Thursday December 18, 2014
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18.12.2014
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Israel grieves with the US
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Boaz Bismuth

The unbearable lightness of the Second Amendment

It is uncommon to see an American president and an entire nation weep. It is also rare to hear about 20 precious children (and six adults) being gunned down at a school for no reason.

But in America, horrific and senseless mass killings are not unusual and Americans cannot understand why they happen. Every so often (Columbine High School, Virginia Tech and the Colorado movie theater), a mass killing causes us to once again write about the unbearable ease at which lives were taken. There have been 31 school shootings in America since the Columbine massacre in 1999. Why?

That was the question that kept being repeated this weekend. Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal had no answer for this question. There is no answer to why there is no immunity against such events.

On Friday morning, Adam Lanza, a pale and skinny 20-year-old, was able to tear an entire nation, the world's strongest superpower, to pieces. Why? Perhaps, as explained by Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy, because "evil visited this community."

But an x-ray of American society reveals an abundance of weapons. There are 280 million weapons circulating in America's homes and streets. This is not Afghanistan. This is America.

Shimon Peres used to talk about "a car for every worker." In America, the U.S. Constitution's Second Amendment has led to "a gun for every citizen." Originally, this was meant for defense. Adam Lanza, as well as other perpetrators of mass shootings in America, apparently never heard of this reason for the amendment.

Ironically, America marked on Saturday the 221st anniversary of the passage of the Second Amendment, which granted Americans the right to bear arms. America, after Friday's massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, needs to change this amendment.

American society does not tolerate restrictions on its freedom, but even more so it does not tolerate harm to its children.

The National Rifle Association of America knows that tough days are ahead. The NRA will probably emphasize that the weapons used in the Sandy Hook massacre were purchased legally in a state with tough gun laws and that an armed guard could have thwarted Adam Lanza. It will also probably point out that in the more than 60 mass shootings in America over the past three decades, more than 3/4 of the guns used were purchased legally. But the "right to bear arms" is facing great scrutiny at the moment.

In March of this year, three young Jewish children were gunned down at the Ozar Hatorah school in Toulouse. Just like Adam Lanza in Connecticut, Mohammed Merah shot children at close-range in Toulouse.

In Toulouse, we know why this happened. In Connecticut, it is not certain we will ever know. The pain is equally terrible. An answer to the question of 'why' does not ease the pain. It is only meant to reduce the frustration.

America is burying 20 small coffins. A statistic: 87 percent of children killed by gunfire in the world's 23 richest nations were American.

President Barack Obama, the U.S. Congress, governors, state and local legislative bodies and law enforcement agencies now have a new mission – to protect America's children.

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