Op-Ed: Was The Monsey Stabbing Attack Preventable?

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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

NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of YWN.

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8 COMMENTS

  1. Didn’t the victim in the November stabbing say that two guys attacked him??

    WHO WAS THE SECOND GUY?

    Is he still loose on the streets looking for another victim???

  2. Hay Mr YWN
    You were part of the fake news who spread that the Nov stabbing was a personal attack (& you argue for sure that you have inside info that will come out in days)
    How do you want us to believe the facts in this statement is true?
    After the terrible incident on Howard inside info from Ramapo police said that there is no clue. The investigation drive them nowhere since there was no clear picture of the license plate go search around for thousands of such model
    Hon Chief Weidel came out that he’s aware of all the rumors & his termination will base on facts He said as of now there’s no clear evidence to support it was hate crime he will wait for the victim to recover so he can get some answers & he ask for anyone with other information to hand it over
    The investigation was handed over to the FBI
    Yes the Thomas family was one of the multiple suspects in question but not Grafton himself
    No the FBI was not aware then of his mental condition or his phone searches
    & Due to (stupid) US law they cannot seize when there’s no evidence
    I don’t think Chief Weidel have some guilt here he wasn’t aware at all about this guy but he took responsibility to provide better security since the Town has become not so safe
    Other than Sheriff Israel that the suspect was in his district & there was clear signs they should have taken seriously
    But the FBI should have done a better & faster job aspecially after the terrible Jersey City attack

  3. The attack was preventable. Had the people in the house exercised their second amendment rights and been armed, a guy with a knife wouldn’t stand a chance.

  4. I was a mile and a half away from where the attack happened this past Shabbos in a house on a main road. I did not see one police car the entire Shabbos. If there’s no police patrols, how much does the local government or police care? They are all talk and our community needs to hold them to reasonable and visible actions

  5. the headline is total and complete kefira.
    was the attack preventable??
    do you think that we could prevent something that Hashem decided should happen??
    yes in the future we need to do hishtadlus and take steps to try and prevent but anything that already happened was decreed by Hashem and nothing could have stopped it.
    very sad to read this headline on a frum website.

  6. Well, the second attack was not preventable but with the proper training violence committed in attacks can be minimized to a much greater extent.

    But the issue here is that it was very clear that the first attack was an anti-Semitic attack so why did the police chief and politicians claim it was not a hate crime? Why were askonim so quick to believe them? Why is there no outrage now? Why is there conflicting information even now? There seems so e sort of cover-up going on. In my opinion it’s the anti-Semites in Ramapo office who are keeping the information from coming out and trying to steer the “investigation” in the wrong direction. If there would be no clear license plate number written down in the second attack, the police and politicians would also claim that there was no indication that it was a terrorist attack. And the askonim and koch lefels would claim it was because people were involved with the mafia…

  7. Attacks arent preventable. Their a message from Hashem. That doesnt mean you shouldnt adequately defend yourself or be aware. But those who take this “could’ve should’ve” approach are, in the words of the RMBM, achzorim.