The Squirrel Hill Shooting

Written by: Colin Offenbacker

During last weeks grab bag session on the podcast we brought up the horrible shooting that took place at the Squirrel Hill synagogue but didn’t dive into it, it had taken place the morning of the cast and it was just too early to accurately report much of anything except for the fact that it did happen. The traditional week long period of mourning known to the English-speaking Jewish community as “sitting shiva” hasn’t yet completed but many details have come forth as investigations are running there course.

The attack came on the morning of Saturday the 27th of October 2018. During a morning Jewish service a 46-year-old man who worked as a long-haul trucker burst into the Squirrel Hill synagogue, which is outside of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, and began shooting at the synagogue’s members. The incident lasted approximately 20 minutes leaving 11 people dead and left six people injured, including four police officers. After investigating it was reported that the crime seems to be a blatant anti-Semitic hate crime. The suspect eventually surrendered to authorities and is now in custody. On Thursday he, in a brief arraignment in federal court, plead not guilty to the 44-count indictment handed down by federal prosecutors. This past week has seen many funerals take place, services of remembrance and even a condolence visit by the President of the United States.

Before we part ways this week I wanted to make a point. Though the previous two paragraphs were lacking in color and emotion I would like to point out that never did I once reveal the suspects name or post a picture of his face. If you’ve listened to Don and I talk about mass shooters before, you know that we will not reveal names or post pictures of these pieces of human debris. We feel strongly that any notoriety these people seek must not be achieved. There names and faces should be lost to history forever, never to be remembered. We should remember what happened, when it happened, where it happened and why it happened. We should feel pain and loss for those whose lives were stolen away from them, there community, there family and friends. Choosing to broadcast the perpetrators name and face gives them a chance to gain some sort of sick notoriety and could allow them and there crimes to gain infamy. Though it’s just a simple example, I, with no journalistic background, can present the situation without revealing a name or a face, I feel like it’s just the moral thing to do.

Maybe I’m wrong here, but if I can do it I see absolutely no reason the “real” media outlets, including some of the most respected in the world, can’t do the same thing. We’ve seen a great number of “alternative” media outlets including, a kind of late to the party, Ben Shapiro take this stance, refusing to show faces or reveal names. With any luck this trend will catch onto bigger and bigger news outlets. There are about a million and one reason I could point to as to why the more main-stream media outlets don’t do this, but that is a completely different blog post all together. For now, we’ll leave it at that, and we’ll talk to you again soon.