Pittsburgh synagogue shooting
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The Pittsburgh synagogue shooting was an antisemitic terrorist attack on the Tree of Life Congregation — Or L'Simcha synagogue in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on October 27, 2018 which killed 11 Jewish-Americans and injured 6 (mostly police officers) including the shooter himself making it the deadliest attack on Jews in American history. This attack was one of numerous terrorist incidents leading up to the 2018 United States legislative elections alongside the 2018 mail bomb attempts towards Democrats and liberals by Cesar Sayoc, the Jeffersontown Kroger shooting in Jeffersontown, Louisville, Kentucky towards African Americans at a grocery store by Gregory Alan Bush and the Tallahassee shooting in Tallahassee, Florida at a yoga studio towards women by incel Scott Paul Beierle.
The man behind the shooting was none other than 46-year old Baldwin, Pennsylvania-born resident Robert Gregory Bowers (1972–) Bowers was originally a fan of radio host Jim Quinn and was a normal conservative however this would turn him into an extremely antisemitic and racist white nationalist over time.
Bowers was a regular user on Gab (a self-described "free speech" social media service alternative to Twitter but has since become a home for the far-right and the alt-right especially for those banned on other platforms). Bowers registered on Gab in January 2018 under the handle "onedingo" and his bio stated, "Jews are the children of Satan (John 8:44). The Lord Jesus Christ [has] come in the flesh." which indicated he practiced an antisemitic and racist version of Christianity. Bowers' Gab profile had a photo of the number 1488, which is the numerical symbol popular among neo-Nazis and white nationalists that includes The Order/Brüder Schweigen leader/terrorist David Lane's Fourteen Words and the Nazi slogan Heil Hitler. As you can expect the shooter's Gab feed was filled to the brim with antisemitism, racism, Holocaust denial, hatred of Donald Trump for not being antisemitic enough and the arrest of alt-right organizations Rise Above Movement (RAM) and the Proud Boys (PB/POYB) for their roles in the violence in the Unite the Right/Charlottesville riots and the Metropolitan Republican Club NYC brawl with Antifa, as well as references to the Central American migrant caravan (for which he blamed Jews) and usage of a racial slur to describe Jews either posted by himself or reposted (Gab's version of retweeting) by other users on the website which included interactions with other alt-right users such as Brad "Hunter Wallace" Griffin of Occidental Dissent and the Southern nationalist/Neo-Confederate organization League of the South (one of the key organizers in the Charlottesville riots/Unite the Right and their leader Michael Hill a planned speaker) which he worked to dox a left-wing blogger, the virulently antisemitic Patrick Little of the California Republican Party branch before being kicked out, the equally anti-Semitic Jared Wyand of Project Purge and formally the Republican Party, Daniel "Jack Corbin" McMahon a self-described "Antifa Hunter" and fascist, Daniel "Grandpa Lampshade" Kenneth Jeffreys a neo-Nazi host for the UK-based Radio Aryan and an associate for The Daily Stormer and other Gab users who held his views. Bowers believed in white genocide propaganda for instance he made a post that said "Daily Reminder: Diversity means chasing down the last white person" and his most infamous quote "HIAS likes to bring invaders that kill our people. I can't sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I'm going in."
Reactions from the far-right
The American far-right most of whom are anti-Semitic were, let's just say they were divided to say the least about the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting. Robert Bowers especially was given the mention of "optics" (an alt-right term to describe how to market white nationalism and/or neo-Nazism to the masses). On one hand there was a faction led by Andrew Anglin of The Daily Stormer (in spite of having users that condone violence against non-whites and Jews such as Andrew "Weev" Auernheimer) and Greg Johnson of Counter-Currents Publishing for example that viewed the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting as counter-productive to their cause while the other faction led by Alex Linder of VNNforum and "Vic Mackey" of the Bowl Patrol (an online neo-Nazi Dylann Roof Charleston church shooter murder cult) that celebrated said shooting and Robert Bowers in particular.
