On Saturday, April 27th, the last day of Passover, the Chabad of Poway in San Diego California was attacked by a 19-year-old gunman; just six months after the Tree of Life attack in Pittsburgh.
According to those that were there, the gunman barged in yelling anti-Semitic slurs. He opened fire with his assault rifle, killing one woman, Lori Gilbert Kaye, and injuring three others, including the rabbi and an eight-year-old girl. Kaye was at Saturday’s service to say a prayer for the dead for her mother who died recently. Reports have said that Kaye stepped in between the shooter and Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein. Goldstein survived but was shot in both of his hands.
Before the attack, the shooter uploaded a manifesto to the message board 8chan. In his manifesto, he said he was inspired by the mosque attack in Christchurch and the Tree of Life attack in Pittsburgh. His family has since spoken out against him and is shocked by his actions.
“To our great shame, he is now part of the history of evil that has been perpetrated on Jewish people for centuries…How our son was attracted to such darkness is a terrifying mystery to us.”
His family is not paying for his defense and he will be represented by a public defender. He is currently being held without bail.
Statement from the family of John T. Earnest. The Earnest Family does not anticipate giving any more public statements on this matter until after the criminal case is resolved. Please direct all inquiries to their attorney, Earll M. Pott at (619) 239-8131. pic.twitter.com/81662R7Egy
— Klinedinst PC (@klinedinstlaw) April 29, 2019
The eight-year-old victim Noya Dahan was wounded from shrapnel as her uncle tried to protect her and the other children of the congregation. In an interview with CBS This Morning, when asked if she was going to attend synagogue again she said,
“I am probably going to be afraid, but I am still going to go and probably watch out for anything”.
Anti-Semitism is nothing new, it’s been going on for centuries. Unfortunately, it shows no sign of slowing down. According to the Anti Defamation League, anti-semitism attacks doubled in 2018.
Over the past few months, I’ve written extensively about the growth of hate crimes in the United States and around the world. It’s gotten to the point where hate-motivated attacks are coming too frequently.
Prior to the synagogue shooting, a man was arrested for setting three black churches in Louisiana were set on fire. I have two questions: are we becoming immune to attacks like this? And when is the government going to get up and do something?
Because like many people, I’m getting sick and tired of thoughts and prayers.
It feels like at this point we’re just allowing these attacks happen. We show our disgust and disappointment for a few days, and then we turn our attention to the next breaking news story.
People shouldn’t be afraid to go to a place of worship and worry if they’re going to come out alive. U.S State Department envoy Elan Carr spoke to the congregation, telling them that the Trump administration is committed to fighting anti-semitism. But given Trump’s track record with standing up to white supremacists and nationalists, I’m not holding my breath.
I know it’s hard to try and figure out what we can do to change the future for the better, but we need to start to figure out ways to do so. It’s not enough to just be angry. We need to turn this anger into a catalyst for something bigger because we have a government that is not doing what it needs to do to protect us.
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Alysia Stevenson is a twenty-seven New York City transplant currently living in Florida with her boyfriend and three furbabies. When she’s not writing, you can find her watching beauty tutorials on Youtube or Parks and Rec for the millionth time.