Here is a description of Robert Bowers, the man who entered a synagogue in Pittsburgh and deliberately shot and killed 11 people:
– “Pittsburgh Synagogue Massacre Suspect Was ‘Pretty Much a Ghost,'” by NYT’s Trip Gabriel, Jack Healy and Julie Turkewitz: “Robert Bowers, the man accused of gunning down 11 congregants in a virulently anti-Semitic rampage at a Pittsburgh synagogue, was an isolated, awkward man who lived alone and struggled with basic human interactions, neighbors and others who knew him said on Sunday.
“‘He was in his own little world,’ said Jim Brinsky, 46, a friend from childhood. Mr. Brinsky said he and Mr. Bowers, 46, grew up together but that he never met Mr. Bowers’s parents and got the impression that Mr. Bowers had a difficult home life. As teenagers, he said they built pipe bombs and blew up watermelons and trees as pranks. …
“‘He was pretty much a ghost,’ Mr. Brinsky said. His next-door neighbors also described him as a man who was barely there. In the shabby one-bedroom ground-floor apartment where he had lived for about a year and a half, Mr. Bowers made such an insubstantial impression on his next-door neighbor, Kerri Owens, that she forgot his name soon after he introduced himself. Mr. Bowers said he worked as a truck driver and needed the apartment primarily to store his stuff, Ms. Owens said.” NYT
This description tells us a lot about the kind of person Trump’s rhetoric appeals to. Trump and Fox News and others with their dog whistles about George Soros funding the caravan of Honduran asylum seekers wending their way to the border and expected to arrive -who knows when- is telling Americans they should be afraid, very afraid. George Soros is used as a dog whistle just as Hitler did in Germany blaming wealthy Jews and setting them up for attacks.
An unstable man listened to that vitriolic rhetoric about immigrants and believed that Jews are funding an immigrant assault on our country and then took out his anger on innocent people in a synagogue known for being welcoming to everyone no matter what their background.
On some TV channels (Fox News I’m talking to you but others as well) I hear people trying to give Trump cover for what happened. It was not his fault. A Bernie Sanders voter shot Steve Scalise and that wasn’t Bernie’s fault.
The difference is that Sanders was not encouraging violence against his enemies. Trump is.
Trump is the ignition switch for combustible material.
Trump is the accelerant for angry, aggrieved, fearful, unstable people.
Why are we at all confused about why this happened?
- There are people in the world who are lost souls. They are low-information, low functioning, high anger people who have lived lives in which they were mistreated or damaged and were unable to rise to the challenges of life. These people are ripe for influence. They are in need of someone to lead them, be a father figure, tell them what to do. They have hate in their hearts and they want to know where to direct it.
- Trump is using overheated rhetoric to excoriate the press and his critics. He identifies people he hates. He encourages his followers to hate them. He condones violent acts.
- Trump’s rhetoric along with many online websites, Breitbart, Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity and Fox News have created a stew, a sludge, of hateful rhetoric in our country in which these very angry very challenged people marinate themselves.
- Guns are easy to get.
Mix these ingredients together and ….Boom. What in the world do we expect would happen when these elements come together?
The only thing we should be baffled by is why an incident like this did not happen sooner. Oh wait. It has.
Send a message on November 6th. Push back on Trump and his Republican administration.
Republicans need to lose big. Dems need to win big. Take friends to the polls. Work on this with all your heart for the next few days.
Vote as if your life, your loved ones’ lives and your country depends on it.
Because it does!