It’s highly unusual here in New Yorkanyway to spot someone walking the streets, in a store shopping or buying anitem that is openly carrying a gun of any variety. That is unless that person is a police officerin which case you kind of hope that they are carrying a weapon, as aside fromtheir uniform and the power vested in them as an officer of the law is the onetool or instrument that at least in a mundane but very absolute fashion allowsthem to assert their authority.
In New York and I suppose many otherplaces around the world if you are in a mall looking for shirts or slacks oreven standing around while your wife or children are shopping if you sawsomeone doing the same thing as you but with a high powered rifle or other typeof automatic weapon slung over their shoulder it would be kind of startling.
But that is not the case in the State of Israel. In Israel you can be on linefor yogurt and the young man or woman in front of you that looks like ateenager can have one of those long guns slung over their shoulders and no onethinks anything of it. More thanthat—it is not at all unsettling but rather a comforting part of everydaylife in this part of the world. A fewweeks ago I was crossing King George Street and there was a young lady standingnext to me whose height stool significantly less than five feet tall but tuckedinto a small holster tied around her waist was a nice size but much simplerlooking hand gun.
I still cannot figure out who theseyoung people are in Israel who though they are out of uniform are authorizedand commissioned to carry guns. Onething is clear and that is that they do so not so much to protect themselvesbut rather all of us in the beautiful civilized environment if Israel that hasan unfortunate proclivity to a historical kind of violence.
Of course guns and the right to carryguns and buy inordinate amounts of ammunition is on our minds as we reflect onthe events of last week in Aurora, Colorado where 24-year-old James Holmesapparently went berserk and murdered twelve people sitting in a movie theater. He injured 40 others, six of which are stillin very critical condition in Colorado hospitals.
Holmes wasn’t protecting anyone butwas rather collecting guns and buying ammunition as a manifestation of a desireto inflict harm on innocent people seeking entertainment or distractions on aweekend night. The events of last weekin Aurora defy comprehension and are difficult if not impossible to fathom.
The man with the gun in the theaterin Aurora and the young man or woman online for pizza in Jerusalem with a gunover his shoulder that is almost as large as them are contrasts or variationsof a theme. Guns can do terrible damageas well as protect us from harm. Somaybe the issue needs some refocusing. It’s not so much about gun control of non-control, but rather aboutpeople control.