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Synagogue mass shooting in Pittsburgh

Synagogue mass shooting in Pittsburgh

At least several people killed — We will update as confirmed information becomes available

End Note: I’m putting this at the top because it sums up better than anything I’ve seen the reaction to the shooting from the media and the left. From John Podhoretz at Commentary:

Based on the early evidence, the shooter was not only consumed with a hatred of Jews but possessed a kind of sneering contempt for Trump on the grounds that Trump was basically a Jewish agent or a Jew-lover himself. Trump can only be blamed for the murderous Jew-killing actions of someone who thought of him that way by people who are so consumed by hatred of him that there is nothing they won’t blame him for.


There has been a mass shooting at a synagogue in the Squirrel Hill section of Pittsburgh.

There are at least several people confirmed murdered, and the shooter is in custody. This post will be updated throughout the day.

Because initial reports in such circumstances often are wrong, we will be cautious in posting information. One thing that already is clear, however, is that the shooting is being exploited for political purposes. The NRA already is receiving the blame, as is Trump.

There are reports that the shooter was Robert Bowers, according to local CBS News:

Pittsburgh Police spokesman Chris Togneri confirmed that the suspect was in custody and three police officers had been shot. He also confirmed multiple causalities, but did not divulge exactly how many.

Police sources tell KDKA’s Andy Sheehan the gunman walked into the building and yelled, “All Jews must die.” Sheehan’s sources confirmed that eight people were dead. Others had been shot, but the extent of their injuries in unknown at this time….

KDKA sources confirm to Andy Sheehan that the suspect’s name is Robert Bowers.

Pittsburgh Police spokesman Chris Togneri confirmed that the suspect was in custody and three police officers had been shot. He also confirmed multiple causalities, but did not divulge exactly how many.

Police sources tell KDKA’s Andy Sheehan the gunman walked into the building and yelled, “All Jews must die.” Sheehan’s sources confirmed that eight people were dead. Others had been shot, but the extent of their injuries in unknown at this time.

Michael Eisenberg, the past President of the Tree of Life, gave KDKA a breakdown of what services regularly go on on Saturday mornings at the synagogue.

“At 9:45 there were three simultaneous congregations’ services that were being held,” he said. “In the main part of the building, The Tree of Life has a service that has about 40 people in it. Just below that there is a basement area where New Life congregation would have been having their Shabbat service. There would have been 30-40 people. Just adjacent to Tree of Light’s service area, a congregation was in the rabbi study room and they would have had approximately 15 people in there.”

Death toll has risen since initial reports:



Some people feel mass shooters or terrorists shouldn’t be named so as not to give them the attention they seek. The reality is that names do get reported, and the backgrounds of the people responsible for the attack become part of the story.

USA Today reports:

On Bowers’ page, he wrote about a number of conspiracy theories and his thoughts on President Donald Trump, who he said he did not vote for.


Always terrible after these events, but it’s still important to report on them:


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I suggest you don’t publish his name at all.

The guy is already known. Media has described him. Before the day is over we will know if he does social media, what he drives and are there political stickers on it that ‘matter’. Sick sick sick!

TGP has screen shots of what is allegedly his Gab profile…

parts of it anyway, because it was wiped while being saved, which would seem to indicate it’s the right one:it’s full of Trump AND Jew hate.

PA is a “shall issue” state. Every church and synagogue should encourage congregants to carrying and should MAKE SURE that some church personnel and/or known congregants ARE carrying.

Maybe there was some armed resistance in this case but as Trump said about school shootings, “at some point it comes down to numbers,” meaning in that case getting school personnel involved, not just police.

With a church the clients are adults who can contribute to the common defense. They need to talk about this openly. Don’t be defenseless!

    Milhouse in reply to AlecRawls. | October 27, 2018 at 7:54 pm

    The problem with carrying to synagogue on a Saturday is that as a general rule bearing arms is forbidden on the Sabbath. This rule, like all Sabbath rules, is waived whenever there is a serious reason to believe human life depends on it; e.g. paramedics carry their radios on the Sabbath, and in places where attacks like this are not unexpected, e.g. the more dangerous communities in Jud&elig;a, people do bear arms, but in the USA it could not be justified, not unless things got a lot more dangerous than they are now.

      redc1c4 in reply to Milhouse. | October 27, 2018 at 8:29 pm

      so find a righteous gentile (or several) who will stand guard during ceremonies.

      i would for the temples near my house, if they asked for volunteers.

