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Laurels & lances: Tree of Life shooting

November 24, 2018

Lance: To unthinking hatred and unfeeling malice, like that exhibited by Squirrel Hill shooter.

Laurel: To the people who were there to help. There is nothing more that we can say. Pittsburgh police rushed into danger with the only goal being the safety of the community. Six officers were injured in the course of that. But they aren’t the only ones who were part of it.

It started with the emergency communications personnel who took the 911 calls. There were the medical workers on the scene, including armed paramedics who follow SWAT and police for rapid response.

There were the doctors and nurses at the hospitals who took care of the injured, including the gunman. There were, in particular, the Jewish members of the staff at Allegheny General Hospital, who treated the suspect’s wounds while he ranted “Kill all the Jews!”

Laurel: To the people who did their jobs, no matter how hard they were. The emotion in the voices and manner of Pittsburgh officials as they spoke to the world showed that, no matter how professional they were, the tragedy rocked them.

Laurel: To the people who held each other while they grieved. The community of Squirrel Hill and the concentric circles of neighborhoods moving outward through southwestern Pennsylvania showed that if there is anything stronger than steel, it’s the clasped hands and locked arms of neighbors in a time of need.

Laurel: To the people who tried to find new ways to help. In a community of kids being bombarded with a terrible tragedy, the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh opened their doors for kids to come and experience and play for free. Others brought out therapy dogs and animals to help Squirrel Hill residents find comfort in a warm friend that had no problem being used as a living, breathing teddy bear. That’s not even mentioning the thousands and thousands of dollars raised by those who wanted to help and didn’t know what to do other than opening a wallet.

Lance: To the people who want this to be something it is not. It is not your political moment. It is not your opportunity to be offended. It is not your chance to graft your cause onto someone else’s pain.

And it is most definitely not the time for more hatred to grow out of the spilled blood in a holy space.

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