Friday, July 28, 2006

A surprise but not a surprise: shooting in Seattle

A man opened fire at the Jewish Federation building in Seattle today, killing one woman and wounding four others. He identified himself as an "American Moslem," and said he was upset about "what was going on in Israel."

I assume he meant what was going on in Lebanon at the hands of Israel; I sincerely doubt that Katusha rockets raining on Haifa are his main concern.

The shooter was, according to the head of the FBI's counterterrorism efforts in Seattle, an individual acting alone, with "nothing to indicate it's terrorism related."

I'm not sure why an individual acting out a political grudge and declaring himself clearly in such fashion wouldn't be considered a terrorist, unless terrorism is, by definition, an organized group endeavor.

It's no wonder that this happened. It's a wonder it hasn't happened more often. And in fact, Hezbollah itself has been connected to the worst incidents of attacks on Jewish institutions outside of the Middle East, the most flagrant being the 1994 bombing of the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires, which killed 100 people and wounded twice that many.

It's been my understanding that, in the wake of 9/11, many synagogues in this country have quietly beefed up security. It only makes sense. Perhaps the Jewish Federation of Seattle, which is mainly a fund-raising organization, hadn't seen the need to do so up till this point. My guess is that that will change.

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