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COMMENTARY: Leon Bibb on the Pittsburgh synagogue mass shooting

This is a time to remind ourselves who we really are and what this country stands for.
A woman stands at a memorial outside the Tree of Life synagogue after a shooting there left 11 people dead in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh on October 27.

It has unfolded again in its horrible hateful way. The grunt of gunfire shattered the peace and still echoes in our collective memory. This time it was in a place of worship. In Pittsburgh, worshippers were in their synagogue on the Sabbath – the holy day. Peaceful until the gunman swept his weapon on the people, spraying hate and gunfire.

Another mass murder in the United States and we are still wincing from the last one and the one before that and the many more before. Now, law enforcement people still sweep through the Pittsburgh synagogue named the Tree of Life as they gather evidence about the violent deaths.

Where many worship God is now an active crime scene. Since the mass shooting in Columbine, Colorado, years ago, gunmen have taken lives in other houses of worship, shopping malls, schools, colleges, parks, airports and baseball diamonds.

Sadly, even our young in schools must be trained in how to shelter in place in the event of another attack or learn how to fight back. From columbine to Cleveland to Chardon. From Sandy hook to Orlando, innocent people have been placed in shooters’ gunsights. Now add to the tragic list the horror inside Pittsburgh’s tree of life synagogue.

Yet at the same time, we are all victims because together we must find a solution. It is not just the guns, but also the hate, because hate has its ugly finger on the trigger. Not just the mass shootings making national or international news, but also the daily reports of gunfire on city or suburban streets.

Sunday morning at the place of worship I attend, our security person asked me and several others to be increasingly vigilant even during worship services because of murder in Pittsburgh. But I already knew that because I have seen enough to know I have seen so much.

The danger zone is everywhere. We as American people must together push against hate no matter from whose mouth it spews.

Today, we wring our hands because of the eleven who were murdered because they were Jews. In their house of worship, their time of worship became a massacre when the grunt of gunfire broke their calm and their lives.

If you aren’t mad as hell, you ought to be because we are all worried about when and where a gunman could come running again? But even with this, there is a positive spirit in the air. Vigils in Pittsburgh and elsewhere show that. Most of us realize love overpowers hate. The Pittsburgh Steelers organization inserted the Star of David – symbol of the Jewish religion -- into the team’s official logo as a tribute to the victims and added the words “stronger than hate.”

Love is stronger. From my own life, I know that. We Americans must together rise to fight bigotry, intolerance, and hate. I know we will. We have done it before. This is a time to remind ourselves who we really are and what this country stands for. Together, let us make it so.