Of Pipe Bombs and Pittsburg

Cesar Sayoc, Jr., the Miami pipe bomb sender and Robert Bowers, the murderer at the Pittsburg Synagogue last Saturday have something in common.

They believed that society would be better off if they killed the people they hated – Democratic Party leaders and Jews.    Both have a known history of white supremacy and anti-Semitism openly broadcast on various social media platforms.   They became home grown domestic terrorists radicalized by incendiary political rhetoric stoking hatred and violence.

Now that they have been arrested and face prosecution for hate crimes I’m struggling with what to say beyond the obvious –

  • that white-supremacy, racism and anti-Semitism are anti- and un-American
  • that deranged people like these should be prevented from violence including access to guns,
  • that we need better ways of anticipating terrorist threats,domestic and foreign,
  • ‘thoughts and prayers’ however sincere are not enough.

But what do I say to my children and grand children, some of whom are Jewish, about a culture where white supremacy is encouraged by some, resulting in a recent increase in hate crimes including anti-Semitism?    As elders we are responsible to pass on what what the years have taught us about life and well-being.

I would like them to know there are a few things that can be done to make our communities safe, if not sacred for everyone.

  • Be aware of, but not surprised by hatred – it has always been with us – it is the human situation.
  • Don’t allow yourself to believe that you are better than others.
  • In your conversations let it be known that you do not tolerate intolerance.
  • Listen to people with whom you disagree.
  • Be a good citizen – join with others working for the common interest.

Perhaps our best advice is in the words of Pittsburg Rabbi Jeffery Myers –
“Stop The Words of Hate.”



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2 Responses to Of Pipe Bombs and Pittsburg

  1. David Felter says:

    Cap’n, you address a critical issue for all Americans. Have I been tolerant, when I should have spoken up, addressing words that were not representative of the truth? Have I permitted the secret invasion of privatized values drawn from the toxic environment of unexamined dictums passed off as “Christian, conservative values?” What am I willing to own? But thank God, I’m nice!

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