      Milhouse in reply to Milhouse. | October 27, 2018 at 8:46 pm

      Thank you, but it’s really not necessary. Things in most of the USA are still, thank G-d, very safe, despite these occasional incidents.

      In any event, this is a “Progressive” congregation whose rabbi calls for “sensible gun control” and “a dramatic turnaround in the mid-term elections”.

        Mac45 in reply to Milhouse. | October 27, 2018 at 8:52 pm

        “Thank you, but it’s really not necessary. Things in most of the USA are still, thank G-d, very safe, despite these occasional incidents.” Except when they are NOT safe.

        If you are willing to accept “collateral damage” in order to refuse to face the fact that the world is a dangerous place, filled with dangerous people, then why are we even talking about this. In a nation of 330 million plus people, 11 is statistically ZERO.

          Milhouse in reply to Mac45. | October 27, 2018 at 9:17 pm

          No, I’m not “willing to accept collateral damage”, but I’m not willing to let incidents that as you admit are swallowed up in statistical noise, make me start viewing the world as a dangerous place. There are places in the world that are dangerous, but most of the USA is not one of them, and I think it’s fundamentally wrong to go around all day worrying about disasters that are very unlikely to happen. I think this pessimistic mind-set underlies the green movement, the safety nazis, the “Union of Concerned Scientists”, “Center for Science in the Public Interest”, the anti-vaxxers, anti-GMOs, and all the other people who seem to get off on being constantly frightened that the sky is about to fall on them.

          I think a person has to go through life with a basically optimistic outlook, not blind to actual danger where it exists, but keeping a sense of proportion. Basically if something is safer than crossing the road, one shouldn’t worry about it.

          Mac45 in reply to Mac45. | October 27, 2018 at 9:58 pm

          ” but I’m not willing to let incidents that as you admit are swallowed up in statistical noise, make me start viewing the world as a dangerous place.” Then you are a fool.

          This is not about being FRIGHTENED of the world. This is about being realistic concerning the threats which exist and taking reasonable steps to mitigate those threats. House fires are a statistical zero, in relation to the number of houses in the US. But, most people still carry home owner’s insurance and have smoke detectors. Automobile accidents which result in injury are infinitesimal when gauged against the number of miles driven every year in the US. But, we still wear seat belts. The incidence of measles in the US is also a statistical zero, yet we vaccinate our children against the disease. But, when it comes to taking personal steps to safeguard our persons from attack by others, suddenly people refuse to take simple, effective steps to reduce the threat of attack.

          Compared to the cost of the loss of life at this synagogue, what is the cost of basic armed security? Against the loss of life and trauma at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School, what is the cost of basic armed security at a school? The problem is that people do not want to face the thought that something bad might happen to them. So, they ignore threats and potential dangers. Then something like this happens and we have to go through the whining and pearl clutching all over again. This was simply a disturbed individual who decided to direct violence against people who he did not know for a vague reason. Because those people had taken NO steps to protect themselves they are now statistics. And not good statistics, either.

          I have strapped on a pistol every time I have left the house for the last 45 years. I have never had to use it, while on personal business. But, that has not made me decide to stop taking this simple, rather painless step to help insure my safety. I also wear a seat belt and have home owner’s insurance and smoke detectors in my house.

          Milhouse in reply to Mac45. | October 27, 2018 at 11:08 pm

          Yes, we do take ordinary sensible precautions, but we don’t go to extremes. We buy fire insurance and install smoke detectors, not fire extinguishers in every room, and we certainly don’t hire dedicated firefighters for each building. We wear seatbelts, but not helmets or race car drivers’ outfits. (Your example of measles is inapposite — we don’t vaccinate despite its rarity, it’s rare only because we vaccinate, and now that so many idiots have stopped it’s coming back.)

          Going armed is a choice that a lot of people make, and I applaud you for it, since you’re not only making yourself safer but also everyone around you. But unless you’re going in particularly dangerous places there must be something in it for you besides simple fear that you might one day need it. There must be some personal feeling of satisfaction that you are a person who will be prepared if the worst happens. Something like preppers, but much less extreme.

