Gun Control: The Most Dangerous Conversation

Community members console one another at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School four days after the shooting, in Parkland, Florida, U.S. February 18, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake

Rabbi Amy Bernstein, Kehillat Israel

It is completely incomprehensible to me that the current culture in this country makes even a conversation about a conversation regarding gun safety impossible. How is it not, at this point, a moral and ethical imperative for us to begin that conversation?

We American Jews have been leaders in both conversation and pressure for legislation around issues we believe to be central to the preservation and quality of human life. What is it that makes the conversation about policies related to gun safety forbidden? When and why did we decide to abdicate responsibility for addressing the number of assault weapons in circulation (some of which were illegal until the lapse of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban in 2004) and the ease of acquiring them?

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel called demonstrating for change in legislation in this country “praying with his feet.” Why aren’t we demanding legislative change now?

To quote Hillel, for the sake of all we hold precious, all entrusted to our care, “im lo achshav ematai — if not now, when?!”