At least four people died and at least six were injured Saturday in a mass shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.
The New York Times reports that the suspect in the attack on the Tree of Life Congregation, Robert D. Bowers, has a history on social media of expressing anti-Semitic remarks and slurs directed at the Jewish community.
In response, many LGBTQ public figures and organizations released statements on social media condemning the bigotry that fueled the terrible attack.
Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, noted how the likely hate crime was "motivated by anti-Semitism."
"Our hearts are with the community of the Tree of Life Synagogue, the first responders who bravely rushed into danger to save lives, the people of Pittsburgh, and all those impacted by this tragic act of hate violence," Griffin said in a statement released by the LGBTQ organization.
Sarah McBride, HRC's national press secretary, likewise called out the "real, insidious, and pervasive" anti-Semitism in the United States.
Anti-semitism is real, insidious, and pervasive. Anti-semitism armed with a gun is deadly.
My heart goes out to those who lost their lives and their families, and to all my Jewish friends shaken by this news.
— Sarah McBride (@SarahEMcBride) October 27, 2018
In his statement, Griffin also outlined a recent history of mass shootings, including the 2016 attack on the gay nightclub Pulse, to underscore the urgent need for gun reform in the U.S.
"After Newtown, our nation called for action. After Tucson, Virginia Tech, Aurora, San Bernardino, Charleston, and Alexandria, we called for action. After the shooting at Pulse Nightclub more than two years ago, we called for action. After Parkland and Las Vegas, we called for action. Yet, in the face of these mounting tragedies, many of our lawmakers have refused to act on meaningful gun safety legislation. And it is no surprise how these tragedies so often intersect with vile hatred, this time against the Jewish community. As these politicians fail to act, at least seven people were killed and numerous others injured while gathered in prayer. It’s time for Congress and the White House to act. We need leadership now, not more victim-blaming and divisive rhetoric that could result in more senseless deaths. We must continue to demand action until our lawmakers either hear us — or we have new lawmakers."
President Trump pushed back against the call for gun reform; in fact, he told reports that gun laws had "little" to do with the shooting. After the massacre, the Republican politician called for bringing "back the death penalty" through legislation; he also said armed guards at the temple "might have been able to stop [the shooter] immediately,” reports the New York Post.
George Takei, the gay Star Trek actor and activist, slammed Trump for his response. "Let’s stop with the good-guy-with-a-gun fantasy. Let’s start with getting AR-15s off the market," Takei stated on Twitter.
Takei then credited the president's "Nazi dog-whistling and support of violence" as one of the factors behind the shooting, and called for his following to "stand against the hate."
Hate is a pestilence that spreads, from the fear-mongering mouths of leaders, to the hands of the bombers and gunmen, and finally to the very masses, emboldened by unchecked violence and drawn to the allure of power and darkness.
Stand against the hate. Stand against the night.
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) October 27, 2018
Out comedian Wanda Sykes was also not pleased with the president's call for more guns.
Wow! @realDonaldTrump just blamed the victims for not having guns inside the temple. He’s gotta go!
— Wanda Sykes (@iamwandasykes) October 27, 2018
And Ellen DeGeneres, in the face of hatred, called for more love.
Today, I send out love to each and every one of you reading this. Every single one of you. We are one world. We all need love. We all want comfort. Let’s give it to each other.
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) October 27, 2018
For those who want to fight against gun violence, there are a number of gun-control organizations that need donations and volunteers. Or, as Griffin urged, vote for politicians who support gun reform in the midterm elections on November 6.