If there is one thing they teach Israeli soldiers before handing them a gun, it is the responsibility that comes along with it. I've never fired a gun. I can honestly tell you that I've never even held a gun in any fashion close to the way you would hold it as you shoot.
I do know, though, that both Elie and Shmulik are excellent shots. I remember both of them telling me about shooting training while they were in the army. Both are now security guards as they prepare for the next phase of their lives. Shmulik is still undecided, though he is leaning towards computers; Elie has chosen to go into engineering.
Part of their job, as a security guard, is to go every six months for a day of training. Shmulik went last month; Elie went today. He came back to my office and told me, "I missed one." And then he qualified...
He shot 30 bullets - in rapid fire succession - and hit the target every time. To pass the day and be allowed to continue to carry a gun on the job, you have to get 70% of 100 bullets. Elie nailed the first 30 and so the instructor quickly realized that Elie knew what he was doing.
He went over and asked Elie if he wanted to try something different. He took Elie to the side and had him fire the next 30 bullets at an angle - Elie nailed those as well, as well as the next 30. The last 10 were different. . . I forgot how - but of the 100, he missed....one.
Also included in today's training was hand-to-hand combat, Israeli style. It's called Krav Maga and despite being internationalized, remains very Israeli. He also trained with a knife - specifically how to fight when an attacker comes at you with a knife. More than a mother wants to know, really, and yet that is very much a reality here - a few weeks ago, an Arab attacked some soldiers with an axe.
Part of the day included rules for when to engage in combat and what is not allowed. For Elie, it wasn't a bad day and he enjoyed the opportunity to shoot his personal gun as well as the one that was given to him.
I can tell you without doubt that when I was packing boxes and imagining my life in Israel, I never imagined the day that my sons would own guns. I'm not anti-gun. I believe, truly believe that it is people who kill people and while a gun may be the method, people are ever creative and if the goal is murder, murder will be done...by gun, by knife, by axe...