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At least 10 dead in Pittsburgh synagogue attack

First responders stand outside the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, where a shooter opened fire Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018, injuring multiple people, including police officers. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

PITTSBURGH (AP) — A shooter opened fire during a baby naming ceremony at a Pittsburgh synagogue and people with knowledge of the investigation said at least 10 people were killed.

At least six other people were wounded, including four police officers who dashed to the scene Saturday (Oct. 27), authorities said.

Police said a suspect was in custody after the attack at the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood. A law enforcement official identified the suspect as Robert Bowers and said he is in his 40s. The official wasn’t authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

City officials said the shooting was being investigated as a federal hate crime.

It comes amid a rash of high-profile attacks in an increasingly divided country, including the series of pipe bombs mailed over the past week to prominent Democrats and former officials.

The shooting also immediately reignited the longstanding national debate about guns: President Donald Trump said synagogues and churches should have armed guards, while Pennsylvania’s Democratic governor said that “dangerous weapons are putting our citizens in harm’s way.”

The people who provided the death toll spoke to The Associated Press anonymously because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the shooting.

“It is a very horrific crime scene. It’s one of the worst that I’ve seen and I’ve been on some plane crashes,” said a visibly moved Wendell Hissrich, the Pittsburgh public safety director.

The attack took place during a baby naming ceremony, according to Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro. It was unknown whether the baby was harmed.

The synagogue is located in the tree-lined residential neighborhood of Squirrel Hill, about 10 minutes from downtown Pittsburgh and the hub of Pittsburgh’s Jewish community.

Trump called the shooting “far more devastating than anyone thought,” saying “it’s a terrible thing what’s going on with hate in our country.”

Trump also said the outcome might have been different if the synagogue “had some kind of protection” from an armed guard and suggested that might be a good idea for all churches and synagogues.

Gov. Tom Wolf called the shooting an “absolute tragedy” in a statement that made reference to calls for tighter gun control laws.

“We must all pray and hope for no more loss of life,” Wolf said. “But we have been saying “this one is too many” for far too long. Dangerous weapons are putting our citizens in harm’s way.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was “heartbroken and appalled” by the attack.

“The entire people of Israel grieve with the families of the dead,” Netanyahu said. “We stand together with the Jewish community of Pittsburgh. We stand together with the

American people in the face of this horrendous anti-Semitic brutality. And we all pray for the speedy recovery of the wounded.”

World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder called the shooting “an attack not just on the Jewish community, but on America as a whole.”

In 2010, Tree of Life Congregation — founded more than 150 years ago — merged with Or L’Simcha to form Tree of Life (asterisk) Or L’Simcha.

The synagogue is a fortress-like concrete building, its facade punctuated by rows of swirling, modernistic stained-glass windows illustrating the story of creation, the acceptance of God’s law, the “life cycle” and “how human-beings should care for the earth and one another,” according to its website. Among its treasures is a “Holocaust Torah,” rescued from Czechoslovakia.

Its sanctuary can hold up to 1,250 guests.

Michael Eisenberg, the immediate past president of the Tree of Life Synagogue, lives about a block from the building.

He was getting ready for services when he received a phone call from a member who works with Pittsburgh’s Emergency Services, saying he had been notified through scanner and other communications that there was an active shooter at their synagogue.

“I ran out of the house without changing and I saw the street blocked with police cars. It was a surreal scene. And someone yelled, ‘Get out of here.’ I realized it was a police officer along the side of the house. … I am sure I know all of the people, all of the fatalities. I am just waiting to see,” Eisenberg said.

He said officials at the synagogue had not gotten any threats that he knew of prior to the shooting. The synagogue maintenance employees had recently checked all of the emergency exits and doors to make sure they were cleared and working.

“I spoke to a maintenance person who was in the building and heard the shots. He was able to escape through one of the side exit doors we had made sure was functioning,” Eisenberg said.

Jeff Finkelstein of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh said local synagogues have done “lots of training on things like active shooters, and we’ve looked at hardening facilities as much as possible.”

“This should not be happening, period,” he told reporters at the scene. “This should not be happening in a synagogue.”

Just three days before the shooting, Rabbi Jeffrey Myers posted a column on the congregation’s website, noting that people make time to attend funerals, but not for life’s happy occasions.

“There is a story told in the Talmud of a wedding procession and a funeral procession heading along parallel roads, with the roads intersecting,” Myers wrote on Wednesday.

“The question asked is: when they meet at the fork, which procession goes first, funeral or wedding? The correct answer is wedding, as the joy of the couple takes precedence. In fact, the funeral procession is to move out of sight so that their joy is not lessened.”

Myers ended his column with words that now seem all too prescient.

“We value joy so much in Judaism that upon taking our leave from a funeral or a shiva house, the customary statement one makes (in Yiddish) is ‘nor oyf simches’ – only for s’machot,” Myers wrote. “While death is inevitable and a part of life, we still take our leave with the best possible blessing, to meet at joyous events. And so I say to you: nor oyf simches!”
___
Gene Puskar writes for The Associated Press. Writers Eric Tucker and Michael Balsamo in Washington, Marc Levy and Claudia Lauer in Pennsylvania, and Allen G. Breed in Raleigh, N.C., contributed to this report.

