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A peace pole is carried into an interfaith prayer and candlelight vigil at Rancho Bernardo Community Presbyterian Church after yesterday's attack. (David McNew/Getty Images)

Two appalling attacks, four days apart: The first in Northern California, and yesterday's in my native Southern California — less than 500 miles apart. One mowed down Muslims. One aimed at Jews on the last day of Passover.

Context: It was only six months ago that 11 Jewish worshipers were killed in the mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. And of course, it's not just America: It was just six weeks ago that 50 Muslim worshipers in New Zealand were killed in terrorist attacks on two mosques.

  • This morning, Sri Lanka's Catholics celebrated mass in their homes via TV, as churches across the island nation closed down over fears of militant attacks, a week after Easter suicide bombings killed over 250 people, per AP.

Yesterday, worshipers in Poway, California, just north of San Diego, "were nearing the end of Passover, a sacred Jewish celebration steeped in ancient freedom, when a modern terror walked in the door," the San Diego Union-Tribune reports:

  • "A 60-year-old woman was killed when she jumped in front of the rabbi, whose hands were pierced by gunfire. An 8-year-old girl was hit with shrapnel in the face and leg," according to the L.A. Times.
  • The suspected gunman, 19, was arrested "after fleeing the synagogue amid a hail of bullets from a security guard," per the Union-Tribune.
  • "An anti-Semitic manifesto attributed to him was posted online claiming responsibility for the attack."

On Tuesday, in Sunnyvale, California, in Silicon Valley, a 34-year-old Army veteran of the war in Iraq intentionally careened his car through a crowded intersection, injuring eight pedestrians, per the San Francisco Chronicle.

  • The former sharpshooter "targeted the victims because he thought some of them were Muslim, police officials said."
  • The FBI has opened a federal hate crimes investigation.

The debate ahead ... The N.Y. Times' Charlie Warzel writes that online messages "from suspects in shootings at a California synagogue and a New Zealand mosque were similar":

"[I]t’s becoming increasingly difficult to ignore how online hatred and message board screeds are bleeding into the physical world — and how social platforms can act as an accelerant for terroristic behavior.
The internet, it seems, has imprinted itself on modern hate crimes, giving its most unstable residents a theater for unspeakable acts — and an amplification system for an ideology of white supremacy that only recently was relegated to the shadows."

The latest from Poway.

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Go deeper

Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers

President Biden speaking from Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Jan. 21. Photo: Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A federal judge in Texas blocked the Biden administration from enforcing its coronavirus vaccine mandate for federal workers on Friday, citing the outcome of last week's Supreme Court ruling that nullified the administration's vaccine-or-test requirement for large employers.

Why it matters: It's a blow to President Biden's efforts to increase the U.S.' vaccination rates, though much of the federal workforce has already been vaccinated against the virus.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker
Updated 4 hours ago - Economy & Business

Janet Yellen co-opts Reaganomics phrase for new Davos speech

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen at a speech this week. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The U.S. needs to focus on increasing its productive potential, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told world leaders Friday, calling for what she terms "modern supply side economics."

Why it matters: She co-opted a phrase traditionally used by political conservatives to describe low-tax and deregulatory policies — and framed the Biden administration's initiatives as the best path forward to achieve greater national prosperity.