I see a lot of stories daily about how carrying a concealed weapon has saved someone’s life, or the life of someone they love. These stories usually take place in a urban setting. It might be a fairly empty parking lot at 2200 or someone’s home, but most of the stories are more urban. I suppose that makes sense, more people.
But when many people think of the rural areas, they tend to think more of the tough, self-reliant type of folks, like Roy Rogers, the Cartwrights or Little House on the Prairie.
What set me down this thought path was a story I saw the other day and it reminded me of when I first moved to my current home, many, many years ago. I considered living places and found the pet deposit for two horses, a flock of chickens, four cats and three dogs was very spendy. I also am temperamentally unsuited to living in a city, so farm it was and I moved from a smaller farm to this one. When I would go to the barn to do chores I took all the dogs with me, family outing as it were. Not long after I had lived here I was coming back to the house from the barn and a man I had never seen was standing near the stock gate. Not a dog had barked, the wind must have been blowing the other direction. Nothing happened, he had heard from someone that I might be someone to talk to about training a horse. But it made me very aware of my vulnerability. No matter what else was going on in my life, this was something I needed to address. I didn’t really know any of my neighbors yet, so most people that stopped by would have been “strangers”. It was long before concealed carry laws or castle doctrine laws were in effect. It’s not that I didn’t have tools, I did. I needed to have them where they could be used. A .357 is dandy, unless it’s in the house, so I started doing things differently. But while laws weren’t in place to protect me, I could get access to the tools that would allow me to protect myself. Some states have laws protecting you only in your home or car, some, anyplace you legally have a right to be including any place on your property, not just your home.
So how did I get to thinking back all those years ago? I saw a story about yet another Jewish farmer in Israel who might be facing charges for shooting an Arab. I will never say farmers in America have it easy. I’ve known better since I was two. But farmers in Israel have a whole different set of dangers. The arabs and bedouins there cut fence, steal livestock, kill livestock, ruin orchards, poison guard dogs, attack the farmers and their families and sometimes kill them. Sadly, sometimes the government forces that are tasked with protecting the farmers seem to favor protecting the arab farmers. Whether it is yet another example of trying not to offend the world, or the police just don’t want to bother with it, I don’t know. Some farmers have been driven off their land, some have had to give up raising livestock, but it is most certain that many farmers in Israel face challenges and dangers that we over here do not face on a daily basis. The case that had been going on was of a farmer that had three arabs show up to steal his truck. He heard a noise and went outside, there they were with a metal bar and three to one odds. He fired in the air and was unaware that he had even hit one. When security forces finally showed up they found the body in a nearby field.
The mayor of the town defended the farmer, saying many such attacks occur during daily, and are repeated with no fear of reprisals. The mayor of the town thinks the U.S. has it right.
“Sunday’s shooting in Beit Elazri was justified,” Naim concludes. “It was an act of self-defense, and prevented innocent people from getting hurt. Every thief must know that he might die. It must be anchored in law, just as in the cradle of democracy, the United States, where every citizen has the right to self-defense of his body and his property, including the shooting of trespassers.”
I don’t know that we shoot trespassers all that much, but his point that we should have the right to defend ourselves, and criminals know we have the right and ability to defend ourselves, and that should slow them down some. Unless you live in a state with a lot of liberals where ever criminal life is sacred, yours not so much. This is made possible by electing liberal politicians because they think rights come from them, not G-d.
Farmers have gone to jail for defending themselves against four to one odds, for example Shai Dromi. While he was acquitted on manslaughter charges he was convicted of having an illegal weapon. It was his father’s. The good thing that came of the mess was it did start to make people aware of what the farmers face on a daily basis.
Now happily the farmer accused this time, has been cleared by the police of any wrong doing, so he won’t be spending time in jail.
Another good thing that came out of this is MKs Amir Ohana and Eitan Broshi submitted a petition that called for a emergency meeting to discuss the issue of self-defense in rural areas. Hopefully more than discussion will come of it. Since MK Ohana is involved, I am kind of thinking something more will.
Another thing I found very interesting was comments by Dr. Jodi Broder, Head of the Clinical Social Law program. I’m the one that put some of this in bold, not Dr. Broder.
Dr. Broder explained why, in his view, proactive self-defense is justified: “We, as citizens, gave the State all the rights over our defense and our property, under the assumption that it would uphold those values, but what happens when the State doesn’t defend its citizens?” he asked. In such a reality, he asserts, the right of a citizen to defend himself and his property returns to him.
