Saturday morning in the Pittsburgh suburb of Squirrel Hill started like any other. Families prepared breakfast, read parts of the newspaper, got themselves and their family dressed, talked about what their day was probably going to be like, the plans they had for later, and then headed to their place of worship.
Some probably squabbled over trivial matters. Some probably even said they’d rather have stayed in bed because they’d stayed up too late the night before.
Many were extra excited about the morning, because they were attending a baby naming ceremony, and kept talking about that little baby and what the future held for the family…
And then just a few short hours later, 11 of those people…3 women, 8 men…including a 97 year old man and a married couple in their 80’s…lay dead in their beloved synagogue, along with many other injured who were screaming for help, crying for their family members, already mourning those who had already died, praying, and asking “why”??? A special holy day had been destroyed in that massacre, along with many families who would never be the same again.
One man, filled with anger and hate, had decided these worshippers had no right to live any more. They had no right to worship their God, no right to exist in his world. Not remembering or even caring that it was their world, too.
And he screamed “All Jews must die!” as he opened fire on a synagogue of innocents. Who had done nothing more than gather to worship the Lord.
It could have been any of us in our own houses of worship on any given Saturday or Sunday morning.
Because hate does not discriminate. Hate is an evil monster who consumes everyone and everything in its path that does not agree with its twisted way of thinking. Hate is rational only to itself.
This is a national and humanitarian tragedy. It has destroyed families and relationships that will never be mended because there are missing souls who will only be reunited in heaven. All because one person decided these individuals that he had never even met didn’t deserve to live because of their religious beliefs.
Those of us who have compassion and a sense of love for our fellow man grieve this senseless tragedy. We feel tremendous sorrow and sympathy for families we cannot begin to comfort; families we don’t even know.
We are thankful for the first responders who rushed in to try and stop this senseless massacre, and pray for the officers who were wounded as well. Who knows how many lives were saved because of their response?
And who can begin to imagine the fear and the horror in that synagogue Saturday morning? I can’t. I cannot even begin to imagine.
Many are already using this attack as a political tool. Never mind the devastating act of a cowardly and hate-filled, and yes, mentally ill man. Never mind the lives which are shattered, the families destroyed, and the faith of the worshippers that I’m sure has also been shattered.
Those who are using this event as a political tool are as bad in their own way as the shooter. This is not a political platform for either side to jump on to win an election. It’s not a basis for screaming once again for gun control, because the bad guys get them whether there are laws or not, because the laws in place aren’t being followed.
This is the act of a deranged person, and unfortunately there are many more out there who are not appalled by this act, but are secretly praising this man, possibly trying to get their courage up to do something similar.
This is the time to start realizing the hate and discord in this country has to end. Politicians cannot continue to use such acts to push their agenda. Their supporters on either side cannot continue the hate-filled, angry talk that we hear on a daily basis. Both sides condemn the other while they refuse to look at themselves and realize they can be just as bad as the other side.
Where is the tolerance for others who aren’t like us? Where is the love of our fellow man that we people of faith profess to have, but then rush to put down others who don’t believe as we do? Whose lifestyles don’t agree with ours?
I’ve even heard from the mouths of some so-called Christians that these murdered Jews didn’t make it to heaven because they didn’t know Jesus! I’m sorry but I cannot imagine our Lord turning these massacred people of faith away from His kingdom any more than He did during the Holocaust. Who are we to make that decision? And by saying such things, hurting those who are hurting even more.
None of these reactions, my friends, is love and compassion.
I am sickened by the events of Saturday in Squirrel Hill, and I am tired of seeing brother against brother and friends against friends because we have to be sure we are right and everyone who disagrees with us is wrong. There can be no place in our country for this, and it needs to stop now.
Before someone else decides he or she is the only one who is right and tries to take matters into their own hands. Again.
Unfortunately I have no answers that I’m sure will solve all of this. But I am sure of one thing.
Enough is enough.