October 27, 2018

We need not be sitting ducks to terrorists and crazies

Shabbat is over and we’ve all turned on our TVs and mobiles to be faced with this horrifying news.
Yet another reminder that Jews are an endangered species and there’s nowhere we are truly safe – even in the ‘Golden Medina’ of America.

Our hearts go out to the families of the slain and we pray that those who were injured will recover soon and fully – especially those valiant police officers among the wounded.

President Trump has taken some flak for his comment that this might not have happened if there had been an armed guard on the premises. But we all know he’s right. The same argument holds true for all the shooting sprees from Sandy Hook to Bataclan and so many other auditoria where hundreds of innocent people were sitting ducks at the mercy of a mad shooter for the 15 or 30 minutes before help arrived.

We learned this lesson in the 70’s when Arafat’s PLO turned airplanes into easy terror pickings. Two or three hundred people helplessly sealed in an aluminium tube.   But, for the last 50 years - and starting long before the security screening devices of today - most airlines have carried an armed air marshal and the problem has been almost eradicated.

We need to understand that this has long gone beyond airplanes, and the same precautions have to be taken in all places where people are gathered in large numbers. We make such a big fuss about fire doors and sprinklers, and yet there is no armed guard in 99% of crowded venues, whether they be places of entertainment or worship.

Just like the safety limits on crowd capacity and fire exits at any indoor event, there should be a law requiring, say 1 armed officer for every 100 people at the venue.

When I go to shul in Israel, there is not always a security guard at the door. But I always know for sure that among the congregants there are at least one or two army reservists packing a firearm. And we have seen in the many street attacks how Israelis have been quick to neutralise terrorists within seconds of them revealing deadly intent. The Jerusalem bulldozer attack 10 years ago comes to mind.

We cannot and need not be sitting ducks to terrorists and crazies.

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