I’d like to offer my condolences to the family of William Lewis Corporon, Reat Underwood, and Terri LaManno. May you find comfort and hope in your time of loss. There are people, both Jews and non-Jews, who will find in this latest act of horrific murder a reason to call for further restrictions on the fundamental right to keep and bear arms. In this time of holiness for Jews and Christians, I’m compelled to reflect on the meaning of freedom and our responsibilities to our fellow man. As a Jew, I believe that restricting these rights is not in keeping with the teachings of Passover. Traditionally we ask four questions to help tell the story of the Exodus, but today I only have one . . .
Why is this right different from all other rights?
When we see hate groups requesting permits to march and exercise their freedom of speech, we join the ACLU in demanding that their rights are recognized. Meanwhile, we organize our own counter-protest and exercise our right to free speech to spread a message of love and tolerance.
When we see a threat to a minority religious group’s ability to worship as they see fit, we immediately demand action from our legislators. We’ve learned painful lessons about how restrictions on this freedom are quickly turned against us, thus we act without hesitation.
So when a madman commits murder, why is our response to ask for greater infringement on the right to keep and bear arms? We don’t think about exercising our own right to self-defense (and by extension the right to an appropriate tool-set for that purpose.) We don’t think about how a restriction on rights can be – and in the past has been – turned against us. I think it comes down to what happened during the exodus from Egypt.
When Moses returned to Egypt, the ancient Israelites didn’t immediately start packing up to leave. In fact, we were practically dragged kicking and screaming into the wilderness on the way to freedom. Why? Why, when our families were not allowed to live together, every male child was put to the sword, and we toiled ceaselessly under Pharaoh’s whip, but did not receive the fruits of our labor, did we want to stay? It’s simple, really. Freedom is scary. In Egypt, we knew what the future held. It wasn’t pretty, but at least we were being fed. Life was predictable. Out there in the Wilderness, who knows what could happen?
Today, when we consider the idea of being armed, many people find it incredibly frightening. Their idea of freedom is not that they, too may be armed if they so choose, but rather that they be free from acts of violence. But violence and conflict don’t begin with a tool. They start in the human heart, when a hostile feeling becomes a hostile act. In other words, the root of violence is beyond our control.
Accepting the idea that being armed is a human right is a tacit admission that we cannot control violence. It is far more comforting for some to ignore the human element and focus on a tangible object, thus the fixation on the specific tools of killers. This also leads to the conflation of security with freedom and the failure to even recognize self-defense and the tools to accomplish it as a fundamental human right.
The net result is an inability to tell the difference between Pharaoh and Moses. Slavery begins to look like freedom.
We must remember that we are required to view ourselves as if we, personally, were delivered from slavery unto freedom out of the land of Egypt. We are obligated to remind ourselves that so long as any person is not free, we are all still enslaved. At seders around the country, we will enjoin each other to perform tikkun olam, acts to repair the world and help free the oppressed. What I fear is we may find ourselves aiding the Pharaohs of the world, whether we mean to or not.
It is like if you don’t like what someone says than let’s make a law infringing on free speech. Or anything else. They are all equal.
Even better sermon!
“The net result is an inability to tell the difference between Pharaoh and Moses. Slavery begins to look like freedom.”
What a perfect analogy. 40 years in the desert, etc. I’m sure you have heard this saying a million times in your life, but this is the first time I’ve ever seen it. And I’m stealing it.
I believe the attack on our 2nd ammendment rights is just another goal that needs to be reached in order for the communist takeover of America to succeed. And they are almost there. If Americans loose this right, we will fall for sure and bho will be the dictator of the new muslim communist nation that he was put here to establish. Yep, we’ll be getting change all right.
Another anti trying to make 2nd “ammendment” supporters look like hicks and rubes. Funny thing, this site’s autocorrect function fixed “ammendment” the first time I typed it — I had to go back again to misspell it.
Dude! If I’m ever killed, I want you to investigate my murder.
Like ham sammich?