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  • My prayers for all those who lost loved ones and those injured.

    I think we need to discuss the radical factions in this country. We need to end our own radical views and start living peacefully and with respect for those who are different from ourselves. Not mentioned here in the article, was that while the pipe bomber was from the right, this radical was from the left. He was a known anti-Trumper as well as anti-Semitic. I hope society can take a step back and do some personal work to end whatever hatred, no matter how “righteous” they believe it is, that they harbor. Resisting radical views and methods in order to diminish its footprint, as well as realizing that no matter the issue, we can be civil, respectful, and learn how to dialogue without losing it. I am sure social media is playing an important role in getting radical messages out to people who cannot control their hatred as well as being manipulated to take criminal actions for a cause that when viewed in the proper perspective is not as dire as it is being claimed.

    People can either continue with the left/right paradigm, causing more division, hatred and violence, or we can choose to be civil and tolerant of each other. Politicians continue to feed their own radicals and it is up to us to resist their messages. Social media has become toxic to this country and society as a whole. Perhaps denying those who foment hostility and outrage on social media by not sharing their hate with others as well as not visiting their site will deny them any perceived support to bolster their propaganda. There is much we can all do and resisting fomentators, instigators, either on line or in person can help to not give fire to this social inferno. Most of us know of a time when society was happier, kinder, safer, and less intolerant. Could we use our voices by being silent rather than add more fuel to the storm?

  • He posted anti-semitic and anti-refugee dung on far-right website Gab. He used a popular white supremacist meme as his avatar.

    Where do you get the idea he was from the political left?

  • The attacker apparently complained that Trump was not right wing extremist enough for his taste. When considering the plague of divisiveness, it also helps to try to be accurate, too, and not spread “false witness.”

  • Evidently, WSJ columnist Peggy Noonan proposed that, this coming Tuesday, every political candidate not attack their opponents and instead actually publically point out their virtues.

    Far fetched, to be sure. But even the first part of it would go a long way. People do pay at least passing attention to prominent figures, and their behavior and social mores shape ours to a degree.

    Perhaps leaders should heed Henry V’s words: “We are the makers of manners, Kate.” Then consider what sort of manners they wish to be known for.

    Yes, clearly each of us has the power and responsibility to look to our own conduct. But a better guide is not a bad thing.

  • Fwiw, Trump has called for the death penalty for the shooter, so I doubt the guy is feeling very thrilled about Trump tonight.

    Meanwhile, it’s time for Old Sparky to send a little message to the mass shooters on ALL sides.

  • You sound like you are paraphrasing his all sides comments after Charlottesville. Old Sparky needs to lead by example and cut the rhetoric he uses to ‘fire up the base’. But mass shootings are a different kettle of fish. And the death penalty is not a deterrent – just makes folks feel justice is served.

  • “Far-fetched to be sure” indeed. I’ve never been a fan of Peggy. Too much empty fluff about “nice talk” that actually doesn’t happen for real in her party and too much pushing of the conservative mess we now find ourselves in. No Ronald Reagan speechwriter for me. The election of Reagan is how conservatives got so cocky and crazy in the first place.

    But I appreciate you for your wishes and concerns that we really were operating with better guide(s).

  • “Most of us know of a time when society was happier, kinder, safer, and less intolerant.”

    Do we really know of such a time, or is it nostalgia for a past that never was?

  • Please provide your citations supporting the conclusion that the death penalty is NOT a deterrent.

    Of course the primary purpose for the death penalty, as for any punishment, is to redress the offense.

  • Her style grates on my ear as pedantic, and I heard about her article second hand. So, maybe not personally reading it improved it.😉

    Regardless of who she wrote speeches for, if she has a suggestion with possibilities, why not examine them? H€££, I’ve even agreed with Trump once or twice.

  • Relax, Pro-Trumpers – BUT eat your hearts out, Anti-Trumpers – this guy hates Trump! So let’s just mutually hate Robert Bowers for what he did and leave Trump out of it, yeah?

    “Bowers’s posts indicate he was … anti-President Donald Trump. ‘Trump is a globalist, not a nationalist,’ Bowers wrote. ‘There is no #MAGA as long as there is a k*ke infestation.’ In another post, Bowers wrote of the president: ‘For the record, I did not vote for him nor have I owned, worn or even touched a maga hat.'”

    Source: Jessica Kwong, “Who Is Robert Bowers? Suspect Identified in Pittsburgh Tree of Life Synagogue Shooting”, October 27, 2018.

  • Your ugly atheist bias is showing. FACTUALIZE THIS:

    “For the record, I did not vote for [Trump] nor have I owned, worn or even touched a maga hat.”
    – Robert Bowers

    In case you edit, let the record show:

    “Damien Priestly 2 hours ago … Welcome to MAGA USA. We are becoming the sh*thole country.”

  • CORRECTION: “While the pipe bomber was from the right [but sent by the left], this radical was from the left.”

  • What part of Robert Bowers’ politics goes in one ear and out the other? Or are you A One Ear Granny?

    “Trump is a globalist, not a nationalist. There is no #MAGA as long as there is a k*ke infestation. … For the record, I did not vote for [Trump] nor have I owned, worn or even touched a maga hat.”
    – Guess Who (no, not that Canuck Band)

  • I have agreed with Trump once that I know of. Indeed, all of our direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs should include retail price information (instead of, for instance, the inane line most of them now use: “Do not take XYZ Med if you are allergic to it or to any of its ingredients.) Trump is said to have embraced this pricing notion, after some on the left have been talking about it for twenty years.