Jeffrey Raphael Clark aka "DC Bowl Gang" and "DC_Stormer", a Washington, D.C.-based neo-Nazi alt-right member who belonged to the aforementioned Bowl Patrol and self described "Meth-smoking, Pipe bomb making, mailman-murdering, Che Gueverra of the altright" would be later arrested after his family reported Clark's violent behavior. Clark specifically praised not only Dylann Roof but also Cesar Sayoc (the 2018 United States mail bombing attempts "MAGABomber") and the aforementioned Robert Bowers in fact his pinned post on his Gab account was a graphic and bloody image of Roof killing 9 blacks in the style of the video game Doom and as for Sayoc and Bowers the former stated his actions were "a dry run for things to come" and the latter he said the victims "deserved it". Jeffrey Raphael Clark happened to have deep ties to the alt-right where he and his deceased brother Edward Clark (who killed himself after the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting) were part of the neo-Nazi group Vanguard America (VA) of which James Alex Fields (the Charlottesville car attacker) belonged to (Vanguard America has since rebranded as Patriot Front) and both Clark brothers posed with the group's flag, the Proud Boys (PB/POYB) a "Western chauvinist" alt-lite organization led by Canada-born Gavin McInnes of Vice that also had Charlottesville riots/Unite the Right organizer Jason Kessler and Jeffrey Clark as members and the Atomwaffen Division (AWD) a paramilitary terrorist group that openly promotes violence against non-whites of which Clark specifically had flyers promoting them as well as having ties to alt-right ringleader Richard Spencer of the National Policy Institute (NPI) and Jack Posobiec and attending the Charlottesville riots/Unite the Right in Charlottesville, Virginia on August 11-12, 2017. D.C. police ultimately found nooses, firearms, drugs, body armor, a license plate and Nazi and Confederate flags.
- Poway synagogue shooting - another American Jewish synagogue shooting in Poway, California at Chabad of Poway killing an elderly Jewish woman named Lori Gilbert-Kaye and injured 3 others. The shooter John T. Earnest was inspired by the Pittsburgh synagogue shooter Robert Bowers and Brenton Harrison Tarrant the Australia-born "Ethno-nationalist, Eco-fascist", "Kebab removalist, racist perpetrator of the Christchurch terrorist attacks at Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Islamic Centre in Christchurch, New Zealand
- Christchurch terrorist attacks - A mass shooting incident against Muslims in New Zealand on 15 March 2019, which was fueled by hatred. Much like the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, the shooter was radicalized by far-right extremists.
- Official Gab account of the suspect, which is now suspended
- second archive, A YouTube video featuring the feed of the suspect's account with a police scanner
- Tree of Life – Or L'Simcha Congregation official website
- Vigil for Pittsburgh shooting victims
- Ailworth, Erin; Hagerty, James R. (October 28, 2018). "Pittsburgh Shooting Suspect Described as Man Who Kept to Himself - Robert G. Bowers was active on social media, but few recall him in person; 'very unremarkable, normal—which is scary' says one neighbor". The Wall Street Journal. https://www.wsj.com/articles/pittsburgh-shooting-suspect-described-as-man-who-kept-to-himself-1540771482.
- "How Robert Bowers went from conservative to white nationalist". https://www.post-gazette.com/news/crime-courts/2018/11/10/Robert-Bowers-extremism-Tree-of-Life-massacre-shooting-pittsburgh-Gab-Warroom/stories/201811080165. Retrieved November 20, 2018.
- "Tree of Life shooting: How the rise of conspiracy theory politics emboldens anti-Semitism". Vox. https://www.vox.com/identities/2018/10/31/18034256/anti-semitism-pittsburgh-synagogue-shooting-prejudice-right.
- [https://web.archive.org/web/20191121051646/https://www.discussionist.com/?com=thread&address=10152026130&togglemark=1 Right wing nationalist sentenced to 419 years in prison] by jh4freedom (Jul 15, 2019, 03:17 PM) Discussionist (archived from November 21, 2019).
- Vesoulis, Andy (October 27, 2018). "How Gab Became the Social Media Site Where the Pittsburgh Suspect's Anti-Semitism Thrived". Time Magazine. https://time.com/5437006/gab-social-media-robert-bowers.
