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Friday, August 24, 2012

Gail Collins, "Arms and the Duck": In Fact, Armed Civilians in Israel Have Stopped Terrorists

Throughout much of my adult life, I have had to live with assault rifles, owing to my service in the military. That means eat, sleep and hold them close 24 hours a day. Often, I would have to bring them home when on leave, and then there was always the headache: to disassemble the rifle and separately hide the firing pin. I never wanted the children going anywhere near them.

And as I have stated in prior blog entries, I oppose the sale of assault rifles to the public, even when manufactured to fire only in semi-automatic mode. It's not difficult to convert them back into automatics, and assault rifles are indeed killing machines.

In her New York Times op-ed entitled "Arms and the Duck" (, Gail Collins opposes the proliferation of rifles with "high-capacity magazines," i.e. magazines holding large numbers of bullets. I agree. However, Collins also writes:

"[I]t’s only in movies that people are good shots during a violent encounter. In 2008, Al Baker reported in The Times that the accuracy rate for New York City officers firing in the line of duty was 34 percent.

And these are people trained for this kind of crisis. The moral is that if a lunatic starts shooting, you will not be made safer if your fellow average citizens are carrying concealed weapons.

. . . .

We are never going to have a sane national policy on guns until the gun advocates give up on the fantasy that the best protection against armed psychopaths bent on random violence is regular people with loaded pistols on their belts."

Well, Israel's experience proves her wrong. There is no scarcity of firearms in Israel, given the presence of armed guards at every school and shopping center. And notwithstanding this "abundance" of weapons in the hands of the public, including automatic weapons brought home on weekends by youngsters, doing their mandatory service in the army, and reservists, killings with these weapons are rare.

More to the point, it has often happened in Israel that armed civilians carrying concealed weapons have indeed killed terrorists who have opened fire on civilians, thus putting an early end to potential massacres.

Is this because of the military training which most Israelis undergo? I don't know the answer, but the question is surely worth examining.


  1. Personally, I am against guns. I have no desire to have them. I have no desire to shoot. I have no desire to be shot, etc.
    However ... proliferation of guns is only one of the issues facing America and increasingly, it is used as a distraction by overfed, overprivileged and overprimitive "liberals."
    Yes, yet another tragedy happened yesterday when someone who had lost his job killed his former boss and nobody on our "charming" , media view the tragedy as "American tragedy," a tragedy of a country where humans are disposable - squeezed and thrown out.
    I was in midtown a day before and saw many people in total desperation, jobless, without health care, homeless or about to become ones.
    Sadly, our billionaire mayor and our multimillionaires "journalists" continue babbling about guns and "cakes" ("let them ...)
    The future will be exciting (with or without guns), "ladies" and "gentlemen."

  2. Personally,I am for guns.I enjoy shooting them(target shooting and plinking.I am anti-hunting) and collecting them for their fine workmanship/fancy wood.I am,however,against assault type rifles,with no practical purpose such as target shooting,and designed with the express purpose of killing people.I am also pro-uniform gun laws nationwide.Lax laws in some states over the years have contributed to the problem.(For years,handguns could be easily bought in the south,then resold in the northern states with strict controls.This has been restricted,but how many entered the illegal market,is unknown.)
    The guns are out there-millions of them,they will not be reeled in.Gun control will only control the law abiding folks.Criminals,etc will always be able to be whatever they want-that's the sad truth,and all of the speeches by politicians playing up to get votes from the anti-gun sector isn't going to change that.
    (This nation won't sink to Nazi house to house searches,I think and hope) One need only look to Britiain,where very strict gun laws exist to see that the criminals still continue to get guns,while it is impossible for the average citizen to buy other than a few,very limited types of sporting guns.
    I do agree with JG that legally carried,concealed firearms can be a deterrent to crime.A police officer that is fifteen minutes away from one of these terrorist or mental breakdown scenarios,is frankly no help to the immediate problem.

  3. Collins writes:
    "Nine passers-by were also wounded, and it seems almost certain that some or all were accidentally hit by the police."
    Well, as it turns out, ALL nine innocent bystanders and Jeffery Johnson were shot by the NYPD. Whether or not armed civilians could have prevented this tragedy is irrelevant at this point (although it might have helped in other situations). It should now be obvious to all that NYPD's Rules of Engagement (as well as marksmanship)are seriously flawed and need to be reviewed immediately.

  4. While NYPD officers eventually make a good salary and have terrific benefits,low entry salaries are not attracting the highest caliber(forgive the pun) candidates.It is my understanding that misdeamnors are acceptable in one's background.Me,an individual living in a less regulated area,with a perfect record cannot carry a gun even in my locale(unless a real need is demonstrated),and it's a real no-no to think about crossing city boundaries unless it is locked in the trunk,gun and ammo separated.
    While the mayor is very anti-gun,he fails to mention that his own body guards are armed to the teeth.

  5. Israel is a tiny country, so everything will be rare. In a big country like the USA shit happens--somewhere today somebody might be killed by a refrigerator. Does that warrant a ban?

    I also disagree with your support of banning assault weapons because they are "killing machines". Of course they are, because killing is how you defend yourself. The police know this, and high-capacity assault rifles are becoming the weapon of choice even for patrol officers. Shouldn't the people have the same right to protect their lives? And the NYC shooting made clear that the police are more interested in saving their own asses than yours (though if they had assault rifles their shooting accuracy would probably have been better). I would also dispute how "easy" it is to convert assault rifles to fully automatic, and point out that it's really irrelevant since full auto mostly just wastes bullets, and crimes are pretty much never committed with converted or OEM machine guns.