Bonnie Chernin
Murders at the Tree of Life Synagogue
By Bonnie Chernin
October 29, 2018

The victims at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh attended Shabbat services as usual, and to celebrate the birth of a baby boy with a bris or circumcision. There were more attendees than usual because of the bris that was to take place. A deranged anti-Semitic maniac walked in and began shooting at the congregants yelling, "All Jews must die!" The celebration of the beginning of life for one baby was the end of life for eleven of those present. This was the deadliest single attack on American Jews.

This is not the first time a religious service was interrupted by gunfire. In November of 2017, the worst mass shooting in Texas history happened at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, where 26 worshippers were shot dead including a baby. There was the Charleston, West Virginia, mass murder in 2015 in which a white supremacist murdered nine African Americans. In October of 2017, there were 58 people slaughtered in a bloodbath by a crazed killer at a country music concert in Las Vegas.

In 2016, there were 49 people murdered at an Orlando, Florida, nightclub. Eight people were murdered at an Omaha, Nebraska, shopping mall in 2007. There are so many murders at schools, it is easy to lose count.

What houses of worship, schools, entertainment venues, and shopping malls all have in common is that there are crowds of people and firearms are not allowed. Lunatics driven to commit mass murders know this. Large numbers of innocent people are defenseless and become the next victims.

Wikipedia has a page that records the number of school shootings past and present. In the entire 19th century, there were 26 school murders. AK 47s and semi-automatic weapons did not exist at that time. But gun control laws did not exist either. In fact, during the Wild West era, most anybody had access to a firearm. Yet, only 26 school shootings occurred in that century.

Something is definitely wrong, but more gun control will not address the issue. Anti-Semitism is on the rise. In the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, a Jewish man was badly beaten with a stick and attacks against Jews are up 90 percent in New York State. Hate crimes abound. In every murder, the root cause is racism, bigotry, and the devaluation of human life. Human beings are the weapons, not the instruments they use.

I support the Second Amendment. I also believe the right to life is paramount, and that the answer involves enforcing existing gun laws and securing schools, synagogues, churches, and similar vulnerable venues with armed guards. If there were police armed at schools, murders would be averted. Such was the case earlier this year at Great Mills High School shooting in Maryland. School officer Blaine Gaskill engaged the armed student immediately and shot him in the hand, and then the gunman killed himself. This prevented what would have been a massacre. That's what is needed.

Millennials were not born when the Happy Land Social Club fire happened back in 1990. In that mass murder, 87 people were trapped inside the building and died. The first known incident of vehicular homicide occurred in 1973 in Prague. A woman rammed into eight people with a truck. At the Oklahoma City massacre, 168 people died and over 680 were injured. Anti-firearm legislation would never have stopped these crimes.

I am a fierce defender of the rights of unborn children. However, when someone is evil enough to commit murder, I support capital punishment. The death penalty is not an anti-life position. There is a difference between murdering the innocent (as in abortion) and putting a vicious murderer to death. This massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue at Squirrel Hill is a reprehensible act. Capital punishment is called for in this case, and for perpetrators in similar crimes involving mass murder. Exodus 20:13 is very clear: "Thou shalt not murder." That is a life-affirming Commandment to protect the innocent.

The death penalty is also a strong deterrent. If that were not the case, death row inmates would not try so hard to have their sentences commuted. Moreover, the perpetrator cannot escape and kill again.

Militant left-wing groups took this opportunity to blame President Trump for the horrific bloodbath at the synagogue. Bend the Arc Jewish Action wrote a letter to President Trump, in which they attempt to draw a moral comparison between our president's beliefs and the actions of a lunatic who slaughtered Jewish people. This letter is an outrageous and disgraceful attack to score political points for what they call "progressive domestic values" with no respect for the dead victims and their families. Bend the Arc is comprised of radicals who want to transform America.

The one constant that is overlooked is that we live in a corrupt and immoral culture that devalues life and promotes violence. Unless that changes, we can expect more of the same. It is urgent to get out and vote on Tuesday, November 6th, and choose candidates who are conservative, pro-life, and respect our Constitution and our rights.

© Bonnie Chernin


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

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Bonnie Chernin

In 1986, Bonnie Chernin attended her first pro-life convention where she met author Ann Saltenberger and received a copy of her outstanding book, "Every Woman Has the Right to Know the Dangers of Legal Abortion." This book inspired Bonnie to become actively involved in the pro-life movement.

In the early 1990s, Bonnie volunteered at the office of Manhattan Right to Life, and began writing letters and op-ed pieces for local newspapers on the topic of abortion.... (more)


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