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In the wake of last month’s anti-Semitic massacre in Pittsburgh, Inquirer columnist Stu Bykofsky advised Jews to protect themselves by carrying guns (Nov. 6). And unlike other media blowhards, Bykofsky assured his readers that he practices what he preaches.
“I bought my first pistol about 25 years ago and got a carry permit because my life had been threatened in connection with my job, not my religion,” he explained. “Since neither my employer nor the police can give me 24/7 protection, I have to look out for No. 1.”
Bykofsky added that he owns not just one handgun but several, “because each has a specific purpose. And, no, my liberal friends, a gun's purpose is not to ‘kill.’ It is to defend, to protect. I am trained, I know the law, and I am comfortable packing. The gun is a last resort.”
Consequently, Bykofsky suggests, he enjoys a life blissfully relieved of fear. “Why?” he asks rhetorically. “Maybe I feel more safe because I am armed.”
On balance, Bykofsky concedes, U.S. Jews have reason to feel relatively secure. “But if a Jew wants to pack insurance, who am I — or you — to say no?”
Knee-jerk Philadelphia liberals have lately tolerated Bykofsky for the vital civic role he performs as (God help us) what’s left of the Inquirer’s institutional memory. These same liberals now respond to Bykofsky’s encomium to firearms to with predictably mealy-mouthed platitudes, like "the pen is mightier than the sword," or "an eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind."
Nonsense. We who have dismissed Bykofsky as a relic from the wrong side of history owe this man an apology. A close reading of history’s great thinkers leaves no doubt that Bykofsky deserves his place within the pantheon of Western civilization’s deepest philosophers.
Beyond the mountaintop
Martin Luther King Jr.: “I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. You see, about 25 years ago I bought my first pistol and got a carry permit because my life had been threatened. Maybe I feel more safe because I am armed.”
Mahatma Gandhi: “Whenever I despair, I remember that the way of truth and love has always won. There may be tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they may seem invincible, but in the end, they always fail. Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will, along with a well-stocked arsenal in your basement. And, no, my liberal friends, a gun's purpose is not to ‘kill.’ It is to defend, to protect.”
Marie Curie: “Nothing in life is to be feared; it is only to be understood. But just in case I’m wrong, I always pack heat when I work late at the lab. I am trained, I know the law, and I am comfortable packing. The gun is a last resort.”
Jesus and his peacemakers
Abraham Lincoln: “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in. But since neither my employer nor my bodyguards can give me 24/7 protection, I have to look out for No. 1.”
Thomas Jefferson: “I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. And believe me, tyranny can take many forms. That's why I own several handguns, because each has a specific purpose.”
Jesus: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. And if you live in a God-forsaken place like Roman-occupied Judea, as I do, you know exactly what kind of ‘peacemakers’ I have in mind. So if a Jew wants to pack insurance, who am I — or you — to say no?”
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