POWAY, CASteven Lieberman
So… I wanted (I mean really, really wanted) to discuss a book that I am reading with you this week: Washington’s Crossing by David Hackett Fischer. (It is on Amazon and won a Pulitzer Prize for history… since I am going to delay that review for a couple of weeks, this gives you ample opportunity to pick up a copy and begin reading it. Trust me… you will thank me for it.)
Instead, we need to focus on something a little more germane to our constant endeavor to fight against the forces of evil and chaos. We also need to single out some flat-out heroes who rose to fight the darkness and one who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
Last week, a goblin came out of his lair to harm the innocent.
In Poway, at Chabad Synagogue, evil stepped up to the plate and was met with what I am sure was unexpected and intense ferocity.
A malcontent aimed at achieving some sort of cathartic experience, and ostensibly seeking revenge for the atrocities in New Zealand, decided to target a San Diego area synagogue. After all… it was Passover services, and what better way of making a name for yourself than shooting a bunch of Jewish congregants?
Unfortunately, for the plans of the monster, there were a few heroes in attendance that day.
Oscar Stewart, an Army veteran, and Jonathan Morales happened to be congregants in attendance that day. While a few were injured by the slob, Lori Gilbert-Kaye made the ultimate sacrifice, throwing herself between the monster and the rabbi and shielding him against the deadly assault with her own body.
Stewart heard the gunfire and, though unarmed, would have none of it.
He ran to the sound of gunfire, and armed with nothing more than his voice, he charged the shooter issuing a barrage of verbal assaults.
It was at this time that St. Michael stood next to Stewart and protected him. (See how I blended Catholicism and Judaism?… Pretty cool, huh?)
The goblin’s gun seized up with a malfunction and he turned to see this really pissed off Army vet assaulting upon his position.
Terrified, the monster dropped his gun and fled. Stewart would have none of this though. The goblin’s retreat simply meant that Stewart would kill him from behind.
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He chased the slob into the parking lot and the monster jumped into his vehicle. A second hero, an off-duty California Border Patrol officer, Jonathan Morales (who knew that a Jewish congregant would be named Morales?!?), approached the seething Stewart and told him to move… he was armed and could probably be more effective.
Morales opened fire on the putrid’s vehicle as he sped off. It was unclear at the time if he struck the shooter, and it remains unclear if he damaged the operational capabilities of the vehicle… What we do know is that the suspect eventually surrendered to police.
So, now it is time to compare and contrast.
In Christchurch the congregants huddled… hoping that they would be mistaken for dead, or at the very least finding comfort in the closeness of their fellow men and women. The monster in New Zealand used this corralling effect to simply unload his firearms into the mass of humanity huddled at either side of the mosque.
He never met any resistance at all… that is until he went to the second mosque. There he was confronted by, as in Poway, an unarmed but righteously indignant congregant. This minor level of resistance was enough to cause the goblin to flee.
In Poway, the slob did not have the reaction he was expecting.
Force was met with force… explosive force… buttressed by unbridled rage.
Stewart literally scared the crap out of the monster… and he did so simply by yelling.
Public location mass-murders are always motivated by a single animating purpose: to create as high a body count as possible. They are tempered, however, by a single all-encompassing fear: denial of opportunity.
When Stewart went operational, the shooter became terrified. With a malfunctioning weapon, the shooter still held a club in his hands. He could have easily attacked the charging hero with his weapon and been completely effective.
Instead, he dropped the gun and ran.
Heroes can have that effect on cowards.