          But take that example: assuming you are not one, would you say that dedicated preppers are simply being sensible, and all the effort they put into enhancing their chance of survival is really worth it? I think not; I think they’re getting something out of it here and now, even if nothing ever happens to them, or they wouldn’t do it. Those that don’t, and are only doing it because they don’t want to die in some disaster, I think are somewhat crazy, because the risk doesn’t justify the level of effort and expense they put into it.

          Now having a church invite those of its members who ordinarily carry to do so at church as well, makes sense. It costs little or nothing, and once in a long while it may pay off. But hiring armed guards, or recruiting volunteer guards who wouldn’t normally be there, seems to me to be a giant leap further, an effort and/or expense that is simply not warranted by the risk in most places in the USA. This isn’t Europe. We’re not in constant danger, and shouldn’t convince ourselves we are. It’s not good for a person to be constantly afraid.

          Milhouse in reply to Mac45. | October 27, 2018 at 11:20 pm

          Another thing to consider: this is not a large congregation. It has a large building but membership has shrunk so low that a few years ago it merged with another congregation, it houses a third one on its premises, and is looking for other institutions to use its space and help pay its expenses. If I recall correctly I read that the three regular Saturday morning services between them comprise maybe 75 people. Hiring a guard is a high expense for such a small place.

          Mac45 in reply to Mac45. | October 28, 2018 at 12:20 pm

          Many people DO have a fire extinguisher in the house. And there is water readily available in several locations in the average home to put out a fire. In many cases, people act as their own “firefighter”. And we do not wear four point harnesses or helmets, when we drive. But, we do wear seat belts. Historically, measles was a common childhood disease which caused almost no casualties. In the case of the synagogue, and myriad other places, it did not have even the equivalent of a smoke detector or a seat belt. It had ZERO means of containing, let alone stopping a rampaging armed loon.

          As to why I am armed,outside the home, that is simple. I spent 32 years of my life seeing the aftermath of human predators in this country. I saw a huge number of cases where innocent people were the victims of violence simply for being where they were at a particular time. And, these incidents of violence were not confined to “rough” neighborhoods or other places one would be likely to associate with such violence. It happens virtually everywhere. I do not go out looking for confrontation and am always courteous to others. Being armed is nothing more than insurance, for me. Just like my home owners insurance, automobile insurance and health insurance. Just like my umbrella in my car, in case it rains. It has nothing to do with fear, but with prudent precautions against potential negative conditions. Even the Boy Scouts motto is “Be Prepared”.

          Do you invest in home owner’s insurance? How about automobile insurance? Healthcare insurance? You do realize that most people never get back the money that they spend on insurance premiums. Yet, most do it. Of course, some choose not to. Then we read the story in the newspaper of the family who did not have fire insurance and now can not afford to rebuild their home.

          Now preppers are usually people who take precautions to extremes, by societal standards. But, that does not make their efforts at security worthless. It is like spending $1,000 a year for a million dollar insurance policy that will only pay off if you are carried off by a bald eagle, from Times Square, on the 4th of July. it is not very likely to happen, but, if it does, it will payoff big. Sort of like playing the lottery. And, again, as long as a person can maintain certain levels of protection against damage, injury and disaster, without going hungry, what harm does it do the rest of society?

          Now, here is the part about relying entirely upon armed parishioners for security which most people do not understand. Most people, who carry personal firearms, do not have any true idea of how to use them or when to use them. They have little or no training, practice and, fortunately, no experience. These people carrying personal defense weapons is like a person who has never driven a car outside of the local church parking lot suddenly deciding to jump on the freeway. It often ends in disaster. Some churches have actually established programs to train volunteers to provide security during services. But, this means that those parishioners assigned to such duty often miss the sermon and companionship which attends churchgoing. Other churches employ trained security personnel. This has proven to be very effective on the few occasions where armed attackers have encountered such personnel. In all of these cases, the attacker was prevented from harming the congregation. And, church attacks, including shootings, are more prevalent than school shootings, in this country. They just do not get the media coverage.

