Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Image of Jewish Woman Destroyed in Clearwater, FL

Might this act of anti-Semitism be the result of the movie The Passion of the Christ? I'll bet when they catch the culprit they'll find a connection.

Believers, believe that the image will reappear if the window panes are replaced. Now, if that happens, let me say that I'll also believe!

From the Tampa Tribune:

Reed said a group of a half- dozen of the faithful were at the site until about 9 p.m. Sunday, leaving the site unattended for roughly 10 hours until the volunteer arrived.

Clearwater police spokesman Wayne Shelor said investigators discovered among the shards of glass one with the imprint of a ball bearing.

They are surmising from this and other evidence that the bearings did not cause the panes to shatter immediately. Rather, they caused weblike cracks in the three panels, which over time caused the glass to fall to pieces.

All three ball bearings have been recovered, Shelor said. Because there are no signs of black powder on the ball bearings, or any evidence of rifling, detectives don't think a firearm was used, Shelor said.

``The operating premise is it is something like a slingshot,'' Shelor said. It is also believed, Shelor said, that the culprit fired the bearings from the site, where many have come to say the rosary, light a candle, or leave flowers or donations.

Investigators have viewed images from a Web camera on the property that is aimed at the image of Mary so the faithful can view the visage on computers worldwide. But at least until 5:15 a.m., the image is intact, Shelor said. That means the vandal took his shots afterward, or the glass hadn't disintegrated yet, Shelor said.

Investigators also are aware that neighboring businesses at the busy intersection of Drew Street and U.S. 19 have surveillance cameras that might provide clues, he said.

Behind the panes was a prayer room where Shepherds of Christ holds occasional religious services. Visitors witnessing the destruction Monday from the outside could look in and see the altar from which the services have been held. A piano also stood in the room, one of its legs partly buried by shards of glass.

Reed called the panes of glass ``irreplaceable.'' Still, the broken pieces of glass will be preserved, she said.

``Only God can replace the window,'' she said. ``If he wants it replaced, it will happen.'' Some at the site Monday speculated that if the mirrored glass were replaced, Mary's head would instantaneously reappear and attach itself to the rest of the image.