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Man Killed During Initiation at Masonic Lodge

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posted on Mar, 9 2004 @ 12:14 PM

Man Killed During Initiation at Masonic Lodge; Masons Say Gun Not Sanctioned Part of Rite

By Frank Eltman Associated Press Writer
Published: Mar 9, 2004

PATCHOGUE, N.Y. (AP) - A man was killed during a ceremony at a Masonic temple when another member fired a gun loaded with real bullets instead of the expected blanks and shot him in the head, police said Tuesday.
A 76-year-old man alleged to have fired the shot was arrested.

William James, 47, was shot while participating in an induction Monday night at the Southside Masonic Lodge, Suffolk County police said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Albert Eid, of Patchogue, was arrested and scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday, police officer Al Prim said. The district attorney's office said the .32-caliber pistol used in the shooting was licensed to Eid.

Police Detective Lt. Jack Fitzpatrick said the ceremony included a loud noise to frighten the new member. The inductee faces the front of the room and cans are stacked up behind him, he said. A gun is fired near the inductee's head and the cans are toppled, Fitzpatrick added.

The lieutenant said Eid had two guns - one with blanks and one with real bullets - and he apparently pulled out the wrong one.

Carl Fitje, grand master of the New York State Freemasons, said in a statement Tuesday that guns do not play a role in any officially sanctioned lodge ceremonies.

"We don't use pistols," Steve Mayo, who described himself as a senior deacon of the lodge, told reporters Tuesday. "This is not a Masonic ceremony where we bring pistols."

Mayo said the Monday night ceremony was an initiation into the Fellow Craft, which is the second degree within the multilevel Masonic system.

Mayo said James, of Medford, had been a member of the lodge for a few months while Eid had been a member for many years.

"This is very upsetting, very upsetting that one of our brothers was accidentally killed," he said.

James worked for the planning department of the Long Island town of Brookhaven, spokesman Dave Kennedy said.

AP-ES-03-09-04 1149EST


posted on Mar, 9 2004 @ 12:24 PM
wow if they don't use guns why the hell did the dude die. I think their covering there arse.

posted on Mar, 9 2004 @ 01:07 PM
Brookhaven -- isn't there a lab there purported to have been involved with a ufo shootdown in the 1980s?

Sorry, just had lunch and had the conspiracy urge fall over me; but it is a nice coincidence.

posted on Mar, 9 2004 @ 02:23 PM
The masons are in need of help

posted on Mar, 9 2004 @ 02:27 PM
This should test the power of the mason's. If you hear nothing more about this, it could be due the power that they have to get him out of trouble.

posted on Mar, 9 2004 @ 04:25 PM
There are no legitimate Masonic ceremonies that involve the use of firearms. This incident is currently being investigated by both police and Masonic authorities in New York to determine what exactly was going on.

posted on Mar, 11 2004 @ 10:52 PM
i think the masons are EVIL AND SHOULD BE DECAPITATED.

posted on Mar, 11 2004 @ 11:08 PM
The following is a letter circulated between several members of the Fraternity:

My Brothers,

Let me start by saying that I am stunned by this horrible tragedy, and my prayers go out to the James family.

I know that there is a lot of confusion about the reports, partially due to the terminology used.

While I cannot speak as an official representative, I am a member of the Grand Lodge of New York and I live fairly close to the Lodge in question. I would like to explain how things are done here, for the benefit of those who are not familiar with our customs.

Many Lodges here have social clubs that are comprised of a subset of Lodge members. They are often called "Fellowship Clubs" or "Square Clubs". While these are condoned by many Lodges, they are separate entities.

Activities are purely for entertainment and social purposes -- fishing trips and barbeques come to mind. Charity functions are also not uncommon.

Sometimes, Square Clubs are not a direct subset of a Lodge, but instead a group of Masons from a profession, such as the New York Police Department Square Club, of which only officers are members.

I have only recently heard of the sophomoric hazing that occurs as initiation into some of these clubs. In my Square Club, I just had to hand over $10 for the years dues. In others, however, more elaborate (and stupid) stunts are pulled to scare/impress the newcomer.

These, however, are rare. I have only heard of a couple of modern Fellowcraft Clubs having such initiations, which were more common in the 1940s and 1950s, but almost nonexistant today.

At my Lodge meeting last night, every single Mason there was absolutely devistated by the news. There was also utter disbelief that a firearm would ever be brought to a Lodge and used in such a careless way.

The only people I have ever seen carry a gun inside a Lodge are off-duty police officers, who are required to carry them. Those of us who were brought up around guns were taught to never aim them towards another human being, unless it is to kill them. The kind of behavior exhibited at that Fellowcraft Club runs contrary to every safety lesson taught about firearms, as it is well known that even a blank charge can kill.

I know that some of you are probably wondering what will happen to the people involved. All I can say for sure is that the Constitutions of the Grand Lodge of New York mandate immediate suspension of the 76 year old brother, as he has been indicted for 2nd degree manslaughter, which is a felony. If he is convicted, he will be permanently expelled (in addition to any jail time he receives by the courts). No felon can be a Mason in New York.

I'm sure some of you are also confused by the terminology of U.S. courts. Just to keep things clear, murder must be premeditated and intentional. Manslaughter is for accidental or neglegant deaths. It is the decision of the District Attorney as to which charge he will file, and is usually determined upon the strength of the evidence.

As to what will happen to the Lodge under which the Fellowship Club was operating, only the Grand Master knows for sure. I would not, however, be surprised if their Charter was revoked, and many members expelled.

What I do know for sure is that not only was an innocent life lost and a family left shattered, but a great deal of damage was also done to the institution of Freemasonry.

For those not familiar with the subject, Masonry in New York was once the focus of prolonged attacks after the death of a supposed member named William Morgan. "The Morgan Affair" as it is called was the inspiration for the formation of the Anti-Mason political party, and almost destroyed Masonry in the United States.

Make no mistake, my Brothers, we are now in the midst of our very own Morgan Affair. The damage to our reputation could very well destroy the future of Freemasonry in the U.S.

At the very least, our image is being damaged, not only by the horrendous actions of that night, but also, sadly, by the reporting by some members of the press. For instance, to an outsider, the term "Fellowcraft Club" is easily confused with the name of the 2nd degree of Masonry. ABC News, a very well respected news outfit, reported that the death occurred during the 2nd degree of the Lodge. While this is not correct, the public is going to believe it.

When trying to explain this horrible event to non-Masons, please keep this in mind, and please try to correct their facts. The truth can help us in this matter. Deception, most surely, will not.

Finally, please keep the James family in your hearts and prayers.

Scott Gaertner
Anchor-Astoria Lodge No. 729
Grand Lodge of New York


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