Sunday, May 19, 2013


(Originally published in The Times of Israel)

Despite being named the eighth most redneck city in the U.S. as reported by that prestigious journal,, I love my hometown of Sacramento.  It is a pleasant tree-lined city with blue rivers and greenery and good people, even if I occasionally think their self-worth depends a bit too much on keeping the NBA's Kings in town.

Despite my fondness for Sacramento, after three months back in the U.S., I was ready to leave the old hometown and head home to Israel. In addition to just needing my quotient of life in our Jewish-majority homeland, I was, frankly, getting a little weirded out. 

Sacramento was fine.  It was the rest of the U.S. that had me wondering.  Sandy Hook, Boston, a shopping mall here, a theater there.  A child knifed to death by her 12-year-old brother in the foothills above Sacramento, three women held for years by a Cleveland masochist, a five-year-old killing his two- year-old sister with a Davey Crickett My First Rifle.

My First Rifle was described by the county coroner as a "little rifle for a kid."  Makes sense.  I suppose there was a little coffin for a little sister killed by a brother with a little rifle for a kid. 

80,000 NRA activists cheering on Sarah Palin and a cast of extremely strident people as they resist the idea of checking to see if a guy or girl who buys a gun at a trade show is a whack job.  Somehow the idea of registering a gun is a threat to the Republic and all it stands for. 

We register and license cars.  We register and license CPA's.  In California we register and license hairdressers and cosmetologists.  But somehow checking out buyers and registering and licensing guns is a threat to liberty. 

Some of these folks seem to think that their gun will stop the U.S. government, with its tanks, carriers, and missiles, from taking over the country.  They see their guns as the last line of defense against what they fear is a tyrannical government.  What they seem to have forgotten is that they, we the people, are the government, and those soldiers they will be defending against with their rifles and pistols and semi-automatics are their sons and daughters, nephews and nieces.

So, in the face of this insanity, it actually seemed calming to be returning to the security and peacefulness of Jerusalem. 

Then we arrived.