Readers React: An unarmed worshiper cut short the Poway synagogue attack. Gun advocates, take note

Oscar Stewart, 51, a worshiper at Chabad of Poway, chased the shooter out of the synagogue and into the parking lot.
(Oscar Stewart)

To the editor: We read about yet another murderous assault on a minority-group institution, this time a synagogue in Poway, Calif. And again, the issue of security at schools and houses of worship comes to the fore.

There are those who believe that these places will not be safe until every able-bodied person is armed. Maybe it’s just me, but I would find it unsettling to kneel in church in prayer knowing that everyone around me was capable of easily inflicting grave bodily injury or death on me without any assurance that they were trained to act in the event of a shooting.

According to reports, the alleged gunman was stopped early in the attack, undoubtedly saving lives, by an unarmed civilian rather than by a “good guy with a gun.” Contrast this with the Parkland, Fla., shooting where there were armed personnel present from the outset and yet the shooter had his way.

My point is simply that the solution of arming everyone guarantees nothing.


Augie Medina, South Pasadena


To the editor: We who attend synagogues are well aware of the ongoing threat to Jews everywhere.

Of the many that I have attended over the years, there is not a synagogue where the first person who greets me upon entering isn’t an armed guard.


This did not begin with Pittsburgh, Poway or any other acts of anti-Semitism in the recent past. The threat has been real for many years.

All Jewish houses of worship have had security guards for as long as we Jews can remember.

Stu Bernstein, Santa Monica

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