(c) Rabbi Menachem Creditor
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My response to Gun Violence is not a rejection of the unfortunate need for arms as a matter of self-defense. I reject the willing embrace of violence.
As Martin Luther King Jr. put it, in the final sermon he would ever deliver, Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution:
“It is no longer a choice, my friends, between violence and nonviolence. It is either nonviolence or non-existence.”1) I reject the NRA-backed US legislation precluding a national gun-registry. (see Jon Stewart's satirical analysis here).
2) I reject the sale of semi-automatic guns provided by businesses like Walmart & Big 5 for the absurd claim that they are 'hunting' guns. As Rev. Gary Hall put it:
"I don’t want to take away someone’s hunting rifle but I can no longer justify a society that allows people other than military and police to own weapons like these,” he said, pointing to a display of weapons that would be banned under the proposed bill, “or permits the sale of high-capacity magazines designed with the purpose of simply killing as many people as possible."3) I reject the revisionist interpretation of the Second Amendment of our Nation's Constitution from its protective collective intent into radical individualism. As Rev. Wil Gafney and Jon Pahl recently put it:
"A pressing issue emerging from our contemporary interpretive context not present in the originating is the nature and kind of "arms" to which the people - again collectively, not individually - have a right. We are no longer talking about muskets. And since the general citizenry does not form the basis of a militia or army charged with the security of the nation they do not have a Constitutionally enshrined right to military-grade arsenals."These are attainable ethical guidelines, common-sense parameters. Rabbi Aaron Alexander said it well:
"As a rabbi writing for those who live their lives with the Torah as a guidepost, know that I do not advocate Jewish gun owners simply giving up their weapons. I do, however, advocate keeping them in the hands of those expertly trained to a) use them, b) store them safely and c) use them only when there is a clear and necessary purpose."I ask those ready to disagree with what I have written: please do not see the widespread and growing response to Gun Violence as "anti-gun." I opened this post with a comment with an observation about self-defense. I formed and will pursue my position because the Torah teaches that the rules that govern our lives are for the purpose of preserving life (Lev. 18:5).
I beg of you: Let us work together to protect every life.