Wednesday, October 31, 2018

The Pittsburgh Shootings Highlight National Challenges

By Rabbi D.B. Ganz

The synagogue shootings in Pittsburgh highlights two deadly-serious national challenges. The first is specific and the second is general. The first difficulty is just staggering. If the Pittsburgh shootings and others like it in the recent past can happen, every public place in America is a potential target. Posting armed guards all over would turn the country into an armed camp. And it still wouldn't provide absolute safety, for every place people go cannot be guarded at all times. So, what should be done? The second more general problem is even more troubling.

When I grew up in the 1950s, I don't recall that there was ever even one mass shooting. But not only didn't it occur, no one would have imagined that anything like that could ever happen in the USA. Similarly, no one would have dreamt that airplane passengers would have to first pass through metal detectors, that big city public schools would need armed police guards at all times to keep things safe, that edibles sold in bottles would require a seal under the cap to prevent people from inserting poisons - and so on. How did our society become so dangerous? Is Western Civilization beating a path toward savagery?

If we can fix the second problem, it will mostly resolve the first one as well. But if the second one endures, there is probably scant hope for solving the first one.

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