On the Gun Violence This Past Weekend

Undocumented people were already afraid that ICE officers might show up at their doorstep, or their place of work or at their children’s school. They feared that they might make a slight mistake while driving, get pulled over and be “discovered”. They are too afraid to speak up at a job at which they are working under abusive conditions or to call the police when there are illegal and threatening activities in their neighborhoods. Now, they have to be afraid to gather together at a shopping mall,or a festival or a party or at the park because someone stoked by the hate-filled rhetoric that is being spit from the lips of the President and oozes from his fingers when he tweets, can pick up a machine that was designed as a weapon of war and indiscriminately shoot them. I’m a Jew and my tradition demands of me that I not stand idly by.

I am tired of mental illness and those who suffer from it being prostituted as “those who pull the trigger” every time there is a mass shooting. The statistics demonstrate that those with mental illness are more likely to be the victims of gun violence than the perpetrators. It is very convenient for the gun lobby and those whom that lobby has bought in the halls of Congress to label someone who is a white male American mass murderer as “crazy” rather than a terrorist, especially when they would never use mental illness to explain or excuse a foreign born person who committed the same atrocity. Instead of addressing the problem directly, Congressional obstructionists want to “red flag” the mentally ill. How about “red flagging” those who spew this racist, xenophobic hate, starting with Donald Trump and Stephen Miller? I am a Jew and my tradition demands of me that I call out those whose behavior is immoral, unethical and sociopathic.

And what about those weapons of war that are so readily available to be bought in person or on the internet from Gilroy to Dayton to El Paso? What kind of nation would make it so easy for people to get these instruments of mass destruction in the hands of its citizens? How can a government, that has as part of its mandate the protection of the nation, allow people to own these instruments whose only function is to kill and maim? These are often the same people who are oh-so-ready to give full human status to a fetus in the womb and protect its existence while at the same time their policies (or lack thereof) endanger us all. I am a Jew and my tradition wants me to be among those working for a day when weapons will be converted into implements of nurturing and sustenance.

And what is this about only wringing our hands when there is massive carnage, all in one place at the same time? Add up what happens in Watts or the South side of Chicago in a week and there is a mass murder in those places 52 times a year. Why don’t we even notice these deaths caused by guns? I am a Jew and I’m supposed to open the eyes of the blind – even my own.

Call your Congressperson. Call your Senator. Tell them that they work for you and you want them to do everything they can and as immediately as they can so that the haters are cordoned off onto a little island in our society where their words and thoughts can no longer harm and destroy.