27 April 2019, Poway, CA – A 19 year old terrorist is currently in police custody following his attack with an AR-15 against Chabad of Poway, a synagogue serving the Jewish community living in the northern part of San Diego County in Southern California. One woman died, a child and two men were shot but are expected to make a full recovery, at least physically. An off-duty ICE officer happened to be attending services that day, and he did not hesitate to return fire, chasing the coward off the property, and directly in front of a California Highway Patrol officer who made the felony stop and arrested the terrorist without further incident. Synagogues across the nation have been on alert since 6 months ago to the day when the Tree of Life – L’Simcha Congregation synagogue had been attacked by another terrorist, who targeted them because of Jewish support activities through the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) helping refugees and immigrants coming to the United States. There 11 were killed, and six were injured, four of them police officers. The alertness since probably saved a lot of lives, as did the ineptness of the 19 year old terrorist who did not know how to clear a jammed round from his weapon.
In between these two attacks were others, some in the United States, some not, but all sharing in common being attacked at a time of celebration in the one place one does not expect terrorism. Places of worship, once off limits to violence, were now seen as soft targets of opportunity, to be exploited for whatever worthless causes terrorists typically use to justify senseless violence.
In Louisiana, over a ten day period beginning March 26, 2019, a terrorist using arson as their preferred weapon to burn 3 Baptist churches in St. Landry Parish to the ground. Most were completely unaware this had happened, and likely still wouldn’t know were it not for the fact that the terrorist was the son of a deputy sheriff. Even that, however, failed to get the attention of a nation numbed by the blatant racism encouraged into the open by Donald J. Trump, President of the United States. Help to rebuild would eventually come, after national outrage slammed right into Trump’s offer to help rebuild the Norte Dame church in France, which burned to the ground following what may have been negligence on the part of a carelessly discarded burning cigarette by one of the workers hired to renovate the ancient building. For the President, the political optics couldn’t be worse, a willingness to give our tax dollars to a foreign nation to rebuild an ancient church owned by the wealthiest entity on the planet (the Catholic Church), but not even a passing comment about the racist terror attacks that destroyed 3 churches in Louisiana.
In New Zealand, that nation’s relative peace in the world would be shattered by an Australian terrorist who live-streamed his crimes on Facebook. The video would remain long enough after the terrorist had been arrested for 4,000 to view and download the video, which now hits social media from more sources than the various platforms can handle. New Zealand ISP’s take the unusual step of shutting down access to any site attempting to upload pictures or videos of the terrorist attack. It is a crime to distribute the video into or within New Zealand, and there have been arrests. The Prime Minister has made clear, do not incite more to follow this terrorist’s example by mentioning him by name, or by broadcasting or publishing in whole or part the terrorist’s rambling manifesto or the resulting video of the terrorist attack. Australia and United States media ignore the request, so now we know more about the terrorist than we do of even one of the 50 killed or the same number who were injured.
Unlike the United States, New Zealand had no trouble outlawing military style assault rifles within days, offering to buy back any legally owned prior to the terrorist attack by its citizens. In the United States, fear is just as good a reason as any to raise prices on firearms, because that kind of fear creates a boom in firearms sales. The attack I New Zealand allegedly had been planned and slowly put into play over a two year period. The terrorist likely had plenty of help, but that particular ideology is pretty good about staying quiet, for now.
I’m sure if we paid attention, we would find others who have been attacked by racists, religious extremists, or just people who hate others for the sport of it all. The Sri Lanka attacks are, within just this 6 month period, the worst. Other places of worship, some built centuries ago, have been bombed by terrorists, those fighting terrorists, governments indifferent to the significance of such places to displaced communities that may one day wish to return home, or any other in a long list of senseless and selfish justifications for intentionally targeting those least likely to be able to fight back, until today anyway. While I know there are those who are atheist or agnostic who think perhaps centuries of oppression by these same religious institutions has come back home to roost, in the end I know they agree that doing harm to those who are doing no harm to others cannot be justified. None I know would take part in senseless violence against those doing them no harm.
By now, I would like to think officials know what they can do with their thoughts and prayers. When we have leaders who praise terrorists as somehow equal to their victims, something is very seriously wrong. Yes, it makes them feel better to spend a few moments in thoughtful reflection or prayer, but doing nothing else solves nothing. Making it harder for those who hate to obtain weapons of hate makes far more sense, but to date the United States has refused to take such action. Meanwhile they look for any excuse to avoid calling those who commit such violence what they are, terrorists. Lone wolf, mentally ill, or just no idea why such a senseless act of violence happened, anything to avoid acknowledging that we have our very own homegrown domestic terrorists, and have for a very long time. Meanwhile, these terrorists trying to incite religious and racial violence think they can prevail once the dust settles from the violence they lit a match to. They think themselves wolves among sheep.
But they are seriously mistaken. It is time they become the prey.