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May 28, 2014 7:18 am

Jews and Gun Control: Where is the Outrage?

avatar by Deborah Jacobi

Depiction of President Obama delivering his 2014 State of the Union address. Photo: White House.

I have decided to no longer support the Republican Party, or any other party or individual who bows to The National Rifle Association, or objects to gun law reforms in Congress. So I’m not sure when I’ll be voting next, or if I’ll ever vote again.

Sad to say, the Republicans have been deathly destructive on this issue.

Only four Republican senators supported better background checks: Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Susan Collins of Maine, John McCain of Arizona and Mark Kirk of Illinois. Since then the President has implemented some changes via the Executive Branch.

On April 17, 2013 The New York Times reported,

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Other measures backed by Obama – including a proposal to ban rapid-firing “assault” weapons like the one used in Connecticut – also failed in a series of Senate votes that starkly showed the lingering political power of gun rights defenders and the National Rifle Association. ‘It came down to politics,’ Obama said, adding too many senators had worried a vocal minority of gun owners would come after them in the next election.

I’m fed up with American corporations running and ruining the lives of our children. Our children are cruelly at the mercy of gun laws that seem to show preferential treatment to the NRA, rather than to their safety. Similarly we vote for a Congress who seems sadly misguided when it comes to the hazards of gun ownership, and its deadly toll on our society.

On CBS News on January 16, 2013, one month after 20 schoolchildren and 6 teachers were massacred at Sandyhook, President Obama informed us that more than 900 Americans had since died due to a gun. That’s more than 10,800 Americans per year.

A story last month in Reuters said:

The President argued that, substantive, wide-reaching change would not be possible without their help. He urged people who share his views to help him wage an uphill battle against the ‘pundits and politicians and special interest lobbyists’ he said would be behind the scenes doing ‘everything they can to block any common-sense reform and make sure nothing changes whatsoever. The only way we can change is if the American people demand it,’ Mr. Obama said.

That was 16 months ago.

Where have our Jewish voices been hiding? Are we to remain inexplicably silent on this issue?

We know there is nothing more valuable than life, yet we don’t live as though we believe that.

We are all responsible for the outrageous and horrific deaths this week. Not all deaths were by gun, but nonetheless, guns have an empowering affect. For a disturbed or enraged individual, it might well feel like he is going into battle fully armed.

I grew up in England, a country where killing by guns rarely ever happened. Imagine, a childhood where one never thought of such things because it just wasn’t part of the environment.

Some in this country imagine we are better protected because we may own a gun, but the random deaths from road rage, robberies, rape, gang deaths, stray bullets, suicides, and accidental gun fire, tell a different story.

Gun advocates claim that if we all owned guns it would better deter criminals, but what if a percentage of society would still commit crimes, would victims respond in a similar fashion? If so, our country might begin to look like the vengeful Wild West. Creating a “gun for all” environment is, I believe, an irresponsible way to go.

Often Republicans tremble when the word gun reform is mentioned, yet when the Constitution was written and we were given a, “right to bear arms,” we could not obtain machine guns and other automatic weapons. We are not returning to the days of Hitler where nobody could own a gun, other than the government or military. Though just owning a gun increases your chances of getting hurt by one.

I have heard many arguments for gun rights, but have yet to hear one that validates the multitudinous arms that are rampant today.

Those who look to protect their families and valuables seem to have turned a blind eye to the hundreds of deaths and injuries that occur each month to our youth. Many of those victims lived in poorer, inner city environments throughout the country. Most of those families lead decent, dignified lives, but don’t have the means to remove themselves from the armed violence lurking around the corner.

Rabbi Shaul Praver from Newtown, one of the first responders at Sandy Hook, expressed his concern for the rising death toll and frequency of spree shootings.”While the total number of deaths from spree shootings is much smaller than inner city homicide and crimes of passion, it is a growing phenomenon. Due to its indiscriminate nature, spree shootings are profoundly and rapidly denigrating the quality of life for every citizen in the United States.”

So I’m done with supporting any party until there is true leadership, not some heavy mob running the show behind the scenes. When we have a responsible Congress whose members put the welfare of their constituents before their political ambitions, I will be the first in line to show my support.

We, who suffered through a Holocaust and lived through the pains of such loss, should be on the front lines preventing senseless death wherever we can. We point fingers at those who were silent during the Holocaust, but where are our voices as the youth of our country get mowed down haphazardly all over America?

Deaths from gunfire are at epidemic proportions and we’re still glaringly uninvolved?

Are Jews morally confused on this issue? Do we only feel outrage and raise our voices when guns kill Jewish kids? Is that what it means to be a light unto the nations?

It’s time to reclaim our country, speak up, protest, withhold our votes from all politicians who refuse to support gun reform, and do all we can to protect each other’s kids.

Governments worldwide only get away with the unimaginable because we allow them to. If we stand by and allow our youth to be blown away, then society will have no regard for our elderly. Life will no longer be sacred.

It’s time for all Jews to unite, march on Congress, raise our voices, and furiously blow our trumpets again, just as we did at The Battle of Jericho.

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