- "On Gab, domestic terrorist Robert Bowers engaged with several influential alt-right figures". Southern Poverty Law Center. November 1, 2018. https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2018/11/01/gab-domestic-terrorist-robert-bowers-engaged-several-influential-alt-right-figures.
- "Deadly Shooting at Pittsburgh Synagogue". Anti-Defamation League. October 27, 2018. https://www.adl.org/blog/deadly-shooting-at-pittsburgh-synagogue. ""First Trump came for the Charlottesville 4 but I kept supporting Trump because he is a better candidate than Hillary Clinton. Then Trump came for RAM but I kept supporting Trump because he is better than Hillary Clinton. Then Trump came for the Proud Boys but I kept supporting Trump because he is better than Hillary Clinton. Then Trump came for me and there was no one left to support""
- Silverstein, Jason (October 29, 2018). "Robert Bowers, Pittsburgh shooting suspect, was avid poster of anti-Semitic content on Gab". CBS News. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/robert-bowers-gab-pittsburgh-shooting-suspect-today-live-updates-2018-10-27.
- McBride, Jessica (October 27, 2018). "Robert Bowers: See Squirrel Hill Suspect's Social Media". Heavy.com. https://heavy.com/news/2018/10/robert-bowers-social-media-rob-gab.
- Kalmbacher, Colin (October 27, 2018). "Who is Synagogue Shooting Suspect Robert Bowers?". Law and Crime. https://lawandcrime.com/high-profile/police-have-identified-pittsburgh-synagogue-shooter-as-white-supremacist-robert-bowers/.
- Weill, Kelly (October 27, 2018). "Pittsburgh Synagogue Suspect Robert Bowers Hated Trump—for Not Hating Jews". The Daily Beast. https://https://www.thedailybeast.com/robert-bowers-is-neo-nazi-who-posted-about-killing-jews-on-gab.
- Weill, Kelly (November 2, 2018). "Pittsburgh Shooting Suspect Robert Bowers Worked on Gab to Dox Left-Wing Blogger". The Daily Beast. https://www.thedailybeast.com/pittsburgh-shooting-suspect-robert-bowers-worked-on-gab-to-dox-left-wing-blogger.
- Holt, Jared (December 3, 2018). "'Jack Corbin' and the Violent Underbelly of White Nationalism". Right Wing Watch. https://www.rightwingwatch.org/post/jack-corbin-and-the-violent-underbelly-of-white-nationalism.
- Thompson, A.C. (May 6, 2019). "Once Defiant, All Four White Supremacists Charged in Charlottesville Violence Plead Guilty". ProPublica. https://https://www.propublica.org/article/all-four-white-supremacists-charged-in-charlottesville-violence-plead-guilty.
- Renshaw, Jarrett (October 27, 2018). "Who is Robert Bowers, the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting suspect?". Reuters. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-pennsylvania-shooting-suspect/who-is-robert-bowers-the-pittsburgh-synagogue-shooting-suspect-idUSKCN1N1056.
- Ahmed, Saeed; P. Murphy, Paul (October 27, 2018). CNN. https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/27/us/synagogue-attack-suspect-robert-bowers-profile/index.html.
- ""The Jews Should Count Themselves Lucky": Extremists React to Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting". Anti-Defamation League. October 27, 2018. https://www.adl.org/blog/the-jews-should-count-themselves-lucky-extremists-react-to-pittsburgh-synagogue-shooting.
- Schiano, Chris (January 8, 2019). "'Bowl Patrol': Dylann Roof Fans Hope to Inspire More Mass Shootings". Unicorn Riot. https://unicornriot.ninja/2019/bowl-patrol-dylann-roof-fans-hope-to-inspire-more-mass-shootings.
- Weill, Kelly (November 1, 2018). "Clark Brothers Accused of Planning Race War Followed Alt-Right Heroes". The Daily Beast. https://thedailybeast.com/clark-brothers-accused-of-planning-race-war-followed-alt-right-figures-richard-spencer-jack-posobiec.