By Jeffrey Kaufman, M.D.
Mr. Baruth wrote taking credit for what he calls “common sense gun safety” legislation now in effect in Vermont. But S.55 involved more than expanding the background checks required by federal law, and Vermonters have lost a large margin of public and private safety as a result of Mr. Baruth’s legislative efforts. Now, we’re at higher risk for the massacre of innocents here in Vermont as occurred this past Saturday in Pittsburgh, where 11 Jews were murdered and two injured while honoring the Sabbath and welcoming a new life into the Jewish community. Men, women and children sat in a confined prayer room and were picked off like sitting ducks, nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, while an armed man who announced his intent to kill Jews walked in and attacked them dispatching one after another after another.
This week has been a time of mourning in Vermont, with our American flag flying at half staff. Synagogues around the state have offered memorial services followed by an interfaith gathering at Contois Auditorium. We feel the pain of our Pittsburgh brothers and sisters. Over the last five days anger sets in replacing shock and horror with the recognition and realization of their needless and largely preventable loss. In fact, in Vermont we have been fortunate to experience the nation’s second lowest firearm homicide rate of any state, which experts attribute to a high prevalence of firearms and historically unrestrictive firearm legislation. But that was before Mr. Baruth’s S.55 restrictive and anti-self defense legislation.
Sitting ducks murdered in a gun free zone, unarmed innocents with no one to protect them. By the time a call to 911 went out, police responded, gained entry, exchanged gunfire and wounded the gunman. Eleven innocents lost their lives and six were injured. That’s what happens in gun free zones, like schools and movie theaters, and it’s now more likely to happen in the new restrictive anti-self-defense legislation state of Vermont.
Thank G-D there’s the common sense alternative.
Imagine Bowers having entered the Synagogue yelling he’s going to kill Jews and finding he’s already being tracked by one or more congregants who’ve got him “dead to rights” in their sights. He may well have just turned around and walked our without a shot fired.
According to Torah, preservation of life comes before everything else. Self-defense, even pre-emptive action is permitted, if necessary, to save life. Legislation that interferes with self defense, that interferes with the preservation of life, defies common sense and defies Torah. No one else save the one facing mortal danger may rightfully decide what tools or weapon type to carry, nor the number or capacity of magazines. For once facing death it’s too late to prepare.
Preservation of life is the most basic instinct — reflexive, inborn. You can no more legislate against self defense than you can legislate against breathing.
I oppose Mr. Baruth’s candidacy as he ranks the preservation of life — what I consider to be sacrosanct — with such casual disregard that he has passed laws restricting self-defense and believes this has opened doors to pass additional laws further restricting self-defense in the future. I oppose the candidacy of all who would act similarly.
Dr. Jeffrey Kaufman is an internal medicine specialist in Burlington.