Great post. May I add to me the most interesting thing about TTAG is the preponderance of Jewish writers.
You guys GET IT. Shalom.
And this, from a non-Jewish writer, who was also one of the most active opponents of state-sponsored religions and proponent of keeping the government out of people’s spiritual and religious lives:
“Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.”
Pretty much sums up the problem Moses faced in getting the Israelites to leave Egypt.
For anyone who doesn’t recognize the above quote, it is part of the Declaration of Independence, as it was starting to explain the reasons why the Colonies needed to sever their ties with England and the Crown.
You’d be surprised at the number of armed Jews in this country. My entire congregation can probably hold off the BLM thugs for months!
I like know what congregation you are part of? Mine is mostly anti, although there are a few who share my views.
I’d settle for a city / town, as I would consider moving there.
– Moadim L’ Simcha…
PS – “At seders around the country, we will enjoin each other to perform tikkun olam, acts to repair the world and help free the oppressed. ”
I never get this. Jinos have 51 weeks of the year to save the whales, disgrace themselves with BDS, etc.
Although we do note the miracle of the Exodus in our daily/weekly prayers every week, all we are asked with Pesach is to give ONE FREAKING WEEK to hold a strong commitment ONLY TO OUR STORY, both as Jews and as individuals.
Nice essay, but the Tikkun olam stuff is a waste, imho.
I am Jewish by descent but non practicing and the rest of my family is Protestant and Catholic.
Where I live the organized Jewish community is in lockstep against gun rights and constantly show up to make that loudly apparent at legislative hearings on gun bills.This is in RI.
There are a couple of female rabbis who lead the charge as well as some busybody who claims to represent 800 families in one synagogue-interestingly I know someone whose ex and kids attend there and he never heard of this individual-who knows?
There are for sure some people like myself.Most of my family members,living and deceased are or were strong supporters of gun rights-many served in the military and had no irrational fear of guns.None live in RI.
The Orthodox synagogues in the area don’t get involved in the gun issue-these busybodies are msotly Reformed or even that bizarre Reconstructionist.
The anti gun movement in RI claims to have 300 churches and synagogues enlisted in their ranks.I think they are full of crap,butt hey do have some,including the head of the RI Council of Chirches,Rev.Donald Anderson,a left wing extremist.
MY wife’s church is Protestant and does not support gun control whatsoever-she is on the vestry and would cause a big problem if they ever tried it-she can shoot although she sees it as a necessity and really doesn’t care for shooting sports herself.She is a big advocate of an armed citizenry as a brake on abusive government.
I’ve always wondered how a person who self-identifies as a Jew can be a “non practicing” Jew. Isn’t the very heart and soul of Jewish identity practicing the Jewish religion?
I can think of few examples of other people’s whose ethnic/racial identify is to inextricably linked with their religion. It is quite unique.
Well said. My heritage through Jesus of Nazareth is Jewish. My Jewish side agrees. My Christian side agrees.
For too long we have protected our freedoms with feeble words and actions. We have fought to free others all around the world, while not building a kingdom, as did our ancestors before us in Europe or elsewhere. While we are freeing others, our liberties were being chipped away at home. It is now time to assert our freedom and defend it from all foes.
Thank you for your well chosen words. Thank God for you.
I am copying this
Let’s suggest that the media have a five-day wait period for writing articles. Background checks for reporters. If someone wants to start a newspaper and start publishing articles, they need to show a justifiable need. Ban high-capacity news articles with too many words, and only let the government be given that privilege.
Let’s try to propose these REASONABLE restrictions on the first amendment, and sit back and listen to the howls of protest.
“Why is this right different from all other rights?” Because with this right we free ourselves from Pharobama’s slave masters. With apologies to the Pesach Seder rituals.
Well said sir. I salute you.
Well said Hineni. Chag Sameach Pesach. The sad irony of it all is that this sick, twisted bastard was out to kill Jews and wound up killing three non-Jews. May they all rest in peace. And for any Neo-Nazi Jew haters out there, when we say never again, we mean never again, and we have the means and determination to back that up.
