Updated with new information July 12 at 9:30 a.m.
In the matter of Ross Farca, the Concord man arrested last month on felony charges of making homicidal online threats against Jews, it is good to know the criminal justice system has sought to protect the community at large.
However, in the post-Pittsburgh, post-Poway dystopia we live in now, we feel that not enough has been done to remove the danger this man poses to the Bay Area Jewish community.
Farca posted on a gaming website that he wanted to “mow down” Jews and police officers with his assault rifle. He was arrested and held on $225,000 bail. The judge soon reduced that amount by $100,000, and the next day the suspect obtained a bond and was released.
Which means that this 23-year-old man, who allegedly threatened to kill Jews and had a cache of weapon paraphernalia and a roomful of Nazi literature in his home, is walking around free. His lawyer told J. that Farca isn’t a danger, that he makes idle threats all the time, and that he might have had a rifle, but he had no bullets.
That is less than small comfort. It is no comfort at all.
A second restraining order barring Farca from possessing firearms is currently in place until Aug. 5, when the next hearing is now scheduled.
Yes, everyone is entitled to due process. But in the wake of violent anti-Semitic acts over the past year, law enforcement and the courts must get tougher in the face of a clear and present danger such as Farca.
The numbers don’t lie. A June report from the California Department of Justice revealed that anti-Semitic hate crimes in the state increased by 21 percent in 2018. This echoes an April report from the Anti-Defamation League that found a doubling of anti-Semitic assaults year over year, with a total of 1,879 attacks reported nationwide in 2018.
We are not immune in the Bay Area, as the Ross Farca case demonstrates. People are afraid. Jewish institutions contacted for our story requested they not be named. The same is true of individual Jewish community members interviewed for the article, who preferred to remain anonymous. At least one East Bay woman has removed her child from a Jewish school, afraid it may be targeted. This is unacceptable.
On the other hand, this is still the United States of America. We will not allow fear to drive us into the shadows. We will not be silent, and we will not go away. The Martinez courtroom in which Farca has appeared for various hearings has been packed with concerned citizens. We will continue to monitor his case.