          What you are trying to do is to justify the decision of the leadership of the synagogue to not have armed security in place. This is not necessary. People are free to make their own decisions as to how they live their lives, as long as those decisions do not negatively impact the rest of us. In the case of the synagogue, it chose not have such security. It may have been economic. Or, it may simply have been that the congregation did not feel that any credible threat existed. Unfortunately, their decision made it easy for an armed loon to attack them and kill 11 members of the congregation. That is a FACT. You can argue against it all that you like, but it is still fact.

          What DOES worry me, is that the usual response to people suffering damage do to their own decisions is to remove that decision making right from the rest of society. These incidents lead to abridgements of civil rights, such as the ownership and possession of firearms and other means of personal defense. It leads to mandatory imposition of duties, such as mandatory membership in healthcare insurance, mandatory seat belt use, etc.. The problem, in a certain segment of our society, is to essentially punish the rest of society for the actions and decisions of other members of society. I have no problem with you making the informed decision not to provide for your own defense. But, I also do not expect to have to pay for your decisions.

      MarkS in reply to Milhouse. | October 27, 2018 at 9:04 pm

      Just wondering, are synagogues in Israel unprotected?

        Milhouse in reply to MarkS. | October 27, 2018 at 9:18 pm

        In Israel no public building is completely unprotected, because the risk level is high.

        Milhouse in reply to MarkS. | October 27, 2018 at 9:32 pm

        Most synagogues in Israel, however, have substantially less visible protection than restaurants and shopping centers.

        Milhouse in reply to MarkS. | October 27, 2018 at 10:47 pm

        Thinking back to my last visit to Jerusalem, let me amend my answer: Over the course of three weeks I must have entered at least a dozen ordinary neighborhood synagogues (i.e. not tourist spots), and don’t recall ever being confronted by a guard, let alone having my bag searched. But every restaurant, department store, museum, and tourist attraction had a guard at the entrance to search bags.

thalesofmiletus | October 27, 2018 at 2:07 pm

The fake bombs didn’t work, so time for Plan B…

Someone will find Trump’s ancestry includes Tomás de Torquemada to prove something or another. So the NRA is anti-Semitic …gosh… who knew? We are nation further divided by knee-jerk vindictiveness.

Unlike HRC who wants empathy for our enemies, I have never been able to wrap my head around the mindset of anti-semitics…save for those instructed by the Koran.

Terrible situation. I can only hope those in surgery make it out alive. Horrid to see lives destroyed.

To all those in the Jewish community and the officers families,my sincere and heartfelt condolences and prayers. May God lead you again from this wilderness.

really do hope there is a special place in hell for those who perpetrate this sort of violence–true cowards, preying on innocents and defensless in houses of worship or schools–just sickening

my sincere condolences to those touched by this event

    Valerie in reply to texansamurai. | October 27, 2018 at 3:26 pm

    ” a special place in hell”

    May God have mercy on their souls. Our responsibility, however, is here and now, with respect to their future amongst us.

    After long and repeated revisiting of the death penalty, I have come to the conclusion that it is unjust to support the continued lives of the perpetrators of certain heinous crimes.

    When we try them, lawfully and carefully convict them, and keep them alive, we devalue the lives of their victims. Often we require the victims to re-visit their painful memories to prevent them from being allowed parole. This is an ugly absurdity.

    Our churches are traditional sanctuaries, and violation of that sanctuary for the purpose of killing the innocent is a blow to our society as well as the victims. So it the murder of a politician in office, or running for office, and a peace officer while on duty.

    We can and should have a death penalty for a short list of heinous crimes.

This story will fade fast as too many SJWs won’t be able to digest the idea of a Trump-hating Nazi.
It just doesn’t fit the narrative.

    JHogan in reply to Neo. | October 27, 2018 at 3:56 pm

    They’ll invent something to rationalize their cognitive dissonance. Remember Zimmerman, the ‘white hispanic’?

    oldgoat36 in reply to Neo. | October 27, 2018 at 9:21 pm

    So he was a Jew hating, Trump hating National Socialist, which would make him far closer to being a Democrat than anything else.

Your old fashioned NAZI. Filled with irrational hatred of Jews and all races other than his own. In that Trump is the most Jewish-friendly President ever, he was convinced Jews “controlled” Trump.
Even his guns were Austrian.

My condolences to the friends and family of the killed and wounded.

The responsibility for this act belongs with the person who took action, and possibly those who have aided and abetted him.

