On Saturday a gunman open fired on the Tree of Life Congregation Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The synagogue was specifically targeted in a hate crime against the Jewish community.
The shooter has a long history of anti-Semitic views. It was reported he yelled “All Jews must die” as he began shooting.
In response to the hate crime, President Donald Trump spent Saturday floating an old National Rifle Association (NRA) talking point as something that would have prevented the murders of 11 people and the injuries to 6 more.
As he was boarding Air Force One, Trump told reporters:
“If there was an armed guard inside the temple, they would have been able to stop him.”
This is not the first time the President floated the ‘good guy with a gun’ solution after a mass shooting. It should be noted that the gunman injured four—early reports stated three—trained and armed police officers responding to the scene.
Trump also washed his hands of any responsibility to do anything about gun deaths when he said:
“The world is a violent world. Before I ran for office, I’d watch instances like this with churches and other things, I’d say, ‘What a shame, what a shame.’ It’s even tougher when you’re the president of the United States and you have to watch this kind of a thing happen.”
The gunman was “armed with multiple weapons, including three Glock .357 handguns and an AR-15-style weapon.”
People were quick to point out the fact four—early reports stated three—armed policemen including a member of the SWAT team were shot and injured by the gunman. It is unlikely that an armed guard could have single-handedly stopped the shooter.
3 police officers were shot
— _________ (@RUandVPI) October 27, 2018
3 armed officers were shot. They are trained so the first one could not protect the other 2. What chances would 3 guards have let alone one.
— Frank (@Frank37350729) October 27, 2018
Three professionally-trained armed police officers were shot responding to the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh today. What does Trump think a part-time security guard would do against a determined gunman with an assault rifle? https://t.co/8aBdl6Xrpv
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) October 27, 2018
Wow. Trump literally just blamed the Pittsburgh shooting on the members of the synagogue for not having more guns.
THE SHOOTER SHOT ARMED POLICE OFFICERS.
He had an AR-15 assault rifle. It is a WEAPON OF WAR.
— Shaun King (@shaunking) October 27, 2018
Trained police hit moving targets less than 30% of the time. Four Pittsburgh officers were shot and the shooter is still alive. Armed civilians could not have stopped the synagogue gunman, who had a death wish and an AR-15.
Nine days. Text ACT to 644-33.pic.twitter.com/se5jyPwC3n
— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) October 28, 2018
Others felt the “good guy with a gun” idea the President was once again floating was utterly ridiculous.
Baffled by this they-shoulda-had-an-armed-guard routine. Does the arriving shooter brandish his gun and announce his plan so the guard knows to kill him? If not, the guard is just the first to die. But of course the folks pretending otherwise know that.
— Terry Milewski (@CBCTerry) October 27, 2018
Totally missing the moment. Armed gaurds in every shop, high school, middle school, elementary school, church, mosque, synagogue, mall, football game, baseball game is not the kinda society people should have to endure to protect a 200+ year old law
— David Coughlan (@Newshound103) October 27, 2018
Yes, because arming places of worship to the teeth is a far better solution than sensible gun control and working to stop bigotry, racism and hatred…beginning with the words coming from @realDonaldTrump. #TrumpIncites #GunControlNow #VoteBlue
— Brad (@Dingodog) October 27, 2018
So we need to be under armed lockdown everywhere we go because we can’t manage to control wingnuts and their weapons? Oh, and btw, I imagine the three cops he shot were armed. Get a grip.
— Susie Fierce (@SusieFierce) October 27, 2018
More guns = More death
— Reductio ad absurdum (@reductiologic) October 27, 2018
And most had harsh words for the President’s reaction to this hate crime.
Can anyone doubt that Trump has stoked the flames of hate and violence!? His rallies are based on such rhetoric. When a president demonizes political opponents, the media and refugees surely chaos will ensue. It is not appropriate for a president to call these people the “enemy”.
— Chauncey Gardiner Being There (@GabrielChauncey) October 28, 2018
If you really care, stop the hate speech and disagree with your opponents without unproven or untrue conspiracy theories and inflammatory statements that the crazies out there accept as fact. In other words ….be part of “ making America great again”
— mildred (@milliebro) October 28, 2018
— Cathy Voisard (@ZPoet) October 28, 2018
The victims—who range in age from 54 to 97—killed in this act of violence and hate are:
Joyce Fienberg, Richard Gottfried, Rose Mallinger, Jerry Rabinowitz, brothers Cecil and David Rosenthal, married couple Bernice and Sylvan Simon, Daniel Stein, Melvin Wax and Irving Younger.
May their memories be a blessing.