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An instructor performs a demonstration during a training session at a shooting range in Kfar Saba, Israel

Reuters

Gunned Down, Gunned Up, Again

As news broke last night of the horrific mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine, where at least 18 people have been killed, I happened to be talking about guns with an old friend from Israel.

As the Israel-Hamas war rages on, my friend has joined a local security detail where he and other volunteers patrol their local streets at night. Hundreds of these new security units – they are essentially militias – are springing up as Israelis of all ages (my friend is in his early 60s) rush to protect their country. You might think this civic volunteerism is a positive sign, but my friend, a former politician, had a strikingly different view.

“I’m not sure if this is a sign of strength or a sign of weakness in our country,” he said. “After all, it should be the job of police and the government to keep people safe, but no one trusts the government to do that anymore, so they are doing it themselves.” It is an interesting question: Is gun ownership a metric of trust in government?

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