The Difference Between Israel and North America In a Nutshell

It has come to light that there was in fact an armed guard at the Florida school. He just failed to do his job. We are all talking about guns but what we aren’t talking about is root cause, prevention and culture.

Israel deals with terror attacks regularly. The mass shooting, bombing and car ram attacks are all things that started in Israel in the past 30 years, so they have experience dealing with this stuff. My friends in the security industry in Israel are always shocked at how lax security is here.

As a former security contractor I can say this with a straight face: the state of security in North America is a joke. Multiple exits and entrances at most schools make control a nightmare. How do you prevent entrance when there are too many entrance points to effectively monitor, let alone control access? We have many potential solutions but they would require some actual work.

  1. Restrict access, change building designs so that there aren’t 8-9 outside doors
  2. Relocate police substations to either in the school or across the street
  3. Have a minimum of 3 armed professional, vetted trained guards in every school
  4. Have armored “safe rooms” built in the schools
  5. Have someone actually monitoring students social media for warning signs
  6. Teach young people how to look for warning signs themselves

In Israel, they have no problem restricting access because they make it so that schools have one or two access points and those access points are monitored and often guarded by armed guards. But there is something else that is very different in Israel and that’s the culture.

In Israel, when something bad happens, people run towards the event – armed or unarmed, they immediately run to help. They pull together. I saw this first hand when there was a stabbing near the Damascus Gate on my last trip – I saw several people running towards the gate rather than away. I believe this is a by-product of tribalism, a “we are all in this together” attitude that stems from knowing that people are in fact trying to kill Jews and the choice is to stop them or die.

In North America, people run away, because they do not feel a bond with others – they protect themselves first last and always. Obviously a few solid people do things differently but this is a general conversation dealing in generalities.

America has become all about the feelings and desires of the individual over whats best for the group as a whole. Instant gratification, is more important than looking after the long-term wellness of the commonality. I believe that this is why we are seeing a proliferation of mass shootings; if someone feels angry, that expression of anger is more important than someone else’s right to life, because individuals are more important than the group. Tribalism has become a dirty word, so has nationalism, we are told not to separate ourselves into groups, yet that’s an important part of being human. You will fight for your family, you will die for your tribe and its members if you feel it strongly enough, but if you have no connection, you will feel no need to try to help. You will stand by while someone murders children, because it’s not your problem.

That is the biggest difference between Israel and North America, in a nutshell.


Ryan Bellerose

A member of the indigenous Metis people, Ryan grew up in the far north of Alberta, Canada with no power nor running water. In his free time, Ryan plays Canadian Rules Football, reads books, does advocacy work for indigenous people and does not live in an Igloo.

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