    As for Peggy, well, she has been working both sides of the street for nearly four decades. She is right about having a holiday where the candidates brag on their opponents, but she is still mainlywith the party that lies on almost 100 percent of the issues. Her party is not going to follow her suggestion any more than you and I are going to fly without a plane. It is impossible to jump from “lock her up” to “nah, she’s a great lady”, or for Ted Cruz to decide Beto is a good guy. We saw it for the last time when John McCain famously stopped a lady from calling Obama “an Arab” at one of his town halls in 2008, and instead said that Obama was a good family man. (That clip is still referenced ten years later because if is now unheard of to consider such a thing,)

  • I honestly am open to Old Sparky for convicted mass shooters on ALL sides of the political, religious and racial spectrum. Pittsburgh, South Carolina, Texas, Miami, Las Vegas. Regardless of whether it”s a Church, Temple. Mosque, Nightclub, Concert, or Military Base as the target. Put Old Sparky on the mass shooter, whoever it is, as a matter of straight justice. (Not deterrent, just justice.)

    Btw, you may not be aware of this, but “Old Sparky” is NOT a reference to Trump.

  • But … but … but … I thought all the criminality and terror in this country was caused by illegal immigrants and radical Islamists? (I know this because the Groper-in-Chief and his raging fanbois in the Religious Right have told us so.) How can it be that we have regular, home-grown, American terrorists in our midst? How could that even be possible? 

  • Just because someone hates your Groper-in-Chief, does not make that person a wicked Leftist. It just doesn’t! Some people can still harbor Right-wing sentiments, yet not like him. Yes, really! No matter how vehemently you may deny that reality, it remains true. 

    In the case of this shooter, he is definitely a white supremacist, in every conceivable way. In fact, his dislike of the GiC is due to his belief that the GiC is controlled by Jews … who are the true targets of his hatred. He’s also a QAnon fan, and most of that ilk are militantly pro-GiC

    Whether you wish it to be so, it’s not easy to carve people up and separate them into neat piles labeled “Right-wing” and “Left-wing” based on only one criterion (in your case, support for the GiC). The problem with any ideology, including American Rightism and Leftism, is that they’re arbitrary collections of tropes, cobbled together for the explicit benefit of their founders and/or promoters. Since there’s no overwheening logic dictating their content, it’s possible for people to be part of one, but not align perfectly, in all details, with everyone else within that ideology. 

    This is as true of the Pittsburgh shooter as it is for anyone else. He is a Right-winger. That his opinion of the GiC differs from that of most others on the Right, doesn’t change that. Whether or not you’re able to understand this, or admit it, is not relevant. That is, quite simply, how it is. 

  • I have followed this topic with interest for several years.

    The consensus is that there is information going both ways, pro and con, as to the deterrent effect of the death penalty.

    It does seem to have some effect on premeditated murder, but not on “crimes of passion”.

  • Yet he was repeating Trump supporter memes of calling refugees “invaders” and linking them to “the Jews”. Face it, every one blaming George Soros or “globalists” for their ails are using Anti Semitic appeals. This guy just took it more seriously and obviously than the typical lying MAGA troll was willing to do in public.

    If you are going to condemn the guy, but not the rhetoric that inspired him, who cares?

  • What a load of dishonest apologetic garbage. The far right has an obvious body count here that they can’t falsely blame on fictional “far left mobs”. So now they talk about dialing it down a liter? Too late.

    Trump actively courts these people as his support base. He makes appeals to them and has / had at least 3 white supremacists on his staff. Hateful toxic social media typifies the MAGA crowd. Trump and Republicans have fed the country a steady diet of it.

    This guy was so anti trump that he was repeating and inspired by Trump supporter garbage. The anti Semitic appeals couched as “anti globalist” or blaming George Soros for everything under the sun. The Left didn’t create this monster. He is a leisure of conservative reactionary hate speech Trump and co have been trying to normalise from day one.

    Stop making excuses and reflect on what inspired this guy.

  • He also made a rather stupid statement about why a “good guy with a gun” was necessary at the time. He’s still a shill for the NRA

  • He was annoyed Trump was not far right enough. That means any comments about “the left” or “anti trump” crowd are full of crap.

    Stop trying to make excuses for this guy or shifting the blame for his rhetoric.

  • You lying sack of crap. This guy is a neo Nazi. Far Right. A MAGA Chud like yourself but more willing to act upon all that hateful rhetoric coming from them.

  • Yet he followed Trump supporter rhetoric. A far right white supremacist. A member of Trumps support base.

    Btw any time you have invoked George Soros or used the term Globalist, you have given support to this mass murderer.

  • Alt-right voted for Trump, but Bowers admitted, “For the record, I did not vote for him”. End of story.

  • “For the record”, the Alt-Right voted for Trump, but, “For the record, I did not vote for him”, Bowers disclaimed. End of story.

  • To hell with that. Civility only normalizes the atrocious. Makes the unacceptable the subject of polite discussion.

