In Response to the Tragedies in El Paso and Dayton

On learning of Saturday’s massacre in El Paso and waking up to Sunday’s in Dayton, no doubt many of us asked the inevitable, now all-too-familiar question: “How could there be yet another mass shooting in America?” Time will reveal additional answers in Dayton, but we know at least two in El Paso: nativist bigotry and guns. There the shooter’s apparent manifesto and target community leave little doubt as to his motivations: El Paso has become a center and symbol of the migrant crisis. But without a gun, Patrick Crusius would not have been able to kill twenty and wound as many more.

How might we respond? To bigots we can insist that America was founded as a nation of immigrants, and that every human being is created in God’s image. To those unmoved by the thirty thousand gun deaths in America every year, we can refuse any longer to stand by idly as our neighbors’ blood is shed and demand sensible gun legislation. What we must never do is resign ourselves to a status quo of spiraling hate and violence.

May God comfort the families of those murdered in El Paso and Dayton; may the wounded find healing; and may our country respond with urgency, justice and compassion.

In sorrow,

Rabbi Joshua M. Davidson