Spartan Shield

Background information on the Pittsburg synagogue shooting

By CTO HENRY [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

By CTO HENRY [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

Laurin Baker, Editor-In-Chief

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On Oct 27, 2018, a shooting in Pittsburgh took eleven lives. Robert Bowers, a forty-six-year-old man, was charged with a 44-count indictment accusing him of federal hate crimes. With a goal of “killing the Jews,” Bower drove to the Tree of Life Synagogue armed with Glock .357 handguns and a Colt AR-15 rifle. “At this point, we have no knowledge that Bowers was known to law enforcement or the Synagogue before today,” said Bob Jones, FBI Pittsburgh special agent in charge.

Bowers was inside of the Synagogue for about twenty minutes and when he was leaving the building SWAT officers arrived. He then went back inside of the building to hide, and then exchanged fire with two officers. “Bowers was in fair condition with multiple gunshot wounds. It’s believed he was shot by police,” officials said. Bowers has an active gun license and has purchased at least six firearms since 1996.

“Seventeen days before the attack, Bowers posted a web page from HIAS that listed a number of Shabbats, which is a place for Judaism’s day of rest and seventh day of the week, that was being held on behalf of refugees. On that list was a Shabbat address that is less than a mile away from the Tree of Life Synagogue.” an official said. These are signs that if people would have paid more attention to, could have potentially saved eleven people’s lives. As Pleasant Valley students who use social media as a way to speak our minds, we can never be too careful about trying to protect our school or others if a situation like this were to arise.

Bowers is prejudiced against Jews and thought they needed to “get out and leave” because they were “violent and attempting to leave countries that had high levels of violence.” He had posted on Gab, a social media app, and said that he noticed that people are not calling immigrants “illegals” anymore, but now they’re getting called “invaders” and he quotes that he “likes it.”

Bowers is facing twenty-nine charges: eleven counts of using a firearm to commit murder, multiple counts of two hate crimes such as obstruction of the exercise of religious beliefs resulting in death, and obstruction of the exercise of religious beliefs resulting in bodily injury to a public safety officer.

Ignoring the littlest of signs could cause a major difference. Although situations like these are hard to foresee, people may be telling you or showing you things to give you signs. Speak up. Do what you can to make the world a better and safer place. One small act of speaking out could have the potential to stop a harmful situation.

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Background information on the Pittsburg synagogue shooting