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Heschel, King and a Prayer for Peace

URL: http://www.jewishjournal.com/cover_story/article/heschel_king_and_a_prayer_for_peace_20110111

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel famously said, “In a free society, some are guilty but all are responsible.” I have been mulling that quote over in my mind since I learned of the horrible assassination attempt on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and the cold-blooded murder of the other innocent Arizonans in Tucson. Certainly, the main person guilty is the man who pulled the trigger, and he should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. But, in Heschel’s formulation, all of us are somewhat responsible for what happened, for allowing our society to sink to such a level that our media spews violent rhetoric from prominent politicians and pundits without consequence; all of us are responsible for allowing the debate about guns and gun control, something that should be so sensible, to devolve into angry, violent reactions and prevent us from making laws that can protect people from the monstrous nature of daily firearm deaths in our country; all of us are responsible for supporting violent films and video games, glorifying violence on the screen that only serves to affect our children and our psyches. If we think it doesn’t have an effect, we are sorely deluding ourselves.

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