Saturday, October 27, 2018

What did Donald Trump do today?

He blamed the victims of a mass murder in a synagogue for not being armed.

This morning, a 46-year-old man named Robert Bowers entered the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh and opened fire on worshipers attending a private service. Eleven people are dead, and at least six more were injured, including four police officers.

Just before the killings, Bowers identified his reason for targeting Tree of Life: its support for HIAS National Refugee Shabbat, a Jewish non-profit organization devoted to helping refugees.

Bowers wrote, "HIAS likes to bring invaders in that kill our people. I can't sit by and watch my people get slaughtered."

Trump's entire political career has been defined by his attacks on refugee populations. Most recently, with the midterm elections looming, he's engaged in daily fear-mongering over a group of migrants fleeing gang warfare and political oppression in Central America. That group, many of whom have been granted asylum in Mexico, and which is traveling on foot, is currently about 1800 miles from the U.S. border.

Asked about the shooting en route to his sixteenth campaign rally in the last month, Trump refused to talk about the killer's motives, and he ignored a question about his own effectiveness in reducing gun crime. But he did identify the reason he believed the murders had happened:
[Gun laws] had little to do with it. If they had protection inside, the results would have been far better. This is a dispute that will always exist, I suspect. But if they had some kind of a protection inside the temple, ahhh, maybe it could have been a very much different situation. They didn't. And he was able to do things that unfortunately he shouldn't have been able to do.
Trump did not express condolences for the victims at any point, but he did share that he felt sorry for himself at having to hear the news:
It's a very difficult thing. For me to stand as president and watch any of this go... You know, before I ran for office then i would watch instances like this with churches, and other things, I'd say "What a shame. What a shame." But it's even tougher when you're the President of the United States and you have to watch this kind of a thing happen.
This is not the first time that Trump has identified himself as the real victim of an anti-Semitic crime.

So what?

  • The victims of terrorist murders are not to blame for terrorist murders.
  • People who promote violent and radical ideologies are to blame for the actions of violent and radicalized terrorists.