Monday, April 14, 2014

14-Apr-14: In each generation...

The suspect being removed from the murder
scene [Image Source
Jewish communities throughout the world start their commemoration of Passover this evening with a family-focused gathering rich in narrative and festive eating. For those who care to delve into the underlying themes, they're certainly there to be found.

From the Chicago Tribune this morning:
A 14-year-old boy and his grandfather were among three people shot to death on Sunday at two different Jewish community facilities in a Kansas City-area suburb. Police said it was too early to determine a motive, but a leading anti-hate group said the suspect arrested in the shooting was a longtime anti-Semite. The attack came a day before the Jewish holiday of Passover. "We know it's a vicious act of violence. Obviously two Jewish facilities, one might make that assumption," Overland Park Police Chief John Douglass said in a news conference. The FBI has been called in to help with the investigation, he said.
The suspect was identified as Frazier Glenn Cross Jr., 73, by authorities in Kansas, and by the Southern Poverty Law Center as Frazier Glenn Miller Jr., a longtime anti-Semite who is the former grand dragon of the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan... The shootings started around 1 p.m. at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City in Overland Park, Kansas. Two males were shot in a parking lot outside the center, one dying at the scene and the other later at a hospital, police said. The shooter then drove just a mile away to the Village Shalom retirement community that provides skilled nursing services for residents and fatally shot a female there... The two male victims were identified as Reat Griffin Underwood, 14, a high school freshman, and his grandfather, Dr. William Corporon... Both were members of the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection.... Dr. Corporon had moved to the Kansas City area in 2003 to be closer to his grandchildren... It appears the shooter used a shotgun and possibly other types of guns.
The named victims are evidently not Jewish, but the published facts of their murders will resonate with Jews everywhere: a man so focused on the pleasures and privileges of family that he moved to town to be close to his grandchildren; a shooter who sought to know nothing more than that his innocent victims were in the car park of a Jewish cultural center and of a Jewish aged-care residence; a life-long hater and so-called white 'supremacist' who invoked the name of Adolf Hitler as he was taken into custody.

The text of the Passover seder is the Haggada. For us, its most evocative moments include these parallel quotations:
  • In each generation, down through all the generations, we are obliged to see ourselves, personally, as having been freed from slavery... 
  • In each generation, they rise against us to destroy us...
Yesterday's events in Kansas City remind us that, with all the blessed freedom which we enjoy and take for granted, the haters are close by, seeking their moment.

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