A very large number of you read Robert Avrech’s piece, Jew Without a Gun, last week. Some of you mentioned how powerful it was when we met at my husband’s North Carolina appearance. Others of you emailed me privately. I was surprised, though, by how few of you left comments on the Musing site. I thought a huge discussion would erupt and instead only a few souls chimed in with their thoughts.
Without hearing from you, my imagination ran wild. Did some of you delete it in disgust? Did it disturb you so much that you quickly clicked on a YouTube video of a frisky puppy or a cute two year old? Were you shocked to discover that (at least some) localities see the function of the police as cleaning up after a crime rather than entering a volatile situation in order to protect citizens? Are you afraid of Big Brother or social consequences so that you don’t want to comment publicly on an explosive topic?
In all fairness, I privately react to blogs I read much more frequently than I comment. I’m certainly not Caesar’s wife far above reproach here. But I really wanted to know your reaction. My husband and I moved away from Los Angeles shortly before the riots broke out. Many of our friends were impacted, though not as vividly as the Avrechs. Yet, whether you were in L.A. or not, what happened was a stark reminder of how thin the veneer of civilization is and how quickly a situation can spin out of control. I tend to think that many police officers wanted to protect the public but they were held back by the “powers that be.” I certainly believe that the press suppresses stories where the presence of good people with guns inhibits criminal behavior or saves innocent lives.
Robert Avrech is a talented writer; more importantly, he is a thoughtful citizen. After the tragic Sandy Hook school shootings, I wrote, “I believe that most citizens who are signing petitions and urging gun control laws are well motivated. I also believe that most citizens who oppose gun control measures are well motivated. Unfortunately, I can’t give the same benefit of the doubt to most politicians.… If the administration and Congress want to exploit this tragedy, gun control will be the only issue targeted via legislation even if others are addressed with verbal platitudes.”
How do we ensure that we create more good and thoughtful citizens; that we have a press that reports news rather than pursues an agenda; that we don’t wake up one day to find out that we have lost those rights that have made America a beacon of hope and freedom? I don’t know the answers to these questions, but I do know that we need to have this conversation.