The rabbi of a Pittsburgh synagogue where 11 people were killed by a gunman Saturday criticized weak gun control and politicians’ inaction just months ago in a message to his congregation about the Parkland, Florida, school shooting.
“We deserve better,” wrote Rabbi Jeffrey Myers. “Where are our leaders?” he asked in a chillingly prescient blog post July 19 on the website of the Tree of Life Or L’Simcha Congregation. Seventeen students and staff members were killed in a mass shooting in February at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Myers was likely in the chapel of the Tree of Life, former rabbi Chuck Diamond told Pittsburgh’s KDKA-TV, when suspected shooter Robert Bowers opened fire in the synagogue. Myers’ condition has not yet been revealed by authorities.
In his blog post, Myers decried the continuing cycle of bad news in America and do-nothing politicians.
“The push by the students from Parkland, Florida, to enact safer schools? Now that schools are closed for the summer, apparently school safety is not important, as shooters are finding other valuable sites,” he wrote.
“Despite continuous calls for sensible gun control and mental health care, our elected leaders in Washington knew that it would fade away in time,” Myers added. “Unless there is a dramatic turnaround in the midterm elections, I fear that that the status quo will remain unchanged, and school shootings will resume.”
He noted: “I shouldn’t have to include in my daily morning prayers that God should watch over my wife and daughter, both teachers, and keep them safe. Where are our leaders?”
Myers characterized politicians’ typical response to violence as: “Tragic event – Thoughts and Prayers – Call to Action by our Elected Leaders – Hang Wringing – Next News Event.”
President Donald Trump said Saturday that the attack on the synagogue had “little to do” with gun control. Police say Bowers, who posted viciously anti-Semitic messages on a social media site, was armed with an assault rifle and a number of handguns.
Trump said the synagogue would have been better protected with an armed guard.
“This is a case where if they had an armed guard inside ... they would have been able to stop them,” he said. Four police officers were injured in the shooting.