In the aftermath of the cowardly, anti-Semitic attack on the Pittsburgh synagogue, there has been an outpouring of support for the Jewish community. A dark day in Pittsburgh history and one that rightly needs to bring the community together in the face of armed violence. However, the response of some groups has been to fight fire with fire. The Cherev Gideon Israeli Tactical Defence Academy has experienced a surge in applicants following Trump’s comments that the 11 deaths could have been prevented if the synagogue employed an armed guard. Hundreds of young Jewish men from across all walks of life are enrolling in these weapons-training courses with the intention of making their communities a safer place. A 28-year old owner of an optician shop in Monsey, New York, called Pittsburgh a ‘wake-up call’, whilst a number of the students attending Gideon’s course said they intended to bring guns to their synagogues on the next Sabbath for protection. That last comment invokes images reminiscent of a gangland where men tuck handguns into their trousers and go about their daily lives. Whilst the attack was, without doubt, a tragedy, a response that trains and arms hundreds across the country is not only disproportionate but counterintuitive
By training and arming more men you are more likely to be creating more potential accidents than preventing them. Do these young men undergo deep background checks and psychological tests to determine whether or not they are unstable or predisposed to random acts of violence? The answer would be no. For every thousand citizens who may have good intentions, there may be one liability you simply cannot identify. Therefore, it is not possible to rule out the possibility that this tactical defense training academy may, in fact, be providing the training of a potential assailant. If you bare the risk of training at least one tragedy-in-the-making, surely that should be reason enough for you to not train a single person and stop your operations completely. If you really wish to put an end to these horrific events, you cannot go on training and arming more people for that simply increases the likelihood of it happening again. Frankly speaking, you must limit the access to these weapons. Access to training should follow in turn. You only need to look at gun-less societies such as Australia to see the instant benefit. Without delving deep into the US gun-control debate, it seems clear that responding to tragedy in this way is wrong. You want to completely eliminate all factors that made this happen, not create more of them.