Broder qualifies this assertion, however, noting, “not under every circumstance, but within the parameters of self-defense. You are allowed to defend yourself when there is an immediate danger to your life or property. In such a reality, when nobody else is around to defend you and you react in a proportional manner, not in order to punish but only to defend; when the burglar is endangering me or another or our property, I am allowed to defend as long as immediate action is required and the State is not present to supply this defense.”
In response to the question of whether there is an ethical problem with the fact that the same State that does not supply defense for citizens also limits citizens’ ability to defend themselves, Broder replied, “It is impossible to live in a situation in which there are no rules and each man is his own lawmaker. A burglar also has rights which we, as a state, choose to uphold. You may defend, but not punish.
“One of the problems in the State is that the government does not supply adequate defense of property in certain communities, and people feel existential danger and danger to their property; we may see reactions that seem disproportionate at first glance, but when you consider that the Police are probably not coming, and there’s nobody who’s going to help, and it’s my property and my life, the picture changes.”
First, I don’t think we should ever give over our rights to protect ourselves, I’m not suggesting we do so. I also find it interesting that the Israelis are allowed to use force when the criminal is stealing things. In America it’s usually only to defend life. Of course what they are stealing may well affect your livelihood, but I find this variance interesting as well. Second and I think this applies to any of us, the prosecutor in their nice warm, well lit office, reading over the police report as they thoughtfully sip their fresh cup of coffee is going decide someone’s future, or lack of one. They will decide if your response was proportional or not. Consider having someone like Kathleen Kane as the prosecutor. Kane was a Bloomberg backed anti-gun candidate. YESH! But I also see how his comments could apply to gun free zones, they chose to forbid us the ability to defend ourselves, then they have chosen that responsibility. An old discussion, I know. I’m not talking burger joints, I’m thinking more like hospitals, government buildings. Places of worship are targets as well, but I think their response to how they wish to handle these things has more autonomy, but I could be wrong. But back to the prosecutor, you have a person in their nice office, possibly who has never been in a rural area deciding what is going to happen to you based on what has already happened to you, when you were all alone at 0300 in the middle of a field.
And realistically? Whether a field in the middle of the night or supermarket parking lot during the day, it doesn’t matter much. If something bad happens, and you “need” someone else to come help you there is a good chance that may not happen in time.
Just some things to think about as election day looms and you might have a chance to ask your state candidates some questions.
Another thing that popped up as I was poking around to see how this particular farmer came out was that some of the farmers in 2008 began to band together forming modern versions of HaShomer. It was founded by Yoel Zilberman when his father told him he was going bankrupt and going to have to leave the farm. HaShomer HaChadash, The New Guardians, was formed to help protect the farmers and allow them to continue farming in a financially sound manner. It is now a big active program.
Founder Yoel Zilberman, can tell you about it. It’s a very interesting story. Subtitled, luckily.
So thinking back on when I first moved here, and looking at the dangers these farmers in Israel face daily I’ve had some thoughts. Urban or rural, we all face dangers. The dangers these Israeli farmers face are more like the things someone living in the gun free zone utopia of Chicago would face, with just about as much help from the system at times. But then any raw milk or organic farmer may have faced the same dangers in America. Only instead of from Bedouins, from a alphabet soup of state and federal agencies. The big difference is, when it’s the farmer rather than the Chicago resident that faces the danger it can affect a lot of people. The farmers produce food, and when that doesn’t happen it causes problems for a lot of people. The Israeli farmers are getting help now, not from the government so much, as regular people all pitching in to help. It’s sort of like a program we had in America for a while called “Ranch Rescue”. But the foundation of all these programs was the same as the old days of the Cartwrights and Roy Rogers. It was people pitching in to help each other to over come challenges and threats. People that weren’t relying on the system, but each other. As the weather changes and we prepare for storms knowing our neighbors and having plans and ways we could help each other might be a very good idea. We’ve had hurricanes in one part of the country, we will have snow and ice coming for other parts of the country, and then we move into tornado and rain and flood season. Sometimes you know there’s bad weather headed your way, and sometimes, it’s just there.
And because I like to end with something a little nice, here’s a short little scene from Eish Kodesh. It really is beautiful isn’t it?