Why no gun massacres in Israel?

Well, they have no gun-free zones, those pretty party-invitations for mass murderers.

But you would think, being surrounded by Arab enemies, would guarantee a massacre or three every now and then in the Jewish State. But no, not at all. And my Israeli pal Snoopy the Goon gives his take on why.

His angle mainly is on the gun, which makes a certain sense, I agree, though I tend to think it’s a little like blaming the doctor for the disease. Nevertheless, give Mr. G.’s effort a considered read:

“Oh well, now to the main question: It is really a hard one. The fact is that no Israeli kid (or a grown-up) I know of ever attempted the kind of unmotivated massacre that happen in other places and, especially, in US. There were a few cases of mass murder aimed at Arabs, though.

“How to explain it? I can only use my own example. As a boy, like most boys, I was fascinated by guns. My pocket money was mostly spent on the local shooting range (air guns only, of course), and I was really interested in all kinds of guns, cannons, rockets, etc.

“After the boot camp here in Israel, where you get ‘married’ to your gun (in IDF you don’t store your gun in the armory for the night or for any other time periods, for that matter – it stays with you, even on a furlough). You shoot a lot, you train a lot, and every time you are shooting for training purposes, you go through the safety drill, even in the reserve service.

“So with time any fascination, feeling of novelty etc get very far behind you. And when you check it in at the end of your duty period, it is a welcome good-bye and nothing more.

“As for personal use (handgun): I have never been sufficiently trained on one, only some brief courses for general acquaintance, nothing more. I know that for me, without training, the gun will give a false feeling of safety, and I will be generally better off without it.

“I would (maybe) have considered the short version of M16, which could be as useful as a handgun in right hands, but much more precise and lethal – but in Israel you can’t get one legally. [He means the M4 and if he means the full-automatic military version, you can’t buy that in U.S. either without a special permit].

“As for general population: I know that most of the people that went through combat training feel exactly like I do. So Israelis that are still fascinated with firearms in adult age are, most probably, not coming from combat service. Those who carry—either because of their security duties or because they travel in the West Bank—are not enamored with their guns, for overwhelming majority. It is just there to be used if and when necessary, nothing more.

“Unlike many other folks, I will not call hysterically for more gun control…education is more important, in addition the process of issuing a permit should be adjusted to look closer into the mental state of the person who requests it. The last few cases—this Connecticut one and the Arizona—both kids were mental cases, I am ready to bet on it. In Israel at least, you can be quite sure (not at the level of 100%, of course, but fairly close) that such a case will not get a gun permit.

“I still support that Heinlein saying (I frequently repeat it without regard to tragedies like the last one) about the armed society being a polite society. The other side of the coin is arming the wrong people… but I know you agree on most of the points I made here.”

I do agree with most of the points. But not with one facet of Israeli gun culture: registration of all guns in private hands is required there. Not here, not in most states, certainly not in Texas, and that’s fine with me, because I don’t think it’s any of the state’s business who owns a gun and who doesn’t.

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