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 Reflections on America

Copy of 960x540 Bat Ayin I (35)

June 6, 2022
Sondra Oster Baras

I recently returned from a visit to the US and while I was there, a terrible attack took place against school children in Texas.  A young man, 18 years of age, had purchased two semi-automatic rifles. He entered an elementary school, opened the door to a 4th grade classroom, and proceeded to mow down students and teachers alike.  Nineteen children and two teachers were murdered in the Uvalde, Texas school.

Whenever I had a free moment, I was glued to the television, trying to process the terrible tragedy that had just taken place.  I watched devastated parents struggling with the fact that their little girl or boy, who had left happily that morning to go to school, would never come back.  One mother shared a photo of her son who had just won an award in the honors assembly that had taken place just before the attack.  That was the last time she saw her child.

As always and as is the case all over the world, when tragedy strikes, the news stations provide details of the event, trying to gather information as well as commentary as the event unfolds.  Participants and bystanders alike are interviewed, law enforcement officials and political leaders are invited to give their comments.  Of course, the overwhelming response was of grief and shock at the terrible tragedy.  But shortly after the initial responses, the political commentaries kicked in.  And the main topic of political debate was gun control.

As I listened to both sides of the debate, Republicans largely in favor of unlimited gun access and Democrats in favor of strict gun control, I also heard many compromise suggestions.  And I heard parents begging their legislators to “do something” and that call to action was interpreted on every news station as a call for greater gun control.  But what puzzled me was the seeming lack of willingness on the part of the politicians to seek compromise.  I could not understand how any politician could condone a mentally unstable 18 year old purchasing a semi-automatic weapon.  But, sadly, I did not see much movement towards compromise that might have prevented this attack.

But more importantly, I did not hear any discussion of the underlying cause for this attack or for the many attacks that have occurred in the US in recent years.  Just a few days before this attack against school children, there had been an armed attack against shoppers in a supermarket in New York.  In fact, if I have to characterize the news headlines I heard from the moment I landed in the US until the moment I left, it went from the shooting in New York to the shooting in Texas.  And throughout the discussion, I heard highly politicized and accusatory statements about gun control and racism, both polarizing issues in the US.  But I didn’t hear any discussion about the violence itself. 

As an Israeli who does not live in the US, I asked a question that was repeated by individuals all over the globe — what is it about American society that has bred such terrible violence against innocent people?  Every country is challenged by crime — there are robberies where people are shot, there are gang fights and organized crime violence. There is reckless driving and other reckless behaviors that often result in deaths.  But I have not heard of any other country where there are ongoing shooting sprees against innocent individuals, seemingly for no reason. 

I kept asking myself what kind of individual gets up in the morning, takes a gun and decides to shoot children?  Or shoppers?  Or young people enjoying an evening in a club?  Where have these people been raised? What kind of values have they been taught?  What kind of moral compass do they have?  If this had only happened this one time, we could all put it down to one crazy individual.  But there is a pattern here and it is a pattern that Americans dare not ignore.  And what disturbed me more than anything, was that throughout the two weeks that I was in the US, no one on any of the news stations that I was watching asked that question.  No one even tried to launch a serious, thoughtful discussion that would help us understand what had gone wrong.

While I understand the controversial nature of the gun control debate, I truly do not believe it is the main issue.  While stricter gun laws may prevent some disturbed or criminal elements from possessing a gun, gun control just goes to the symptom — the vehicle for the violent act.  But there is always the possibility that if you remove one vehicle, someone bent on killing will simply find an alternative vehicle.  But what truly needs to be addressed is this: What causes someone to murder children?

Many comment on the visibility of guns in Israel, as many civilians do carry weapons.  But in fact there is very strict gun control in Israel.  A full background check including a psychological evaluation is required before a license is issued.  And the gun owner must demonstrate, on an ongoing basis, his ability to shoot well and handle the gun properly.  Most gun owners have military background.  But a gun owner must prove a need for the gun — living in a dangerous area, working in security or a similar need.  And the gun owner is legally responsible for any misuse of the gun.  Owning a gun is a heavy responsibility indeed.

