Submitted by Editor on
[Who is a "prophet"? One who sees a deep evil in society, and speaks the truth about it to the powerful and even more important, to the disempowered -- those who have until that moment been deprived of the power to make change. Because the change that is needed never starts from those in power -- whether the rulers of the Roman Epire, or the companies that get wealthy from selling assault rifles to anyone who wants. For those in power benefit from the way things are. Justice and change start from the people -- from us.
[Whether it is ancient rabbis confronting Rome and Babylon or modern surgeons weeping over mangled children and confronting those who sell murder for money --- when they speak they are prophetic voices. The surgeons have limited their analysis to the medical and practical; the ancient rabbis have affirmed the practical while looking deeper -- making clear that those, Jewish or not, who have turned away from the Breath of Life to gods of wealth and power cannot be trusted with the tools of killing. --- AW, editor]
Statement from the American Pediatric Surgical Association Board of Governors
As pediatric trauma surgeons, when a call goes out about an injured child, we are ready. We gather our teams and we plan, prepare and wait in our trauma bays for the victim to arrive. We have trained for this, practiced it, and, unfortunately, lived these resuscitations over and over and over in emergency rooms across the United States.
When the weapon used to perpetrate harm is an assault rifle, often the victim does not even make it alive to our doors. The injury inflicted by an assault rifle is so massive and widespread the victim dies at the scene.
In the massacre that happened in Uvalde, TX, the victims were 9 and 10 year old children, averaging about 60 pounds in weight. The damage and injuries that these children sustained were so extreme and widespread that their own parents could not recognize them. DNA samples from their parents were required to identify the children.
The American Pediatric Surgical Association (APSA) calls for a new federal Assault Weapons Ban on military-style firearms. During the decade of the previous ban, public mass shootings and deaths decreased.
Although these mass shootings are a small percentage of overall gun deaths each year, they have been used to perpetrate mass shootings of children and adults in public places that should be safe such as schools, grocery stores, theaters and churches.
These weapons have the capacity for rapid fire and large numbers of rounds between reloads which increases their lethality and the number of victims. They have been used in many locations including Newtown, San Bernadino, Las Vegas, Sutherland Springs, Parkland, and most recently in Uvalde, each incident killing more than a dozen people.
APSA acknowledges the Second Amendment and the right to responsible gun ownership. However, assault weapons have no place in the civilian arena. Therefore, we call for a new federal Assault Weapons Ban. We support H.R.1808 / S.746, the Assault Weapons Ban of 2021.
We strongly urge Congress to move forward in adopting these bills and reinstating a ban on Assault Weapons. Too many children and adults have been killed in the hands of civilians using these weapons.
As pediatric surgeons, we are committed to saving lives of children to allow them to live their lifetimes. We need the help of our legislators to remove ready access to these dangerous weapons that have been used, time and again, to commit mass murders in peaceful communities in our country.
Board of Governors
American Pediatric Surgical Association
Talmud Bavli, Avodah Zarah 15b:10 ff
[Translation slightly adapted from Sefaria.-- AW, editor]
And furthermore, it is taught in a baraita: One may not sell weapons to idolators [since those who worship idols, not the Breath of Life, cannot be expected to adhere to a moral law against killing ---AW] or the auxiliary equipment of weapons, and one may not sharpen weapons for them.
And one may not sell them stocks used for fastening the feet of prisoners, or iron neck chains [kolarin], or foot chains, or iron chains.
Apropos the baraita that discusses the prohibition against selling weapons, the Gemara relates that Rav Dimi bar Abba says: Just as it is prohibited to sell to an idolator it is prohibited to sell to an armed bandit who is a Jew. The Gemara clarifies: What are the circumstances of this prohibition? If the thief is suspected of killing, isn’t it obvious that it is prohibited? After all, he is the same as an idolator.
Providing a Jew who might kill with weapons is no different from giving a weapon to an idolator as in both cases one violates the prohibition: “Do not place a stumbling block before the blind.” [A command of Torah in Lev. 19: 14. Already understood by the Rabbis as applying not only literally, physically, but also to assisting someone who is blind to the moral law to stumble by violating it. --- AW]
And if he is a bandit who does not kill, why not sell to him? The Gemara answers: Actually, Rav Dimi bar Abba is referring to a bandit who does not kill, and here we are dealing with a bandit who steals, as sometimes he makes use of his weapon to save himself when he is caught. Consequently, it is prohibited to sell him weapons in case he kills with them in self-defense.
Rav Adda bar Ahava says: One may not sell blocks [ashashiot] of iron to idolators from them. The Gemara asks: If so, then even hoes and axes should not be sold to them, as they too can be used to forge weapons.
Rav Zevid said in response: The ruling of Rav Adda bar Ahava was stated with regard to Indian iron, which is of a superior quality and used only for crafting weapons. The Gemara clarifies: And as for the fact that nowadays we do sell all weapons? Rav Ashi said: We sell the weapons to the Persians, who protect us.