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Very close call

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by chaim, Jun 26, 2005.

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  1. chaim

    chaim Member

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    On Friday night I had a close call. One more example of why we need CCW in MD.

    On the sabbath, as an Orthodox Jew, I do not drive. We walk on the sabbath. I was walking back with a friend from one of my rabbis' homes where I had the sabbath evening meal when we detoured from the route I usually take to where I usually spend the sabbath. There was a loose dog that was acting in a threatening manner towards us and I didn't have my pepper spray with me so we decided to take an alternate route back.

    Well, when I got up to the main road near the intersection with the road I usually walk, I ran into two Orthodox guys trying to flag down passing cars so they could borrow a cell phone (very unusual since outside life and death situations we can't make phone calls on the sabbath). Apparently, they had just been accosted on the road I usually walk by three thugs at gunpoint. Now, to put the danger in perspective, Orthodox Jews don't carry cash on the sabbath, and you really don't want to frustrate someone pointing a gun at you by telling them you don't have what they are asking for. Luckily, they didn't get shot, only a little roughed up. Had my friend and I walked my usual route we would have been joining these two gentlemen.

    Anyway, to let you have the rest of the story, my other rabbi came by as they were trying to flag down cars. They told him what happened and he took them to his home to call the police from there (three guys running around pointing guns at people and demanding money is life and death enough for us to be allowed to make a phone call to the police to try to stop them). I don't think the thugs have been found yet.

    I must say, after running into those guys, I really didn't feel very good about being without my guns. Since I stay at a friend's home on the sabbath and didn't have any of my guns at his apartment I didn't have any guns available even after the incident (I don't live in the community and I need to be in walking distance from synagogue so I stay with a friend on the sabbath). After that situation, if I had one with me I would definately have ignored MD's laws against carry and I would have carried on Sat. We must have MD's CCW laws changed to shall-issue.
     
  2. carebear

    carebear Member

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    Let me preface by saying I'm not Jewish , but I did stay at a Holiday Inn last night, and I do read a lot. Also, I have gone round and round with some of my friends from church over the Christian morality of carrying weapons, in and out of church, so the topic of "religion and guns" is near and dear to my heart. I got that one settled to my satisfaction through study and a pastorial opinion.

    So, it immediately popped into my head after reading your report whether there is consistent understanding within Talmudic Law, at least in your area, on carrying a weapon for protection on the Sabbath, as it is a "burden" though not usually CCW'd, "in the hand" so to speak.

    I found this essay http://www.gunownersalliance.com/Rabbi_0001.htm which is kind of equivocal.

    I guess my question is, if you care to share, how did your beliefs as a apparently practicing, devout Jewish gun owner, evolve?
     
  3. dasmi

    dasmi Member

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    Your life is more prescious than following MD's unconstitutional laws. Not that I'm suggesting you break them, just a thinking out loud.
     
  4. Preacherman

    Preacherman Member

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    From an Orthodox perspective, would carrying a gun on the Sabbath be considered "work"?
     
  5. chaim

    chaim Member

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    Carebear and Preacherman, carrying on the sabbath (along with many things in Orthodox Judaism) is something that is strongly dependent upon circumstances.

    The discussion carebear links to is about carrying without something called an eruv (which is a complicated subject, so lets just stick with "with an eruv" and "without an eruv" instead of getting off track on getting into the details of an eruv- an entire tractate of both the Gemora and Mishnah are dedicated to the concept of an eruv). Without an eruv we cannot carry even our house keys or push a baby carriage- we cannot carry any item between a public or private domain. The discussion linked discussed weather a weapon can be considered a worn item- anything that is basically an item of clothing or a normally worn body ornament can be worn on the sabbath. Also, even on the (likely) event that a gun wouldn't qualify as an ornament there are many exceptions in cases of real danger to life and limb (but before anyone should carry on that they need to speak with a rabbi knowlegable in such matters who will then look at the specific circumstances before making a decision- few people are experts in every area and one needs to consult an expert).