But despite the fact that you will see people carrying guns openly all over Israel, it would be unheard of for an Israeli to walk into a classroom and start murdering children.  Yes, there are terrorists and they have aimed their weapons at children way too many times.  But these people are our enemies. They are not part of our society.  They stop at nothing to destroy us and for that reason, we must be armed and ready to defend ourselves at every opportunity.

But for a member of Israeli society to walk into a school and shoot children — this is unheard of! And I hope this terrible behavior is one commodity that will never be imported from America.

Has America lost its way?  When I was growing up in the US, it was a beacon of freedom, morality and human rights that shined its light all over the world.  No more.  What happened to the righteous values of its founders?  What happened to the fundamental respect for human life?  Something terrible has happened and I hope it does not spread to other countries.  And I pray to G-d that America finds its way back. That the people take a good look at the soul of their country and seek a way back to a kinder, gentler place.  Americans deserve better 

5 thoughts on “ Reflections on America”

  1. The answer that you (and so many others) seek about why would anyone do these abominable and heinous acts of horror can only be found in the person of satan, the evil one. Through the use of drugs and other mediums they have come to believe his lies and this last generation is paving the way for the kingdom of antichrist. Through the WEF, the WHO and many other groups and organizations, the world has fallen into satan’s end time trap of believing insanity. Men becoming women, pronouns, trans everything, abortion, open borders and a whole host of absolutely insane ideologies have risen up and captured a God-rejecting world.
    And we can’t forget 2 Thess. where God Himself states that He will send a ‘strong delusion that they should believe the lie and not be saved for they loved evil over righteousness”.
    I am so happy that I won’t be here to witness the carnage as Messiah returns to bring His judgments on this evil, sinful planet.
    Maranatha, come Lord Jesus………>
    Rev. Roy………..>

  2. Hi Sondra,
    So sorry to receive this terrible news. But I appreciated your sensitive account. So thank you for it. You voice a question that some ask, why don’t they discuss the real issues? But the sad fact is most coverage stays on the superficial level. And it won’t be long before the next atrocity or disaster or war happens and we all move on.
    Perhaps we have become hardened to it all? And a lot of current thinking in the west does not value and care for human life? It’s all about money and pleasure!
    But I want say how much we should appreciate and be grateful for the Holy Scriptures where G-d reveals Himself to us and teaches us how He values every part of His creation, every human life including our life, and how He wants us to honour Him and the way we should live.
    This is one reason why I value sharing fellowship with you and your ministry to us.
    Perhaps as Jews and Christians we can create something good in the earth.
    The Lord bless you and keep you.

  3. Sondra, in my view you have got to the real point of the matter of the gun violence in the USA. While I think that the excessive number of guns on the streets in the USA is possibly unhelpful to have a cultural change away from the aggressive reactionary and very divisive nation. The political divide is one of hatred towards those who may have a different view; and this must be diffused before the lid can be put on the violence, including the gun violence, and relative peace can descend upon the USA. These self-same attitudes that feed this culture is developing in Australia. It is strange how people who claim that democracy is important but they deny the right of others to have a divergent view which seems to me to be the strongest value in a democratic society – that is Democracy is dependant upon the right to be protected to hold a view different to others.

    To recover from this position is the only reasonable path from wher we are to where we all should be!

  4. Shalom Sandra. There is an evil agenda in play here and the other “mass shootings”. It’s not being recognized and certainly not reported because all the media are part of the scheme.
    For the true story read Darrell Scott’s testimony to a congressional subcommittee.
    Testimony of Darrell Scott

    Guess our national leaders didn’t expect this. On Thursday, Darrell Scott, the father of Rachel Scott, a victim of the Columbine High School shootings in Littleton, Colorado, was invited to address the House Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee. What he said to our national leaders during this special session of Congress was painfully truthful.

