A Real Letter to an NRA Training Counselor
Rabbi Menachem Creditor
[NOTE: I've received a number of emails regarding the Gun Violence work in which I'm engaged as an Faith Leader in America. Just this morning, a Jewish NRA Training Counselor who has helped transform young people's lives through gun education and, in some cases, military leadership. He wrote to me with passion and respect, and I am inspired by and grateful to him. Below is the response I sent him directly. -rmc]
I'm so appreciative that you emailed me your response. I write as the proud brother of a U.S. Navy Chaplain. She might not carry a weapon, but she fights in defense of our citizens and on behalf of what's right in the world. I cannot express how deeply I support your work, and the incredible empowerment and justice I sense in the way you describe the discipline and education and moral character building instilled by your Firearm Use and Safety Courses. I support you and am inspired.
My work is not aimed at removing guns from the country or its citizens (though Lord knows if every weapon in everyone's hand was turned into a ploughshare, I'd be nothing but pleased). There are too many ways for people without your commitments to get guns, and I am looking to support healing measures in our cities primarily. And in those settings, as I've learned from my deepening exposure, it is an expectation that while young men will get a gun as a matter of course, there is no education, no learning, no ethical guidelines that accompany that acquisition. Yes, I am afraid as a Jew, given what powerlessness has meant for our people. And yes, I am afraid for the lives of African Americans whose communities' needs are currently being ignored by our government. You and I might actually be hoping for and working toward the same thing: requiring correct training for gun ownership in America.
It is clear to me that the talking-points do not give us many opportunities to truly hear each other. I want you to know that I hear you. As a Jew, as a Rabbi, as an American, and as a friend.