    In an area with an eruv (like Baltimore and many major US Jewish communties) things are simpler. We can carry anything we can generally use on the sabbath (however, we cannot carry or handle items, such as car keys, that we can't use on the sabbath). Generally, shooting a gun on the sabbath (recreationally) would be forbidden, so guns would be items we can't handle. However, at this level (not carrying what you can't use is rabbinical while not carrying without an eruv is from G-d) the "danger to life" threshold is a lot lower and I would venture to guess that the crime levels in most US cities would be great enough to count. I do know that there are people in Baltimore who carry to synagogue on the sabbath (mostly former law enforcement) at the request of their rabbis so Baltimore is definately at that level.

    There is a third consideration for me however. We are generally required to follow the law of the land. So long as it doesn't require us to violate the requirements of our religion, even if the law of the land is stricter (such as no CCW), we are usually required to follow the law and if we don't we are just as much in violation of our religion as if our religion itself banned something. MD does not allow CCW. Of course, the danger to life consideration is always a consideration when it comes to any restriction so it is possible we could break the law if following it put us in danger (I don't know if MD, and Baltimore specifically, is bad enough to allow carry without a CCW).
     
  6. chaim

    chaim Member

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    Carebear, you seem to have three questions. The express one above, the question you and Preacherman essentially had that I just answered, plus you allude to a question about carry in a synagogue (based on your short discussion about carry in a church).

    Let me start (as I should have in my previous post) with I am not a Rabbi and thus not expert in all aspects of Jewish Law (Halacha) on these issues. However, I am a fairly educated layman.

    My understanding of carrying a weapon in a synagogue is that you can't carry openly. It is considered disrespectful to take a weapon into a holy place (remember, various items in the Temple had to be made of whole stone, and not hewn stone, because it would be disrespectful to take a bladed impliment to the stone when bladed impliments were impliments of war and the finished product was to be used for a holy purpose). Something about the weapon being meant to kill (weather offensively or defensively) while prayer and worship is about life (loosely speaking).

    However, again there is the danger to self and others that allows exeptions to many restrictions. Also, so far as I know the above paragraph only references a ban on carrying openly. I'm pretty sure in general, and certain in the case of some danger to self, that concealed carry is just fine.


    Now as for how I got to where I am, both becoming a gunowner and pro-gun rights and becoming an Orthodox Jew (I wasn't raised Orthodox) came from a similar evolution.

    I started out very far left-wing both religiously and politically. I was actually raised as a Unitarian (despite being Jewish) which is a far left wing religion that basically takes humanism and far left politics and makes those a religion (any Unitarian Universalists out there who disagree, I do apologize for a rather harsh view there, but as a former UU that is the impression I came away with). Until my early 20s I was an agnostic, and while against outright gun bans I was for strong gun control.

    As I got older I slowly became more conservative politically and religiously. Additionally, I always liked shooting guns (I shot for the first time in Army basic training and loved it) and planned to own some. By my mid-20s I definately believed in G-d* and I could not continue to pretend to be a Unitarian, and by then I was a conservative Democrat. I knew I was Jewish (mom is Jewish) and I "felt" Jewish so I started researching the Jewish "movements" and found that only Orthodox Judaism really worked. Today I am a religious Orthodox Jew, tending to the right wing religiously of Orthodox Judaism (I am "borderline" Chassidic), and I am now a registered Republican as well. Both my far-left father and a couple far-right friends think I no longer fit the moderate label I use for myself politically, but I am not yet emotionally ready to identify as right-wing (despite having people on both the right and left telling me I am now pretty far right).

    As for guns specifically I bought my first 5-6 years ago. The more I learned about guns the more I learned some of my "reasonable" gun controls I supported were anything but "reasonable" and I'm now a strong 2nd Amendment purist.

    So, while I guess I left out quite a few details (for brevity), my growth both politically and religiously were fairly in tandem and probably related.




    * To preempt a likely question I write "G-d" instead of writting it out because we consider it to be disrespectful to throw away or mistreat any piece of paper with any name of G-d written on it (if it had an actual name of G-d and not just the English word it would be more than disrespectful but a grave sin) and I don't know if anyone will print this post out and if so I don't know how they'll treat it. I don't want to contribute to someone else doing something they shouldn't.
     
  7. carebear

    carebear Member

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    Thank you chaim.

    It's always interesting to hear where folks who essentially believe in the same things (on guns anyway) are coming from.

    Really points up the universality and applicability of the concepts.
     
  8. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

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    I'm not Jewish, either, but I use both a mouse and a track ball.

