On October 27, 2018, Robert Bowers open fired during a child's bris in a Jewish synagogue. Four and two worshipers were injured, while 11 people were killed. The eight-year-old infant was safe, but he will never know his almost-100-year-old grandmother that was murdered during his naming ceremony. His hatred—or perhaps the sense of superiority—was so intense that he went in there, knowing that a bris was occurring, with the intent to kill everyone involved. If given the opportunity, he probably would have killed that little eight-day-old baby, too.
Most people won't go to these lengths though, and this poses a problem: we don't see it, so we don't think it's a problem. We never see people walking around with swastika tattoos, we assume everyone saying "lizard people" are trolls, and anyone who claims that the Jewish are "greedy" or "money-loving" must just be ignorant. It's something that looks harmless, but that's far from the truth.
In a report released by the ADL, four things stood out:
1. Between the years of 2016 and 2017, the number of self-proclaimed neo-Nazi groups rose from 99 to 121;
2. There was a 258% increase in anti-semitic propaganda on college campuses;
3. Twice as many hate crimes were committed by self-proclaimed white nationalists; and
4. Jewish journalists are coming under attack on social media platforms, especially Twitter.
One journalist in the report, referred to simply as "Josh," wrote almost solely on libertarianism, white nationalism, and Donald Trump. After the elections, he started receiving Photoshopped images of his face in gas chambers and threats of revealing his address so that white nationalists and neo-Nazis could find him.
But we don't see it so it's clearly not happening, right? And even if it is, Bowers was clearly just a deranged lone wolf; there's no way those people on the internet are anywhere near as dangerous as he was at the Tree of Life Jewish Synagogue.
That's where you're wrong. We sit in complacency and watch these numbers rise, listen to our crazy uncle as he rambles on about "those greedy Jews, "shake your head as people wonder if the Tree of Life shooting was karma for the war in the Middle East, laugh as people spew conspiracy theories about wealthy Jewish families and how "the Jews rule the world"... until another Bowers comes along.
And then we label him as another lone wolf with thoughts only rare, deranged extremists have. We pretend as if our crazy uncle doesn't harbor ill will towards people just because of their religion, and we pretend our best friend is just quirky rather than paranoid. It's a vicious cycle, and there are only two solutions.
We can either fight back against these views or find ourselves guilty by complicity.
Clearly sitting back hasn't done much, with neo-Nazi and anti-semitic groups growing stronger by the day, but no one seems to care. No one seems to want to step up and say "we have a problem." No one wants to acknowledge that these "lone wolves" are becoming the norm.
But what would I know? I'm just a "filthy Jewess" after all.