Hate and Loss Coincide: Candlelight Vigil in the Wake of Pittsburgh Shooting

On Saturday morning at 9:54am, responders were made aware of the shooting in the Tree of Life Congregation Synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA. The suspect Robert Bowers open fired in a 20 minute anti-Semitic attack, disrupting the early morning peace and killing 11 innocent individuals. When police and SWAT arrived on scene, the eleven were already dead, and more were injured. Currently, Bowers is facing trial, and death penalty is being questioned. Donald Trump stated that he and the country would be there for the Jewish Community in their time of grievance, but also said that if an armed guard had been stationed inside the synagogue that this would have gone differently…. Yes, that is what the leader of our nation said in response to this tragedy--that we should have solved this gun problem with more guns. What a great idea! (Major sarcasm.) 

Rowan University’s community has been affected by this tragedy on several levels. Our Jewish community at Rowan held an open candlelight vigil for the lives lost. Some of our Jewish organizations on campus as well, including Chabad and Hillel, are fundraising money for the victims and synagogue to hopefully restore some peace and show our support.

Lately our country and campus have been dealing with hate or violence, which has only led to loss, confusion, and tension. I don’t understand why it seems like all of the sudden, things just keep happening around us. On campus, there have been frequent reports of assault within the past few weeks, and within the past year it seems that our country has fallen into an epidemic of  mass shootings. So many of these incidents are reported and ongoing that I feel our population is quickly becoming desensitized to crime on a large scale. Less and less, people are seeing the victims as individuals-- mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, and friends. I think in order to change this crime that seems to be assimilating itself into our culture we need to start remembering that these victims aren’t just numbers on the news channel screen, but they’re real people who died simply because they went to school, to church, to the club, and to the synagogue.