Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting

Priscilla Le, Managing Editor

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On Saturday, October 27th, 2018, a religious hate-crime shooting occurred at the Tree of Life Jewish synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, leaving eleven worshippers dead. This event is now considered to be the United State’s deadliest attack on the Jewish community.


With an active license to carry firearms, Robert Bowers, used a Colt AR-15 rifle and three Block .357 handguns to execute the attack on the Tree of Life synagogue. (source: nypost.com)

The primary suspect is forty-six year old, Robert Bowers. Before the shooting, Bowers posted that he “can’t sit by and watch [his] people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in.” on Gab, a social media platform that puts virtually no restriction on posted content. He was in the synagogue for about twenty minutes before opening fire on worshippers before exchanging gunfire with two law enforcement officers. He then went back into the building to hide from SWAT officers before being arrested and making anti-Semitic remarks. Bowers allegedly stated that Jews “were committing genocide to his people”.


His Gab.com account also confirmed that he blamed Jews for helping migrant caravans and has a long online history of anti-Semitic content. This social media platform has been problematic in previous incidents as well. In August 2017, Apple disapproved launching the website’s app in its iOS store, Google has removed the app from its Google Play Store, Microsoft threatened to stop hosting the site in July, and most recently, PayPal has removed Gab.com from its payment platform. The reason behind these actions taken against Gab.com are due to a variety hate speech policy violations.A PayPal official spokesperson said that, “When a site is explicitly allowing the perpetuation of hate, violence, or discriminatory intolerance, we take immediate and decisive action.” According to a released statement on Medium, Gab “unequivocally disavows and condemns all acts of terrorism and violence.


Mayor Bill Peduto of Pittsburgh called this attack the “darkest day of Pittsburgh’s history.” And when President Donald Trump suggested that the synagogue should have had armed guards to prevent the shooting, he stated the “the approach we need to be looking at is how we take the guns, the common denominator of every mass shooting in America, out of the hands of those looking to express hatred through murder.”


Victims: Melvin Wax (88), Daniel Stein (71), Joyce Fienberg (75), brothers Cecil (59) and David Rosenthal (54), Jerry Rabinowitz (66), Rose Mallinger (97), Richard Gottfried (65), couple Bernice (84) and Sylvan Simon (86), and Irving Younger (69).