    “We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”
    ― Elie Wiesel

  • Neo-Nazis have felt emboldened by Trump. For the last two years conservatives have ignored, encouraged or dishonestly blamed opponents for far right wing violence. Too late to disavow it now.

    “One year after Charlottesville, Trump has normalized racism in America”
    https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2018/08/10/white-supremacists-neo-nazis-charlottesville-unite-right-rally-trump-column/935708002/

    “The far-right was responsible for the majority of America’s extremist killings in 2017”
    https://qz.com/1182778/the-far-right-was-responsible-for-the-majority-of-extremist-killings-in-2017/

  • This “rhetoric … inspired him”, too, but “who cares?” Not you, ironically:

    “Trump is a globalist, not a nationalist. There is no #MAGA as long as there is a k*ke infestation. … For the record, I did not vote for him nor have I owned, worn or even touched a maga hat.”

  • https://deathpenaltyinfo.org/study-88-criminologists-do-not-believe-death-penalty-effective-deterrent

    Deterrence is nonsense used to justify the overtly racist and haphazard way its been applied over the years. Death penalty is not a deterrent. It is a punishment. The most extreme possible and should be considered as one.

    If it were used on only the worst of the worst, there would be far fewer objections to it. I strongly suggest you read the works of Prof. Robert Blecker on the subject. It is an illuminating view supporting and limiting the death penalty.

  • “For the record”, all the Alt-Right voted for Trump, but, “For the record, I did not vote for him”, Bowers disclaimed. End of story.

  • “For the record, I did not vote for [Trump] nor have I owned, worn or even touched a maga hat.”
    – Robert Bowers

    ‘Nuff said.

  • For the record. Alt-Right is just a rebranding of Neo-Nazi/white supremacist. Trump’s most vehement support. He supported rhetoric coming from Trump and company. He just wanted it to be more violent and direct. Casting any aspersions towards the left and their views as you are doing is dishonest deflection.

    You should be ashamed of yourself and ashamed for supporting such rhetoric to begin with.

  • This guy was alt right and followed conservative rhetoric and nonsense memes. He is one of yours. Be honest here and stop deflecting.

    Show some self respect and some self reflection on your views here.

  • I want you to debunk just this confession word for word:

    “Trump is a globalist, not a nationalist. There is no #MAGA as long as there is a k*ke infestation. … For the record, I did not vote for him nor have I owned, worn or even touched a maga hat.”

    You can’t because you’re unhinged by it. Go ahead, prove me wrong.

  • Stop being such a lying apologist here.

    He is the result of the blatant bigotry, encouragement to violence and nonsense fake news which has been coming from conservatives for the last few years. He isn’t disavowing MAGA, he is demanding more extreme action.

    Good to know you would rather make excuses and blame others than show a modicum of sense or ethics.

  • Lying Apologist for Mass Murderer, MAGA was his goal according to your own quote. He wanted more extreme action from Trump. He did not oppose Trump’s goals.

  • Ergo: Whereas you’re an Alt-Left who didn’t vote for Trump, Robert Bowers is an Alt-Right who didn’t vote for Trump.

  • No “American terrorists” under the watch of previous “Groper-in-Chief[s]” – that your community college thesis, PsiCo?

  • But here’s difference: There are basically two reasons why people didn’t vote for Trump, 1)he is Republican, and/or 2) he is exceptionally despicable. Robert Bowers didn’t vote for Trump because he is not nearly despicable enough.

  • Trump got into bed with the neo nazi crowd. Put three of them on his staff and invokes their rhetoric on immigration. Robert Bowers group.
    Lie down with dogs, deal with fleas.

  • Point is you are a dishonest apologist for mass murder. You have more in common with his views than I ever did will

  • Explain your electoral behavior, dude – is that so hard to do? Then explain his same electoral behavior.

  • You really don’t wanna go there, do you? That you & Bowers are so much alike when it comes to not voting for Trump. It’s unhinging you like crazy.

  • While he might have, the data suggests that this would be an anomaly – ‘Analysis of thousands of followers of Neo-Nazi twitter accounts shows
    that 2%-18% explicitly highlight their support of Donald Trump in their
    Twitter profiles and handles. In contrast, 0% of these followers support
    Hilary Clinton.’

  • There was a past less divided but apparently went south when gerrymandering created political tribes. For the past 2 years, the US did not make the top 20 list of democracies – it fell to the less democratic list. I also think Super PACs have contributed to polarization along with conspiracy theories along with those who make a living coming up with them. And social media, algorithms and trolling.

  • The main problem the United States faces right now is a simple one: violent, white supremacist fascism is on the rise, and it is being supported by the Republican Party.

    That’s it. It’s not “extremes on both sides.” It’s not “a breakdown in civility.” It’s not “divisive identity politics.” It’s that the conservative movement in America is fueling a rise in fascist hatred throughout the country—the kind that drove a Nazi to enter a Pittsburgh synagogue on Saturday morning and murder 11 people while reportedly screaming “All Jews must die,” or that pushed a white supremacist to kill two black people in Kentucky but promise white people that he wouldn’t harm them.

  • Let’s not pretend we don’t remember that these Anti-Trump RightWingers (must’ve) voted for Hillary Clinton:

    George H. W. Bush
    George W. Bush
    Jeb Bush
    Lindsey Graham
    Colin Powell
    Condoleezza Rice
    Arnold Schwarzenegger
    John McCain

    Why should Robert Bowers be any different in his electoral behavior?

