Sunday, February 25, 2007

Masonic lodge parties turn into shooting galleries

Are shootings at parties held at Masonic lodges becoming the latest trend?

In January, we reported on a shooting at Mt. Nebo Masonic Lodge in Los Angeles, where a party-goer was killed by police after he had shot and wounded a fellow partyer.

This week brings us two more stories of shootings at gatherings held at Masonic lodges. No indication has been given that the events were actual Masonic get-togethers; most likely the parties were held by outside groups renting lodge halls.

Last Saturday night, Feb. 17, police in Berlin, Maryland, responded to a report of several shots being fired at local lodge. Several members of the crowd fled as deputies arrived. A man with a deep cut to his head was found and taken to a nearby hospital.

Last night (Feb. 24), four people were shot in the parking lot of a Pompano Beach, Florida Masonic lodge where a party was being held. Three of the four were critically injured and the other was seriously wounded, police said.

The party erupted into gunfire about two hours after seven people were shot at a nearby strip club where a rap artist had been performing. It is unclear from reports if the two events were related.

It seems that in addition to our Fraternity needing to guard our inner doors, keeping unqualified men from joining our ranks, lodges need to more fully investigate who they're renting their fellowship halls to. So far this year, at least seven people — that's about one per week — have been killed or seriously wounded by gunfire on Masonic lodge property across the country.

Update Tuesday, Feb. 27: A later news story identified the Florida lodge where the shooting took place to be McBride Lodge No. 390 in Fort Lauderdale.

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