We were lulled into complacency; Now, the question begs: who knew what and when.
Monsey, NY – In the days following the November 20th vicious stabbing of a 29-year-old man on his way to shul in Monsey, NY, the community heard one message from the Ramapo Police Chief, Brad Weidel: there is no evidence that it was a hate crime. While not totally outruling that it was a hate crime, Chief Veidel took great pains to say that there is no evidence that that attacked was antisemitic by nature. It fueled speculations that law enforcement has some information directing them elsewhere, and some in the community took solace in this message, interpreting it that this was an isolated incident targeting an individual.
In the hindsight, it’s very likely that this narrative brought us the second stabbing. We know now that Grafton E. Thomas – who went on the stabbing rampage Motzei Shabbos Chanukah at Rabbi Rotenberg’s house that left Rabbi Yehoseph Neuman brain-dead – was questioned after the first stabbing. According to the federal indictment, less than 2 days before the first stabbing he searched the internet for German synagogues nearby (the first response to that search would have led him to a non-Jewish institution in NJ, not far from Monsey, NY, and it’s possible that he drove from there looking for a Jewish target); he was spotted that night in Clarkstown, and the same make and model car was seen near the first stabbing.
Where is the outrage? How did they let this dangerous guy free, and not even followed him after the first stabbing? Even if there wasn’t enough evidence, did the investigator know of prior reports about his mental condition? Did his description match to that of the Schlesinger stabber’s? Did they try to commit him to an institution to avoid any danger? Did they tell his mother to keep an eye on him? Why didn’t they dig deeper? What did his mother know, when? Did he go home November 20? If she knew, why didn’t she call authorities, but rather shielded him and allowed him to continue driving around? Why did it take so long to find out that Thomas was questioned for the prior shooting? How can we still allow the same police chief be involved in the current investigation?
We were lulled into complacency. Community members, sadly, helped drive up baseless rumors on social media. We all let the guard down and didn’t demand the results that we would have demanded if we would believe it was a hate crime targeting the community. This, sadly, resulted in further bloodshed. Can we say ידינו לא שפכו את הדם הזה?
After the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, Sheriff Scott Israel was let go, partly for dropping the ball by ignoring prior warning signs about the shooter. Here, the stabber was already questioned for a possible stabbing and he was let go.
Those who dropped the ball should at least have to answer and come clean what they knew what? Why they went great lengths to dismiss the possibility that this was a hate crime? Why didn’t they dig deeper to investigate the likeliest possibility, that this was a hate attack? No one asked them to determine that it was a hate attack – but they should have looked into this possibility with open eyes.
Thanks Hashem that the heroic Mr. Glick memorized his license plate and this stabber crossed the George Washington Bridge, where the fine NYPD cops apprehended him. Otherwise, who knows how long this investigation would have dragged on and what theories they would come up with?
Where is the outrage? This looks more and more like a very-preventable tragedy.
Shea Fishbein – Rockland County
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