Vegas Afterthoughts

October 4th, 2017 Posted by Susan's Musings 64 comments

This week’s carnage in Vegas was shocking and horrifying. I put aside my previously written Musing because it seemed wrong to write about anything other than what had happened. But, I didn’t think I had anything unique to say that would be of value to most of the people who read what I write. Then, I was browsing one of the liberal-leaning sites I like to visit and saw that the equally shocked and horrified women there mostly saw what happened in Las Vegas as a reason to double down on calls for gun control. I decided to step outside of my comfort zone and leave a comment on that forum. Here is what I wrote:

It is never comfortable expressing a view in a forum in which yours is a minority opinion. Let me lay it on the table: I am an NRA member and have been for years. I am also a mother of seven and grandmother of many more. I consider myself, and think others would consider me, a loving, kind and giving person.

I did not grow up in a home with guns or where guns were discussed. In the Jewish enclave in which I grew up no one hunted. Guns belonged in cowboy movies and on signs and billboards found around the large city where I lived that said, “Use a gun, go to jail.” Those signs had no relevance to anyone I knew.

After studying both sides of the issue and after some first-hand life experience, I became a Second Amendment supporter. If I may say, very few people who agitate for gun control take the time to meet, talk to and understand those of us who are wary of it. There are corrupt politicians on both sides of the issue who see this topic as an avenue to power; there are opportunities for money on both sides of the issue. There are perverted ideologues on both sides of the issue such as the fired attorney for CBS who said that the she had no sympathy for the people who died in Las Vegas because they were probably “Republican gun-toters.”  I’m sure you can find her mirror image on the other side. But when it comes to real people, everyone shudders and mourns not only when mass shootings take place but when smaller numbers are affected. Everyone decent wants all types of carnage to stop.

The art of conversation and debate is dying in our society. There is a lot of shouting and very little listening. The bias of most media outlets is growing more propagandist and each side on many issues only sees data that has been manipulated and studies that have been picked to support its already established views. Sometimes a token “opposing view” is thrown in which is either so wishy-washy or so ridiculous that it just confirms previous biases. That isn’t healthy.

The NRA is not a “thing.” It is made up of many Americans, and increasingly women, who see gun ownership as the only way they can protect themselves and those they love from attack rape, and/or murder. They include women who have been told by police that the police cannot come in time to help them so that they need to be ready to defend themselves. One NRA magazine has a column called The Armed Citizen that gathers reports from newspapers around the country about people, male and female, old and young, handicapped and able-bodied defending themselves. These reports don’t make national news outlets.

Others who support the Second Amendment do so because of a study of history and what happened to societies that imposed gun control. Other supporters have different reasons. America is a huge country and what is true and necessary for one area is often the opposite of what is true and necessary for another region.

As I see it, based on many examples, the political debate is not about “common sense gun laws.” The political debate is about more extremist positions where any concessions of second amendment rights will become a step in the road to a very bad final stage. There is an agenda and it is different from the agenda of most Americans who want to do something that will actually be effective rather than to “just do something” or to take advantage of a crisis situation.

Real people, however, can meet in the middle. We share the bottom line, “What can we do to make things better.” The first step is acknowledging that those on the other side of the issue are good, sincere and intelligent people who might have something to teach you. This website skews towards one group of women. Other websites skew differently. Imagine how much more good we could actually achieve if we respected each other, shared our views and stopped seeing those who disagree with us as evil, warped or stupid.

I very much want to hear your comments and hope you will write. Please note, however, that our offices (and store) will be closed from sunset Wednesday night PT (Oct. 4) through Saturday evening, so many comments will not be approved or answered until later. 

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Lynn Perrizo says:

You need a very nice job and I think you’re very brave to post it on a liberal website! I hope you will share what type of feedback you get from it.

Susan Lapin says:

Lynn, this is the second time I’ve done this. I’ve decided that only talking within our own circles is part of the problem right now. We need to relearn how to talk to each other.