  • I think you are right, and gerrymandering especially has distorted the political landscape. But there is one other important factor that has amplified the political animosities. The first black president and the resulting white paranoia and backlash. For example, as soon as Obama was elected, the Republican leader of the Senate said that his number one priority was to make Obama a one term president. Obama’s reelection really aggravated the white paranoia. Trump is president because he was able to very successfully exploit the white paranoia.

  • Obama’s re-election really aggravated folks:

    – opposed to abortion

    – believing in the rule of law

    – who love the Constitution

    – who hate one-worlders

    and on and on.

    “White paranoia” has essentially nothing at all to do with it.

    https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2017/12/the_real_reason_white_americans_voted_for_trump.html

    “For example, my own research – which I’ll soon be submitting for publication – finds that even after controlling for various measures of prejudice (e.g. sexism, hatred of minorities, racial resentment), issue attitudes (economic discontent, immigration, refugees, etc.), and ideological orientations (authoritarianism, social dominance orientation), opposition to political correctness significantly positively predicts voting for Trump.”

    “In other words, the hypothesis that such sentiment is all but a guise for white bigotry finds no support in the data. Thus, while Serwer argues that Trump’s presidency was made possible by racial resentment and white ethno-nationalism, one could just as easily point the finger at ‘PC fatigue.’”

    85% of Americans oppose political correctness.

  • Hello Mark, you said that the death penalty seemed to have some effect on premeditated murder. This is, of course, possible. Do you have any citations to back up your claim?

    Here is some expert opinion, backed up by studies that argues that the death penalty does not act as a deterrent:

    Item 1

    ‘Fact Check asked Justice Lasry whether he had any particular research in mind when he said the death penalty wasn’t a deterrent. A spokeswoman for the Victorian Supreme Court said that the judge’s comments were based on “a general body of research that indicates the death penalty has no real deterrent value”.

    ‘In their book, Professors Hood and Hoyle say almost all the academic studies available for review are concerned with the deterrent effect of capital punishment on the rate of murder in the United States.

    ‘The authors say theoretical and methodological issues have “dogged the attempts to prove or disprove the existence of the deterrent effect of executions in the United States” and “a fierce controversy continues” in the United States over attempts to use econometric models to address the question.

    ‘After reviewing the literature they conclude that “it is not prudent to accept the hypothesis that capital punishment, as practised in the United States, deters murder to a marginally greater extent than does the threat and application of the supposedly lesser punishment of life imprisonment”.’ https://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-26/fact-check3a-does-the-death-penalty-deter3f/6116030

    Item 2

    “The data examined reveal that

    “1. The level of the homicide death rates varies in different groups of states. It is lowest in the New England areas and in the northern states of the middle west and lies somewhat higher in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio.

    “2. Within each group of states having similar social and economic conditions and populations, it is impossible to distinguish the abolition state from the others.

    “3. The trends of the homicide death rates of comparable states with or without the death penalty are similar.

    “The inevitable conclusion is that executions have no discernible effect on homicide death rates which, as we have seen, are regarded as adequate indicators of capital murder rates.”

    Does Capital Punishment Deter Murder? A brief look at the evidence by John Lamperti (Professor of Mathematics, Dartmouth College) https://www.dartmouth.edu/~chance/teaching_aids/books_articles/JLpaper.pdf

    Item 3

    “So what is the evidence on deterrence? Here the answer is clear: there is not the slightest credible statistical evidence that capital punishment reduces the rate of homicide. Whether one compares the similar movements of homicide in Canada and the US when only the latter restored the death penalty, or in American states that have abolished it versus those that retain it, or in Hong Kong and Singapore (the first abolishing the death penalty in the mid-1990s and the second greatly increasing its usage at the same), there is no detectable effect of capital punishment on crime. The best econometric studies reach the same conclusion.

    “A number of studies – all of which, unfortunately, are only available via subscripton – purported to find deterrent effects but all of these studies collapse after errors in coding, measuring statistical significance, or in establishing causal relationships are corrected. A panel of the National Academy of Sciences addressed the deterrence question directly in 2012 and unanimously concluded that there was no credible evidence that the death penalty deters homicides.

    “The report went on to say that the issue of deterrence should be removed from any discussion of the death penalty given this lack of credible evidence. But if the deterrence argument disappears, so does the case for the death penalty.”

    John Donohue, C Wendell and Edith M Carlsmith Professor of Law, Stanford University https://theconversation.com/theres-no-evidence-that-death-penalty-is-a-deterrent-against-crime-43227

    A professor of law at Stanford University, a professor of mathematics at Dartmouth College and a judge in the Victorian Supreme Court in Australia could all be wrong, but to show that they were wrong, you would have to produce some pretty good evidence.

    Do you have this evidence, Mark?

  • I have followed this topic with interest for several years.

    The consensus is that there is information going both ways, pro and con, as to the deterrent effect of the death penalty.

    It does seem to have some effect on premeditated murder, but not on “crimes of passion”.

    Your citation from Professors Hood and Hoyle supports my own conclusion.

