(Photo Credit: Tim Lawson/KDKA)
11 are dead, murdered, in Pittsburgh. Jews, celebrating birth and life, killed for being Jews at The Tree Of Life Synagogue. Murdered by a Nazi-acolyte, screaming that “All Jews Must Die.” Anti-Semitism is real, and the answer to its most violent adherents can not be prayer alone. God may want us to heed His word, but He also gave us minds to recognize reality.
Anti-Semitism is real, and it isn’t subsiding; it’s growing worldwide, and locally. It existed in the 1940’s, it existed when some lowlife chemically burned two swastikas into my lawn when I was a teenager living in Middletown, NJ in the late 1980’s and it exists today.
No one is dead in Pittsburgh because of “gun violence.” And – because somehow in 2018 things must get said that are, without question, understood – no one at The Tree Of Life synagogue deserved to die. Americans engaged in their faith, celebrating a new life; they were assembled not only for Shabbat, but for a baby naming. Those are not people who deserve to die. Those are not families who deserve to suffer pain I do not pretend to understand.
They are dead in Pittsburgh, and they suffer in Pittsburgh and across America, because hate is real. Anti-Semitism is real. Hatred of Jews is horrifically, shamefully real.
What happened in Pittsburgh is my nightmare scenario. For a few years now, on my radio shows in Indianapolis, I have said as loud and as clear as I can that any Jew who attends religious services without a firearm is risking their life and the lives of the ones they love.
But, in truth, I’ve never said it so kindly. I’ve said that nothing in America is more of a soft target than a synagogue on a Friday night or a Saturday morning. I discuss all houses of worship; synagogues, churches, mosques – they are all soft targets. I have argued that laws that prevent carrying a firearm in a house of worship where there is also a school are wrong, and should be changed (and, if necessary, ignored.)
The purpose of being trained and carrying a firearm is to protect yourself AND the ones your love. That means children: your children. Why would you ever put yourself in a position not to protect them? Why, as a society, would we ask this of any parent or guardian?
I have stated, with vigor, that any Rabbi that says you should not carry a firearm in a synagogue, or any clergy that says it’s wrong to be armed, is unworthy of leading a congregation. I continued, that houses of worship that state you can not defend yourself are houses of worship that you should not belong to.
Yes. If your religious leader says you should not be prepared defend yourself or the ones you love, they should not be your religious leader. Yours, or anyone else’s.
This isn’t a radical position. This is the position of my family over the past decade. My parents, my brother and I; we have discussed this for years. Pittsburgh wasn’t just my nightmare scenario. It was ours.
And people got upset with President Donald Trump for saying that the synagogue should have had more protection? Why? My mother has been saying the same thing for the past 10 years! When my parents finally settled in Atlanta, they both got their concealed carry permits. When they attend services, they are armed. So am I.
I do not claim that everyone must carry a firearm. I would propose no law to force it upon American citizens. But it is far past time that Jews stop kidding themselves, and stop lying to themselves. It is far past time that Jews stop allowing their far-too-often indoctrinated political leanings to cloud their realities.
What Jew now, after the Holocaust, after the fight for modern day Israel, after the 6 Day War, after the Yom Kippur War, after the Achille Lauro, after the terrorist Arafat-inspired and orchestrated Intifada, after the terrorism of Iran, after 9/11, after ISIS, after insert-your-horror here, thinks the problem is US gun laws?
This is not about gun laws or the “gun violence.” That is myth; a talking point to move an anti-gun agenda, as if we can ensure society’s safety if lawful citizens are unarmed. Fools! The issue is not the enemies of humanity that have guns that we can never legislate or confiscate away. This is about those who naively, ignorantly or ideologically think they can preserve humanity without guns.
The 10 Commandments are clear that, “Thou Shalt Not Murder.” That’s what the anti-Semite did; he murdered 11 innocent people. Nowhere does it say that we should be unprepared to stop him. It’s the difference between “Thou Shalt Not Murder,” and “Thou Shalt Not Kill.”
Would lawfully arming every adult at Shabbat services completely stop an anti-Semite’s murderous rampage? Maybe not. Could it slow him down? Possibly. Could it make him reconsider attacking the synagogue? Possibly. Does it give everyone in that synagogue a better chance of going home alive? Yes.
It is our responsibility to protect and defend ourselves and the ones we love. Moreover, it is our responsibility to be prepared, and our responsibility to try. Guns did not cause the murder of 11 people in Pittsburgh. Anti-Semitism did. Hate did (along with whatever clinical diagnoses of this murderer that may be learned.) It is time that Jews protect themselves, and the ones they love, with more than just rallies, speeches, hashtags and tears.