Hate, at scale
This was a week of bombs, shootings — and blame. "72 hours in America: Three hate-filled crimes. Three hate-filled suspects," CNN writes: "Wednesday, a white man with a history of violence shot and killed two African-Americans ... at a Kentucky Kroger store following a failed attempt to barge into a black church."
"After mail bombs were being sent to people who'd been criticized by the President, a suspect was arrested ... who had railed against Democrats and minorities with hate-filled messages online." Yesterday morning, "a man shouting anti-Semitic slurs opened fire at a Pittsburgh synagogue, killing 11 people attending Jewish services."
What all three have in common: hate.
The latest ... "More than 3,000 people from the Pittsburgh community turned out ... for an interfaith candlelight vigil of Hebrew and English songs and hymns," per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- The dead at the Squirrel Hill synagogue include eight men and three women.
- "We believe this is the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in the history of the United States," the Anti-Defamation League said.
- "After Robert Bowers was wounded in a gun battle with Pittsburgh SWAT officers and was receiving medical treatment, he said 'he wanted all Jews to die and also that they (Jews) were committing genocide to his people,'" the Post-Gazette reported, citing a charging document.
- Bowers, 46, from a nearby suburb, was charged with 11 counts of homicide.
David Shribman, executive editor of the Post-Gazette, describes Squirrel Hill as home to a dozen synagogues:
- "[F]or more than a century and a half [it has been] not only the spiritual center of Pittsburgh Judaism but also a vital landmark in the history of Jews in America — along with New York’s Lower East Side and Boston’s Blue Hill Avenue, one of the vital centers of Jewish identity since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution."
The context ... Anti-Semitism on the rise: The ADL reported in February that "the number of anti-Semitic incidents [1,986] was nearly 60 percent higher in 2017 than 2016, the largest single-year increase on record and the second highest number reported since ADL started tracking incident data in the 1970s."
- "Every part of the country was affected, with an incident reported in all 50 states for the first time in at least a decade."
- ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt: "These incidents came at a time when we saw a rising climate of incivility, the emboldening of hate groups and widening divisions in society."
The last word ... David Axelrod said to Wolf Blitzer on CNN last night:
- "We should ... pause here to honor these people by reflecting on where we are as a country."