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Article # 80
A shooting incident in Masonic Building

Author: R.Ratnaswami    Posted on: Wednesday, March 10, 2004
General Article | 4 comments  | Post your comment

We were horrified and stricken with extreme sorrow at the news of a shooting incident in the basement of Masonic Temple of Oak Street Lodge in Southside in Patchogue in New York Long Island, when Mr. William James was shot at 8-40 P.M on his face resulting in his immediate death on March 9 th. The following facts have been culled out from the news appearing in various media. W Bay TV News had reported that the incident took place in an initiation ceremony during the course of which one Mr.Albert Eid fired a shot with a view to create a loud noise to frighten the new candidate and that unfortunately instead of the gun being loaded with dummies was loaded with actual bullets and the fatal shot claimed the life of the new member. Sun Herald.Com has reported that a member pulled out the real pistol instead of a blank gun during the Masonic Initiation Ceremony and fired the fatal shot.The County Detective is alleged to have observed that during the ceremony Mr. William James was seated in a chair close to a platform and some cans were placed around his head and Mr.Albert was to fire a blank gun and another member was to knock off the cans to make it appear that the candidate was hit with bullets and that Mr. Albert had a .22 pistol loaded with blanks and a .38 with real bullets and that by mistake the .38 was taken and the fatal shot fired on the face of the victim in point blank range. Ledger also has reported so. We have the views of a distinguished mason of Grand Lodge of New York (Bro. Jay Markshied) who has stated that, a square club known as Fellowcraft Club, which is not a regular Lodge, used to hold its meetings in the basement and during an initiation ceremony at one of their Meetings had the procedure of firing a blank gun at the head of the candidate and at the same time another member was to knock of a pile of cans and that instead of the blank gun, the gun loaded with actual bullets was used and the shot fired proved to be fatal. C.N.N has also covered the news and has observed that the rite was aimed at scaring the new member. M.W.Brother. Carl.J Fitje, the M.W. Grand Master, Grand Lodge of the State of New York has released the following statement. "On behalf of all Masons in New York, I extend our deepest condolences and sympathies to the family of the Brother, who lost his life so tragically this evening. This was not a Masonic Lodge meeting and no formal and approved Masonic ceremonies were scheduled to take place this evening. Firearms play no role in Masonic Lodge meetings or Masonic events of any kind. We are fully cooperating with all of the appropriate law enforcement officials." The incident has raised the following among several questions in the minds of the brethren as well as their families and friends. Does Freemasonry allow firearms to be used in the building of the Masonic Temples, either at the Regular Lodge meetings or in any of the auxiliary or appendant bodies for any purpose, whatsoever. Can Freemasonry countenance barbaric horseplay in any of its rituals either in the regular craft or other associate bodies. Can the sanctity of Masonic Temples be permitted to be outraged by such stupid and brutal innovations of use of firearms and cans for creating terrifying noises and to scare the candidates in any ceremony performed in the Masonic buildings. Is any Freemason safe while attending any meeting connected with Freemasonry. Does Freemasonry permit arms to be brought inside the building and kept with the brother during any meeting. We feel that we have to shoot and shower brotherly love and affection at another brother and not bullets. It is time that the M.W.Grand Lodges in the world should immediately prohibit any fire arm to brought inside the Temple complex at all times and that the Masonic Temple complex should be made a sterile area as regards arms and ammunition. Similar prohibition should also by enforced forthwith of any ritual or practice tending to sport with the feelings of a brother or candidate, other than what is prescribed in the approved rituals and all violations should be punished and no countenance should be made of the auxiliary or appendant bodies creating any practice contrary to the rituals. We convey our heartfelt condolences and grief to the members of the family of the deceased brother William James and pray that the Great Architect be pleased to bless the departed with everlasting Peace and Bliss. R.W.Bro.R.Ratnaswami Webmaster.

Click Here To Post Your Comment

revenk wrote on Wednesday, March 10, 2004:

Subject: Shooting

A really outrageous incident. Deserves the strongest condemnation. The idiotic practice of shooting and scaring should be stopped at masonic buildings, why anywhere for that matter.

russello wrote on Wednesday, March 10, 2004:

Subject: Shooting

I agree with your comments entirely. At no time should a firearm be present or displayed at a Masonic function.

tomsberg wrote on Thursday, March 11, 2004:

Subject: Masonic Shooting

I am a Past Master of a Lodge in the G.L.oM. in Massachusetts. I am a 32 degree Scottish Rite Mason, Knight Templar in York Rite. I have never heard of such nonsense.

towcop1 wrote on Wednesday, March 17, 2004:

Subject: New York Shooting

My sincere condolences go out to the family of our lost Brother. My prayers also go up for the Brother/alleged shooter. Obviously this type of thing had been going on for some time and it was finally brought to light in a very tragic way. I personally do not have a problem with weapons (guns) being allowed in the Lodge room, but they should not and do not play a part in any of our Masonic ceremonies. My Lodge has several members that are either currently police officers or retired police officers and they are allowed to possess their weapons. The weapons are always concealed and they are never drawn for any reason. I am sure the incident in New York will be handled with justice and truth. Fraternally submitted, Bro. NeKael L. Jones Worshipful Master, Louie Lodge #24

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