    Seriously: I wasn't legally able to carry a gun when I was a subject of the People's Republic of California. I carried a knife. In due time, realizing a knife wouldn't likely do me an awful lot of good against a gun-toting illegal alien, of which there were a great many, I returned to the United States.

    Not coincidentally, I discovered there's a great deal less violent crime in Colorado than the P.R.C.
     
  9. Clean97GTI

    Clean97GTI Member

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    My Bible-thumping Christian mother put it well.

    "It's hard to do god's work when you are dead."
     
  10. chaim

    chaim Member

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    When I realized what almost happened I must say I was very thankful not to have either the pepper spray or the knife I usually have on me (I don't know why I choose the leave them at home that night). Both guys were searched when they said they had no money (before they were roughed up) and I can just imagine what would have happened if they found the pepper spray and knife, and I seriously doubt I'd have drawn either on 3 guys with a gun (I don't know if they all had guns or only one of them but either way I'd have likely left the knife and spray in my pocket).
     
  11. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

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    I understand. If 'twere me, I'd move to Virginia—or any other state where my right to defend my life isn't negated by government.
     
  12. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Well I consider this to be an interesting and informative education ... :)

    I think If I were in your particular situation I would discuss what happen and the possible consequences with the Rabbi of the Temple you attend. If his views were totally negative I would consider finding another Temple, even if it was in a nearby ajoining state.

    You can replace many things, but not your life.
     
  13. K-Romulus

    K-Romulus Member

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    second incident in 6 months . . .

    Chaim, I think that you may have the workings of a valid CCW application, even in MD.

    You described being harassed by some neo-Nazi type a few months ago, and now three of your friends were held up at gun point. Was there anything said during the holdup to indicate some sort of anti-Semitic sentiment?

    If so, I think you may have a good chance at getting a MD CCW based on documented ethnic/religious harassment. (Yes, even in the Stepford State of MD) :uhoh:

    Glad you guys are OK.
     
  14. The Rabbi

    The Rabbi member

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    Here in the liberated state of TN we do have shall-issue and I do have a CCW.
    There definitely seem to be opinions that permit carrying guns on Sabbath in cases of danger. I walk as well and it is about 1 mile on a very busy street. I dont have any fear (OK, not a lot) of being accosted or anything like that.
    But one time I did have a slightly unusual incident and I was perfectly comfortable carrying a gun well concealed. If I had incidents like Chaim describes happen to me I would doubtless do it all the time, although I would carry it in some unusual way and avoid any severe prohibition.
    I recall when the riots happened in LA a number of years ago we had a fellow here who's in-laws lived in LA. He told me all the men who had guns carried them that day to synagogue.
     
  15. M2 Carbine

    M2 Carbine Member

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    My Wife and I were born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland in 1938.
    We left MD in the mid 60's when I went to the Army flight school.

    Through out the early 60's I constantly illegally carried a GI 45 in my car.
    Before we were married I gave my future Wife a P38 for home protection.
    After we were married my Wife carried a 22 pistol, especially to work. She was a supervisor at the phone company in a steadily deteriorating Baltimore.

    As a Baltimore policeman I knew of people that worked in very bad neighborhoods that illegally carried pistols.
    I even sold a pistol to a Priest. :D

    In Texas for many years before we finally got the concealed carry, we each carried a Colt 1903 in our cars.

    I am normally an easy going, honest, law abiding person but I refused to allow myself and especially my Wife to be unable to protect ourselves.
    The anti gun politicians and bleeding heart liberals can all go :cuss:

    What you do, of course, is up to you.
     
  16. Baba Louie

    Baba Louie Member

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    Never one to cast aspersion to another or about anothers religious belief...

    I would hate to read or hear about someone being hurt, maimed or killed due to their religious dogma stopping them from self defense; but then, to some, faith is more important than all else. While that is good for them, I do have a tough time thinking about some barbarian types committing acts of evil on a man (or men or women) while these same good, religious people do nothing to protect g-d's gift of life due to... to anything, be it laws of man or laws of g-d (as interpretted by religious leaders).

    I easily rationalize self defense as being one of nature's prime laws.

    Once I am past my prime and my children are grown, my grandchildren well on their life's path, and I have no immediate value to my family's well being, then perhaps I can live the life of a pure & perfect human, one who hears no evil, sees no evil, speaks no evil, commits no evil and thus receives no evil....

