Skip to comments.Newtown Rabbi: Gun Control, Anti-Bullying Policies Are Vital
Posted on 12/27/2012 6:31:47 AM PST by Tailgunner Joe
Hours after Adam Lanza executed 20 first graders and 6 adults in Sandy Hook elementary school, five minutes from my synagogue, Congregation Adath Israel of Newtown, I spoke with my good friend and colleague, Monsignor Robert Weiss, about the culture of violence in the United States. Sitting in the firehouse with our respective congregants, waiting to learn who had lived and who had died, what was there to say, really? A rabbi and a priest despaired about the common thread that we saw as bringing us together at that moment: a society that had so glorified violence and death through television, movies, and video games that our young people had become collectively numb to the reality of what violence really means.
This was the message I and the other clergy from across faiths in Newtown put forward during the harrowing days that followed. Together, we must work to transform our culture of violence to a culture of peace, we said, to heal a grieving nation.
Fast forward to last Friday, when Wayne LaPierre, president of the National Rifle Association, used our very words not to heal, but to sell more guns. LaPierre seized upon this delicate moment and co-opted our words to abdicate his responsibility regarding the use of automatic and semi-automatic guns in school massacres across the United States.
True, the lack of availability of assault weapons might not have prevented Adam Lanzas from trying to attack school children but it might have stopped him from putting 130 bullets into the bodies of 26 people in less than five minutes.
LaPierres obtuse reaction of ascribing guilt upon the gaming industry without acknowledging his own culpability is infuriating. That said, LaPierres argument has a kernel of truth, like all good lies. Let us first examine that kernel and then move on to the tale woven around it
As the parent of an 11-year-old who my wife and I barred from playing Starcraft, the same game Adam Lanza frequented, I know first-hand that this video game has an addictive quality and increases anti-social behavior. I know my 11-year-olds smile and creativity returned after we banned the game in our home. And while I know that at this point in time, a causal relationship between gun violence and these war games is premature, I find it striking that people who perpetuate these acts of mass murder tend to play violent video games. Just because I am not a meteorologist doesnt mean I dont know when its raining. Lets remember that the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer was once as inconclusive. Therefore, I think it is wise for parents to steer their children away from these violent games, which have been shown to increase aggressive, anti-social behavior, especially in children.
The NRA likes to emphasize that the Nazi regime in Germany took the first step toward genocidal policies by confiscating guns from its citizens. The NRA argues that to prevent this type of totalitarian take-over, we need to make sure the population is armed for the protection of democracy and freedom. Indeed, the second amendment is one important check and balance for would-be autocratic fascist take-overs. But taking the argument to its logical conclusion, American citizens today would need to arm themselves with tanks and missiles, nuclear and biological warheads, to mount a formidable challenge to counter todays militants. Thats where the NRA logic crumbles.
However, in light of the NRAs legitimate concern for freedom in the United States, I suggest that we together look at the first amendment for the solution: the right to assemble and the right of free speech. These are the big guns of the 21st century, underscored by the fact that massive, non-violent protests succeeded in bringing down Mubarak in Egypt.
I believe our over emphasis on the second amendment has created a profound state of imbalance in the United States, and those with legitimate concerns for creating a powerful counter balance against would-be totalitarian regimes would be well advised to consider arming themselves with bull horns and computers.
Our Newtown Interfaith Clergy Group and the victims families have created an advocacy group, Newtown United, which we hope can make a difference in the culture and quality of life. I believe more attention must be paid to the fact that small caliber guns are used to murder 10,000 Americans a year. So not only should automatic and semi automatic guns be declared illegal, and collected in a timely fashion, the same restrictions should apply to small caliber handguns.
Furthermore, lets consider that almost all the school shooters in our time were either ignored or bullied. I personally know from a classmate and neighbor of Adam Lanza that he was brilliant, odd and severely bullied. We as leaders and educators have to watch out for humiliation. The Torah says that when we humiliate a person, it is like killing them. I believe this to be the underlying cause behind mass shootings. I know that many states have anti-bullying laws, and we should make sure we can sanction schools that refuse to intervene to a case of children tormenting classmates.
