Imagine what it would be like to have a police car in front of every church on Easter Sunday.

Growing up, on the Jewish High Holy Days, there was always a cop in front of our synagogue.

“Why are they here?” asked long-ago me.

“It’s a deterrent,” my mother said. For awhile, I thought “deterrent” was another name for police — like “copper” or “brass.” But I finally figured it out. There are police cars in front of synagogues in Northern Virginia, too, on the High Holy Days. Now. In 2014. But they can’t be parked there all of the time.

My Facebook feed this week had an odd mix of updates. There were notes from friends in the midwest who know people in Kansas City, where three people were shot and killed on Sunday at Jewish facilities. There were notes from friends from North Carolina who had interviewed the Klan leader who allegedly shot them because he thought they were Jews. The result was an all-over chill that I still cannot shake.

In life, we always know these people: We know the dead. We know the shooter. And we know it shouldn’t be this way.

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