Maybe it was nunchucks guy. Maybe it was the attacks not 10-15 minutes walking distance from where I live. Whatever the cause, I decided that whenever I leave the house, I’m carrying—my old Louisville Slugger. I knew I might be laughed at, but I figured better ridiculed than dead.
I’m not the only one. My Dad is carrying his licensed pistol, which usually sits at home (safely secured, don’t worry). A guy I met bought a truncheon at a defense shop; he mentioned meeting a sweet woman of 25 who has a knife in her purse, alongside a long line of people buying means of self-defense at licensed stores.
My facebook friends have talked about what they will use for a weapon; one even put up a picture of a guy carrying at least ten rifles with the caption “going to the grocery store.” Another said they’ll be going to their date in an APC. The defense mentality is everywhere. We will not go down quietly.
Reactions to my walking around with a baseball bat in a city where baseball hardly exists elicited some interesting reactions. One guy—a Haredi man—openly asked me if he could buy it off me. Some snickered to my face or talked behind my back. Others gave me encouragement, saying everyone should follow my example.
I’m not naïve. I know I’m not Chuck Norris or Rambo, and that even with a bat or a gun, I might fail to defend myself. But something about being equipped with the means of self-defense made me feel good, after the initial embarrassment and shyness wore off. I started to feel confident, even proud.
Not in the macho I’m-going-to-go-storm-Stalingrad-alone kind of way—but with a quiet, solid sense of masculine self-worth: I am not helpless, I have some control over my fate. Now that I am holding the means, I can and will not only defend myself but others nearby. In this, I am merely following the example of many brave Israelis who have done the same.
Israel was not just founded so Jews can be “tough targets,” but it was certainly a very pleasant byproduct; as Efraim Kishon once put it, (paraphrasing) Israel was meant not eliminate antisemitism but to make it painful and costly. The response of ordinary Israelis to these attacks demonstrates this more than anything.
This tense period will pass, and soon I won’t have to walk like I need to crack someone’s skull open. But something about the experience, the rush, and the strength I felt will likely linger on. And if I need to, I’ll take the bat out again.