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A Reflection on the Pittsburgh Shooting & Gun Violence

Sarah Manderbach  ’22, Guest Writer

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The shooting that took place in Pittsburgh a few weeks ago was extremely tragic. So many lives were lost, including that of siblings, a married couple and a survivor of the Holocaust. They were killed for worshipping peacefully in a place that is supposed to be safe.

As someone who was born and raised in Pennsylvania, it’s extremely disheartening to know that violence can occur so close to home. Over the course of the last few years, there have been fatal shootings in a numerous amount of places that have shocked the country. From schools to theaters, clubs and concerts, it doesn’t seem like any place in this “land of the free” is even safe anymore. I feared even coming to school at the mere mention of a bomb threat or a shooting threat nearby, and so did several of my peers.

People use the time after these shootings to send prayers to those affected and to pray for forgiveness. As important as that is, there is more that needs to be done if we want the deaths by guns to decrease drastically. A large movement, like March for Our Lives, finally helped bring awareness to the flaws regarding gun ownership and control in America. 

Yes, I see why people need guns, but when guns are as easy to purchase as a pack of gum in a convenience store, it really makes you wonder how “safe” of a country we really are versus how we portray ourselves.

The biggest thing that needs to be proposed is an increase in background checks for those that wish to purchase firearms and an increase in limiting who can purchase a gun based on past histories. For example, the shooter of the Las Vegas concert shooting had multiple problems that were not required “reportable” by the state. He had over 30 reports from professionals about his condition and he was still allowed to get firearms.

Some would object and say that restrictions on our Second Amendment rights are unconstitutional and extreme. However, the Second Amendment refers to the militia’s right to have a gun during war times because ammunition was less advanced back then. Also, I do agree that these means are extreme. Sadly, when so many incidents are occurring and so many lives are being lost, what do we have to resort to to get it to stop?

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1 Comment

One Response to “A Reflection on the Pittsburgh Shooting & Gun Violence”

  1. Rabbi Jacob Herber on November 8th, 2018 11:14 am

    My heart goes out to the author of this op-ed, Sarah Manderbach. Regardless of where one might have been when one heard the news about the terrorist attack on Tree of Life Synagogue in Square Hill, or if one had a connection to Pittsburgh (in my case two of my friends, Rabbi Alvin Berkun, Rabbi Emeritus of Tree of Life, and Rabbi Jonathan Berkun, his son, who grew up in the congregation, are deeply tied to the community) if one is an American Jew one felt impacted by the shooting because of the Jewish principle: “Kol Yehudim aravim zeh ba zeh” – “Every Jew is inextricably bound to the other.” We felt (feel) an attack on one was (is) an attack on allof us. So, I feel Sarah’s pain and I share it.

    I would only disagree with Sarah’s claim that those worshipping at Tree of Life were attacked and murdered because they were “worshipping peacefully in a place that is supposed to be safe.” That is where they were murdered. They were targeted and murdered by a neo-Nazi/white supremacist because they were Jews, and they were Jews who supported HIAS. This was an heinous act of antisemitism, the hatred of Jews, and it should be identified as such.

    – Rabbi Jacob Herber (P 2019)

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A Reflection on the Pittsburgh Shooting & Gun Violence