I am so terribly sorry for everyone affected by this hideous monster

Can one imagine the irony of the hysterical Guardian reporter screaming about Trump being anti-Jewish? Not only is he a strong advocate of Jewish causes, but so is his family, on both the Christian and Jewish sides. On the other hand, the Guardian is one of the leading anti-Jewish, anti-Israel papers in Europe. Often publishing Hamas propaganda without effort of verification or balance.

Well, we’ve heard from Linda Sarsour.

Any word from Louis Farrakhan or his close friend CNN contributor Marc Lamont Hill? How about Hill’s BDS buddies, and those in academia who single out Israel (stand in for Jews) and try to make it toxic in the minds of undergrads?

I think there’s a much stronger case here than there is tying Trump to the Florida lunatic.

    userpen in reply to LukeHandCool. | October 27, 2018 at 4:26 pm

    “Any word from Louis Farrakhan or his close friend CNN contributor Marc Lamont Hill?”

    They said they would have a response to this horrible event as soon they finished putting Trump Stickers on the shooter’s car.

Democrats will be along any second now to use these deaths for gun control. They just can’t help themselves!!

It’s just sad that Jews (in general) are anti-gun. After the Holocaust, one would think that they would have learned to protect themselves. Somehow I doubt that there are armed volunteers (like Jeanne Assam) in Synagogues.

    Amazing phenomenon: like lemmings against safety nets.

    CincyJan in reply to snopercod. | October 27, 2018 at 7:26 pm

    Modern Israel was founded as a reaction to the Holocaust, and Israelis are armed. American Jews are usually Democrats, and Democrats generally favor gun control. That is fine by me, as soon as they disarm MS13, the drug cartels, and all other criminals.

      “…as soon as they disarm MS13, the drug cartels, and all other criminals…”

      And let’s say “they” do. Then “they” disarm us. Then MS13, the drug cartels and all the other criminals re-arm. Now, we face them unarmed, and the fascist government we voted in to disarm criminals and us.

      Milhouse in reply to CincyJan. | October 28, 2018 at 9:20 am

      Israelis in general are not armed. Israel, unfortunately and illogically, has strict gun control; other than active-duty soldiers and policemen, carry permits are very much “may issue”. In most areas few people get them, and even in very dangerous areas not everyone gets them, particularly people known to have right-wing political views.

    gospace in reply to snopercod. | October 27, 2018 at 7:54 pm

    There is the organization Jews For the Preservation of Firearm Ownership. Haven’t visited it in a while until today. Your post reminded me of it’s existence. Most groups are not monolithic in their political beliefs.

      tom_swift in reply to gospace. | October 27, 2018 at 8:04 pm

      JPFO folded a year or two ago, and its business was taken over by SAF. It seems to have re-formed recently as a distinct entity, though I don’t know how the new version is related to the original.

    puhiawa in reply to snopercod. | October 28, 2018 at 3:45 am

    I agree. My Jewish elements came to America in the first wave, the 1840s. And my family has a distinctively different attitude about firearms. We still have guns that were carried across the continent.

I believe the shooter saw the “Blue Wave” fading and Trump (and the Jews) further ascendant. So a confirmed Jew-hater hates Trump. How does that play with the Left’s position that Trump supports Nazis as in Charlottesville?

As for that one tweet that American Jews should abandon Trump over Embassy move… yea.. right. Nation States aren’t perfect and the Middle East is nasty… and lethal. Anyone addressing “Jewish friends” over Embassy move aren’t friends.

This is a time for mourning and comfort for the suffering. It is a time of introspection, but after that period… a time for white hot reckoning for the murderer. Some people do not deserve to remain amongst us.

Maxine waters, barry odumbo, hillary klinton, eric holder, ny times, congratulations: “Mission accomplished.”

The synagogue here does not as far as I know have a stated gun policy and there is no “designated guard” in the congregation. However, I can guarantee that any shooter coming through the door will meet at least one Jew who carries everywhere, even at home; I have a Kimber on my belt as I type this while sitting in my living-room.

As for Steve Schmidt’s comments on Trump “stoking” a civil war? I would recommend he learn the actual meaning of the various words Trump uses; none of them call for a civil war, either overtly or covertly. This is just another problem that could be dismissed by simply reading and understanding Trump’s words.

