The mass shooting happened last Saturday concerns me a lot. It’s like a stab into my body. What is Robert Bowers attacking? And will he succeed?
When I just graduated from college, started working in Shanghai, riding a bike cruising streets and alleys, I encountered a landmark building in Hongkou. It’s called Moshe Synagogue, also Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum. It keeps track of the history that during WWII, more than 20,000 Jewish refugees found their sanctuary in surrounding area.
Later I spent a year in Pittsburgh living close to Squirrel Hill. I didn’t look it up at the moment, but now I figured out the history of Jewish people migrating to the neighborhood: a large wave came since 1920s, some of them are looking for sanctuary to escape Antisemitism in Europe. I also figured out HIAS(Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) is providing refugees from all countries and religions for decades, which Robert Bowers, the gunman, attacked online before he head to the Tree of Life Congregation.
The gunman is attacking an important American value or tradition, which dated from the Mayflower. From the first settlers who seek sanctuary in the New World, this land is welcoming immigrants from all over the world, regardless how hard their lives were. It becomes the beacon for people undergoing hardship, and serves as a haven. When I was in Pittsburgh, I frequently set foot on a street called Beacon Street, in Squirrel Hill. I didn’t realize it at that time, but as the street name suggested, the value is deeply rooted in the soil.
It’s now Halloween, I hear from friends in Pittsburgh that people trick-or-treating as usual despite it rains. He had gunned down kind people who served community helped others, he can’t defeat the deeply rooted value which offered sanctuary to more people.