    John Williams Lamperti is a professor of mathematics, not sociology, law, or criminology. The citation you provide does not consider whether the death penalty is a deterrent. It assumes it is. It considers whether it is better deterrent than life imprisonment.

    Your citation of John Donohue, C Wendell and Edith M Carlsmith Professor of Law, Stanford University similarly considers only whether life imprisonment is a less costly deterrent:

    “The best research on the issue suggests that life imprisonment is a less costly penalty, since locking someone up is far less expensive than both locking them up and paying a team of lawyers for many years – often decades – to debate whether a sentence of death should be imposed.”

    But interesting reading which mainly supports my own conclusions.

  • I stopped counting a few months ago. As of the first 177 days of this year, we had 145 mass shootings (4 or more dead).
    America is the undisputed world capital of Death, both domestic and exported. Presiding over this tawdry Grand Guignol is a deranged ringmaster tweeting absurdities from the White House. With homicides at a rate that would make satan blush, and pushing death globally in the shipping of weapons to every feud, conflict and war on the planet, to the tune of $70 Billion a year! Invested in the Death merchants, they thrive in the anguish, misery, despair, suffering, torment, death and destruction… creating refugees, widows, orphans and enemies by the millions! As the world watches and quakes, Americans watch Dancing with the Stars and attend political rallies. Praise the lord!

  • It is just a little over a year since the Charlottesville riots where hate mongers carried torches chanting “Jews will not replace us.” Afterward. the Tramp proclaimed there were “bad people on both sides”… but he has nothing to do with this hate?

  • I agree 100% which is why I like the term stochastic terrorism to describe the behavior of political leadership and the use of language. And it is not just the US – Neo Nazis have chapters everywhere but with a couple of exceptions, political leadership generally eschews it and it is more publicly muted. But I would say that Trump has had an impact elsewhere in terms of imitation but with less vitriol. And more checks and balances.

    My biggest concerns is with younger voters and the impact in terms of non-voting.

  • There’s only one Groper-in-Chief. One guy who was elected president after having been caught on tape admitting to multiple sexual assaults he was never prosecuted for (and which he knew, as a rich guy, he’d never be prosecuted for). The same cannot be said of any other president — not even the oft-hated and oft-vilified Barack HUSSEIN Obama. 

    BTW I’ve never been to community college … I went to a university and got a dual bachelor’s, in fact. You, on the other hand, are probably lucky to have graduated Romper Room. 

  • Irrelevant. He’s a Rightist nevertheless. I get that you’re too childish to concede that — but too bad so sad for you, you don’t get a vote in the matter and your juvenile opinions are worthless. 

  • You’re right. It’s not funny. Most Americans’ sense of where danger comes from isn’t predicated on where the danger exists. Instead, their sense of danger comes from whatever or wherever makes people mad. 

    Rightists are mad that Islam exists, and that there are illegal immigrants in the country, so they’ve decided that Muslims and immigrants are all inherently dangerous, violent, and prone to terror. This has led them to conclude (irrationally, and fallaciously) that native Americans are not a danger to them. 

    These beliefs grant them emotional comfort, providing as they do a kind of rationale that appears to support their hatred of all Muslims and all immigrants. The problem is, while there have been violent Muslims and immigrants, on average, neither of those populations is actually a greater source of danger than native Americans. In truth, this rationale which they construe as “proof” of the dangerousness of Muslims and immigrants, is nothing but an illusion they’ve crafted themselves. It’s not borne out by statistics. 

  • “A Rightist nevertheless” yet who voted for Hillary “nevertheless”: how do you figure? You mean like Bush Sr. & Bush Jr. – both “a Rightist nevertheless”?

  • FYII (For Your Insult to Intelligence) (such that it is):

    According to Allan Smith, Business Insider, April 9, 2018, there were “15 other presidents who were caught up in salacious sex scandals before Trump’s Stormy Daniels saga”, namely:

    (1) George Washington
    (2) Thomas Jefferson
    (3) Andrew Jackson
    (4) William Henry Harrison
    (5) John Tyler
    (6) James Garfield
    (7) Grover Cleveland
    (8) Warren Harding
    (9) Franklin D. Roosevelt
    (10) Dwight D. Eisenhower
    (11) John F. Kennedy
    (12) Lyndon B. Johnson
    (13) George H.W. Bush
    (14) Bill Clinton
    (15) George W. Bush

  • “The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) is a British business within the Economist Group providing forecasting and advisory services through research and analysis, such as monthly country reports, five-year country economic forecasts, country risk service reports, and industry reports.”

    In short, it is a small UK consulting firm.

    The criterion are so squishy that the outcomes lack any objective basis, and the outcomes in the index indicate a decided preference for socialist/left Western European-style governments like Norway, Iceland, and Sweden and a distinct dislike for Donald Trump.

    It gets essentially no notice in the USA, and shows up primarily as an op-ed bit in UK media.

    And you believe the most powerful nation on the earth should pay heed to its opinions.

    Odd.

  • Antifa couldn’t have preached your first paragraph any better. Who needs a mayor & police when Antifa’s there to rule the entire city of Portland?

  • Get bent.

    Funny how you mention ANTIFA first thing without once bothering to note the killer was a right wing extremist. There was no presence of fictional “left wing mobs”to pin the blame on here. Any reference to them here is strictly to divert the discussion. To hell with that.

