What we suspected but did not know in 2001 was clear from the start this time in Orlando. There could be no mistake. Cries of “Allahu Akbar” are one clue; the man calling and claiming ties to ISIS is another. His trips to fulfill the Haj, a third. This was an act of Islamic extremism targeting not only those who are different from the way they are sexually, but religiously, culturally, nationalistically. That simple. Kill infidels. The victims were gay…this time. Last time, they were Jews from Tel Aviv; before that, they were Parisians, Belgians. It doesn’t really matter. After all, these extremists are blowing up people in Istanbul and Baghdad with as much hatred as they are murdering others all over the world.
Like other attacks, Obama has turned this into an issue of guns. He’s been pushing this issue very hard and has made it clear – he’s all for taking guns away from people – but apparently the people he wants to take guns from may well be the very people who need them the most.
As someone who lives very close to Jerusalem, someone who works in Jerusalem almost daily, let me tell you what happens when there is a terror attack here. First, there is the shock, the shouting, the running of innocent people trying to get away, trying to save others as well. And, there are also people running TO the attack. It’s a commentary and a touch of humor that Israelis have fought back against armed terrorists with chairs, umbrellas, even a selfie stick. But mostly, Israelis fight back with guns.
Months ago, ISIS released a video in Hebrew in which they promised to come and stab and murder Israelis. Almost immediately, ordinary Israelis began taping their own video response. Many were along the lines of – feel free to try…you with your knives, us with our M16s. Bring it on!
No, Israelis don’t want war, we don’t want constant attacks. We want peace with a thirst few people can imagine, a desperation that all too often leads us to make reckless and dangerous compromises with those who do not believe in compromise and so see our efforts not as a love of peace but as weakness.
But Israels are strong, stronger than you can imagine. And one proof of that strength is that we recognize that guns don’t kill people; murderers and terrorists do that. Guns are merely a tool – for the good and for the bad; for the attack and for the defense.
In Israel, guns save lives, guns stop attackers before they can harm others. In Jerusalem, within seconds of an attack, guns are drawn and our trained security forces AND trained civilian population go into action. By contrast, in Tel Aviv, the reaction time is slower. I heard at least one person speak of the gun they left at home. Recently, my husband and I stole a weekend away. He had his gun with him as we took a leisurely Sabbath afternoon stroll in a pleasant, quiet village.
One of the residents told him he doesn’t need a gun there and asked why he brought it. A gun is a thing of great obligation and the safest place is either locked away, or on the person trained to use it. Jerusalem’s mayor was both praised and ridiculed for calling on civilians (trained and licensed civilians) to carry their guns with them at all times. His wise call has proven itself over and over again in the last few months.
The attack in Orlando happened in a “gun-free” zone which would, by its very definition, only be violated by someone who didn’t respect the law…the very people against whom an unarmed population needs defense.
If indeed the vast majority of Americans are law-abiding citizens, they have the right to bear arms but more, we live in a time when those who do not respect our laws seek our innocent and abuse the open society we in the western world cherish.
I have long suspected that given enough time and freedom, Obama could well destroy the fabric of the quilted society that is the United States. Luckily for all, he will not have the time and still he moves towards this goal. Do not surrender your guns, America. There are evil people who loathe the world you have created within your borders.
Someone posted to Facebook that blaming the guns for the Orlando massacre would be equivalent to blaming the planes for bringing down the World Trade Center towers or the Zyklon gas for the deaths of millions of Jews during World War II. Planes, guns, gas, knives, bombs…these are not what kill people. It is the hands, the minds, and the hearts of extremists; people who cherish hatred and worship death. In this case, it was Islamic extremism. On September 11, it was Islamic extremism. In the streets of Paris and London, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Orlando, Islamic extremism. Terrorism.
Blaming guns may be politically correct. It is also fundamentally stupid. Open your eyes, America. See the threat. Stop it. And here’s a lesson from Israel – you’ll need those guns to accomplish this. Stop disarming the population; stop blaming the guns that would have saved lives in Orlando as they have saved lives in Israel. No, it wouldn’t have stopped 9/11, but the vast majority of recent attacks both here in Israel and around the world were or might have been stopped sooner if the world recognized that we are engaged in a battle to the death with terrorism and the theology that drives them – their deaths…or ours.