    NAAAAHHHH, never happen. Evil must be beat down by good men on a regular basis. Fortunately (or is it unfortunate?) I was taught that lesson as a mere lad (see Cain v. Abel)

    chaim, glad you made it home safe and sound, glad your friends were (relatively) OK. Check your six often my friend.
     
  17. Harry Tuttle

    Harry Tuttle Member

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    sounds like theres a job for a shabbes goy with a gun
     
  18. mountain_cowboy

    mountain_cowboy Member

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    I'm a Christian, but I greatly sympathize with those of the Jewish faith and life. With all of the persecution and harassment that Jews have endured over the centuries and today, even at the hands of those who would call themselves Christian, it just puts a big ol' grin on my face to think of an Orthodox Jew packing heat in order to protect himself or his brethren. I believe that the G-d we both share is pained by the worldly condition that necessitates it, but does not disapprove of the protection of one of His chosen people. May you find the answer and reassurance you need to protect G-d's gift of life, and the fortune to never need it.
     
  19. Khaotic

    Khaotic Member

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    Wow, +1 guys.

    While having an entirely different set of beliefs, knowing and understanding someone elses helps one properly respect them, so I very much appreciate the insight into this belief and how it relates to this issue.

    Very educational.

    Also, I grew up in the nastiest sections of south Baltimore - most of the folks who DID carry (illegal or not) are still around, and most of those who didn't, well, you can guess where they are.

    Baltimore is hands-down the *worst* place I've ever seen in all my life and travels when it comes to armed self-defense, they have this attitude legally that NOTHING justifies a self-defense shooting, and have repeatedly jailed folk for even the most righteous acts of self-defense.

    So keep in mind that self-defense is considered as horrible, if not worse, than any other 'crime' in the city of Baltimore.... be careful, k ?

    -K
     
  20. dhoomonyou

    dhoomonyou Member

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    Check out the website http://www.jpfo.org/
    "jews for the preservation of firearms ownership."
    A very infamous anti gunner was Hitler.
    The preservation of life takes precedence even over the Sabbath.
    Thank G-D no one was killed.
     
  21. glockenstein

    glockenstein Member

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    This is one of the better threads that I have read on a gun forum in a long time... positive and constructive without the pettiness and pointless arguments I see sometimes. Let's keep it up!
     
  22. BrokenPaw

    BrokenPaw Member

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    Chaim,

    I don't pretend to understand the laws of your faith, but the following occured to me: you've said that you're not allowed to carry money on the Sabbath. Given that you're also not supposed to break the laws of the land, would it be within the grey area of "permissible for reasons of safety" to carry some money on your person on the Sabbath for the sole purpose of having it as a way to appease a mugger?

    It really grates upon me to even suggest it, because I'm personally disinclined to back down and reward a criminal. But it's not illegal in MD to carry cash, so you'd only be dealing with the Talmudic law about not carrying money. Whereas to carry a gun you'd have to be bending Talmudic law and breaking MD law. Or something.

    Or you could (as others have posted above) move to a gun-friendly state, and then you at least won't have the laws of man to contend with as you decide what's best to do...

    Fortunately for my own peace of mind, my path does not have any explicit restrictions on the carry of weapons for any particular purpose, and since my Circle meets in the Grove on my property, I don't have any legal entanglements to prevent me from protecting myself and my family.

    Good luck figuring out your course.

    Namaste,
    -BP
     
  23. The Rabbi

    The Rabbi member

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    There is no difference is carrying money or a gun. They would be considered the same in regard to carrying.
    There were periods in the '60s and '70s in NYC where rabbis suggested this. I think Meir Kahane (not one of my favorite guys btw) opposed this and suggested instead "every Jew a .22".
    It would personally be intolerable to me to carry money in essence to pay for proteksia.
     
  24. BrokenPaw

    BrokenPaw Member

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    I understood that part. The reason I suggested it as a possibility was because, (as I understand it) for Chaim to carry a gun on the Sabbath, he's breaking the Talmudic law about carrying things that are not regular clothing, plus he's breaking the Maryland handgun laws, and is therefore also breaking the Talmudic law about obeying the laws of the land. But if he were carrying throw-down cash, he'd only be contending with the first part, about carrying something superfluous on the Sabbath.