    No wonder we had a rash of extreme right wing terrorism this week (including the murder of two black people in Kentucky). We have fools like you running cover for them. They think they can act with impunity and nobody will bother to blame them.

    All the right wingers here have been playing deflection games to avoid owning up to the painfully obvious truth. These were the acts of their own. People who took the conservative talking points to violent extremes and were emboldened by the cretinous and violent rhetoric supported by Republicans.

  • So if I say, “Spuddie”s all wrong about this,” that’s an bigoted attack on every atheist everywhere on the planet. Right?

  • Was that supposed to be a witty or coherent response? Try again.

    Evidently according to you and other Trump supporters saying he is wrong on any given subject is somehow anti-american, anti-Israel or a sign someone is not to be trusted.

  • None of whom were caught on tape admitting to sexually assaulting many women; bragging about getting away with it; and bragging, too, that he could get away with it because he’s rich. 

    Nothing of that sort can even remotely be said of any of the presidents you listed. Not one! 

    What’s more, your position that it’s OK for your Groper-in-Chief to grope freely whenever he wants and get away with it because he’s rich, because other presidents have engaged in sex scandals, is fallacious. Specifically, it’s “two wrongs make a right” thinking. Logically, nothing any other president has ever done (or possibly done) constitutes permission for your GiC to assault women. 

    So take your irrational, childish whataboutery and shove it. 

  • Re: “‘A Rightist nevertheless’ yet who voted for Hillary ‘nevertheless'” 

    Yes, nevertheless. 

    First, we have no unassailable evidence as to who the guy voted for. (The US has this little thing, you see, called “secret ballots.” No one knows for whom he voted because it’s not possible for anyone else to know with any certainty.) 

    Second, it’s possible even for committed Rightists to find the Groper-in-Chief so repugnant, that they voted for his opponent. Yes, it’s true. Really! You can stamp your feet and pitch fits over it ’til you’re blue in the face, but it’s absolutely true. 

  • I am not the one running cover for a party which has embraced neo nazis as a support base. Which not only gets their endorsement but actively tried to carry out their agenda.

    That is all you. Republicans are the party of right wing murderers and support throwing children in concentration camps. I can’t even pretend you have a view worth taking seriously.

  • Wow, can you be more dishonest and supportive of right wing mass murder. Seriously, any sense of decency is non existent in you. If you had shame, you would feel it now.

  • You already did with a wave of apologetic lying on behalf of the right wing which has been normalizing neo Nazi rhetoric. So get bent.

    You clearly want to dishonor the dead here with cheap denial and false accusations.

  • “None of whom were caught on tape”?! George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler and James Garfield wouldn’t even know what that is!

  • “Citation” for the fact you voted for Hillary, so did Robert Bowers.” Latter done already. Former also. There. Now give your explanation.

  • An explanation for why you are lying like a cheap rug to cover up the complicity of conservatives in enabling right wing mass murder?

    I think we can all figure that one out.

  • You made a ridiculous statement about the shooter. You are balking now, when asked for proof. You were lying. As I suspected. That was easy.

  • Re: “George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler and James Garfield wouldn’t even know what that is!” 

    Of course! So, if you knew that, why did you throw their names at me, in response to my statement as follows: 

    “There’s only one Groper-in-Chief. One guy who was elected president after having been caught on tape admitting to multiple sexual assaults he was never prosecuted for (and which he knew, as a rich guy, he’d never be prosecuted for). The same cannot be said of any other president — not even the oft-hated and oft-vilified Barack HUSSEIN Obama.” 

    Why would you have mentioned any of them as part of your reply to that? It makes no sense for you to have done so, if in truth you were aware none of them could ever possibly have been caught on tape saying anything? 

  • Voting for Trump is “enabling right wing mass murder”, according to you, no?

    Or is it not voting for Trump that’s “enabling right wing mass murder”, according to you?

    You’re confused, clearly.

  • Jessica Kwong is “lying”? – when she writes for Newsweek: “Bowers’s posts indicate he was … anti-President Donald Trump. ‘Trump is a globalist, not a nationalist,’ Bowers wrote. ‘There is no #MAGA as long as there is a k*ke infestation.’ In another post, Bowers wrote of the president: ‘For the record, I did not vote for him nor have I owned, worn or even touched a maga hat.'”

    Source: Jessica Kwong, “Who Is Robert Bowers? Suspect Identified in Pittsburgh Tree of Life Synagogue Shooting”, Newsweek, October 27, 2018.

  • “None of whom were caught on tape” – George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler and James Garfield – so “none of [them except Donald Trump were] … Groper-in-Chief[s]”?!?!?!?!?!?!

    DELETE THE 2ND P FROM PSICOP FROM NOW ON.

  • I’m still not sure where your proof that this fierce, angry, violently-raging Rightist voted for Hillary is. I’ll wait until you provide it. 

  • Re: “so ‘none of [them except Donald Trump were] … Groper-in-Chief[s]’?!?!?!?!?!?!” 

    Correct. None of them were caught on tape admitting to repeated sexual assaults that they got away with, and knew they’d get away with. Not. A. Single. One. Of. Them. 

    Why are you so outraged by me pointing out that reality? Do you plan to produce an audio tape of Washington having made such a confession? If so, I would truly love to hear it! 