    They were not prepared for what he was to say, nor was it received well. It needs to be heard by every parent, every teacher, every politician, every sociologist, every psychologist, and every so-called expert! These courageous words spoken by Darrell Scott are powerful, penetrating, and deeply personal. There is no doubt that God sent this man as a voice crying in the wilderness.. The following is a portion of the transcript:
    “Since the dawn of creation there has been both good & evil in the hearts of men and women. We all contain the seeds of kindness or the seeds of violence. The death of my wonderful daughter, Rachel Joy Scott, and the deaths of that heroic teacher, and the other eleven children who died must not be in vain. Their blood cries out for answers.

    “The first recorded act of violence was when Cain slew his brother Abel out in the field. The villain was not the club he used.. Neither was it the NCA, the National Club Association. The true killer was Cain, and the reason for the murder could only be found in Cain’s heart.

    “In the days that followed the Columbine tragedy, I was amazed at how quickly fingers began to be pointed at groups such as the NRA. I am not a member of the NRA. I am not a hunter. I do not even own a gun. I am not here to represent or defend the NRA – because I don’t believe that they are responsible for my daughter’s death. 

    Therefore I do not believe that they need to be defended. If I believed they had anything to do with Rachel’s murder I would be their strongest opponent.

    I am here today to declare that Columbine was not just a tragedy — it was a spiritual event that should be forcing us to look at where the real blame lies! Much of the blame lies here in this room. Much of the blame lies behind the pointing fingers of the accusers themselves. I wrote a poem just four nights ago that expresses my feelings best.

    Your laws ignore our deepest needs, 
    Your words are empty air. 
    You’ve stripped away our heritage, 
    You’ve outlawed simple prayer. 
    Now gunshots fill our classrooms, 
    And precious children die. 
    You seek for answers everywhere, 
    And ask the question “Why?” 
    You regulate restrictive laws, 
    Through legislative creed. 
    And yet you fail to understand, 
    That God is what we need!

    “Men and women are three-part beings. We all consist of body, mind, and spirit. When we refuse to acknowledge a third part of our make-up, we create a void that allows evil, prejudice, and hatred to rush in and wreak havoc. Spiritual presences were present within our educational systems for most of our nation’s history. Many of our major colleges began as theological seminaries. This is a historical fact. What has happened to us as a nation? We have refused to honor God, and in so doing, we open the doors to hatred and violence. And when something as terrible as Columbine’s tragedy occurs — politicians immediately look for a scapegoat such as the NRA. They immediately seek to pass more restrictive laws that contribute to erode away our personal and private liberties. We do not need more restrictive laws. Eric and Dylan would not have been stopped by metal detectors. No amount of gun laws can stop someone who spends months planning this type of massacre. The real villain lies within our own hearts.

    “As my son Craig lay under that table in the school library and saw his two friends murdered before his very eyes, he did not hesitate to pray in school. I defy any law or politician to deny him that right! I challenge every young person in America , and around the world, to realize that on April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School prayer was brought back to our schools. Do not let the many prayers offered by those students be in vain. Dare to move into the new millennium with a sacred disregard for legislation that violates your God-given right to communicate with Him. To those of you who would point your finger at the NRA — I give to you a sincere challenge.. Dare to examine your own heart before casting the first stone! 

    My daughter’s death will not be in vain! The young people of this country will not allow that to happen!”

    – Darrell Scott
    Do what the media did not – – let the nation hear this man’s speech. Please send this out to everyone you can. 
    God Bless


    His courageous words reveal the true nature of the evil

    Blessings and shalom
    Tom Culp

  5. Very Interesting and inciteful comments! In the UK, we have strict gun control, but there have been shootings here also, although not in such great numbers. We are a much smaller country! However, the issues remain the same. As a retired social worker I have worked with those described as ‘mentally ill’, and also ‘young offenders’. I have witnessed the utter failure of the relevant services to address with any real effectiveness the medical, psychiatric and, more important, spiritual issues that are always uppermost in what goes on. We dress up our failure in highly hypocritical academic language and so camourflage our utter inability to address the real problem. It is spiritual. It is the utterly sinful nature of our existence and we have ejected the one remedy for this: the Bible. Everything becomes political, divisive, etc and so we continue to generate more tragedy and more death. And we do not ‘get it’! This blog highlights this big time, and, sad to say, it will get worse. The reading of the latter chapters of Daniel high lights this process.

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