As foe me, this meme covers it … “Your firearm: Don’t leave home without it!”

In every society, there exists a certain small fraction of the population that teeters on the edge of insanity. As more stress is applied to society, these are the people who snap first.

It’s like a replay of Helter Skelter.

    Hence, the Second Amendment: the great safeguard against Helter Skelter – and a fascist government controlled by the likes of maxine waters, and barry odumbo, and hillary klinton, and eric holder, and loretta lynch, and nancy pelosi, and george soros, and….

Unfortunately, criminals with fairly obvious cognition problems are not good test cases for capital punishment.

Sadly, this attack is not totally unexpected. Anti-semitism is a growing force in our universities. This is tied to sympathy for the Palestinians in Israel, and then to the Muslims in America. As if our spoiled little university students would be able to live in a Muslim culture! So disappointing to see this in America.

I know the suspect, Bowers, is a racist and likely hates blacks too, but I just checked to see for myself and make sure, and yup, “Minister” Louis Farrakhan’s Twitter/Tweet is still up and pumping out the antisemitic hate.

God rest those whom were murdered. God heal those whom were injured – inside and out. God Bless and Protect Israel!

So, another undefended gathering place gets attacked by an armed loon. Gee, is anyone surprised?

The world is full of people who are filled with hatred against others, for little or no reason. It is full of people who are comfortable using violence against another to satisfy their own wants, needs and desires. It is full of insecure, scared little people who will commit acts of violence either out of fear or in an attempt to feel more important. We look at the world outside our borders and tsk tsk over the animalistic acts committed by people living there. But, we seldom consider that it could happen to us, here in the US. And this after the last 50 years of liberal Progressives telling us that we are all under attack by racists, homophobes, misogynists, and criminals in general. One would think that by htis time the average American citizen would not leave his home without being armed to the teeth, where possible. But, sadly, that does not happen. We refuse to place protections, including armed guards, at schools, houses of worship, and even shopping malls. Then we all act shocked when some loon walks in, unopposed, and kills a bunch of people.

As terrible as the loss of life is, in this case, I, for one, am not overly surprised.

a commenter over @ AoSHQ suggested that the murder be cut up in 8 pieces, be stuffed into a very large menorah, then be torched.

other than that pesky Constitution thing, i don’t have a real problem with this idea… other than the smell.

the most difficult type of attack to prevent–the lone wolf/lunatic–usually no warning and underway before you’re aware of what’s happening

Now the amusing if it weren’t so dishonest media blame game begins. It’s Trump’s fault that a guy who hates him shot up a synagogue. It would also be Trump’s fault if a guy who likes him shot up the synagogue. Ergo, all shootings are Trump’s fault.

It’s being reported that Gab’s hosting site (Microsoft?) booted them off because the shooter had a Gab account. I might be awhile before they find another one because as we all know a bunch of other hosting sites will probably follow suit and block Gab from their service. Since Gab is a competitor to the leftist miasma of Twitter I see it as a corporate unpersoning.

When the most vile and brazen law-breakers get away with it, mobs will soon emerge.

Hear that, Sessions? Rat.

The statement by Padhoretz is emblematic of the broken nature of the political discourse in this nation. “Blame everyone but the criminal”. This is nothing new (and I fear that it will be around long after we are all dust) it is just that their ability to spread this filth is expanding with every advance in communication.

Prayers for all those involved.
Thankfully no children were shot, though many have lost family and friends.
It is sad that in today’s world houses of worship have to think about
protection, but they do. I know our church has a security team in place (though unobtrusive and one wouldn’t even know).

Did I just hear Jeff Sessions say he had “an AR-15 assault rifle”?! Someone official at the press conference just said that anyway. Doesn’t fill one with confidence in their competence, does it?

Did I just hear Jeff Sessions say he had “an AR-15 assault rifle”?! Someone official at the press conference just said that anyway. Doesn’t fill one with confidence in their competence, does it?

does it really matter what type of weapon the perpetrator was using? firearms are inanimate tools only–they require the will to use them–always

this is a tragedy, no question but if you want to examine it in light of the weapon(s)involved, you’re really missing the forest

apologies as do not mean to diminish the suffering of those involved and not trying to start a 2nd amm discussion