    If nothing of the sort is forthcoming, your sanctimony is inexplicable. 

  • What aboutism at it’s finest. No one bragged about his sexual indiscretions and conquests for decades except Trump.

  • You are quite sad. The issue is not past presidents. The issue is Donald Trump’s self made profile as a sexually dominate alpha male and his overarching attractiveness to females. No other president has claimed any such thing. Trump has been doing it for decades. He’s a malignant narcissist of which misogyny is part and parcel of how he defines himself. If Fred Trump had not been very wealthy, Donald Trump would have a criminal record. As it is, he is probably going to have one anyway. Like most malignant narcissists, he has gone one step too many.

  • You claimed he voted for HRC in the prior post. You are clearly a liar.

    You give a quote and cut and paste without a link. Because you don’t want anyone to read the whole article. Because you are a liar.

    He’s a member of the Alt-Right crowd. Trump loves them. He supports them. He encourages liars like you to run cover for them. This guy was annoyed Trump was not Trump like enough.

    Are you done showing what kind of shameless fools deflect on behalf of neo-nazi murderers? Because I am not sure I can think any less of you at this point. You are just wasting your time. The deed is already done.

    You have made it clear HpO = apologist for neo-nazis.

  • Did I say that? By all means find the post where you can quote me here.

    I think you have run the whole “make excuses for Republican neo-nazi supporters” into the ground. Thanks for showing me what kind of shameless piece of crap engages in deflection and lying in light of mass murder events.

  • FYII (For Your Insult to the Intelligence) (such that it is):

    “Christian Christensen, Professor of Journalism in Stockholm, argues that the accusation of whataboutism is itself a form of tu quoque fallacy, as it dismisses criticisms of one’s own behavior to focus instead on the actions of another, thus creating a double standard. Those who use whataboutism are not necessarily engaging in an empty or cynical deflection of responsibility: whataboutism can be a useful tool to expose contradictions, double standards, and hypocrisy. Others have criticized the usage of accusations of whataboutism by American news outlets, arguing that the accusation whataboutism has been used to simply deflect any and all criticism of human rights abuses perpetrated by the United States or its allies. They argue that the usage of the term almost exclusively by American outlets is a double standard, and that moral accusations made by powerful countries are merely a pretext to punish their geopolitical rivals in the face of their own wrongdoing.”

    Per Wikipedia’s sources.

  • “No other president has claimed any such thing” ?!?!?!?!?!

    FYII (For Your Insult to the Intelligence) (such that it is):

    “MORE THAN A THIRD of the men who’ve occupied the Oval Office have been either accused of sexual misconduct, alleged to have had an affair, fathered a child out of wedlock with someone they were conducting such an affair with, or BOASTED of their extramarital sexual escapades.”

    Source: Allan Smith, “15 other presidents who were caught up in salacious sex scandals before Trump’s Stormy Daniels saga”, Business Insider, April 9, 2018.

  • “No other president has claimed any such thing” ?!?!?!?!?!

    FYII (For Your Insult to the Intelligence) (such that it is):

    “MORE THAN A THIRD of the men who’ve occupied the Oval Office have been either accused of sexual misconduct, alleged to have had an affair, fathered a child out of wedlock with someone they were conducting such an affair with, or BOASTED of their extramarital sexual escapades.”

    Source: Allan Smith, “15 other presidents who were caught up in salacious sex scandals before Trump’s Stormy Daniels saga”, Business Insider, April 9, 2018.

  • If anyone in the political game exhibit narcissism, it’s Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, not necessarily in that order.

    1 – Grandiosity

    2 – Fixated on fantasies of power, success, intelligence, attractiveness

    3 – Self-perception of being unique, superior, and associated with high-status people and institutions

    4 – In need of continual admiration from others

    5 – Sense of entitlement to special treatment and to obedience from others

    6 – Exploitative of others to achieve personal gain

    7 – Unwilling to empathize with the feelings, wishes, and needs of other people (especially “deplorables”)

    8 – Intensely envious of others, and the belief that others are equally envious of them

    9 – Pompous and arrogant demeanor

  • Thank you for posting these naricissism markers. It helps to make my point about Trump and I didn’t feel like writing them all down.

  • They appear to match up much much more closely to Obama and Hillary.

    In fact reports of her Hillary’s behavior by the New York State Police and Secret Service who conducted her security, and her outbursts and reaction on losing the election, are classic narcissistic rage.

  • They only appear to match up much more closely with Obama and Hillary because you can’t look at Trump’s behavior objectively. HRC’s response to losing the election was not classic narcissitic rage. It was the rage of someone who knew Comey killed her in the last two weeks, the Russians intervened on behalf of Trump, and her campaign totally blew the rust belt. Those are all rational reasons for anger. Now go back and objectively look at Trump’s presser on Wednesday and then come back and tell me Trump isn’t a flaming narcissist. The GOP loses the House, but Trump somehow won. Right.

  • I find the comment “you can’t look at Trump’s behavior objectively” quite amusing. Objectively?

    Hillary is truly a classic narcissist.

    – Comey killed her in the last two weeks

    – the Russians intervened on behalf of Trump

    – Bill’s problems were all the result of a vast right wing conspiracy

    and on, and on, and on, and on.

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