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Monday, February 11, 2013

To Protect and Provide

By Rabbi Yaakov Rosenblatt
What I learned as a gun-owner --- and what society should.

A rabbi describes how a Jew came to have handguns.

......."I remember the first weapon I ever owned. It was a survival knife, purchased from a friend for $5 when I was fourteen and about to go to summer camp. I smuggled it into the upstate campsite in my hatbox. A quiet, mild-mannered teen, I left it in the hatbox for the duration of the summer. Once, I removed the fishing kit from the knife's hollow core and tried my luck on the pier near the camp lake. I put some bread on the hook and dropped the line into the water. A fish bit and I pulled it onto the dock. But seeing it gasp for life, I felt bad and threw it back into the water. My lust for the wild life was over.

"My wife and I now live in a relatively safe neighborhood in Dallas. Every so often, bikes go missing and lawnmowers disappear. From time to time a home is burglarized. We have an alarm system throughout the house and video cameras on the perimeter.

"Why do I own guns? Is it not to be tough. It is not to be macho. I am a mild-mannered rabbi and businessman and the tough, macho image fits me poorly. Had my wife and I remained in Lakewood, NJ, where we lived when we married in 1997, we wouldn't have thought of owning one. There, we perceived guns as the media portrays them, violent instruments reflective of anger and belligerence. In Dallas it is different. Here they are seen as the means to defend your family in a time of danger, and a responsible thing to own. It took me a while to absorb this view, but I now appreciate it.

"When I entered the business world in 2004, one of my primary desires was to provide for my wife and children in an honorable way. Joined to the moral hip of the desire to provide is the promise to protect. These are perhaps the most basic responsibilities of a husband and father. In Texas, the spirit is free and this truth comes forth. My decision to protect my family comes from the very same place as my commitment to work 12 hours a day to provide for them. Both are natural and both are good.

"Are we living in innocent times? In truth, I am worried about the stability of our nation. When a business spends more than it makes, and covers the difference by selling bonds to new investors, it is headed for ruin. Our government has been doing that for years, beholding a moral weakness that begets collapse. Companies built on machinations like these fail well before the leadership thinks they will. Cultures fail, too. Where there is chaos there is anarchy and where there is anarchy we ought to be protected.

"When I heard of the horrible, tragic, massacre at Sandy Hook my mind went numb. Those beautiful children were the same age as my six year-old son. When the details became known, the issue, to me, was not the lack of firearm regulation. It was the story of a father-detached child sucked into a God-detached world of violent video games, where armed human beings are all powerful and can destroy others with impunity. And it was the tale of a mother who didn't have the strength to withhold guns from her sick son who wanted them. The conversation I hoped for was introspection on what we can do for parents struggling with mentally ill children, and how we can keep our youth inspired by values not violence.

"Sadly, much of the current political chatter is misguided. Of course, not everyone should have the right to bear arms. Of course, receiving a CHL should be contingent on your being an upstanding citizen. And there should be restrictions on weapons in homes where a family member has mental illness. But the larger problem facing our nation is not the inspired citizen's ability to protect his family. It is the dependent citizen's growing sense of entitlement that is hollowing the gut of our nation.

"It is a God-inspired culture that teaches respect for the individual and reverence for the soul. It is that same Judeo-Christian foundation that teaches us that it is the responsibility of the citizen to try, to the best of his ability, to provide for his family and to protect them. In New York the idea of weapons in private hands may cause some to recoil. But in Dallas, privately held firearms are, to most, merely, a commitment to family — the commitment to provide and a promise, the ever honorable promise, to protect."

The full article can be found at To Protect and Provide

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