A community of communities

Violence in our midst

Tue, 06/20/2017 - 4:47pm -- Rabbi

The horrible gun violence in Virginia directed at Republican members of Congress this week shocks us, and of course we condemn it and pray for the recovery of its victims.  At the same time, we must think about why this particular incident has received so much attention, when the unfortunate truth is that gun violence on a much larger scale happen every day in this country with little notice. In this, the great contrast between how Israelis and Americans react to incidents of gun violence and how they view the idea of safety is instructive. Sadly, Israelis have become accustomed to gun violence that has a political motive, but such violence that has a personal or criminal motive, which is extremely rare in Israel, shocks and appalls them.  By contrast, Americans have become so accustomed to the extremely high level of gun violence in America that has a personal or criminal motive that it barely registers, but such violence that has a political motive, which is extremely rare in the U.S., shocks and appalls us. For this reason, Israelis and Americans have the tendency to look at each other's countries and ask, "Is it really safe to live there?!"  The hard truth is that no motive for perpetrating violence on others is acceptable, and both categories of gun violence should shock, horrify, and enrage us.  Our brothers' and sisters' blood is being shed in the streets every day, and we are, for the most part, standing idly by.  May this incident, along with so many others, finally break us out of our complacency and impel us to raise our voices against all gun violence and the deadly weapons that perpetrate it. The blood in our streets cannot allow us to remain silent.