A hate crime: 11 people died during a shooting in a synagogue in Pittsburgh

It is believed that the shooting that took place in the synagogue the Tree of Life, in Pittsburgh, was an act of hatred against the Jewish community

A hate crime: 11 people died during a shooting in a synagogue in Pittsburgh

On Saturday, October 27, 11 people died and six were injured after a shooting at the synagogue, the Tree of Life, located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. During the Shabbat, in a baby naming ceremony, the killer identified as Robert Bowers opened fire on the assistants in what is thought to be a hate crime against the Jewish community.

Leer en español: Un crimen de odio: 11 muertos dejó el tiroteo en una sinagoga en Pittsburgh

It is known that Bowers said anti-Semitic comments during the shooting and even that he shouted "All Jews must die" upon entering the place. Later it was discovered that the murderer had an account in a social network that defends the freedom of expression called gab, where he "made anti-Jewish comments", as explained by CNN.

The same media explains that even "17 days before the attack, Bowers published a list of the Shabbat refugee services that HIAS had. In his publication, he wrote to HIAS:" Do you like to bring hostile invaders to dwell among us?". HIAS is an organization that provides humanitarian aid to refugees, including Jews.

Bowers, who was injured after a confrontation with the police, is currently in custody. According to a statement from the Department of Justice of the United States, the killer faces 29 federal charges. Among these are 11 counts for hate crime, that is, for "obstruction of exercise of religious belief resulting in death"

He also has 11 counts for the use of guns to commit murder and for homicide. According to federal prosecutor Scott Brady, "each of those counts is punishable by death." Bob Jones, one of the agents who are leading this case, said at a press conference that this is the most terrifying crime scene he has seen in his 22-year career with the FBI.

The reactions

A few hours after the incident, President Donald Trump spoke about this shooting. At a press conference the US president said: "This wicked act of mass murder is pure evil, hard to believe and, frankly, something that is unimaginable. Our nation and the world are shocked and stunned by the grief. This was an anti-Semitic act. You wouldn’t think this would be possible in this day and age."

Then he said: "Anti-Semitism and the widespread persecution of Jews represents one of the ugliest and darkest features in human history."

That same day, Trump said that if the synagogue had had some form of protection, the situation would have been different. Before this, the mayor of Pittsburgh, Bill Peduto, said on October 28 at a press conference that the solution is not to have armed guards in synagogues, churches and mosques.

For him, we have to think about how to take guns, which is "the common denominator of every mass shooting in America, out of the hands of those looking to express hatred through murder."

The shooting in Pittsburg is one of many that has taken place in recent years in the United States, and the most recent after the incident during a videogame tournament in Florida and the shooting at a high school in Parkland. As on those occasions, this incident once again opens the debate on guns control in the North American country.

According to Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, "we simply cannot accept this violence as a normal part of American life." For him, it is necessary to take action to prevent tragedies like the one that happened in Pittsburgh from happening again in the future. This was stated in his Twitter account.

You can also read: At least four people died during a videogame tournament

A climate of tension is experienced in the United States

After the shooting, critics of Trump have also spoken out and have accused the president of having part of the blame for the acts of violence that are taking place in the country. This was explained by The New York Times, which said that "the anguish of the massacre heightened a sense of national unease over increasingly hostile political rhetoric."

The climate of tension that is experienced at this time has increased even more, if one takes into account that a few days ago CNN in New York had to be evacuated after explosive packages were found. These were aimed at several Democrats, such as Barack Obama, Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton. As well as several critics of Trump, among them the actor Robert de Niro.

According to former President Barack Obama on his Twitter account, we all need to "fight the rise of anti-Semitism and hateful rhetoric against those who look, love, or pray differently. And we have to stop making it so easy for those who want to harm the innocent to get their hands on a gun."

LatinAmerican Post | Diana Rojas Leal

Translated from "Un crimen de odio: 11 muertos dejó el tiroteo en una sinagoga en Pittsburgh"

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