TEL AVIV — The U.S. Supreme Court makes a major ruling:
The Supreme Court on Thursday embraced the long-disputed view that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to own a gun for personal use, ruling 5 to 4 that there is a constitutional right to keep a loaded handgun at home for self-defense.
In Israel, I’ve gotten comfortable around guns.
I’ve only shot a real gun twice: in an uncle’s backyard and at a summer camp. I don’t think I’ve held one in years. But one of the first things I noticed after coming here on vacation for the first time was that guns are everywhere. Most Israeli soldiers are required to carry an M-16 strapped on their backs when walking around in public, and you see soldiers everywhere since most Israelis have to do mandatory military service right after high school. Many Israeli men — especially in Jerusalem — will carry handguns strapped around their waists. Every office, business and social-gathering place has a security guard outside, and they usually have guns. (In Jerusalem, they also have M-16s.) The father and brother of a friend of mine both have stun guns in their homes.
In short, guns are everywhere. I’m no longer uneasy around them, unlike most non-gun-owning Americans, so I see nothing inherently wrong about the presence of many guns in a society. It’s not like everyone is shooting everyone else here all the time. In fact, violent crime is very low in Israel.
But then I wonder if Israeli society treats firearms in an inherently different way than American society. In this part of the world, people here are around guns all the time, and everyone grows up knowing that he will get one right after he leaves high school. So I think there’s a healthy level of respect for guns. In America, however, I think there are generally two major types of thought: complete revulsion or immature attraction. People like liberals want all guns to disappear, and people like gangsters think they are symbol of coolness and masculinity. I wonder what the presence of more guns would do to a society like this.