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Apr-05-2013 13:12printcomments

We Can Barely Believe our Eyes -- Gun Free Kitchen Tables

Predictably and painfully, this development followed yet another woman’s murder by a security guard.

Gun free tables

(TEL AVIV) - First a request to each of you to take online action:

    Potpourri:  Join our call for gun free homes—Take a snapshot of your kitchen table and tag, tweet or share it on our Facebook page or Twitter account, with a short text stating in your own words and style that you don’t and won’t have a gun on your kitchen table.

We can still barely believe our eyes and ears: Two days ago (April 2), Israel’s Minister of Public Security announced that as of next month, security guards’ guns are to be deposited at their work places after duty (the link above is to a Hebrew news item). The announcement concluded an emergency meeting called by the Minister. Reports by major news venues cited  Gun Free Kitchen Tables as a key source of data and quoted GFKT responses.

Predictably and painfully, this development followed yet another woman’s murder by a security guard. On March 26, less than a month after the previous murder with an off-duty security guard's gun, a woman whose name has not been publicized, was killed by her security guard husband. Her death brought the count of innocent victims of security guards’ off-duty arms to at least thirty, in just over a decade. While GFKT has been anticipating these murders since its foundation, we have so far failed to prevent the preventable and the foreknown, despite the clear headway the Campaign is making.

Reporting on this latest murder, Israel’s commercial media also prominently featured the Campaign messaging. The professional skill of media liaison Yael Marom (who continues supporting the campaign as a volunteer) again positioned Campaign activists as unique experts on the topic. Within two days Gun Free Kitchen Tables appeared in 15 media items, including 5 TV interviews (one on the Russian language channel), 2 radio interviews and 7 interviews and quotes in printed media. Additional media coverage following the Minister’s announcement brought the count of media items featuring GFKT to 19, since early March.

More important, many others, unaffiliated with GFKT, echoed Campaign messaging throughout the media. TV anchors, a security firm owner and various speakers on TV panels all supported disarmament of security guards at schools. An op-ed called for tight oversight of the security guard industry and much reduced use of small arms by security companies. GFKT no longer heard claims from interviewers that the number of victims “wasn’t that large” over a decade. An Israel Today headline read “Painful Numbers,” for instance.

The entire breadth of Israel’s commercial media adopted the spirit of Gun Free Kitchen Tables including, for example, Israel Today, known as mouthpiece to PM Netanyahu, Yediot Acharonot and (in English) The Jerusalem Post, which usually tow right-wing lines. Social media showed the same trend. Atty. Galit Lubetzky, who operates our Twitter account, said, “Mentions of our messaging in social media are numerous … they’re circulating outside the ‘natural target audiences’ of activist organizations.” Our “Potpourri” initiative (see above), launched April 2, along with the breaking news, have brought the membership (“likes”) of our Facebook page to over 850, the number of people reached by the page in the past few days to almost 22,000 and the number of viewers actively responding to 650.

Dear friends, Underway before our eyes is a shift in discourse on small arms and security guard firms in Israel. We are seeing the emergence and spread of: Public critique of insufficiently controlled small arms proliferation (firstly, but not only, via security guard firms); A clear public demand for oversight of the security guard industry; Public recognition of the dangerous over-armament driven by the security guard industry.

A discourse shift and the consciousness change it entails are truly social change. It is our painful but moving privilege to have initiated, and to witness, this process.

Still hovering ominously ahead, though, despite the Minister’s announcement, is proposed legislation that would cancel the very law whose enforcement we demand; The law restricting a security guard’s gun license to his place of work. In addition, the Minister's declaration has yet to be implemented. Implementation may be stalled and blocked yet by the non-transparent, privately owned firms. So to help us build on the achievement of the April 2nd announcement, to make it binding and to push it towards implementation; To help us bring a resounding Campaign voice to Israel’s new Knesset, we turn to you to take part in amplifying our call. Join our Potpourri initiative!

The Campaign title echoes the frank personal testimony of a security guard: “There are directions on how to treat guns at home. But to tell you the truth, what I usually do is walk in the door and drop the gun on the kitchen table.” A gun on the kitchen table, the center of many homes, in the service of state and security firms, is a threat to every person living there.

Source: New Profile Israel



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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.