The worst act of violence against American Jews in the history of our country occurred at the Tree of Life Congregation last Saturday, Oct. 27. Armed with a rifle and three handguns, a man later identified as Robert D. Bowers opened fire inside the synagogue while screaming anti-semitic slurs. He murdered 11 worshippers and wounded six others, including four police officers.
And to think that this event was the second domestic terror attack just last week. The first was the mailing of more than a dozen bombs to Democrats and critics of President Donald Trump, thankfully none of which resulted in injury.
The same cannot be said for those in Pittsburgh.
In a time where we expect exactly nothing from a presidential administration that is about as qualified to lead a country as a penguin is qualified to fly, of course Trump had no sympathy to give to the mourners.
“If there was an armed guard inside the temple, they would have been able to stop him,” were Trump’s supportive words. Yeah, he mentioned the gunman was a monster. Of course he was. But this was his real message. If only you congregants had done something to stop him. You should have had a gun, too. You know some people hate Jews, you should have protected yourself.
You, you, you, you. You.
That’s the standard we’ve set for ourselves now. Fanatical ideologues wielding homemade bombs and AR-15s are just a side effect of living in this great nation. Any blame is on you, the citizen, if you get caught in the crossfire.
And these headlines, these stories, this media coverage is constant. How can it not be? Every week has some violent event, some kind of attack. Just last week, a man shot two black people in a Kentucky Kroger on Oct. 24 after unsuccessfully trying to get into a historically black church. You would think that maybe, just maybe, some semblance of bipartisanship from gun rights activists would emerge, that the NRA would stop preaching about their God-given right to own a firearm and talk about everyone’s God-given right to not constantly live in fear.
If this ranting sounds like the overreactive ramblings of a madman, then I dare you to find evidence to the contrary. Show me an ounce of legislation against firearms that has made any difference. Show me the hate groups getting their just punishment. Show me a political leader not just saying prayers for the dead, but then turning around and attempting to help the living. And show me that our nation is changing for the better. Nothing is getting done, and every day that our government does nothing is another day that a mass murder can happen once again.
That must change.
I know of no other call to action more universal than voting. Weeks like this make you want to just stop caring, to curl up in a ball and hope next week is better. That your tiny drop of influence could not possibly do anything against the ocean of tragedy.
But what is an ocean, if not just a bunch of drops?