Cal Thomas: Evil and safety

NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Thursday, November 1st. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from member-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. Next up, Cal Thomas on the question of evil and safety.

CAL THOMAS, COMMENTATOR: In light of the latest mass shooting, this time at a Pittsburgh synagogue by a man who yelled “all Jews must die,” there couldn’t be a better time to reach out to Jewish friends and acquaintances with statements of support, and to publicly and loudly reject the hate directed at them.

The rebirth of anti-Semitism in Europe was bound to cross the Atlantic and impact Americans, though we seem to have storehouses of homegrown hate right here. Social media sites that spew hatred abound. It is something managers of these sites need to address quickly. Sick minds feed on this poison and when reinforced by other bigots, hate-speech becomes for them normal discourse. The most twisted among them engage in violent acts.

President Trump has suggested that if someone inside the Tree of Life synagogue had been armed, the shooter might have been stopped. Law enforcement officers did eventually subdue him, but not before some officers were wounded in an exchange of gunfire.

An armed guard inside the synagogue might have prevented or reduced the carnage, or his or her presence could have escalated the situation, leading to the loss of more innocent lives. It is impossible to know.

What a judgment on a culture that we now have to consider such things in houses of God. They increasingly appear under assault by the devil.

The question is how do we purge the evil from among us?

Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, recently noted his country monitors social media and government officials pay a visit to anyone who posts a particularly virulent form of expression. If the poster is a young person, officials talk to the parents and urge them to curtail the behavior. Danon said Israel has found that strategy effective in pre-empting some violent acts, of which there are already enough in the Middle East.

Such oversight and intervention might be anathema in America, but something more must be done, after we’ve denounced evil and extended our “thoughts and prayers.” We must strike a balance between freedom of expression and our desire for safety and security.

The Jewish people have been targeted for elimination before. A recent return visit to Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem, underscored again that painful history for me. The evidence of the harm uncontrolled hate causes ought to be mandatory viewing for people of all ages.

Our Jewish friends deserve no less. Our nation must address the anger and hatred that consumes us.

For WORLD Radio, I’m Cal Thomas.

(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar) Flowers surround Stars of David on Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2018, part of a makeshift memorial outside the Tree of Life Synagogue to the 11 people killed during worship services Saturday Oct. 27, 2018 in Pittsburgh. 

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