Transforming our society requires serious attention, then, to gun control, bullying in schools, mental health interventions and the culture of violence and silence. We can do no less to honor the memories of those whose lives were cut short.
A very humanist way of looking at things. Definitely not a Judeo-Christian way of looking at the situation.
The humanist looks at a human problem and says “if only the proper environment had been imposed, this human action would not have occurred.” This is the root of leftism/liberalism/communism - imposing the proper environment by elites given the power to do so.
Hey Rabbi, Miss Mubarek yet?!
The issue is control. The government wants control. It is important that the great unwashed not have the ability to block government control.
At Baba Yar and in the Warsaw Ghetto, and in so many other places, the undesirables had few or no guns at all. And that's the way the government liked it.
No surprise that the Rabbi is a Commie. These Capo Jews will not be happy until every American is disarmed and helpless as the Jews in Europe last century.
Another terminally stupid rabbi.
Lanza slaughtered his conservative mother. Anyone consider the possibility that behind the white noise there might just be a leftwinger doing what lefties do?
What a buttwipe.
If the schools are full of bullies, as the propagandists for sodomy assert, and have become spiritual, moral, and physical killing pens for little kids, as it’s obvious to the rest of us is the case, it’s time to get rid of the schools, not liberty and morality. We can survive without government indoctrination centers. But we cannot survive without liberty and its moral basis.
In this life, as long as there are people there will be murder. As long as there are pussys, there will be bullies. Calling capt obvious.
There is no evidence that the shooter was "bullied."
As the parent of an 11-year-old who my wife and I barred from playing Starcraft
STARCRAFT?! Starcraft is a real-time strategy game based in the future and in space. It has a top-down, angled view and you kind of play God with all your units and buildings. It requires quick thinking, a knowledge of the forces under your control, counter-strategies, and how to dominate your opponent. Oh, and ADAM LANZA NEVER PLAYED IT!
He "trained" on first-person shooters like Medal of Honor, Counterstrike, Halo, Call of Duty, etc. Those are games that put you in control of a single entity on a server with multiple other players where you act as the single soldier in a larger battle requiring teamwork, tactical know-how, and understanding of group/squad compositions and game mechanics. First person shooters most certainly NOTHING like Starcraft. This rabbi is an idiot right out of the gate.
I'd like to bring up something that's been bugging me about this whole video gaming blame game that's being played out in America's cultural discussions. Video games are not the problem. They are a distraction, but they are not a problem. They passed laws over 10 years ago to force game manufacturers to rate their games and force retailers not to sell to "underage" buyers. All tolled, those attempts have failed miserably. Most pre-teens, tweens, and under-18 teenagers I know have access to the games because their parents bought them. Yet another shining example of a law that was not only unnecessary but wholly ineffective.
More importantly, look at what we are doing to our boys! They can't play tag at school anymore; "someone might get hurt." They can't play cops and robbers or cowboys and indians; "it's culturally insensitive." They can't play with cap guns, lawn darts, archery sets, Nerf guns, water pistols, etc.; "They teach anti-social behaviors to young boys." They can't wrestle, climb trees, play "war," ride bikes, or, in general, COMPETE in anything! There are no losers in youth team sports; "That might stigmatize the less apt." They are told in schools that they are lesser than their female counterparts. They are told the Boy Scouts are homophobic bigots. They are told that they will grow up to become murderers, rapists, misogynists, drunks, drug abusers, losers, living in mom and dad's basement smoking pot, playing video games. ALL OF THIS has been perpetrated by the militant feminists, the Progressives, and the Communists to turn men into touchy-feely faggots with no callouses, cuts, or scars on their bodies. They're taught to moisturize, coddle, coo, and be empathetic.
