Does it Fit Our Democracy?


Freedom is every American citizen’s fundamental right. The most important part of an individual’s freedom is to be able to walk safely and freely on the streets of his or her own town.

Back in the Soviet Union, the dictatorship took away the freedom, and sometimes lives, of its citizens. For those like myself who spent a large part of their lives under that dictatorship, our American democracy is a matter of admiration and appreciation.

Our experience makes it even more difficult to listen to the news about yet another shooting or violent crime committed in different parts of our great country. Our country — which has accomplished so many great things — can and must overcome this problem.

The president and Congress could create a committee of experts to dev-elop a set of concrete suggestions and measures to stop violent crime. Of course, such a committee must be required to act expeditiously and effectively and not to spend taxpayers’ money for useless meetings. Because violent crime has reached such a terrible level that even innocent children are killed, the government should initiate national referenda to implement solutions and prevent endless debates.

One suggestion is obvious: Our country must find a way to stop the money-making propaganda of violence, including physical and sexual cruelty in movies, on television and in video games. Such propaganda has nothing to do with the freedom of speech.

It must be replaced by propagation of tolerance, kindness and moral values. Appropriate government agencies should address the question: Are there sufficient psychological evaluations for teachers and children in schools and for the general public?

Why is it that every time a massive killing happens, everyone around the perpetrator is caught by surprise, and nobody noticed the warning signs?

Teaching the difference between wrong and right should be offered on a much more intense level than now, together with information about careers involving lesser or greater dangers and risks. It should come together with teaching the sentiment that, if potential perpetrators of violence use their ambitions and energy to serve their country, they will be able to tell their children with pride that they earned some fame and recognition — not through crime but through national service.

Religious institutions, media, movies, television and video games must be at the forefront of instilling this idea.

Since our Constitution gives citizens the right to bear arms and a great number of people already have them, it is even more important for a committee of experts to come up with effective suggestions of how to stop this fatal epidemic of violence.

The United States must overcome this epidemic — no matter how difficult it may be — for the sake of its citizens, our democratic moral values and the honor of our great country.

Jewish people with our moral values and tradition of tolerance and respect for human life should be among those who are at the forefront of dealing with this problem.

Arkady Mamaysky is a mechanical engineer who emigrated to the United States from the Former Soviet Union in 1979.

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