This from Today:
Mindy Finkelstein was 16 years old when she was thrust into the national spotlight in 1999 after a white supremacist opened fire at a Jewish Community Center in Los Angeles.
Finkelstein was a counselor at the JCC, a teen looking forward to her prom and dreaming about where she would go to college The gunman was Buford O. Furrow, who on the morning of Aug. 10 walked into the JCC and fired 70 shots with a semi-automatic weapon.
I’m not going to lie, that’s tragic.
The shooting turned Finkelstein into what she described as “a poster child” for the national debate over gun control. It was a role she was not ready for, during a time when that type of violence was an uncommon event.
As Finkelstein was being rushed to the hospital that day, a realization hit her.
“I was shot because I was Jewish,’’ she said. “That’s painful in a different way.”
Being the victim of Antisemitism, or any other hate crime, sucks. But let’s be honest, knowing that she may be hated for who she is can’t be too foreign a concept to her? Was she never taught Jewish history?
“I grew up surrounded by Jews and knew about the Holocaust and the KKK, but I had never come into contact with it until that moment,” she said.
A week after she was released from the hospital following the shooting, Finkelstein was in a wheelchair at a cousin’s bat mitzvah. She found herself receiving hugs from a group of Holocaust survivors in the family.
“They said, ‘You’re one of us. We are survivors because people don’t think we deserve a chance to live our full lives,’” she said. “It really got to me in a way that I look forward every day to being Jewish, instead of running from it, because it stands for something more than just a religion, and it stands for something more than just a culture. It’s a survival.”
Finkelstein’s parents and the parents of other survivors became vocal advocates for gun control legislation. The shooting also galvanized the Million Mom March, a national movement calling for common sense gun policies that held marches across the country on Mother’s Day in 2000.
Finkelstein and her mother, Donna, threw their efforts into working with Women Against Gun Violence, the Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence and the The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. Finkelstein didn’t realize the toll it would take on her when gun control bills continuously failed to pass at state and federal levels.
This is where this all goes south for me. This happened in California in 1999. The Brady Bill and AWB was still in full effect. Bill Clinton was President. Between California and the Federal Government, she was living under some of the strictest guns laws in the country.
Still bad things happened.
Rather than learn that Jews need to defend themselves, she launched into “take away guns from everybody else.”
There is a huge cultural gap between Israelis and Liberal American Jews. This attitude is part of us. US Jews rarely join the military, Israelis have mandatory service. US Jews are vehemently anti-gun. Israel loosened its gun laws when Jews were getting stabbed.
American Jews still don’t grok the need for self defense. They think that they can legislate safety. Israelis understand that sometimes you just need to shoot a motherfucker or drop a Hellfire on his ass.
While many survivors of mass shootings refuse to make any mention of the gunman, Finkelstein believes it’s important to remember Buford, who remains in prison.
“I understand why people refuse to say the name of the shooter, but I don’t do that,” she said. “In my situation it’s important to understand how he came to be the way he was and make sure that’s publicized.”
Simply surviving has served as a rebuke of what Buford stands for.
“They tried to kill me because I’m Jewish and this is like the ultimate way to stick it to them,” Stepakoff said. “You tried, and you failed. I still am here, and I still am free to practice my religion.”
I prefer the Israeli approach. Shoot the son-of-a-bitch until he’s dead. Send the message to the next person who gets the itch to kill some Jews that they will end up spending the last few moments gurgling their own blood on a sidewalk.
Last year’s march by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, served as a reminder that the issues raised by the JCC shooting nearly 20 years ago are still an ongoing concern across the country.
Anti-Semitic incidents surged 57 percent in 2017, from 1,267 across the country a year earlier to 1,986, marking the largest single-year increase since the Anti-Defamation League began tracking the incidents in the 1970s.
See? Buy a gun, get a CCW permit, learn to shoot, carry on.
Finkelstein does her best to share her story with other survivors of gun violence to show them there can be hope after the horror.
“I try to be as honest as possible about what transpired in my life and how difficult it was,” she said. “But I also talk about all the success I’ve had despite what happened to me and also because of what happened to me.
“People feel like I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I don’t feel that way. I feel there was a reason that happened to me. (Buford) was at the wrong place and I was in the right place.”
And this is why I don’t get along with so many in the Jewish community.
I’d be demanding that the JCC hire a director who is retired IDF and an alumni of Baladia and put a rifle in his office. Let me put a gun in my gym bag at the JCC when I work out.
No amount of gun control will some a very motivated asshole from going on a rampage. A few well placed bullets will, however, stop his rampage.
I feel bad for Finkelstein. What happened to her is terrible. But to work for gun control is to put her head in the sand and pretend that it is making her safer. It’s not.