    As I said, I don't understand Talmudic law in any way at all other than what's been explained in this thread by others; some faiths count multiple violations of the rules as "worse", and some count all violations related to one incident as part of the same violation. So I figured I'd throw out the idea for Chaim's consideration.

    -BP, who knows less and less every day.
     
  25. chaim

    chaim Member

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    Ok, let me clear up a few things.

    I was not carrying because MD law doesn't allow it. As for the discussion about carrying things on the sabbath, I live in an area with what is called an eruv so I can carry things that I can use on the sabbath (without an eruv I couldn't carry anything and thus the discussion would be more complicated). Items like a gun, which under normal circumstances one couldn't use on the sabbath, one normally can't carry or even touch on the sabbath. However, where there is a risk to self or others there are exceptions, and it is very likely that the crime rates in most US cities is high enough to count since we tend to err on the side of caution when it comes to danger to life.

    The only reason I wasn't carrying is because MD law doesn't allow it. If there was CCW here I might have. The only reason I didn't carry illegally after running into the two victims was because I stay at a friend's house on the sabbath (since I don't live in the Baltimore community) and I don't bring a gun with me when I stay there (most of the time).

    As for moving, I very well may in the next year or two, however gun laws will only be one of the criteria. I am going to be going to grad school afterall, I am prepping now and plan to go in about a year. My number one criteria for a masters program will be quality of the program and how well it will prepare me for a Ph.D. program (along with the success rate of graduates in being accepted by Ph.D. programs), followed by cost of the program (and related, availability of assistantships), followed by whether or not there is at least a small Orthodox community (it is a very community oriented religion and it is hard if not impossible to follow it properly without at least one synagogue and some Orthodox Jews to pray and learn with), followed by cost of living (I may not be working while in grad school, and if I am I doubt I'll be working many hours), and only last will be gun laws. The Ph.D. program will be selected on similar criteria (with the first criteria changing to quality of the program and success rate of graduates for getting the type of position I want and how quickly they get hired). If the best school for me is in CA, MD, NYC or NJ (and several top choices are) that is where I'll be. That said, my first choice for my MA, if I can get in, is The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg VA (compared to MD, VA has great gun laws). However, many of my top Ph.D. choices are in NY and CA. Now as for where I'll settle perminantly after grad school is done, my first choices are Pittsburgh, Richmond, Minneapolis, Denver, and Norfolk. I'll strongly consider Phily, Cleveland, Milwaulkee, and Miami. Other than small to medium Orthodox populations the one other thing they all have in common is decent gun laws and CCW (well, Milwaulkee doesn't have CCW, but by the time I have my Ph.D. in 5-6 years it probably will).

    As for carrying some money to have something to give the muggers (and thus be a little safer than having nothing to give), I've thought about checking into that. A few years ago when there were a rash of mugging attempts on the Chassidic Jews of Brooklyn the rabbis there told people to sew a $20 bill onto their clothing loosely enough that they wouldn't have to handle it and someone could easily rip it off. I think sewing it in is a bit much, if I was to do it I'd just carry it in a pocket of my suit coat. However, like The Rabbi said, it really wouldn't "feel" right to do it. Even if allowed, it wouldn't really feel like the sabbath if I was carrying around $20. But, like I said, I am considering it.

    Well, the two acquaintances who were accosted were probably not targeted due to their religion. The Baltimore Jewish community is in Greenspring (a good neighborhood) and Upper Park Heights (not bad, but changing and very near some of the worst neighborhoods in Baltimore). This happened in Upper Park Heights, only about 5 blocks from the "border" of where the bad neighborhood starts. Property crime year round, and muggings when the weather is good are unfortunately pretty common. I'm pretty sure the only motivation was money (though the Lower Park Heights neighborhood does have a strong Nation of Islam presence, not exactly known for being friendly to Jews, and there is some tension between the two communities).


    I never did report the Nazi guy to the police, and this robbery attempt (even if it was motivated by anti-semetism, which I doubt) didn't happen to me. Had I taken my usual route I would have been a victim as well, but it happened to two other people. MD specifically lists "self-defense" as not being sufficient reason for a CCW, the only exception being if you have documented death threats. Too unlikely to be worth the $100 some it would cost to just apply.
     
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