Who can forget the infamous opening line to Hunter S. Thompson’s semi-autobiographical novel, “Fear and Loathing Las Vegas”?
We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold.
Well, the Los Angeles Times may have come close to matching Thompson. Here is the opening line to a Times piece today entitled, “The ‘Tactical Rabbi’ Helps Synagogues Defend Against Anti-Semitic Violence”:
It was 45 minutes into his lecture when the rabbi pulled out an AR-15.
Pretty awesome indeed. The rabbi in question is named Raziel Cohen, and he is the head instructor at a group called National Defensive Firearms Training (NDFT). Here is how the NDFT website describes Cohen:
Instructor Cohen, otherwise known as “The Tactical Rabbi,” has been training and instructing some of the best in the country. The National Defensive Firearms Training Academy only became available to civilians in 2018. Prior to this, Instructor Cohen only gave private courses to Military Personnel, Law Enforcement Officers, and Security Details.
Instructor Cohen began his training with Competition Shooters, which helped him learn competitive techniques and apply it to the defensive world, allowing him to teach students how to be faster and more accurate. …
In July of 2018, Instructor Cohen was one of only seven people hand selected in the state of California to join a Special Forces training class. The class was led by an active duty Navy Seal and a member of Australian Special Forces. Instructor Cohen completed top of the class. …
Finally, Instructor Cohen is a certified instructor under the Department of Justice as well as having multiple certifications under the NRA. He not only completed top of his class but his perfect test score put him in the top 1% of the United States.
Not too shabby for a kippa-clad ordained rabbi!
As the Times piece elaborates, services such as Cohen’s have become more popular since the deadly shooting last month at the Chabad of Poway, California that left one dead and the heroic rabbi, Yisroel Goldstein, seriously maimed:
“Who thinks, by show of hands, that we should be carrying more guns in shul?” Rabbi Raziel Cohen asked the crowd at a Westside Chabad synagogue Wednesday night, during an active-shooter seminar organized in the wake of the deadly attack at Chabad of Poway.
Half the room raised their hands.
In the days since the shooting, Chabad leaders in California have scrambled to secure public safety grants and to calm frightened congregants, mobilizing hundreds more through active-shooter drills and community defense training. In Southern California, religious security experts such as Cohen, who calls himself the “Tactical Rabbi,” are quickly becoming their own cottage industry.
In an op-ed for The Daily Wire and a NRATV appearance following the horrific Chabad shooting, I argued that Jews simply must take responsibility and arm themselves. With anti-Semitism on the rise not just in Europe, but right here on the domestic homefront, there is truly no other viable option. Godspeed to Rabbi Cohen, and may as many Jews as possible heed his clarion call.