It ended well this time, but. . . .

Yesterday, people in DFW area watched with concern as a hostage situation unfolded at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville. It started like any normal day. Members of the synagogue either attended in person or watched via FB Live or Zoom the week’s Shabbat worship service. At one point during the live feed, a man could be heard and it became clear very quickly things weren’t all right. This man took four people hostage, including the rabbi, and thus began a hostage situation that went on throughout the day and late into the night. It saw cooperation between a number of local police departments, the Texas Department of Public Safety and the FBI–including their HRT unit. In the end, the hostages are safe and the man at the center of it all is dead and we are left with a number of questions for which no one has given answers yet. But, as anyone with an ounce of sense has come to expect, we are also left with politicians and others who would rather use this situation to forward their own agendas than find answers and work to make sure such things never happen again.

What we do know, and I use that term loosely, is the perp entered the synagogue without permission. He was seen with several backpacks. In the beginning of the standoff, it was suspected he had a bomb–or bombs. There was no mention that he might have any sort of firearm until later into the day. But that didn’t stop Beto O’Rourke from tweeting early on about “the gunman”.

Now, that doesn’t surprise me. Good ole Beto hates the Second Amendment and takes every opportunity he can to try to drum up support for his drive to further limit our rights under the Constitution. It doesn’t matter if it is the time or the place to do so. He rides his skateboard in and opens his mouth and most of Texas just shakes its head at the silly little politician who doesn’t have a clue.

That said, I give all kudos to the various law enforcement departments who helped bring this situation to what can only be called a successful conclusion. I applaud Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson for not sitting on his hands but ordering DPD to increase security around the city’s synagogues and temples and related areas. There was enough said on the live freed from Beth Israel before the feed was cut off to raise concerns that this might not have been an isolated incident. Fortunately for everyone, that is exactly what it appears to be.

But is it? I don’t want to be paranoid, but it is a question that has to be asked. Not because a place of worship was targeted but because of what appears to be the motivation for the perp.

We still don’t know his name. It may be days before that is released. To say this goes beyond a local issue is putting it mildly and that is because of the purported reason behind the attack. Everything seems to point to the fact the perp wanted to talk to (or have released) Aafia Siddiqui, who is currently housed at the federal prison facility at Carswell. Specifically, she is housed at the medical unit there.

Siddiqui is a Pakistani neuroscientist who graduated from MIT. She and her husband lived here prior to 9/11. Several reports I read yesterday said that after the attack, she convinced her husband that they needed to return to Pakistan and was radicalized. She was arrested in 2008 on charges of trying to kill American servicemen in Afghanistan. You can read more here.

Here’s where we need to start asking questions and wonder if what happened yesterday is truly an isolated incident or if we will see more like it happening soon. Siddiqui is considered a hero in Pakistan. There have been demands, from Pakistan and from known terrorist groups, that she be released and returned to Pakistan. There have been protests outside the facility demanding her release. There have even been allegations that she’s dead and the government is covering that up.

Oh, and if you have any doubts about how certain groups view her, there have been offers to trade US or allied hostages for her. Think about that for a minute. If she was just Jane Blow, would these groups be willing to give up hostages they view as valuable in their fight against our government in return for her?

There has been a question raised about whether the perp yesterday was related to Siddiqui or not. We don’t know–the “we” being the public. He did refer to her as “sister” but that is how many do. She has become a symbol for a certain faction.

Here’s the thing. We don’t know what happened inside the building after he took his hostages. I know they are being debriefed by the authorities. But they aren’t saying anything to the public yet. Nor are they telling us anything about the perp. All we have are questions and concerns.

And we have gratitude that all four hostages, including the rabbi, are home safe today. We have gratitude for our local law enforcement officers who managed to keep the situation under control so no one was injured. We are grateful to HRT that flew in from Virginia to help out and that made entry. I wish they had been able to take the perp into custody so they could question him, it was clear from his actions that he didn’t plan on getting out of there alive.

Here’s the uncut video from the end of the stand-off. It was taken by a photojournalist for WFAA, the local ABC affiliate.

This morning, I thank God for the safe return of the hostages to their families. I thank God for that none of our law enforcement officers were injured during the stand-off. I pray to God that we learn from what happened and that this never happens again. But I also pray that we have the wisdom and foresight to recognize there is a threat out there and that we are prepared to meet it.

But, most of all, my prayers to Congregation Beth Israel for all they went through yesterday and for the healing everyone will need to move forward.

Featured Image by reenablack from Pixabay

About the author

Writer, proud military mom and possessed by two crazy cats and one put-upon dog. Writes under the names of Amanda S. Green, Sam Schall and Ellie Ferguson.

Comments

  1. Several reports I read yesterday said that after the attack, she convinced her husband that they needed to return to Pakistan and was radicalized.

    The reports I read were that she carried messages for the 9/11 guy in the US. When they went back to Pakistan, she started openly working with the Taliban– and that’s when her husband divorced her, less than a year after 9/11.

    Was caught doing the messenger thing again, and when the troops who’d caught her but didn’t realize what was going on were talking to her, she grabbed a gun off of one of them and tried to kill him. She had papers planning a mass casualty event.

    And we have gratitude that all four hostages, including the rabbi, are home safe today.

    Amen.

    1. Yep. But, of course, members of the Pakistani government and other “elements” say that is all a lie, she was kidnapped by our government, tortured and is now a hero.

  2. I would be interested to know how he got to this country, and when? Over our Southern “border”? Or as an unvetted refugee from the Afghan debacle? Inquiring minds want to know.

    1. Fair warning. I’m not going to let comments go down this road without at least a little proof. Just as I condemned O’Rourke for making it a 2A issue, I don’t want this to become an immigration issue (again, without proof or reasonable assumptions he was here under the circumstances you bring up).

    1. Paul, i’ve had several cups so far and it is still hard to make any intelligent comment about what happened. At least not without more proof. The only thing I can say is thank God it didn’t end up worse than it did.

  3. Just a couple of comments. Here in Arizonia, we have Constitutional Carry in most of the state other than the Phoenix &Tucson areas. If the perp had done this outside those two areas, a good portion of the congreation would have been armed at least concealed if not openly, he would have been shot immediately.

    Second, the Taliban who support Al Quada, were created by the Pakistani Intelligence community.

    1. We have Constitutional Carry here as well, but churches, etc., have the ability to ban guns. Not sure if they did here or not. Also, it is very easy to say he’d have been shot immediately, but none of us know. We don’t know what happened immediately upon his entry. We don’t know if he had someone he was using as a shield. We don’t know if anyone might have been carrying at the time–and it is possible they were since the synagogue had security training not long ago–just as we don’t know if the person who may have been carrying was mentally prepared to fire on someone who might have been holding a bomb. And, yes, we’ve seen a gunman taken down in this area by armed congregants before what happened yesterday.

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