Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews -- For those who like their news and truths frank and sharp

How to stop gun violence in the United States

Stricter gun laws are not the silver bullet (pardon the pun)

IMHO, the American People is a wonderful bunch. Hospitable, eager to go the extra mile, curious, adventurous, creative, innovative, moral, spiritual, artful, persistent, playful, traditional, respectful, on the whole.

However, also some negative aspects color American society. One is that it has a violent trigger-happy culture where life is cheap. Also emotional life, looking at the rape rate.

This is not innate. Historically, something went wrong. It is amendable.

By now it is well-known (and soon it will also be well-understood) that something was seriously off at the time of the funding of the Republic. Racism is the short term for a went wrong in a country that got started on mass-murdering the Native population, inventing modern (skin-color-based) racism, and trading in and employing (exploiting) Black slaves.

Furthermore, the Nation got rooted in war. Its War of Independence and (the aggression wasn’t over) a Civil War (nothing civil about it).

In this violent mix of bloodshed, the Constitution was written and it included the Right to Bear Arms. So that citizens could defend themselves if a government would start infringing on their basic rights.

But now, firearms hurt more than they prevent injury. We’ll return to this.

Around the Globe

This is very different from the situation in the Jewish part of Israel. Here many people wear a loaded weapon but for personal safety and the safety of the people around them. The permission is given on a personal basis after careful evaluation and selection. No mass shootings or bank heists.

On Island they love rifles. Fire arm sales boom. They are cruel enough to consider hunting animals a nice hobby. But they don’t shoot each other. Maybe they kill (!) their aggression on animals. Gun owners first get shooting lessons. Semi-automatic and military-style weapons are banned.

Switzerland hasn’t had a mass shooting in two decades. Some 8 million people there own some 2 million guns. The murder rate is about zero. Teenagers train there in shooting competitions. No killing involved. No military conflict since 1815. No enemy will invade. Too many arms around. Very strict gun laws. Been aggressive or drunk, no gun. No walking around with guns. They do have gun suicides as in all rich spoiled countries.

Japan sees some 10 shooting deaths a year in a population of 127 million. Owners must first pass a mental-health evaluation at a hospital, and a background check including interviews of friends and family members. No handguns, only shotguns and air rifles. The Japanese were known as the most vicious around. Losing a world war seems to help. (Ask Germany.)

In The Netherlands, murder is mainly the prerogative of the mafia. Ever since women are equal in number in the police force, much violence is diffused and prevented. This has a ripple effect on the whole of society.

So Much Can Be Done in the USA

. One of the Ten Commandments is against murder, not against all killing. Planning to kill someone is a category in itself. It must be taught properly.

. Restrictive gun laws seem to help most. Countries, that had authorities massively buy back weaponry, saw murder rates plummet too. So, those are the first two things that should happen in the US. But there’s more.

. The armed police must no longer interfere in cases of domestic disputes, or physical or emotional distress. Social workers are trained to do so.

. Life seems too cheap in the US. Besides getting most people out of jail (not the worst murderers), the US should abolish capital punishment. The laws to see if someone ‘deserves’ the death penalty are contradictory to Biblical Law. The Talmud explains that the judges had to try to exonerate every accused. If someone was still guilty, G^d could deal with him. It calls a court that convicted more than one person to death per 7 years: a bunch of murderers. And some Sages say that with more than one in 70 years! Also, death row is considered cruel and so are the ways the US executes.

. Eating less meat may help too in teaching that death is a horrible thing.

Next on the list to make life in the US more peaceful: uproot poverty and homelessness, free health insurance for all, a basic income, and real social security. No one who lost her or his job should feel that now life is over.

. Last but not least, history needs to be reevaluated. White America needs to admit, regret, disavow, mourn, and right the historic wrong of racism. In the same way, the American People needs to revisit its violent past. There is a need to deeply regret all the killing and bloodshed that drenched the foundation of the State. Stop denying and stop falsely blaming the Natives for having been vicious. From now on, the best hero is not someone who killed the most or got sacrificed, but someone who prevents bloodshed.

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, a daily blog contributor to the TOI. He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (https://diethylstilbestrol.co.uk/studies/des-and-psychological-health/), born in 1953 to two Dutch survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork, and holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam). He taught Re-evaluation Co-counseling, became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. * His most influential teachers (chronologically) are: his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach, and, lehavdil bein chayim lechayim: Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff, and Rav Meir Lubin. * Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years, he wrote hasbara for the Dutch public. His fields of attention now are varied: Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (statistics), Politics (Israel, the US and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight Truth), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, LGBTQIA, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), Ecology and Veganism. Sometimes he's misunderstood because he has such a wide vision that never fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what many love about him. Many of his posts relate to affairs from the news or the Torah Portion of the Week or are new insights that suddenly befell him. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, reassure the doubters but make the self-assured doubt more. He strives to bring a fresh perspective rather than bore you with the obvious. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds must be disputed. In short, his main political positions are: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, democracy, anti the fake peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, Science, Free Will, anti blaming-the-victim and for down-to-earth optimism. Read his blog how he attempts to bridge any discrepancies. He admits sometimes exaggerating to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quite a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second-generation Holocaust survivors from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. November 13, 2018, he published his 500th blog post with the ToI. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having a peek outside of your cultural bubble. * To find his earlier blog posts on a certain subject XXX, among his over 1200 ones, go to the right-top corner of the Times of Israel page, click on the search icon and search "zuiden, XXX". His second daily active less tame blog, to which one may subscribe, one may find here: https://mmvanzuiden.wordpress.com/ or by clicking on the globe icon next to his picture on top. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me.
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