Today, Monday the 12th of June, marks the third week of testimony in the trial of Robert Bowers, the gunman in the 2018 massacre that claimed 11 lives. The trial began on May 29, 2023, and is expected to continue through the summer.
On October 23, 2018, Bowers entered the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA, armed with a Colt AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, in addition to multiple pistols. He arrived at 9:45, and in the following 20 minutes, the gunman killed eleven congregants and injured three others. Once police arrived on scene, the shooter fired on them and took shelter in the building for the next hour. According to an FBI affidavit, once he surrendered himself, he made clear to responding officers what his motivation was: "I just want to kill Jews." This mass shooting was the largest anti-semitic attack on U.S. soil to date, and Bowers' choice of weapon allowed him to murder 11 people in just 20 minutes.
Bowers primarily used the AR-15 to carry out his massacre, and thus, the incident is discussed in the upcoming book, American Gun. McWhirter and Elinson take this tragedy as an example of the rising popularity of the AR-15 among mass shooters seeking to go to war with society.