Yom Kippur Attack

Last month In Halle Germany, a murderous psycho tried to enter a synagogue, intent on killing Yom Kippur worshipers while live streaming his violent rampage on the social media platform Twitch.   

(Sebastian Willnow/dpa-Zentralbild/dpa/picture alliance via Getty Images) 

In light of the recent increase in anti-semitism in Germany, the synagogue had requested a police security detail for the holiday—but the request had been denied. Fortunately synagogue leadership did institute their own security protocol which included security cameras and locked doors. This surely saved lives! During the Torah reading, a loud booming noise was heard and a man dressed in black was seen amid a cloud of smoke via the security monitor.  

An assailant shot repeatedly at the door and ignited several Molotov cocktails and homemade grenades attempting to force his way in,  but the door held.  Amid his frustration for failing to enter the synagogue,  he shot a forty year old woman who was passing by. He then drove down the street and killed a twenty year old man in a kebob shop. 

The weapons used by the perpetrator were hand-fashioned from wood, steel pipes, sheet metal and plastic, using plans he had found readily available on the Internet. Additionally some components did appear to be manufactured using a 3D printer found at the assailant’s home.  

There have been concerns voiced that this extremists’ use of homemade weapons will—by example—usher in a new era of violent attacks.  I hate to be the one to break this news, but terrorists and criminals have always been able to manufacture their own weapons with a simple trip to any hardware store!  This of course assumes that they choose not to shop on the black market where fully functioning, commercially manufactured weapons of every description, are available at bargain prices to any criminal willing to break just one more law, before they go break even more consequential laws.  

There were also several commentators who stated with great certainty that this event would have been much worse had it taken place in the United States where real guns are so easy to obtain.  What this line of thinking fails to recognize is the possibility that in the United States, the worshipers hiding behind the locked door of the synagogue might be armed and trained to protect themselves and their community from just such an attack!  Or the possibility that the woman passerby might have been carrying a concealed pistol and could have ended the entire incident right there. Another possibility could be that upon hearing gunfire up the street, a concealed carrier in the kebob shop might have had time to draw his pistol from concealment and readied himself to fire upon the murderer as he entered, thus saving the life of the young man in the restaurant.   

God forbid I am ever unlucky enough to be caught up in an attack where someone is shooting at me. However—if it did happen—I would hope for two things: Number one, the attacker is using a homemade weapon, and number two, I’m not defenseless in Germany!