I'm sorry folks, but boys should be climbing trees. They should be falling off of their bikes chasing each other. They should be skinning their knees, stubbing their toes, getting dirty, and being BOYS. Videos games have become the last bastions of "boyhood" remaining where they can compete and learn to be competitive. I'm 32, but I've been into video games since I was 5 years old. I've learned how to be competitive despite being as a distinct athletic disadvantage as a boy. I "cut my teeth" on video games, but I'm not a psychopath. I own firearms, work on cars, solder electronics, make armor for Renaissance festival goers, build things, fix up my house, and I have the scars, burns, cuts, scrapes, bruises, and wounds to prove it all.
Our boys are being turned into pussies. They are incapable of learning how to "take one on the chin" and lose gracefully. When I was in middle school, I was bullied mercilessly, but I fought back every time. I never won, but the bullies walked away with a few bruises and an occasional black eye. I never backed down, and ya know what? I never once thought about taking my pellet gun to school to threaten them. I never once thought about killing one of them.
All of these discussions are a big fat canard for what I see as the major problem in our society: the drugging of our children. They've been turned into medicated, mindless zombies, and when they're away from their parents in college or after they move out and into the world on their own, they stop taking those medications and turn into suicidal or, God forbid, homicidal young adults.
Turn the focus where it belongs. Many kids today use video games as a sport (Google 'e-sports'), because they can't or won't compete in a physical sport. To take that away from them is to leave them with almost no outlet for the frustrations and the experiences every boy feels in his youth.
This self-immolating rabbi is a moron, and I can't understand why Jews in America today are eating up this pablum.
Leftists/humanists believe that all people will express their inherent “good” nature if only the proper environment existed. That’s the basis of their quest for total control.
Same old tired trash.
Yo, Rabbi ..Once Hitler got all the guns he started rounding up “undesirables” and exterminating them. How did that work out for your people ?
I am so sick of all these fake, Deformed “rabbis” spouting Socialist dogma. They put Marx above Moses and Obama above Halacha.
This synagogue is located in the opposite (southwest) corner of Newtown from Sandy Hook, about 5 miles and a 15 minute drive away. Adath has also had two police cars outside recently during its weekend services, "as a presence" according to the officers.
From Adath's website: "Congregation Adath Israel was founded in the early 1900s by a small group of Jews who fled poverty and persecution in Eastern Europe... Our congregation is now comprised of Jews from all backgrounds. Our ritual follows a Conservative path; our social values are progressive."
So not only should automatic and semi automatic guns be declared illegal, and collected in a timely fashion, the same restrictions should apply to small caliber handguns.
Maybe I should invite the Rabbi over for dinner sometime to talk about gun confiscation.
Right. Afghanistan is just a dream - pay no attention to all the dead American Special Forces and Marine bodies. The Afghani peasants are hopefully outclassed in weaponry - just as they were outclassed by the Soviets...
The White Mosque talking points get old.
Definitely the libspew of a reform “rabbi”. No Orthodox rabbi would participate in an interfaith anything. Only someone yearning to be “accepted” by the world, i.e., guilt-ridden lib pseudo “rabbis”.
See your 1/130
and raise 1/2 (one armed adult at the school and two rounds)
Horrible crimes generate horrible laws.....
What ever happened to “Never again”
The tidal wave of “bullying” is the same phenomenon as the “anti-gun” sunami. The establishment screams that THEY are the protectors - that nobody should be allowed or able to defend themselves.
But then the bully/shooter gets ignored until something really bad happens. The establishment is too lazy, ignorant, or busy (or all three) to notice the beginnings of the problem, so the disease metastasizes and someone like Adam Lanza goes off...
When the bullied child is allowed to fight back, with impunity for commensurate response, then the bully eventually gets knocked down enough to grow up. When the bully and bullied are treated the same - when the victim receives the same punishment as the perp - the bully wins every time.
Until the victim decides to emulate success, often with an equalizer in each hand.
The Rabbi is definitely part of the problem, and wants to ensure that there are enough victims to go around for all the bullies. That may not be his intent, but it is clearly the consequence of his chosen path.