(Written in response to a recent editorial, and article which appeared in the same issue of the Rockland Jewish Reporter containing comments by local Jewish leaders, both demanding additional gun laws in response to the August 10, 1999 shooting at a Los Angeles Jewish community center. The writer is, himself, Jewish.)
Challenging the Premise of Gun Control
George Santayana once said "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it". It would appear that American Jews are the poorest of students.
"Gun-control" deprives ONLY the good people of society the means to self-protection, and protection of their families, and is therefore a morally repugnant and indefensible political philosophy. Criminals will ALWAYS get whatever they want, guns included - law or no law.
There is not one shred of credible evidence to suggest that gun-control does anything other than create more victims. Of course, "junk-science" studies abound - like those of Dr. Arthur Kellermann, who labels felons killed in the line of fire by police "victims" - all purporting to show the harm "casued" by firearms, yet all ignoring the far greater number of lives saved by the presence of a firearm when needed most.
Contained in the September 1999 issue of The American Enterprise is an article by Robert J. Cottrol, entitled "A Liberal Democrat's Lament: Gun Control is Racist, Sexist & Classic". Cottrol is professor of law and history at Georgetown University. He noted:
"The central and usually unchallenged premise of the gun control movement is that society becomes more civilized when the citizen surrenders the means of self-defense, leaving the state a monopoly of force...That this premise goes largely unchallenged is the most remarkable feature of our gun control debate. We are ending a century that has repeatedly witnessed the consequences of unchecked state monopolies of force...The mass slaughter of helpless, unarmed civilian populations continues to this very day in Sudan, Rwanda and parts of the former Yugoslavia...And yet the obvious question is strangely absent: Would arms in the hands of average citizens have made a difference? Could the overstretched Nazi war machine have murdered 11 million armed and resisting Europeans while also taking on the Soviet and Anglo-American armies? Could 50,000-70,000 Khmer Rouge have butchered 2-3 million armed Cambodians?...The answers are by no means clear, but it is unconscionable that they are not being asked."
It is even more unconscionable that so-called American Jewish "leaders" are not challenging that same premise of gun-control.
Of all people, Jews should have learned, by now, that placing the safety of themselves and their loved ones in the hands of others - the state, the police, and those who would disarm us all - is both irresponsible and foolish. Sadly, it is obvious that most have not learned this most fundamental of lessons.
PAUL GALLANT, O.D.
Wesley Hills, NY
Reprinted from Rockland Jewish Reporter, Rockland County, NY, 09/27/1999.