August 3, 2000
Letters to the Editor
Right to Self-Defense Precious
Jane Ulman writes gracefully of her son Danny's interest in joining the NRA ("Joining the NRA," July 21). We both agree that our children not have toy guns and we both teach our children that if they see or find a gun, they should not touch it, point it or play with it. They know to leave the area immediately and tell an adult.
My son and daughter are trained in the handling of guns. They recognize that a gun is a tool which can indeed hurt people but whose greatest value lies in defense. The gun is the only way a weak person can expect to defend herself against a stronger one. My heart went out to those women in Central Park who, by the laws of their city, were forbidden any chance of defending themselves. Few people choose to carry guns even where it is legal, but the one-in-50 who does makes it safer for all potential victims.
My children feel safe and the gun issue is surely only a small part of that. But they also recognize that the right of self-defense is precious and all too easily given up in the name of safety.
Mark Bell, Northridge
Teach Children About Gun Safety
Nine-year-olds can often see through the nonsensical clouds that obscure their parents' vision. Danny is right. With clear, undeceived logic, he has penetrated to the heart of the matter. Guns do protect the weak and the small.
Study after study has shown that armed citizens are the single largest deterrents to crime. Thirty-one states now have "shall issue" laws under which concealed carry permits are issued routinely to law-abiding citizens. Crime has fallen in those states, while violent crime has increased here in anti-gun Los Angeles.
Danny, in his innocence, understands what adults have trouble understanding. He knows that a nonviolent society is a utopian dream, an unfulfillable wish fantasy by adults. He knows that violence will not go away nor be mitigated simply by wishing.
This summer I volunteered a week of my time to teach a large number of 7-to-10-year-old children about gun safety and responsibility. We made use of the NRA's Eddie Eagle program, which teaches, "Stop! Don't Touch! Leave the area! Tell a responsible adult!" It is a curriculum which has been successfully used to teach safety and responsibility to some 12-million children and young adults.
Danny is eligible to join the Junior NRA and to learn about gun safety and responsibility. The toll-free membership number is (800) 672-3888.
David Lichtman, Northridge
Assuring Israel's Religious Diversity
Thank you for sharing Rob Eshman's story concerning the recent firebombing of Kehillat Ya'ar Ramot, the Masorti/Conservative synagogue in the Jerusalem suburb of Ramot ("The Fire This Time," July 28). What is most disturbing about this act of hatred - the latest in a series of acts of vandalism against Masorti congregations and offices in Israel - is that it was probably committed by other Jews.
International leaders of the Conservative/Masorti movement, including members of our own community, have called on Jews around the world to condemn violence and hatred between Jews and to promote Jewish unity. Masorti synagogues and their educational institutions led by the Schechter Institute in Jerusalem are at the front line in this effort to promote religious pluralism in Israel and to bring secular Israelis back to Judaism.Angelenos have the opportunity to participate directly in the effort to assure religious diversity in Israel and to fight back against religious ignorance and intolerance among Jews. By giving generously to the Los Angeles joint Masorti Foundation/Schechter Institute campaign and attending the campaign dinner on Sun., Dec. 3, each of us has the opportunity to make our own individual statement in opposition to these horrible acts of desecration in the capital of our Jewish state and to help to put an end to outrages like the firebombing of Ya'ar Ramot.
For further information, please contact the Masorti Foundation/Schechter Institute campaign office at (310) 446-6474.
Lorin Fife, Joint Campaign Chair
Masorti Foundation/Schechter Institute
Anyone who shouts "Jew bastard" at a Jew is an anti-Semite ("Defending Hillary," July 21). Do you doubt this? Then take this simple test: Imagine that someone - anyone - calls you a "Jew bastard." Do you have any doubt that you would consider that person an anti-Semite?
Suzanne Zaharoni ,Beverly Hills
In the July 28 Spectator ('Taking Sides'), the address and contact information wasn't included. "Taking Sides" is playing at the Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. For reservations, call (310) 477-2055.