In 2018, 11 Jews were killed at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh in a mass shootings, the largest of its kind in US history. Now, five years later, truck driver Robert Bowers has been found guilty. What further deepens the tragedy is the fact that most of the killed were elderly.
In court, Robert Bowers was charged with
In court, Robert Bowers was charged with an astounding 63 criminal counts, including hate crimes that result in dead and obstruction of the free exercise of religion resulting in death. On all of these counts, the jury found him guilty. While guilt has been established, it is yet to be decided if Bowers will be given the death penalty.
Bowers held and actively promoted anti-Semitic beliefs which included the belief that the Jewish community was aiding in immigrants coming to the USA. His hatred was evidenced by his previous online posting history as well as the statement he shouted while entering the synagogue with an AR-15:
“All Jews must die!”
The prosecutors used this to present that he was propelled by pure hatred. Elisa Long, public defender, argued that he had been fed and subsequently blinded by “nonsensical and irrational” beliefs related to immigration and not necessarily against the Jewish religion.
She said that he had most likely believed the Jewish refugee nonprofit Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) was at the centre of a conspiracy theory known as the great replacement, which can only be described to be a lingering and overarching belief that white people in the USA are being replaced by immigrants.
However, Bowers was fated to lose the trial either way as even his defender had to admit he had committed the crime, and there was no excuse to his actions.