Because there are too damn many commas in the Constitution. Even the later amendments are terribly written from a grammatical standpoint. Lawyers and politicians should have to have this stuff run by my 12th grade English teacher before they can pass anything.
Well said, sir.
Excellent article. One of the best that I have seen here. Sadly, most of my Jewish friends would be offended if I forwarded the article to them. For the sake of our friendships, we have agreed to disagree on the Second Amendment and keep our thoughts on the topic to ourselves.
I agree with the others who have posted before me. This is beautifully written! Bravo!
Excellent post, Chag Sameach! To truly say ‘Never Again’ requires having the means to back up that statement.
Great post with some excellent analogies. On a side note, I’ll never understand how ANY jew could be in favor of gun control. It seems like they of all people (with their long and brutal history of being persecuted) would be in favor of arming everyone, especially since the relatively recent Holocaust prevents them from claiming (like statists do with regard to the possibility of government tyranny) that we are “beyond that”.
One must be careful about feeling too secure. My parents bought a home in 1957 in the NYC-Suburb of Little Neck. They had wanted to be shown a house in Douglaston Manor — but neither Jews nor Catholics were welcome there. SO — barely 20 years after our European relatives disappeared — and in an environment where people were hardly indifferent to Jewish identity — my parents felt safe and my father was never a gun owner.
When I first moved to VT — from NYC — it took me while to figure out that I could own a gun — then a while longer to figure out that I SHOULD — and now this is very important issue for me.
The risks I face today are SYSTEMIC — and I try not to be too complacent.
Safety is a *benefit* of being a human in a civilized society — but self-defense is a RIGHT.
To answer the title question irrespective of the [insightful] analysis, the Right to Keep and Bear is intrinsically different from any other enumerated Constitutional right.
Take away 1A and 4A doesn’t automatically fall; take away 5A and 1A might still remain. Et simili ad absurdum.
Take away 2A and the others will almost certainly follow.
Great post . I was very surprised that the KKK and the Aryan Nation came out against this subject killing Jewish persons , perhaps it is just PR , but then again maybe they are trying to disassociate themselves from this subject , or maybe they have seen the light ? Kind of hard for me to believe that these leopards have changed their spots . No matter killing like this along with it being because of someone’s religion is and always will be totally against any of GODS laws . Be prepared and ready . Keep your powder dry .
Wow, when even the KKK and Aryan Nation distance themselves from you, you know you are truly a major nut case.
Just great. Really great. Smooth like butter, yet sharp and articulate.
Yes Anonymous, my favorite part, too. This essay is one of the best ever on TTAG.
Just read the essay, and this was definitely the high point of the piece for me.
A very thoughtful reflection, thank you.
Meanwhile Obamas shock troops are staying busy, raiding USA Brass with guns drawn, over EPA regulations.
This is probably the best article I’ve read on this site yet. Freedom is paralysing – I’ve always said that. Total freedom feels less like making a choice, but more like eliminating dozens of other choices. Left or right or straight or backwards… which way do we go? Somehow it’s become easier to be a sheep following the herd than to stray off and be wild. …but, if a fence is built around the sheep to keep out predators, is it a castle, or a prison? We lose our freedom to go astray in favor of uncertain protection. I would rather be responsible for myself, and be free to go off on my own, than accept the protection of others and be a canned dinner for the lucky wolf that gets over the fence.
FREEDOM necessitates responsibility, the refusal to accept and practice the duty of responsibility creates dependency, cowardice and weakness. Swamp Daddy 2014
As a man of faith, this resonates with me even though I’m not a Jew. Well written editorial!
FREEDOM necessitates responsibility, the refusal to accept and practice the duty of responsibility creates dependency, cowardice and weakness.
Swamp Daddy 2014
I always say, “Freedom can be given, but Liberty must always be acquired”.
The time may well soon be upon us (Ukraine) when we will see if “Never Again” is merely a slogan, or if the Jews have actually learned their lesson.