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Dear Mayor Bloomberg:
I am an Orthodox rabbi who lives in New Jersey but works in New York City. Approximately half of my waking life is lived under your laws and jurisdiction. Like everyone who lives or works in New York City, I have the right, even the obligation, to confront some of your policies regarding so-called “gun control”.
Why do I place the phrase “gun control” in quotes? Because this innocuous-sounding phrase, this expression that sounds like common sense, is in reality a dangerous bit of semantic trickery.
“Gun control” actually (and historically) means letting government, whether benign or ruthlessly evil, disarm certain sectors of society and allow others to remain armed. It means letting the government know where every gun owner lives and the number and types of firearms that he or she owns. It means putting the authority to decide who has the right to defend him or herself with a firearm into the hands of a government bureaucrat.
The honest definition of “gun control” is actually “victim disarmament”. Because the person with the gun will always control the person without the gun. Without the personal firearm as an “equalizer”, the stronger will always control the weaker. (Please see this “Genocide Chart” )
Mr. Bloomberg, our Jewish tradition tells us that righteous self-defense is not only permissible but an obligation: "If a murderer comes for you, strike him down first." (Talmud Sanhedrin 72a)
In your own New York City, hand guns are illegal for all practical purposes, yet the murderers, drug dealers, gangs, and other criminal predators in your City manage to acquire them nonetheless. How do you expect civilians to defend themselves against those who would harm them if we cannot use the most practical tool at our disposal -- the handgun? You tell us to “Dial 911”? And then wait ten minutes or more for police rescue? (See "Dial 911 and Die")
It deeply troubles me that I -- along with millions of others who live and work in your city -- are on your “disarmed” list. Mr. Mayor, this is not only immoral, it goes against the fundamental precepts of Judaism that you and I both honor.
The Torah teaches: “Do not stand idly by the blood of your neighbor.” (Leviticus 19:16), which Rashi explains means that one who is able to help another escape harm and fails to do so is held culpable in the Heavenly Court for the harm he failed to prevent. You, Mr. Mayor, by disarming your citizens, place them in harm’s way every day.
Jews are commanded by G-d to value all human life. How can you, a religiously committed Jew, say you truly value human life? Every second you stand as Mayor you advocate laws that strip millions and millions of people in your city completely defenseless in the face of the criminal predators who roam your streets.Mr. Mayor, your citizen disarmament is an act of hypocrisy. Unlike nearly all the rest of us, everywhere you go you are surrounded by official armed guards, police escorts, and your highly trained personal private bodyguards. (See adjacent photo). Mr. Mayor, is your life worth more than the lives of your fellow citizens? Or are we mere “subjects” in your eyes?
As Jews, Mr. Mayor, we believe that all life is precious, not just the lives of our leaders. Have you ever, in your time as Mayor, walked the streets of New York City alone and unarmed?
I am nearly certain you would have to answer “no” to this question. Therefore I must further ask you: How, in clear conscience, do you require the rest of us to do so? Would you willingly live under this prejudicial burden? Can you recognize and admit the arrogant hypocrisy this attitude displays?
Additionally, you are no doubt aware that the Jewish people have been at the wrong end of the gun barrel for far too long. America is one of the few countries in the world where Jews are entitled to embrace firearms as the most practical means of our own self-defense. And you would strip us of the right to defend ourselves? With all due respect, Mr. Mayor, this is shameful.
Mayor Bloomberg, have you studied Jewish history? Are you aware that the Nazis disarmed Jews prior to Kristallnacht and that those same Nazi gun laws are the foundation of the U.S. Gun Control Act of 1968? Are you aware that Senator Thomas Dodd asked the Library of Congress to translate the Nazi Gun Control Laws into English for him, and that he incorporated language from these laws into the Gun Control Act of 1968 that he authored? How can it be that you, a Jew, are enforcing Nazi-inspired laws? (See "Gateway to Tyranny")
Tyrants like Lenin, Hitler, Stalin, and Mao “pioneered” the bloody trail of “gun control” in the 20th Century. Why do you so thoughtlessly, in effect, mimic the insidious actions of these monsters?
This apparent elitism on your part makes your recent publicity stunt in Arizona even more cynical. You sent NYPD agents all the way across the country to purchase guns -- but you can't deploy enough police to protect your own City residents?
And if you expose your city’s residents via such a manpower diversion, how do you justify denying these residents the right to protect themselves with a firearm?
Mr. Mayor, do you need a rabbi to tell you that your actions are wrong and immoral?
This nation’s Bill of Rights is a sacrosanct public trust. You are a public servant. You swore an oath to uphold the Constitution. As you blatantly disregard the Second Amendment, the actual “Guardian” of all the rest of the Bill of Rights, I must ask you: Did you knowingly lie when you took your oath of office?
Rabbi Dovid Bendory
Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership
Rabbi Bendory is an NRA Certified Firearms Instructor.
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