Why Israel has no Sandy Hooks
posted at 2:07 pm on December 17, 2012 by Allahpundit
A thoughtful piece at Tablet by Liel Leibovitz on why a country brimming with guns, that’s been under siege for more than 60 years, almost never sees the sort of mass shootings that the U.S. does. Spoiler alert: It’s not because the gun laws are unusually strict, or strictly enforced.
If the United States, itself awash with weapons, wishes to benefit from Israel’s experience, it must make sure it learns the right lessons. The first and most universal one is that ever more stringent gun control is bad policy: As is the case with drugs, as was the case with liquor during Prohibition, the strict banning of anything does little but push the market underground into the hands of criminals and thugs. Rather than spend fortunes and ruin lives in a futile attempt to eradicate every last trigger in America, we would do well to follow Israel’s example and educate gun owners about their rights and responsibilities, so as to foster a culture of sensible and mindful gun ownership…
In Israel, still a somewhat socialist country, mental health services are ready available, for free, to anyone. And because so many young Israelis undergo traumatic experiences in the course of their military service, a whole host of nonprofit organizations are on hand to provide counseling and treatment. We must do the same. Rather than pretend that it was the objects in their hands rather than the afflictions in their minds that led Lanza and Holmes and Cho and the others to perpetrate their monstrosities, we should offer help to those young men and their families. We have no more compassionate route, and no greater hope for peace.
A lecture on responsible gun ownership will reduce accidental shootings but it won’t dissuade James Holmes, Adam Lanza, or Cho Seung-Hui. Two questions, then. One: How long would it take, and how much would it cost, to build a system of mental-health services as robust as Israel’s in the U.S.? Two: What if the local would-be Holmes/Lanza/Cho doesn’t want to use those services? See Jim Geraghty’s Morning Jolt for more on incentives to seek treatment once the government is more deeply involved.