Author and script writer Robert Avrech was an old friend and colleague of Aaron Zelman’s. Unlike Aaron, he is still with us and still going strong.
Although he wrote this piece a month ago, it’s timeless and a must-read.
Before our son Ariel Chaim ZT”L passed away in 2003 at the age of twenty-two, he and I spent a good deal of time discussing the Second Amendment, the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.
Ariel was amazed that so many American Jews – overwhelmingly liberal and secular – aligned themselves with the advocates of gun control, in reality a movement to banish the private ownership of guns by lawful citizens.
During the Los Angeles riots of 1992, my wife Karen and I, Ariel and Offspring #2, were inside a film theater. Abruptly, an angry mob congregated outside; soon they were trying to break down the doors. Trapped inside, we were all terrified. I held Offspring#2 in my arms; she shivered like a frightened rabbit. Karen gripped Ariel’s hand.
“Don’t worry,” we were assured, “the police will be here soon.”
But the police did not arrive that night, nor did they protect the city from arson, looting and murder. In fact, we watched in disbelief as news cameras captured images of police officers standing idly by while looters gleefully committed their crimes.
A few days later, I purchased a pistol, a 1911 .45 ACP.
I bought a gun because I realized that the day will most certainly again arrive when civil order breaks down and we are flung into a cruel Hobbesian landscape.
Here’s my three part series on the LA Riots, Jew Without a Gun.
As Ariel’s conservative political opinions took form, he logically and ethically fell on the side of legal gun ownership. But because he was first and foremost a Torah Jew, first and foremost a Talmudic scholar, Ariel placed gun ownership into the framework of Jewish law, halacha.
Ariel wanted to put down his ideas on paper. Unfortunately, he never had the opportunity to write an article on halacha and gun ownership.
And so I humbly jot down a few of Ariel’s ideas. This article is not meant to be comprehensive. It is but a snapshot of our discussions. Any mistakes in this article are mine and mine alone. I write from an imperfect memory, from conversations with my beloved son held years ago, and from the few notes he managed to scribble while sick and undergoing chemotherapy and radiation.