Friday, June 27, 2008

Guns and Roses

The start of summer vacation and this week’s handgun news from the Supreme Court reminds me of an amazing story. But before the story, three questions for your table.

First question - Are rules good because they create an orderly society/home/life, or are they good because they are “true”?

What I mean is, almost every human society in history has had the rule, “don’t murder”. Is that because there is something absolutely true about the evil of murder? Is murder (however you define it) simply wrong? Or is it simply good for us to outlaw it?

That question is a no-brainer for most people. Most people believe there is something inherently evil about murder (again, depending on how you define it).

Question 2 – What about the speed limit? If the speed limit is 65 mph, is it wrong to drive 66? 76? 86? How wrong is it? Is 86 more wrong than 85?

Question 3 is more challenging: Is it inherently true that “all people are created equal” as the American religion dictates, or is that simply a convention that we agree on? Perhaps some people are created holier than thou?

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OK, now the story. This is from the New York Times, it’s a little long but worth the read:

February 8, 2008
In Bronx School, Culture Shock, Then Revival

Junior High School 22, in the South Bronx, had run through six principals in just over two years when Shimon Waronker was named the seventh.

On his first visit, in October 2004, he found a police officer arresting a student and calling for backup to handle the swelling crowd. Students roamed the hallways with abandon; in one class of 30, only 5 students had bothered to show up. “It was chaos,” Mr. Waronker recalled. “I was like, this can’t be real.”

Teachers, parents and students at the school, which is mostly Hispanic and black, were equally taken aback by the sight of their new leader: A member of the Chabad-Lubavitch sect of Hasidic Judaism with a beard, a black hat and a velvet yarmulke.

(click on the text to get the rest of the article)

Shabbat Shalom

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