Tree of Life

Pittsburgh Synagogue murderer

Robert Bowers is accused of shouting anti-semitic epithets during the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting. Neighbors describe the 46-year-old as “unremarkably normal.” USA TODAY

The author of this comment on the massacre of 11 very old Jewish citizens in their Pittsburgh synagogue is a 73 year old Pennsylvanian who lives close by Pittsburgh. I have known Bill for many years and although we disagree on some major issues like “guns,” I found his very thoughtful comments on this horrific mass murder in Pittsburgh both surprising and hopeful, although Bill avoids dealing with the issue of why In hell was this guy (or any citizen) allowed to buy a military assault rifle.

I assume there are many, if not most, avid gun owners like Bill who believe that owning any kind of gun is the best protection we citizens have against an oppressive government. That’s a standard NRA argument for unfettered gun ownership. I am impressed that Bill showed empathy for the 11 innocent Jewish oldsters murdered and recognized the relationship of the murderer to the government we now have. The murderer’s gun was not used to protect “our freedom” but rather to mirror our leader’s contempt for the “other”.

There is some hope in Bill’s comment that the contradiction between the NRA rationale for unfettered gun ownership and the reality of its result will alter the argument. – b. traven

Good ol’ Bill

Such a tragic occurrence right in our midst in Pittsburgh. Again the scapegoats are the Jewish community.  Donald was not welcomed here and rightly so as the hate and vitriol is his hallmark to accent. Do I say I’m sorry to the victims or the communities involved or to the city or state or nation or to your family? Yes to all!

We always tried to visit the sites of tragedy a they unfolded in our travel: NYC Trade Towers were still burning, Oklahoma City, Branch Davidian Compound in Waco, Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Trail of Tears in many sections, Myanmar Japanese Detainment Center in CA, Little Big Horn in Montana, Mt Saint Helens, just to name some highlights. In all, people suffered and unjustly.

Do we blame it on human nature? Do we blame it on the bombs, bullets, clubs, knives, guns? What to make of this breakdown in society? Did the moral fiber of society snap or is this just humans being humans.

I watch and enjoy very young humans as they seem so innocent until they start growing up and then the meanness and bullying starts. Natural behavior or nurture?  It is inescapable. My conclusion is that its an individual decision as to what sort of human being one wants to be. You answer to yourself.

This essay by John W. Whitehead has a lot of insight into the current situation.

3 thoughts on “Tree of Life

  1. Trump claims to “love” Jews and just about everyone else. Regarding his supposedly Jewish son-in-law, I have to say I had NEVER seen a photo of him wearing a yarmulka until the Trumps traveled to Pittsburgh (with mixed public relations “optics,” to say the least). I’m confident he is a “Jew of convenience,” as this allows cozy relations with Israeli business interests. I’m even more confident that, in private, Trump himself is an atheist. He believes only in Trump, money, Trump, egotism, Trump…you get the idea. [Please note that I comment as an individual of partial Jewish heritage, via eastern European immigration. But I have never been a practicing member of any mainstream organized religion.]

    So, did Trump invent Jew-hatred? (I prefer this term to “anti-semitism” because a.) the Arabs are also a Semitic people; b.) knee-jerk supporters of the apartheid Israeli regime always play the “anti-semitism” card at the first word of public criticism of Israeli policies.) Of course not. Nor did he invent xenophobia in general. There is a very important song in the musical “South Pacific” called “You Have to Be Carefully Taught.” You have to be carefully taught, it explains, to HATE the people your parents hated. Clannishness is a human tradition, yes, but organized campaigns of hate and the genocide they can lead to are results of nurture, not nature. What must be borne in mind is that, though Trump didn’t invent these phenomena, he absolutely refuses to SINCERELY denounce them. When he reads a scripted statement about events like the tragedy in Pittsburgh, he simply oozes INSINCERITY. This is a man who rode a river of HATE right into the White House. It worked splendidly for him in 2016 and he’s not about to abandon the tactic. But I guess what is more troubling than the presence of a Trump in the highest office in the land is that 30+% of the US population firmly supports his vileness, with up to 40% expressing approval when statistics (fake news!) indicating the economy is doing well are released. These are your friends, neighbors, relatives and co-workers, folks. The ones who’ve been telling racist, sexist, anti-gay “jokes” all their adult lives and you failed to call them out on it. Only now, with Trump’s ascendancy, they no longer feel they have to whisper them.

    • And the easiest prediction on Earth: the NRA will continue to thrive, and fill the coffers of many a Member of Congress (excepting some of those just elected–for now!).

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