Note: This has been posted at our discretion. It is without the permission of the author but publicly available on Facebook. Click here for link. This comes in the wake of a terrible tragedy in Monsey, New York on the 7th night of Chanukah.
We wish the victims and their families a refuah shlema (speedy recovery) and peace for the family of the man who remains in critical condition.
We believe that this sort of “arming the community” is going to come with accidents, dangers and a necessary review by both State and Federal authorities on whether or not we really want all of our communities to start taking up arms. This, in our view, is a dark path, very dark. Combating anti-Semitic attacks, anti-anything attacks with combat weapons is a slippery slope.
That is our take. Yours may be different.
MONSEY, NY — The pictures that circulated on social media showed three men with long guns strapped to their bodies.
They stood outside one of the many synagogues in Monsey, New York after an attack on a Hanukkah celebration left five injured.
“People need to understand there’s no other choice,” said one man named Shlomo, who held a rifle as he spoke to Yeshiva World News this past Sunday near the *shul*.
Another man holding a weapon said, “One day, it’s a stabbing, another day it’s a shooting,” adding, “I’m clearly here to say, ‘Hey, don’t bother me.’”
A Rockland County man named Anthony Mele gave a “thumbs up” as the group posed for some photos.
Mele—president of AMI Global Security– told PIX11 on New Year’s Day that some Monsey men had called him within an hour of the Saturday stabbings on Forshay Road, seeking advice.
Five Orthodox Jewish men had been injured in the assault at a rabbi’s home, including 71-year-old Josef Neumann, who suffered a devastating brain injury that’s left him partially paralyzed.
Mele said he spoke to the men about something he calls a Jewish Tactical Defense Initiative.
“It is the concept that the community should be well-prepared and well-trained to defend itself at a moment’s notice, “ Mele said, “….which is perfectly logical, in this particular situation.”
“Self-preservation and self-defense is a human right,” Mele added.
But some locals became concerned when they saw photos of the men with rifles circulating on Facebook and on sites like Rockland Report.
They contacted PIX11 about the photos.
We traveled to Monsey on New Year’s Day to see if anyone was ‘open carrying’ a rifle, which is not permitted in New York State, unless you have a hunting permit or special permission.
We didn’t see evidence of anyone carrying a long gun Wednesday, and we asked Captain Marty Reilly of the Town of Ramapo Police Department about the incident.
“We sent one of our lead firearms experts, a sergeant in our department, ” Captain Reilly told PIX11. “He went over and physically inspected the weapons and they were compliant with New York State laws.”
“It’s alarming to some residents when they see people carrying weapons openly, so they voluntarily secured the weapons,” Reilly said. “The persons carrying it were on private property. The sergeant asked them if they could secure the weapons and they voluntarily complied.”
Anthony Mele told PIX11 that he had trained one of the men in how to use an M-4 rifle.
“The only person it should be alarming to is the person planning to make an attack against them,” Mele said.
Yet the nephew of Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg, who owns the home where Saturday’s stabbings took place, told PIX11 the rifles were not something their congregation endorsed.
“It was definitely not sanctioned by us,” the nephew said. “They’re not part of our community.”
Yet Mendy Hecht, who’s a Hasidic resident of Rockland County, said to PIX11, “I don’t think it is a problem. I mean, there is a Constitution and you are allowed to carry a gun.”
When PIX11 asked Hecht if that should include carrying assault-type weapons, he responded, “If you’re afraid, then yes.”
To follow on Facebook click here.