Do We Have a Weapon Culture?

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Do We Have a Weapon Culture?

Post by Ehud Amir on Thu May 08, 2014 6:55 am

The absurd claim of the NRA supporters is: “if you give more weapons around, the streets would be safer because people would protect themselves in an event of a shooting assault.” It’s such a totally ill-founded, lacking of proof, stupid argument. Has there ever been a case in America in which a civilian with weapon neutralized or killed a mass murderer in the middle the act? I guess not a single case. It is like believing in some deity, alien of other phenomena with no evidence or proof of its existence. It’s like a religion. That religion of the NRA kills kids. It’s one of those times I think Israel – with its wars and Terror – is saner than the US.

Neither any member of my family nor anyone I know at work or neighborhood – some hundreds of persons, most of them in Jerusalem and some of them in the West Bank – no one of them holds a gun or has been talking with me about buying one, not even during the great Terror wave of about 10 years ago. Perhaps it’s because there’s nothing you can do against a suicide bomber that explodes somewhere, but I think the main reason is simpler:

We give every aspect of our life to experts. We let our health to be taken care of by Doctors, our cars – by mechanics, our money – by bankers and investments counselors, our apartment contracts – by lawyers, etc., but when it comes to the most precious thing – our personal and our kids’ security – and when it is most dangerous to try to deal with an emergency situation unprofessionally, all by ourselves – that’s just the time many Americans don’t trust the professionals – police, National Guard, Army, professional security guards. Instead of giving the defense of their children lives to pros, they give it to amateurs: themselves. This senseless inconsistency makes me furious.

One US Congressmen once said: “what are we supposed to do? Put an armed and trained security guard at the gates of each store, mall, bus, school and university? It’s insanely impractical!”

So it means that Israel is insane, after all, because that’s exactly what we do here for the last 10 years. Whenever I enter a mall or a drugstore, there is an armed security guard at the entrance and most of the times (unless I’m holding a baby or so) I’m demanded to open my bag, empty my pocket and go through this machine that beeps when you carry any metal thing. No weapon is allowed, period. Not a gun, a pistol, not even a knife. The bag of every 90 years old feeble woman is checked at the entrance to every restaurant or a cinema, every national of municipal office, every public space. Once there was an armed security guard on each bus, next to the driver, and also in many bus stations. Meanwhile they stopped it – we don’t need it now – but when it was necessary it was done – and it was proven practical and operative.

The only armed people around are the trained and authorized ones. This fact is seen by all in Israel as the most natural thing. I don’t want to be armed. I would feel unsafe had I been armed. We all know we pay more taxes to finance this extra-guarding, and it’s fine with us.

At the entrance to every school there is an armed guard. Every school in Israel. No matter where. No weapon, not a knife and surely not a gun are allowed at school, at any condition whatsoever. Period.

The only guns my kids have ever seen are random toys at the toy stores. We don’t hold such toys at home, except of water guns to shoot water each other in the balcony in the summer, guns that look more like pumps. It’s not that we have anti-weapon ideology. Not at all. It’s the fact that weapon is in no way a part of our culture. We respect weapons, but the second emotion towards them isn’t love or pride; it’s a deep fear. I don’t know if it’s a cultural thing. It may seem as a paradox, in a war-experienced state such as Israel, but that’s how it is here.

Ehud Amir

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