The Blood of the Children Cries Out From the Ground!
Rabbi Gary S. Creditor
December 22nd, 2012
Over the many years that I can remember, beginning with the assassination of President John Kennedy with a rifle, the sound of the bullet was echoed by the citation of the second amendment and the "right to bear arms." Whenever a catastrophe occurs, whoever cites past catastrophes always omits the earliest ones, which never lose their terribleness, because it is too hard, too painful, too long a list to remember to recite all the names of all the places.
I want to talk about the "Right to Live." This is not the cliché lifted from the Declaration of Independence, "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," even as that is a very significant statement. I want to talk about the "Right to Live" of six and seven year olds to grow up, discover the universe, and fulfill their destinies. I want to talk about the "Right to Live" of the people dedicated to teaching them, who threw themselves in harm's way. I want to talk about the "Right to Live" of all innocent people, struggling in a difficult world, being good people, loving men and women, who are murdered, wantonly murdered by those with guns in their hands, in any place and at any time. No just now.
I want to know something. Doesn't the "Right to Live" supercede the "right to bear arms?" Isn't there something more important than guns? Isn't there something more fundamental than the caliber of the bullet? Isn't there something more precious than the rate of fire? Doesn't the "Right to Live" trump all other rights? To paraphrase the verse from Genesis from the story of Cain and Abel, "the blood of the children, the blood of their adult defenders screams out to Me from the ground." It is to them, the dead, to our children, the living, that the answers must be given.
I want to know something. Does the 'right to kill' supercede the "Right to Live?" What is the purpose of guns? I remember being a little boy with a holster and cap guns. You had to put one cap in each and it made a bang. For some reason I had a Mattel gun that used a roll of caps and you could make a lot of sustained noise. I had no idea what I was doing. I had no idea what it meant. I don't know why my parents bought them for me. Our children never had toy guns. Never! Ever! Stop the nonsense that guns don't kill. Yes they do! Yes, guns kill because they are held by people. Guns kill people. Guns kill animals. Killing begets killing, which begets more and more and more until there is no end! The blood of the children cries out from the ground: stop the killing! Who needs guns?!
I want to know something. Is the "Right to Live" held so cheaply because the profit is great from the proliferation of the "culture to kill" through video, movies, music – do you listen to the message of the lyrics?, toys, television and the manufacture of guns? What is more important? To make money and elevate the culture of death? Or the culture of life? Is this the America we want? Is this the epitome of our society? Is this the "alabaster city?" Is this the country that we want God to bless? I enjoy the old westerns on cable. Where is the blood? Where is senseless violence? None. Justice, honesty, truth were the elevated values that would triumph, but killing was not glorified. There was even a sense of remorse by the guy who was clearly good. Today it is reversed! The more gore, the more horror, the more blood and guts and cut open bodies, the more explosions and destructions. Just because there is the technical capability to show all this, do we have to? Should we? Must we? What world are we making? Do we promote fine arts? Do we esteem classical literature? Do we elevate excellent music? What do you expect to reap, when the seeds of destruction are so blatantly planted? The blood of the children cries out from the ground: make us a better world! Make us a world of peace!
I want to know something. Against whom are we bearing arms? Do we fear invasion from our neighbors to the north and south? Do we fear our neighbors who live next door? Do we intend to confront the local and state police? Would not intruders be more deterred by active alarm systems? Will the ability to defend against an intruder outweigh the number of deaths caused by people with guns who are ill-trained and ill-tempered? Will the proliferation of more guns, in a society already more armed than any in the world, make us safer, securer, surer? Are these quasi-military, high powered, quick-firing guns, the ones used to shoot duck, deer and antelope? The blood of the children cries out from the ground. They demand to know: who needs these guns?
I want to know something. I remember when living in New York it was decided to close facilities dealing with mental health, as it was deemed better to integrate these people into society at large. It never happened. If they had, they were abandoned to their families who did not have means to cope with the needs. Otherwise, they were on the streets. It really wasn't the philosophy, it was the cost. They would rather build prisons that honestly deal with the needs of society. They didn't want to deal with people. People with mental issues are "nobody's fault." They are members of our universal family. They are the easiest to cut in any budget. They are seemingly invisible. They don't have a lobby like the NRA. Now, now, it is on the agenda! The blood of the children cries out from the ground: this is the real cliff! This is the real cliff over which our world is destroyed! Fix it! Repair it! Mend it! Do not ignore us!
I want to know something. How many innocent deaths will it take for our elected officials to be leaders with moral backbones and not wimps who pander for votes? Where is their moral courage to face the mirror and know that day after day they have labored in society's vineyard to make each hamlet, each town, each county, each city better for each boy and girl, infant and adult, young and old, reach and poor, healthy and ill? How many tears must be shed by human beings? How much blood must spill in movie theatres, college campuses, high schools, elementary schools, shopping mall parking lots? How many hearts must break when the bell tolls as each name is read, as each tender body is buried? What must it take for delegates, senators, representatives, and president will finally act?
Until then, every morning, noon and night, at the break of dawn and the setting of the sun, in the dead of night and the brightness of the midday sun, The blood of the children cries out from the ground! And it will continue to cry and cry, scream upon scream, like those in Newtown, Connecticut, until someone, someone will give them an answer.