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I tried to not write this week about guns and how I wish they were controlled more closely in our nation. But I couldn’t help myself. I believe that we are going down the wrong road, and too many people are suffering and dying, especially students from elementary schools to universities.

This week is the fifth anniversary of the high school murders in Parkland Florida, and it was “commemorated” by murders at the University of Michigan. Although there have been only six weeks in 2023, there have been 71 mass shootings this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

I worry. And yet, this week’s Torah portion has much to offer in teaching people how to safely interact, and it encourages us to be our highest selves.

Much of the Torah speaks of our relationship with God through the Temple service and sacrifices. Fortunately, Torah also wants to tell us that we should take care of each other, the animals in our care, and each other’s property.

It comes down to this:

“You shall not wrong a stranger, nor oppress him; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. You shall not afflict any widow, or orphaned child. If you afflict them in any wise, and they cry to me, I will surely hear their cry… And it shall come to pass, when he cries to me, that I will hear; for I am compassionate.” Exodus 22:20-21, and 26)

I want people to treat each other with respect and compassion. I want us to spend our money on making others’ lives better, not on weapons that can be used to kill them.

I want guns off the streets, out of people’s pockets and homes. I want my state’s governor to stop promoting “permitless carry” and instead insist that everyone who wants a gun has to pass a written and a practical test, just like I did when I got my driver’s license.

What I want is irrelevant to my governor and his cronies. I know that. But I can dream about a safer and better world, and I can continue to speak out for what I believe is right. So can you.