I Grieve

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Indicative of the current climate of coddled-hate gripping the country, it is not surprising that two houses, one literal, of worship were attacked over the weekend. Rockland County, New York, and White Settlement, Texas were the scenes of horrific violence this past weekend. Respectively, one at a Rabbi’s home and the other a Christian congregation in Texas.  Monsey is a town in Rockland County, New York and is known to be a haven for the orthodox Hasidic community. It appears an assailant bent on terror and murder, planned, drove at least 30 miles and carried out the up-close brutal attacks of five people, using a machete.

Similarly, with the same sort of up-close brutality, a man fired a shotgun at point-blank range and killed two parishioners at the West Freeway Church of Christ just outside Fort Worth, Texas. There is little doubt that the shooting of the killer prevented more deaths but it is still disturbing that we have come to a point that a man of the cloth thanked the government for giving the state permission to allow congregants to bring guns to church in the same framework of thanking God, “I am thankful that our government has allowed us a way to protect ourselves,” Britt Farmer, the church’s senior minister said. “Please continue to pray for the West Freeway Church family.”

First of all, let me admit I am virulently anti-gun in the hands of civilians, except for hunting [weapons]. I have listened to the arguments over the years of personal protection, but the rate of gun suicides, familial and inner-city violence, far outweigh the advocates. I have friends and family who have been shot so for me the trigger squeeze is not worth the juice. At the same time, I cannot deny the obvious saving of lives in the Texas shooting. Some might argue had a group of Hasidic Jews—gathered at the home of their Rabbi [ Chaim Rottenberg] for Hanukkah, drew down on their assailant possibly fewer of them would have suffered injuries.

Of course, the whole notion of shootouts in houses of worships should strike us all as absurd, but the NRA and a large portion of America cannot wait to say I told you so, “Evil walked boldly among us, but good people raised up and stopped it before it got worse,” Tarrant County Sheriff Bill Waybourn said.

One has to wonder how many church attendees, moviegoers, concert aficionados, and children on playgrounds have to die before we address the real problem. America is a gun-obsessed haven for weaponry, fostered by fear, intolerance, prejudice, and profit.  I hesitantly write these words because my compassion for the victims gives me pause to add any fuel to their fires of sorrow. I write because I cannot muster any more incoherent thoughts or false prayers. In the case of the machete-wielding assailant, people survived but in the flash of a shotgun blast, two men died. Yes, yes, I understand the fear and the need to overcome helplessness with a gun in hand, but six-year-olds, teens in dark movie theaters, partiers in a parking lot—enjoying a concert, maybe, just maybe, could survive a knife-wielding attacker who does not have a semi-automatic pistol or an AR-15 rifle.

Vote in 2020 for Change.