In the wake of Wesleyan shooting


The Forward’s Anthony Weiss reports on the campus reaction at Wesleyan University to the news that the alleged murderer of student Johanna Justin-Jinich says he was planning a "Jewish Columbine."

When the alleged murderer of Wesleyan University student Johanna Justin-Jinich shattered the idyllic calm of this leafy Connecticut campus, it was just the beginning of his plans, police say.

In his journal and other writings, they say, alleged killer Stephen Morgan wrote, “I think it’s okay to kill Jews, and go on a killing spree at this school.” In other writings, he reportedly described his plan to create a “Jewish Columbine.”

This led school authorities to evacuate the 22 students living at the Bayit, Wesleyan’s Jewish programming house, who hadn’t already left.

Yet what could have been a moment of vulnerability and isolation for Wesleyan’s Jewish students turned out to be quite the opposite. In interviews, Jewish, non-Jewish and half-Jewish Wesleyan students suggested repeatedly that nothing the alleged gunman had done moved them to view Jews as separated out in any way from the rest of the student body. For the students — and, it appears from his writings, for Morgan, as well — there was no distinction, because there is essentially no difference.

“I think it was more a dislike of Wesleyan students, and he considers us all ‘Jews,’” said freshman Jon Booth, who said he is not Jewish.

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