walked into a synagogue on the morning of Saturday, Oct. 28 and killed 11 worshippers leaving many stricken.
DEVASTATED Suspect Robert Bowers walked into a synagogue on the morning of Saturday, Oct. 28 and killed 11 worshippers leaving many stricken.

This has been a year to forget. According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been 293 mass shootings as of Oct. 27, 2018. With so many mass shootings there has still been little to nothing done about improving gun control in the country. Even after the “March for Our Lives,” there has not been any action taking place, and because of that, more mass shootings keep occurring.

It was a calm, tranquil morning in the synagogue where worshippers prayed and practiced their faith peacefully, when an armed man walked into the synagogue, disrupted the peace and started shooting. That man was 46-year-old Robert Bowers. According to The New York Times, Bowers burst into the Tree of Life Congregation synagogue with an AR-15 style assault rifle and at least three handguns. He shouted anti-Semitic slurs as he started shooting into different rooms inside the synagogue.

Following the massacre, Bowers attempted to leave the synagogue, but police officers equipped with tactical gear and automatic weapons, confronted him at the door. Bowers did not go down easy as he exchanged shots with police officers. He managed to get back inside the synagogue and find cover at a third-floor room. From there he went onto continue exchanging fire with officers until he finally surrendered. Bowers was injured during the shooting and was taken to Allegheny General Hospital.

According to The New York Times, Bowers killed 11 worshippers, injured four police officers, and injured two more people. He is being charged with 29 different criminal counts. Some of the charges include: obstructing the free exercise of religious beliefs, hate crime, using a firearm to commit murder, 11 counts of criminal homicide, six counts of aggravated assault and 13 counts of ethnic intimidation.

The shooting took place in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The area known as leafy Squirrel Hill, is a predominantly Jewish neighborhood with multiple synagogues throughout the community. The shooting scarred the neighborhood, as something to this extent has never occurred. The 11 people who were killed were all frequent goers. Before the shooting occurred, the synagogue held a ceremony celebrating a birth of a child. Even though there were children in attendance, none were reported dead. Not everybody was fortunate enough to make it out alive.

According to CNN, the people who were killed were: Irving Younger, Melvin Wax, Rose Mallinger, Bernice Simon, Sylvan Simon, Jerry Rabinowitz, Joyce Fienberg, Richard Gottfried, Daniel Stein, Cecil Rosenthal and David Rosenthal.

The 11 killed were all people of faith who believed in peace. On Tuesday, Oct. 30, the community gathered together to hold a vigil for those who passed away. People across the country sent out loving messages to the families of the victims.

Even President Donald Trump spoke on the shooting. According to The New York Times, Trump stated “It’s a terrible, terrible thing what’s going on with hate in our country and frankly all over the world, and something has to be done. The results are devastating – if the temple had some kind of protection it could have been a much different situation.”

Despite being a major contributor to the hate being spread across our country, he has a point. Hate crimes are becoming a norm in this country and it seems to have no face. People of any skin color or background are being targeted and if not resolved this can be a major epidemic in the country.

Social media site, “Gab”, is one that allowed this hate crime to be posted on the internet. Bowers had been posting anti-Semitic content on the website for some time now and according to The New York Times, posted a link to the Jewish nonprofit organization, HIAS. The caption read “Why hello there HIAS! You like to bring in hostile invaders to dwell among us?” Showing that Bowers has had this hatred for the Jewish community for a long time now.

Due to Bowers, now 11 people can never go back and praise their religion peacefully. Now a community will have to forever live scared with the thought of a mass shooting taking place in their home. Now a bunch of children have to live with the image of their family members getting gunned down right before their eyes.