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An Attack on Our Nation: The Shooting Massacre in Pittsburgh


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On Sunday, the 28th, Robert Bowers walked into the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA with an AR-15 and various other weapons. He killed eleven people and injured six others, two of whom are still in critical condition.
Bowers targeted the Tree of Life Synagogue, located in the Jewish neighborhood of Squirrel Hill. He allegedly fired on three congregations worshipping in the building and then engaged in a shootout against police on the third floor of the temple. He eventually surrendered because of his injuries and was then sent to a hospital after being arrested. Bowers seemingly has a history of posting anti-Semitic messages on his social media and said in custody that he “just want[ed] to kill Jews.” Before the shooting, Bowers posted that “HIAS [the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society] likes to bring in invaders that kill our people. I cannot sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics. I’m going in.” The FBI is officially investigating this traumatizing event as a hate crime.
Bowers killed eleven people, all of whom were elderly, ranging from age 54 to 97. Many of the victims were respected members of the community, well known and loved by friends. One of the victims was Melvin Wax, a devout Jew in his late 80s “who was always one of the first to arrive at the synagogue and among the last to leave.” Two others were intellectually disabled brothers 59-year-old Cecil Rosenthal and 54-year-old David Rosenthal. “Cecil’s laugh was infectious. David was so kind and had such a gentle spirit. Together, they looked out for one another. Most of all, they were kind, good people with a strong faith and respect for everyone around.” said vice president of residential supports for ACHIEVA, Chris Schopf. Shooting survivor Barry Werber gives a horrifying account of how Wax was killed and how he narrowly survived. Werber recalled how he, as well as a couple of other members including Rabbi Jonathan Perlman, shut themselves in a large supply closet when they heard gunshots. After the gunshots stopped, Wax opened the door to check outside. Instantly, he was shot three times, falling back through the doorway. Bowers then walked inside but walked back out, perhaps not seeing the other occupants of the dark closet.
Anti-Semitism has been increasing alarmingly in the past years, with anti-Semitic occurrences rising almost 60 percent in 2017. Werber addressed the amount of prejudice against Jews; unfortunately, that is our burden to bear. It breaks my heart.” Prosecutors are now seeking approval from the Attorney General to pursue the death penalty charge. Bowers was charged with 29 counts of federal criminal complaints, 11 state counts of criminal homicide, six counts of aggravated assault and 13 counts of ethnic intimidation. People from all over the nation and even the world offered prayers and expressed their disgust at Bower’s actions. Pope Francis led prayers in St. Peter’s Square, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel tweeted her sympathy, as well as various other influential figures. President Trump acknowledged the attack, congratulating law enforcement, saying, “I heard the police did an incredible job, and as you know, many police were badly injured. However, again, law enforcement did a fantastic job. He emphasized, his feelings, that if there were protection inside, the situation would have been much different.

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An Attack on Our Nation: The Shooting Massacre in Pittsburgh