Second Amendment Jews
"Peace comes through God-centered strength.....if you're an armed person, you're a citizen, and if you're disarmed, you're a subject." Charles Heller, Executive Director of Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (JPFO) (1)
The JPFO, founded by the late Aaron Zelman in 1989, claims to be "America's most aggressive defender of the Second Amendment" which provides that "A well-regulated militia being necessary for the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." According to Heller, "Gun control is poison" since it has enabled tyrants to commit genocide on unarmed populations. Is he right?
Gun ownership is indeed deeply ingrained in the American culture; the quoted Second Amendment was actually based upon provisions of state constitutions that guaranteed the right to keep and bear arms. None of the gun-control proposals now under consideration in Washington or state capitals would infringe upon the right of a law-abiding sane citizen to use a handgun or single-shot rifle to defend his home or business against criminals. Every year robbers perish at the hands of armed storekeepers, and am I glad to see them eliminated. Gun-control laws have had at best marginal effects in reducing gun violence. most of which is committed with handguns, not assault weapons. Background checks sound good, but Lee Harvey Oswald would have passed with flying colors, and so would Booth, Guiteau (2), Czolgosz (3) and Sirhan. Of the major assassins in US history, only James Earl Ray (who killed Martin Luther King) was a convicted felon.
But in the United States, Jews are no more vulnerable to violent crime than anyone else; yet JPFO apparently believes that Jews have a special interest in gun rights. The references to Nazi gun-control and genocide in JPFO literature indicate a rationale that is distinct from that of the NRA and other gun-advocacy groups: Jews must arm themselves against another Holocaust----this one in America!
The Talmud teaches that self-defense is indeed a Jewish value: it is meritorious to kill someone who is threatening you or someone else (a rodef, or pursuer). Had the Jews of Europe been adequately armed, they could have made the genocidal efforts far more costly to the Nazis and their local collaborators; had the price in German deaths been great enough, maybe Hitler and his henchmen would have abandoned the Final Solution altogether. Actually, some Jews did fight back against the Nazis in the Warsaw Ghetto and in Jewish partisan groups, but their valiant deeds had little effect, largely because of lack of co-operation from the Allies and non-Jewish resistance groups. Moreover, the German Army had not only guns, but tanks, artillery and a world-class air force. Only a similarly (or better) armed force could defeat it.
Unlike Mr Heller, I consider the prospect of a government-sponsored pogrom in this country absurd, so I am not arming myself against one. To me, the best hope of preventing the dystopian fantasy of a Nazi or communist takeover here is to create a society that respects human rights and the rule of law, not stocking up on guns and ammo. And I am still a citizen, not a subject.
Gerald S Glazer
(1) Jewish pro-gun group fighting uphill by Annysa Johnson in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel,l Jan. 21, 2013, page 0A.
(2) Assassin of President James Garfield.
(3) Assassin of President William McKinley.