Randy R. Werner says:

Susan, once again, you are absolutely correct in your assessment of one of the most basic problems facing our society – true conversation and thoughtful debate. You’ve inspired me to step out and take a risk. I live in Northern California where most of my friends are left and far-left leaning. Less than 24 hours had expired when many of them joined in the call for banning guns. I started to debate one person but felt that I was still in that emotional state and could not do so with rationality. I will be ready soon and your response was so very helpful.

Joyce Stoddard says:

God bless you, Mrs. Lapin! I’m a mother and grandmother, too. I’ve never been on one side or the other re: guns. Until now. I am considering buying one and being trained to use it. You encourage me.

Al Hoffman says:

Someone quite careful, who in my reollection never raised a voice, heard I had trouble with some who sought my harm. She spoke one time of the need to not set down arms if defense was required.

From long ago, she spoke,”Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.” In my situation she was meaning just to defend myself.
This was from the last century,during American wartime self-defense. It still can apply.

Al Hoffman says:

Let me add, there is no room in this for aggressive malicious injury.

Lynn Perrizo says:

Why do I always tap the post button before rereading what I wrote? ? You DID a nice job, not need.

Susan Lapin says:

I read it as you meant to write it – how funny is that!

I could not agree with you more. I don’t know if he was the originator of the quote but as Steven Covey famously wrote, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” If more decent, intelligent, God and country loving Americans would do this rather than attacking each other THEN we could make some REAL progress. Thanks for sharing this post.

Daniel O. Maldonado says:

My Wife & I are Benefactor Members of the NRA. We even got life memberships for our kids, grand kids and great grand children. Thank you for your posts. I read your Musings and the Thought Tools and listen to Rabbi Lapin’s podcast. Thanx again for very useful information.

Daniel O. Maldonado
Bishop, TX

Loi 'Ortiz says:

I agree with you wholeheartedly. However, I would like to add a comment. I believe in the having a firearm available if meet with a situation where one’s life or family is threatened, and even then shoot to injure not to kill. Automatic weapons are a different matter completely. These weapons should not be allowed for public purchasing period. They should not be allowed to be sold in any store that sells guns. Only handguns and rifles for hunting as well as the various types of ammunition. I realize some people would disagree with even having a handgun because that could kill as well, but where do you draw the line. You should not prohibit a respectable citizen from having a weapon to defend their property, family or himself. I am sure there are countless weapons out there from when our country was young, but as the world changes, we have to change with it but never give into the evil that lurks to make us weak and submissive to those who wish to harm us. We should always be able to have to option fight and protect ourselves from people and fanatical groups that seek to harm us. If we decide to have a gun because we feel we can handle it, of course after proper training, then we should be able to have it.

Leighanne says:

I love this. I’m a Libertarian and for years I’ve alternated between total silence and trying to get my friends on both sides to stop the ridiculous fighting with no luck. I’m going to save your words because they are so powerful. Thank you.

Bonnie Rice says:

You always are so articulate and kind no matter the issue. Thank you for being a voice of wisdom for all of us. Most of America just wants this craziness to stop. Thank you.

Susan Hire says:

Susan, you are very brave to post on a liberal site. I tried it once and was banned.

Jacob Miller says:

Mrs Lapin,

A very well thought out and written response. Thank you for sharing, I hope the majority of its readers pick up on and are able to reflect that genuine empathy.

I would imagine people on both sides of most disagreements are guilty of plugging our ears and just speaking louder.

I also believe that we can speak much “louder” when we display humility, tenderness, and patience especially towards those who strongly and enthusiastically disagree with us.

Thanks again for setting a great example, and have a happy Sukkot!

Pat McCarthy says:

Excellent column!!

Susan Mallios says:

Thank you for taking such an honest approach. I am inspired to try the same thing. Perhaps we will be able to persuade both sides that screaming at one another accomplishes nothing. Please do share with us the responses you receive. I predict that they will be all over the board.

Jan says:

I believe that every able-bodied woman should have an easily accessible gun in her home and be prepared to use it.


