Wednesday, December 9, 2015

OMG...He's Got a Gun

If you're one of those mothers who raised their sons with as few toys that represent "violence" as possible, like me, you'd probably be shocked to find yourself in a situation in which two of your sons always carry weapons with them and the third and youngest was just given a gun as well.

To balance this out, my third son is just short of his 20th birthday and he's now a soldier in the Israeli army so, unlike his brothers, the gun he now has isn't really his. Doesn't help me much writing that, he's still my son...still the little boy of the family, even if he is the tallest.

I spoke to him the other night. It's cold where he's cold all over Israel but as always my brain and heart differ. My brain tells me that this is the kid who slept in shorts in the winter; who just a few weeks ago, went walking in the rain in open shoes. His body temperature seems to be on some different scale - I'm always freezing; he's always warm. My heart doesn't care for that logical assessment. It says he's out there...even if "out" there is a building with a heater that he's sleeping in, on a bed, with a pillow, sheets and a blanket he took from home.

David told me that they'd given them guns and my heart cried out a little. I don't want my little boy to have a gun...I don't any of my little boys (or girls or husband) to have a gun...and yet they do. There is peace of mind, if not peace in the heart, knowing that what has always impressed me with the training each of my older sons received in the army was how responsibility went hand in hand with training. They teach them in stages.

Here is a, we aren't giving you bullets. Like no way. Get used to the feel of it, know where it is at all times. This is your responsibility. Always. If you forget it somewhere, you will be punished severely; if you play games with it, you will be punished severely. If you don't learn how to care for it, you will...well, you get the idea.

David's commanding officer added more. The soldiers in David's group are not allowed to touch the gun - except at two specific points. As his brothers did before him, David will learn his gun, know all that he must know to take care of it, clean it, aim it, fire it.

He will be taught that others can be harmed if he is careless and so the gun will never be something passed around. Oh, I have no doubt he will let his older brothers, licensed and knowledgeable about guns, see it...but it will never be pointed at anyone as a joke. It will be stored carefully when he brings it home, according to army regulations. I can still picture Elie visiting his grandparents, dismantling parts of the gun and then putting the main part of the gun high above the kitchen cabinets where the younger children could not reach it.

He will be taught that he must point the gun in the air and confirm that he has no bullets in the chamber before entering army bases, even stores.

I am not looking forward to David coming home with the gun. I am so not a gun person. My husband now carries a gun...he volunteers with the local police and I'd rather he be armed and ready if he thinks it is his responsibility to step into trouble. When he and Elie speak of guns, I cringe. When I see them on my dining room table, I pull back.

I hated those large M16s that came into my home and I was happy when they were returned to the army. Knowing the situation here in Israel, I accepted when Elie and Shmulik started carrying guns and I accepted when my husband came over to speak to me about getting one for him as well. Gun control in Israel is quite strict - licenses take weeks to even months, you are licensed for a specific you are required to re-test each year.

The debate on gun control is non-existent in Israel because we already know that we control all the guns that we can...and the ones we can't are often silenced swiftly and professionally by the guns we can control. Countless lives have been saved...nearly every civilians with guns who rush in when a terrorist strikes. Again and again and again, Israel proves that it is not guns that kill people. A gun in the wrong hands will indeed commit murder; but a gun in the right hands may have the power to avert that death.

So soon, my third son will come home not just in uniform, but with an army rifle. David is serving in the Givati Brigade. Wikipedia will tell you so much more than I thought I would share but here goes.

Givati was formed in December, 1947 - that means it has been protecting Israel from a time even before the State of Israel was re-established in May, 1948. Givati was the first to be given the Tavor rifles designed and manufactured in Israel. Davidi will be the first to bring a Tavor into my home.

It's a horrible looking thing - just as an M16 is. I've never seen a Tavor "up close" and I'd be happy if I could say the same in a couple of months. But Davidi will bring it home. His two brothers, who had M16s, will no doubt sit and debate the merits of the Tavor over the M16.

And I'll try, really hard, not to stare at it, not to think...they gave my baby a gun...just as I tried not to think about what Elie and Shmulik experienced during their army service.

In the meantime...a few more days and, God willing, he'll be home.


ProphetJoe said...

A gun is a tool, Paula. It is an inanimate object -- it is not good nor evil. Like a knife, a meat cleaver or a car, in the hands of a good man it is used for good purposes and in the hands of an evil man, it is used for evil.

I take comfort in knowing that your son (your baby) will only use this tool to defend innocent lives and/or to defend Israel against the evil men who seek to destroy it. I hope you will take some small measure of comfort in that thought as well.

Shalom aleikhem

Alan said...

Paula should subscribe to the mailing list of the Bagelboy Club of the Philipppines. Jewish retired-US-military guys living in the Phils. The list-owner has had a long-running schtick. He publishes a picture of a Jewess in a WWII-concentration camp, alongside a picture of an armed khay-ellet of the IDf. The accompanying text is, "what a difference 70 years makes".

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