The Pittsburgh Police Department has responded to an active shooter in the Squirrel Hill area of Pittsburgh near one of the synagogues.
The local CBS News affiliate, KDKA News, is reporting that at least eight people have been killed, three police officers wounded, and that the shooter who is wounded and has now surrendered, was barricaded on the third floor of the synagogue.
Here’s the quick briefing the police commander on the scene provided:
It is important to remember that almost no Jews who are observing the sabbath this morning at synagogue will actually know about them because they’re in services,
Mara Gay, of The New York Times editorial board, has this exactly right:
I’d go further. Every one of the President’s most retrogade, most revanchist, neo-nationalist, neo-fascist, and/or neo-NAZI supporters know exactly what it means when he bad mouths the globalists or when he declares himself a nationalist. Despite his disingenuous statements the day after calling himself a nationalist, the President clearly knows what it means as well, which is why he said “we’re not supposed to use the word”.
MSNBC is reporting that the shooter was screaming anti-Semitic slurs during the attack and that the police are checking a suspicious package to ensure it isn’t an improvised explosive device. So the message that the President, his enablers, and his fellow travelers are transmitting is being received.
I understand that the President is, at best, oblivious to anyone who isn’t him or isn’t doing something he perceives as in his interest in any moment. He appears to be inherently and innately transactional. However, his inherent racism, anti-Semitism, and xenophobia, whether rooted in his transactional nature or something else, is a continuing clear and present danger to American citizens, those non-citizens legally residing in the US, and those visiting the US. If he is unable or unwilling to bring himself to publicly address the country, denounce this in no uncertain terms, then it is further evidence he is unfit for the office that he currently occupies. And if no other elite or notable Republican officials or former officials will do so for fear of crossing their base, who are the President’s most fervent supporters, or for fear of receiving a mean tweet, they too are unfit. They are unfit for the offices they hold or have held and their are unfit to claim the mantle American.
This will be a fast moving story and new information will be coming out over the next 24 to 48 hours, but the real worry right now is for copycats. Given that services will be ending soon on the east coast, the threat shifts to the intermountain west and west coasts. Churches whose congregants are predominantly people of color or LBTQ need to lay on extra security for tomorrow. Especially for those churches doing souls to the polls early voting!
I leave the final words to President Washington, which should be the template for how elected officials in the US speak on these matters:
If we have wisdom to make the best use of the advantages with which we are now favored, we cannot fail, under the just administration of a good government, to become a great and happy people.
The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy—a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship.
It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for, happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.
It would be inconsistent with the frankness of my character not to avow that I am pleased with your favorable opinion of my administration and fervent wishes for my felicity.
May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants—while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid.
May the father of all mercies scatter light, and not darkness, upon our paths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in His own due time and way everlastingly happy.
Update at 12:40 PM EDT
They have identified the domestic terrorist who attacked the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA this morning.
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Police say a gunman opened fire at a Pittsburgh Synagogue yelling “All Jews must die.”
KDKA-TV sources say the shooting suspect is Robert Bowers.
Eight people have been killed and a number of others injured after the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill on Saturday.
Bowers is described as a white male, heavy set, with a beard. He surrendered to police after opening fire on police officers. Police say he was injured and crawling when he was taken into custody.
Three police officers were also shot, their conditions are not currently known.
When officers arrived, the gunman reportedly shot at them, forcing officers to use their vehicles as a shield.
Police sources tell KDKA’s Andy Sheehan the gunman walked into the building and yelled, “All Jews Must die.”
Sheehan confirmed that eight people were confirmed dead. Others had been shot but the extent of their injuries in unknown at this time.
The shooting happened during weekly Shabbat services at the conservative Jewish Synagogue, the building was full was full of people for a Saturday service.
The President is also making a brief statement from the tarmac at Joint Base Andrews and has indicated he will make a more significant statement at his scheduled appearance with the Future Farmers of America conference later today.
Of course, the President couldn’t help himself and had to have a Q&A. He’s now blamed the synagogue for this because he says “the temple didn’t have an armed guard inside”. We’re right back to neutralization and drift. He just denied the victimization of the victims. This has to be seen and heard to be believed:
Updated at 1:10 PM EDT
And here’s your social learning link back to the President’s rhetoric:
Stay alert! And vote!