Evil arose again…
This time it came in the form of a middle-aged monster who came to realize that his persuasive powers were inadequate… and, instead, chose to impose his tyrannical views on others through violence.
A devout anti-Semite, he collectivized a group of people into a singular homogenous unit. “Jews” are the problem, and the only rational response to the inherent threat of a Jewish population in his relative vicinity was to engage in an act of violent extermination.
The horrific nature of his crimes notwithstanding, I am honestly curious as to what he thought the end game here would be. Was this to be his John Brown “Harper’s Ferry” moment? Was he expecting thousands of like-minded anti-Semites to rally around his twisted flag and begin a mass extermination of their Jewish neighbors? Was he expecting to be executed by law enforcement and go out in a blaze of glory becoming a martyr to the white power cause? Or did his reasoning stop at, “Yeah… this will be a good idea, let’s do this!”
As many of you know, I am Jewish. Religiously, well, not so much… even culturally Jewishness falls on a spectrum. There are people in my family who are far more Jew”ish” than I am. Other than the occasional matzo ball, and lighting the menorah at Hanukkah, my Jewishness is marginal at best. (My law partner, though, did give me those cool Star of David grips for my 1911, so I guess that is something). Still, when a group of innocents is targeted for despotic destruction I tend to identify with it, this instance probably more so… for those who would seek to destroy a person because of their antisemitic views couldn’t care less about how their targets see themselves on the spectrum of Semitism. The monster in Pennsylvania would have been more than happy to include me or my daughters in his list of victims as the other congregants.
The nature of his animus is steeped in mythology and tribalism. Antisemitism always has been. Ironically, the very nature of antisemitism led to the intellectual development of the Jewish people as a whole. During the Renaissance, Jewish membership in trade guilds was prohibited. Jews in Europe did not have the ability to become skilled labor. They were left with few alternatives to earn money. Some avenues that were available to them were mercantilism, law, and medicine. Thus, our forefathers became pivotal members of growing societies. Still, they oftentimes remained cloistered in their communities, thus making less successful individuals suspicious of them.
Nation-states have used antisemitism as a means of controlling and inspiring their populations, and individuals have adopted antisemitism as a means of rationalizing their own failures, and perceived failures of their own communities.
Eradication of this way of thought is impossible. If not the Jews, then it will be the Sheiks, if not the Sheiks, it will be the Catholics, and if not the Catholics it will be the Muslims. There will always be another tribe that receives the animus of the disaffected. To make sense of their inadequate world they will not see the tribe as a collection of individuals, but rather a singular evil unit… something that must be marginalized and destroyed.
The funny thing is that that animus runs both ways. The disaffected monster does not need by any means to be a member of the “white patriarchal ruling class”. Antifa shares the identical views as the murderer in Pittsburgh. The goblins who attacked us on 9/11 were kindred spirits with the tyrant in Pennsylvania. The thug who drives a vehicle into a crowded marketplace is no different than the subhuman who shoots up a church, or a synagogue, or a mosque. They collectivize their enemies, and seek to impose their will through violence.
So if defeating them is not an option, how do we protect ourselves from them?
Speed, surprise, and explosive violence of action are the answers.
A flock of sheep, as it grazes, is protected by sheep dogs. They are charged with protecting the sheep from wolves, and they do so mercilessly.
During the last few years many congregations have taken it upon themselves to develop security teams, made of congregants themselves to bear arms and be prepared to defend the defenseless in their sanctuaries.
Not all have agreed with this approach.
“God will protect us! Having guns in our house of worship is an abomination!”
God gave us the inalienable right to exist. With that predicate right, came the right to use violence to preserve our very existence. That right is not abrogated because people choose to worship in their house of God. Quite the contrary, you can never surrender that right to anyone, even if you misguidedly choose to do so.
Someone who is prepared to bring violence to a community of people must understand that his or her actions will be short-lived and be met with extreme and overwhelming violence. The decision to victimize a group of worshipers will never end with escape or arrest. It will be nothing more than a failed suicide mission.
Hardened targets are rarely attacked by singular individuals for just that reason. While we must protect those who cannot protect themselves, we must also stand for the principle that those who can protect themselves must.