By now you’ve no doubt heard about the latest mass shooting at a synagogue, this one taking place at the Chabad of Poway synagogue in Poway, California, just north of San Diego. One person was killed and three others were injured. The shooter (who I won’t do any favors for by mentioning his name here) meekly surrendered to law enforcement after calling to turn himself in. While the investigation is still ongoing, at this point it at least appears that he acted alone.
San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit says the 19-year-old suspect called police to report the shooting and a California Highway Patrol officer heard it on a police scanner, saw the suspect and pulled him over. Nisleit says the suspect got out of his car with his hands up and he was taken into custody without incident.
Gore says a woman died from her injuries, while a girl and two men are in the hospital.
As with similar attacks in the past, the attacker reportedly left behind a “manifesto.” (I won’t link to it or directly quote it here, but you can easily Google it.) What we’ve seen of it so far sounds like the usual bundle of hateful rhetoric. In fact, aside from the relative youth of the shooter – age 19 -, this looks like a copycat murder. And yet, the background on this guy, available at USA Today, makes for a puzzling story. He had no prior criminal history, though he implicates himself in a recent incident of arson at a mosque. (Nobody was injured in that one and the damage was minimal.)
He doesn’t seem to fit the profile of some other losers who wind up committing crimes like this. He wasn’t some isolated dropout living in his mother’s basement. He was reportedly a bright student who made good grades and was on his way to a promising career in healthcare. He obviously had a lot to lose, so barring some form of insanity, why throw it all away?
The guy just clearly hated any and all “foreigners,” (anyone who wasn’t like him) but Muslims and Jews in particular. Having been safely taken into custody, with any luck he’ll wind up on death row and we’ll be done with him. But this is yet another bizarre act of violence that leaves me wondering how antisemitism continues to thrive in the modern world. You can almost wrap your head around (without forgiving) the idea of people who exhibit blatant racism or misogyny. Our history as a species is rife with such things and we’ve had to come a long way to begin rooting out such practices.
But antisemitism? The history of the Jewish people is a continuing tale of oppression and attempted annihilation from their first appearance in written records. But in the modern era, what “threat” do the rest of the people in the world associate with the Jews? Particularly here in the United States, Jews make up barely two percent of the population. It’s not like they’re taking over the place. They’re also famously opposed to proselytization. It’s not as if they’re attempting to “replace” Christianity or any other religion.
Just to be very clear, I’m not even remotely suggesting that antisemitism isn’t real. It not only exists, but it seems to spread like a disease. This latest shooting is sadly only one of many physical attacks and verbal tirades we’ve seen in the news lately. But this hateful young person in California leaves me once again scratching my head as to why? Perhaps someone can take the time to ask this latest shooter before they (hopefully) execute him. But then again, I rather doubt any rantings and ramblings of his will shed much light on the topic.