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Rabbi's Week in Review - 5/30/2022

05/30/2022 06:27:40 PM

May30

This past week, we learned the awful news from Uvalde, Texas. I am heartsick, angry, tired and determined.

We know that the intolerable number of mass shootings — in our schools, in grocery stores, in churches, in synagogues and Jewish Community Centers, etc., etc. — is unique to the United States. Other countries — democratic countries we consider allies — have, with success, created societies free from such violence and killing by enacting gun-safety regulations. These countries are not immune from mental illness or other problems that are often cited to distract us from implementing the gun-safety regulations we know are needed.

Israel is a great example of how to guard against mass shootings. To own a gun in Israel, outside military use, requires annual training, no history of criminal activity, and a note from a physician attesting to your mental and physical health. A person is allowed one gun and no more than 50 bullets. About 40 percent of applications to own a gun are turned down.

In Canada, there is a mandatory 28-day waiting period. You must complete a multiday gun-safety course, and pass both a written and a practical test. There is an extensive background check, which considers criminal record, mental-health history, domestic-violence history, and whether an applicant poses a risk of harm to anyone. The applicant must also provide two references.

These regulations and the regulations sought here in the United States by gun-safety advocates — there was a time when the NRA was all about gun safety and gun-safety training — come against the backdrop of mass shootings and the sad drip, drip of homicides occurring daily in our country. However, we also must take into account the far greater likelihood of suicides by those who have access to guns.

The highest tenet of Judaism is Pikuach Nefesh, the sanctity of human life. One needless loss of life is too many. We must do all we can so that our kids are not scared to get up and go to school in the morning, and that tragedies like Uvalde, Buffalo, Charleston, Sutherland Springs, Pittsburgh, Kansas City, etc., etc., are not the norm. As Jews, it is our highest obligation.  

Wed, July 6 2022 7 Tammuz 5782