Miss Susan,
The problem with Gun Control is the same one that arises from the various commandments, and laws handed down from our gracious God. Some people follow them and some do not.
Just as there are orthodox Jews, there are conservative Jews and reform Jews, and a whole passel of christians, each rite, or denomination of which has its own idea of which edict from God above to follow, and which are still law and which have fallen out of favor and notice.
Strict enforcement of the gun laws on the books should take precedence over the enactment of new, unenforceable statutes. We do not ban the pressure cooker because it was used to make a bomb. We do not call for increased regulation of panel trucks because they have been used in terror attacks. And what of knives and machetes, also used to attack innocents?
You take a courageous stand. Not only on this but on so many social issues. I salute you and you esteemed husband.
Bill Brower

Carol Dourte says:

Thanks for your courage. I too am a Jewish woman who owns a gun and who knows how to use it. Spent Yom Kippur visiting a shul in Pa. I was astounded ( but not displeased) that the Rabbi ended his KolNidre message encouraging Jews to stand up against the public lies and to consider getting a gun and learning to use it. Gun ranges in Pikesville Md are routinely filled with members of the orthodox and ultra orthodox community who live in the area. We love HaShem and love peace, but, we also value wisdom.

Charlie Newling says:

Well, stated. God bless you, Ms. Lapin.

Robert says:

I am a regular reader of both yours and the Rabbi’s comments. Thank you for your courage and clarity on the Second Amendment issues. I’m of the opinion that it’s really about the protection of ones self, not hunting, or target shooting as a sport, ask anybody hired as a bodyguard. The Las Vegas shooting is completely reprehensible and my prayers go out to the families of those killed and those who were wounded. I pray for their recovery. Without bringing up another hot button issues, the selective outrage of those on either side of this issue view other loss of human life, all be it, protected by a supreme court decision with far less distaste. Yes, Vegas was an illegal and immoral act, committed using fire arms, but the loss of life of the most vulnerable among us is also immoral and grievous . I seldom comment on issues but where is our moral compass.

Craig Curtis says:

As always a well thought out, well written, and kind and gentle presentation. Somehow that seems to inspire some of the most vicious, horrible responses and thoughtless responses. I love what you wrote and hope and pray the recipients on that website read your response multiple times before they respond. Thank you for your wisdom and insight.

Kim Godsey says:

I must admit I have done this with good intentions only to be scared into silence. A local paper had an article about the living constitution. A local college professor was supporting it. I wrote a well thought out argument against it. I mentioned that the Founders put absolute authority on the Bible and that the Constitution was meant as a standard, and not a “living document. I actually received a threatening letter at my home!
Yet my silence has not helped society. I will be very interested to hear the responses to you.

Bev Bryan says:

RESPECT, what a beautiful, biblical principle for living and relating to one another. Thank you Susan always for your timely and insightful musings.

Brett Modesti says:

I too agree that the art of conversation and the ability to disagree respectfully is being drown out by the shrill voices of extremism on both sides of almost every issue.

Those who shriek the loudest about how divided we are becoming are, by their very use of extreme messaging and vilification of those they disagree with, the very ones dividing us. They are followed close behind by voices of reason that remain silent.

Thank you for your courage and your thoughtful opinion.

Barbara A Edge says:

Hi Susan first off i just love you and your husband. I have learned so much from your shows. Thank you for posting your comments and supporting the second amendment. I dont own a gun however lately i have been giving it a lot of thought. I feel better knowing someone wise like you would support me. Love barbara edge ?

TJ says:

Thank you so much for your thoughts. You have the ability to express what so many of us are thinking but are often afraid to say because of the backlash we know will follow. I am usually good at listening to the other side, and frequently visit sites with opposing views. I will step it up a bit, and learn to be more like you.

Jesse says:

A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there. Thank you for taking a bold stand for the Truth!

Velma says:

Excellent message! I agree wholeheartedly. I am also a mother of 7 and grandmother of many more (12)
Shalom and Chag Sameach

Paula says:

I think that what you did is good and necessary. We do need dialogue in this country, but rare is the person on the liberal side that is willing to do something other than ridicule opposing views. It’s what they do these days, perhaps because the Democratic Party seems to have been overtaken by the hard Left and they usually are out to destroy the opposition. Our country has changed and not in a good way. Still, we have to try or this is no chance for positive change.