This morning’s sad news of another violent attack on innocent Israeli citizens by a knife-wielding perpetrator was on my morning reading list. Hamas, Hezbollah and the other violent groups are mixing up their tactics with the use of almost unsuspected weapons: everyday items such as cars, knives and other common items which can be easily concealed. Being primed and driven to murder by an constant stream of propaganda from everywhere, internet, imams and organized groups such as Hamas, the martyrs seek their eternal fame and reward the best way they can. It never stops and anyone can wonder how even the most resilient people I know, the Israelis, can manage the stress. Security people are on station but who knows what the driver in the next lane is up to. Is he off to work or off to plough his car into a group of unsuspecting and innocent commuters.

I live in the Western USA and to be honest it’s a lot different from where I used to live. My previous address was in the Boston, Massachusetts area. It is densely built and crowded there. People are very driven and expect public services that don’t even exist here in the West. Police can usually respond quickly and few if any locals own or shoot any type of gun. In fact the police there would rather you didn’t have them or at least apply for a permit and then lock it up so you won’t hurt yourself. Home invasions, carjacking and general violence from gun-wielding criminals is an everyday occurrence there. When I got first permit and a shiny Smith & Wesson .38 Special I was viewed with suspicion and alarm. But I was never home-invaded, carjacked or robbed. Non-gun owning friends asked if I wasn’t afraid someone might take my pistol away from me and I’d get hurt. If I have a loaded .38 Special I’m not the one getting hurt. Maybe word was out.

I had to take some pretty tough training to qualify for my permit. 12 hours (with a lunch break) while we learned applicable laws and how to handle a handgun safely. When we went to the range at the end of the day the groupings were tight and we all passed. Years later and many rounds in the circle have resulted in a degree of wise confidence. So, here’s my two shekels worth.

A rabbi in New York has recommended that French and other Jews arm themselves to protect their families and congregations from the rising attacks from Muslims and anti-Semitics. (http://www.thejewishweek.com/news/new-york/dark-times-taking-aim )Unfortunately Europeans consider firearms as “anti-social” and most countries have rigid laws regarding ownership. Not too long ago Britain burned during riots and the Police were beaten back by mobs who looted and burned what they could not carry off. Happily the mainstream media have now forgotten about such past unpleasantness and it’s “news” as usual. At one time during the rioting Britons who were trying to buy American-style baseball bats to protect themselves (since the Bobbies had been put to flight) were prohibited from buying any at Amazon.com

Israel has had in place strict firearms ownership laws that have kept the Israeli-to-Israeli crime rate at admirable levels. But the violence now is not in that category. Maybe it’s time to copy a few things from what we do out here in the West. For one, at least 70% of the adults here have concealed carry permits. You do not get these in cereal boxes as premiums. You actually have to know what you are doing. Open carry laws are also very common here. You can go to your local grocery super-store and the man in front has a 9mm holstered in plain sight. So far no Jihadists.

Okay, so it’s not the best way to go buy milk and bread. But Israel has the most effective Army in the world and IDF personnel are admittedly the best there are. What about permitting IDF off duty and Reservists to do concealed carry or open carry. The sight of a visibly holstered 9mm locked and loaded might deter a Jihadist and they might consider if heaven can wait. It can save lives and serve notice on that bus rider with the hidden knife, the motorist who murders commuters and tries to flee and the people who send them out to murder men women and babies just because they’re Jews that their chances of success have just been cut, seriously.

Where I live is cow country. More cows than people. We have an excellent sheriff’s department and I used to be a deputy. But they can only be in one place at a time and time counts when things go wrong. Lives and property can be at risk when things go very wrong and having a firearm ready to use is a deterrent and a responsibility that comes with living here. Very few robbers, thieves or murderers have tried anything around here, it’s too dangerous for them. They prefer easy pickings, unarmed people who expect someone else to protect them.

Maybe Israel needs to reconsider letting its citizens bear arms in defense of their own lives and the lives of the innocents being preyed upon by wild beasts. Despite what you hear, we’re pretty peaceful out here. Most of the cowboys I know are too busy tending cows to practice being quick draw gunfighters. But we know that sometimes you may be the only law-abiding one around when someone is breaking it. Maybe the Old West still has a few things to show you, Pilgrim!