If we’re going to have gun debate, and if we’re going to be adults, we need to get a few facts straight. Like I’ve said before, we’re entitled to our own opinions, but we’re not entitled to our own facts. If we do this and remember to respect each other, we should be fine.
With that in mind, we need to clear up a few “facts” about gun control.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve seen many on the pro-gun side posting pictures of Israeli teachers armed with rifles. You can see one such picture above. These individuals point to it and say it’s a beautiful thing to see a country determined and willing to protect its youth, that it shows our cowardice when we don’t arm our own teachers.
However, context matters. Yes, Israel doesn’t have school shootings like we do, and it’s easy to say that the armed teachers help. After all, Israel gave teachers guns and they haven’t had the kinds of mass shootings we have, right?
It should also be noted that teachers in Israel who do choose to carry firearms almost always have a background in the Israeli Defense Forces, meaning they have military training. Contrast all these things with the US where anyone can walk into Wal-Mart and walk out with a shotgun and as much ammo to invade Fallujah. In Israel, civilians are limited to how much ammunition they may own, and there are even regulations on how that ammo can be stored.
So, to all who keep pointing to Israel as a haven where the population can be armed as they see fit and don’t suffer the kinds of shootings here, I’d like you to remember this.
They have MUCH stricter gun control than us. They didn’t eliminate their guns, but they require those who use them to be trained and regulated with periodic checks and, as such, have fewer guns per capita. This is the kind of thing most of us are trying to push. I don’t want guns eliminated entirely. Not by a mile, but I do acknowledge that they are weapons designed to kill. They are not tools. As such, they require training and constant attention.
In the US, while the number of guns has gone up, the number of gun owners has gone DOWN while the number of gun deaths has also slowly gone down. This doesn’t point to more guns making us safer. It points to less people owning guns making us safer.
Now then, if you’re going to keep pointing to the “Israeli model” as proof we need armed teachers, you should also be pointing out the strict background checks, training, and regulation mandated by the government and that said teachers previously worked as soldiers.
Like I said, context is everything.
America has a problem in Israel.
Wait, let me rephrase that. Israel has become a problem for America.
On the one hand, we give Israel $3 billion every year with no strings attached. Why? Because many fundamentalists in this country believe that Israel is the Holy Land, it will be where Jesus lays waste to the armies of evil when Judgment Day comes. This is not an exaggeration. American Christian fundamentalists truly believe Israel can do no wrong and to NOT help that country and do everything it wants is tantamount to treason.
On the other hand, the CIA admits that Israel is the greatest counter-intelligence threat in the Middle East. It ranked below Libya. And these are no isolated incidents. Israeli intelligence can and often does pass this information to non-friendly nations, so why do we continue to trust them implicitly, often going so far as to have Romney say he would forcefully defend Israel (read: attack other nations first in the name of the Holy Land).
This is troubling for two reasons. First of all, we’re spending billions on a nation that is actively trying to do us harm. Secondly, we’re doing this in the name of religion. Conservatives make no secret of their unconditional support of Israel. They rant about welfare mothers and the poor looking to the government for help and think such people must be weak for feeling so entitled, but woe is he who raises any doubt about the sanctity and holiness of Israel.
Israel is a country surrounded by enemies, but it’s not without its sins. Any dialogue regarding aid to that nation and our role in the region must take the good and the bad into account. Christian prophecy should play about as much a role as Genesis should play in science classes: zero.
The fact that the Right would welcome a war to kill billions just so they can be spiritually saved should show us the kind of narcissistic sociopaths that make up their leadership and some of their base.
Ten bucks says this news gets ignored or outright attacked in the Right Wing.