The Chicagoland Jewish community is abuzz with the news that Palestinian sympathizers vandalized five shuls over the holy Sabbath last weekend. Some vandals broke plate-glass windows, and others spray-painted "Death to Israel" on shuls' front doors. Jewish organizations, including schools, are taking extra security precautions. After all, Hamas targets children. The Hamas rocket launcher operators and suicide bombers are heroes to these vandals. There's no reason they would hesitate to target Jewish children.
This seems like a great time to start packing heat.
We can't do that.
Not in Chicago, we can't.
We can act like the vandals and antisemites expect us to act--frozen with fear. We can check our backs as we walk down California Avenue. We can wave to the cop cars conspicuously parked at various locations around the neighborhood. We can walk in groups. Some of us will stop going to shul; I remember someone telling me that she stopped going because "I don't want to be killed." And that was several years ago. It doesn't stop.
This is all window dressing. Without guns inside and outside our homes, we are giving up our best defense--our best way of defending ourselves against extreme violence. If the vandals, who most likely live in Rogers Park or nearby, knew that we were a well-armed community, they wouldn't be so quick to throw bricks through our synagogue windows or spray-paint synagogue doors. They would worry about getting shot. I have heard (but cannot verify) that some shuls practice a bit of civil disobedience--one guy in the shul wears a gun during services. And he's not a cop. He's just a member--a "minyanaire" regular, maybe a shul officer--who is always there and always carrying. He helps protect the shul. Meanwhile, willingly or not, he is giving Hizzoner Da Mare the finger. Mayor Richard M. Daley, Mr. Anti-Gun himself, who has 24-hr. protection--two cops on him at all times, thanks to the taxpayers of the City. Da Mare, who doesn't think the people should be permitted to defend themselves.
The National Rifle Association's lawsuit against the city to overturn its handgun ban should go to trial sometime this year, with a decision, I hope, by summer. Other cities, like Evanston, have capitulated and rewritten their handgun bans. Mayor Daley wants to spend millions of dollars the city doesn't have to fight this case in court. Why? It would make great television for the parents of a murdered child, c'v', to ask him that question. A child killed for the crime of being Jewish. I hope we never, ever have that opportunity.