School Shootings Don’t Happen in Israel

Photo by Raimond Klavins on Unsplash

Only six school shootings have occurred in Israel since 1974. Israel has, according to David Hazony, a “complex, multi-layered approach” to school shootings. How do they do it?

Tight Gun Control

Israelis are well armed, but guns are tightly controlled.

Israelis can’t have more than 50 bullets at a time. To buy new ones, they must prove they’ve used their old ones or exchange old ones for new. They also must pass stringent mental health and criminal checks and are restricted to just one gun apiece.

Of course, Israel also has no Second Amendment.

However, there are restrictions that would not violate the Second Amendment as they stick to prior legal precedents such as better enforcement of existing laws and raising the age for gun ownership.

Keeping potential killers off the streets would also help. Most mass shooters have a history of torturing animals. The Uvalde killer had a history of killing cats and had beaten a dog unconsciousness. Yet his sick behavior was not punished.

If we took cruelty to animals seriously and gave the punishment of such crimes some teeth, we would ultimately not just protect animals but also potential human victims.

Behavioral Profiling Including Monitoring Social Media

Israel uses behavioral profiling to identify potential assailants. They monitor social media to identify red flags early. They also act on that information.

The FBI was aware of red flags with the Uvalde killer. He bragged on social media about how he was going to shoot up a school shortly before he did so. What action was taken? While the Justice Department spends resources keeping an eye on parents who complain about their local school boards, is it actively seeking out threats of actual violence to children?

What about monitoring by social media companies? Facebook posts are deleted and Twitter accounts are banned for unapproved content, so it is obvious we are being monitored. However, how often is this because of actual threats of physical violence vs. simply posting things that are inaccurate or politically incorrect?

If someone posts something that is inaccurate — you can rebut it. If someone posts something that offends you, you can block them. But if someone posts pictures of tortured animals or brags about planning to kill school children — that should be taken seriously as it involves actual physical violence.

How often are these red flags ignored while we spend taxpayer dollars to fund a Disinformation Governance Board?

There are concerns that monitoring social media by the government could violate civil rights. While the Israelis seem to trust their government, many Americans do not. Given experiments done on American citizens at Tuskegee, the violation of rights of many Muslims after 9/11 and so on, there are reasons for this.

Hardening Schools

While many Americans don’t like the idea of their children having to deal with metal detectors and armed security guards, even Kellyanne Conway, on a recent appearance on Bill Maher’s show (along with Cornel West and Josh Barro) stated that she’d rather have children deal with that than the alternative. Children might be frightened by trained law enforcement but it would still be less frightening that what happed to students in Uvalde.

According to Yigal Arbiv, who trained law enforcement officers in the U.S. and is currently in charge of security for a junior high school in Israel, the head of security should be authorized for all aspects of school safety.

The school should only have one entrance and one exit, and no one can come into the school without the head of security knowing about it. People who are not connected to the school are kept out.

In Israel, there is also someone who patrols the area about 50 yards out to keep an eye for threats. There is also security fencing around school grounds and cameras located throughout the campus. Barricades prevent people from driving on to school grounds.

Of course, in America, there are racial and other issues that need to be dealt with. Some schools that have tried hiring police have found that black students are more likely to be treated in unacceptable ways. A 16-year old black girl was arrested for working on a science project.

The issue comes down to having law enforcement involved in what are simply disciplinary issues or accidents. If a child accidentally sets off her science experiment in the hallway or talks back to teachers or throws a spitball — those are issues that teachers should deal with, not police officers.

Israel has an impressive record of minimizing school shootings despite having a heavily armed populace. However, they have also enforced measures that many Americans may find drastic. Yet drastic measures may become required if school shootings continue to accelerate.

John Adams said that our Constitution was designed for a moral people.

I have a friend who was born in the 1950s. He remembers taking his rifle to high school as he was a member of a marksmanship club.

I asked him if kids shot each other.

He said, “We had fights sometimes, where guys would punch each other. Heck, I got into my share of fights. But no one ever got their gun out of their car and shot anyone. That was unthinkable.”

It is no longer considered unthinkable by far too many people.

Please note, I do not pretend to be an expert or have the answers. I also try to be impartial and look at things from all angles. If you think I’ve overlooked something or have better ideas, feel free to share.

If you would like to buy me a cup of coffee, I would appreciate it. Maybe I can return the favor sometime. Because we all need appreciation.

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Shefali O'Hara

Shefali O'Hara

Cancer survivor, artist, writer, engineer. Grew up in NYC, living in Austin. Love animals, books, hikes, art, travel, D&D and fireworks.