Whistle long enough, dogs show up: Best synagogue shooting response? Weep. Mourn. Vote.

momphyllispat-341809
This was taken at my niece’s bat mitzvah. Mom (z”l) is on the left; Phyllis & Pat (the other granny) are next to her. Taken in 2009, but could have been taken yesterday at Tree of Life Synagogue, or any other congregation.

File yesterday under “Days when you’re glad your mother and aunts are dead.”

File yesterday under “This is why I grapple with knowing that I look and benefit from being white but don’t ever feel entirely white.”

File yesterday under “What part of their part in this do Donald Trump, Mike Pence, Chuck Grassley, Paul Ryan, Jeff Sessions, Steven Miller and the rest of the administration not see?”

File yesterday under “You can’t spend three years whistling and act surprised when the dogs actually show up.”

File yesterday under: “Thank you to the library system where I work for taking the possibility of an active shooter seriously enough to provide training that may minimize the danger to us and our patrons if we’re ever unlucky enough to be in that situation.”

Pittsburgh is the first time it’s happened to my community. Reading the news as I sat behind the reference desk yesterday, my first thoughts were of Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church and the nine people killed by the white guy who got a take-out hamburger in jail because he told the police he was hungry. I thought of the six people killed in Oak Creek at the Sikh Temple by a white guy who did it because he thought Sikhs were Muslims.

This isn’t just about Jews, or black people, or people who wear turbans or hijabs or whose first words were in a language other than English.

President Dog Whistle mused that had there been armed guards in the synagogue, perhaps the shooter would have been stopped.

He is wrong.

Had there been sensible gun laws in this country, perhaps the shooter would have been stopped. But that would mean standing up to Dylan Roof, Rob Bowers and Wade Michael Pages’ enablers. By which I mean the National Rifle Association, whose bullets include large amounts of cash aimed at legislators for sale.

Newsflash to President Dog Whistle and those legislators: All the guns in the world will not kill what’s coming. Thanks to you, Dylan Roof, Rob Bowers and Wade Michael Page were able to carry out their attacks using real weapons. Cesar Sayet, Jr. heard the dog whistle and was empowered to build and mail bombs that would have killed postal workers as well as people who’ve stood up for their beliefs.

But you can’t kill reality, any more than you can stop the 7,000 people who have left dangerous situations in Central America to seek refuge in the land that provided it to so many of us – at the expense of those who were here first, and those brought here in chains.

The country is changing. It’s less white. It’s less Christian. People like President Dog Whistle and his ilk are doing everything they can to ensure that real power and the money that preserves it remains in the hands of people who look and sound and think the way they do and have done.

That’s why income inequality. That’s why voter suppression. That’s why unevenly applied drug laws.

Change is hard, but it doesn’t have to be bad. Banding together for the sake of our shared well-being is our best shot at ensuring any kind of future for ourselves and those who come after us.

Which is why voting on November 6this so important. If you can’t vote because:

  • you’re not old enough,
  • you’re on paper,
  • you’re not through the citizenship process,
  • your felony record says that even though you’ve paid your debt to society we’re going to keep punishing you…

then be an enabler. Make your voice count by making sure the people in your life who can cast votes, do cast votes.

The future will thank you.

 

The 11 people killed in Pittsburgh. May their memories be for a blessing:

• Joyce Fienberg, 75, Oakland neighborhood, Pittsburgh
• Richard Gottfried, 65, Ross Township
• Rose Mallinger, 97, Squirrel Hill neighborhood, Pittsburgh
• Jerry Rabinowitz, 66, Edgewood Borough
• Cecil Rosenthal, 59, and David Rosenthal, 54, brothers, Squirrel Hill
• Bernice and Sylvan Simon, 84 and 86, married, Wilkinsburg
• Daniel Stein, 71, Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh
• Melvin Wax, 88, Squirrel Hill, City of Pittsburgh
• Irving Younger, 69, Mount Washington neighborhood, Pittsburgh

4 thoughts on “Whistle long enough, dogs show up: Best synagogue shooting response? Weep. Mourn. Vote.

  1. Thank you Amy. YES, where does it stop. For me, Octogenarian plus, it is the most evil dejavu, hearing and seeing some of the same poisonous words and images which frightened me as a young child in the 30’s and 40’s via the radio, Movie Tone News in our movie theaters and in Life Magazine. Now we see via modern media the widespread suffering in too many places, true cultural prejudicial hatred. Fear based living. God of all of us, who gave the gift of life to everyone, I am so sorry.

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  2. Amy , my Amy , I said to Debby via Facebook what would Rabbi Waldman say.. I think he would have found the words as he was a Jewish Helper for our people we where all lucky as we grew up in Utica where it was a place of love and welcome , Temple was all ways packed on the High Holidays and in Temple Beth El the Rabbi would tell us to be quiet and then tell us why we should be in Temple Trump Must be Stopped! He yells hateful things and then wonders why this ? He is truly Stupid and self interested we are better then this Love to all Waldmans Debby

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    1. We are better than this, Debby Rosey-nose! And I hadn’t thought of Dad (z”l) in all this mess, but you are right. I’ve been hearing a lot of Debbie Friedman (z”l) on the radio in the background as people gather for services, and I thought “she would have been on the first plane to Pittsburgh with her guitar to do everything she could to bring some small measure of comfort to us all.” At least we have the music….love to you and love all around. (Also, VOTE!)

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