Very well, I confess: when about 50 Arabs attacked me with rocks, I fired a few warning shots in the air, in order to cover my retreat. I saw my life was in clear and present danger, and in pure instinctive self-defense, I fired those shots.

Many people (in particular, judges and other assorted intellectuals whose lives center around the genteel suburbs of north Tel Aviv, Ramat Hasharon and Tzahala) will argue that rocks are not dangerous to life.

Other people who have seen rock-throwing Arabs, can testify that rocks are dangerous to life. Unfortunately, those who know this fact can no longer testify.

Come to that, the court itself recognizes that rocks are dangerous to life. As I write these lines, my friend Shimshon Cytryn is under house arrest, and faces a charge of attempted murder -- for allegedly throwing a rock at an Arab.

Apparently, a rock thrown by an Arab is harmless, while a rock thrown by a Jew is lethal.

In my case, I was accused of shooting an Arab named Nasser Wafi, who alleged that he was hit in the thigh by my bullet. In addition to the testimony of Nasser Wafi, several Arab "eye-witnesses" disposed of almost everything alleged by the government: how many people were holding firearms; how many shots were fired; what the alleged shooter looked like; what time Nasser Wafi was shot; the range at which he was shot; which leg he was wounded in.

However, the only thing these witnesses all agreed upon was that before any shots were fired, they (the Arabs) were throwing rocks at Jews.

But I digress.

The Court decreed, months ago, that I would be held in jail until the end of proceedings (to date, 6 1/2 months). When I appealed this decision, Her Honour Sarah Dovrat decided:
"The actions of the respondent [Daniel Pinner] are dangerous, regardless of the political background [i.e. the Disengagement]. A person who carries a weapon and uses it, testifies to the menace inherent in him, and is not a result of political tension.... Under these circumstances, the end of the Disengagement does not neutralize the respondent's menace." (Decision of the Be'er Sheva District Court, Case # B.Sh. 021515/03, given on 24th Tishrei 5766 - 27th October 2005)
If Her Honour happens to read this essay, I want her to know that I never imagined that by defending my life, and carefully not endangering the life of anyone else (not even the Arabs who would have happily taken my life), I thereby became a menace to society. I have legally held a firearm for about five years, and have used it precisely once -- when I judged my life to be in danger. Even the prosecution did not claim that I am a serial shooter, or that I would be likely to shoot for no reason. Through my lawyer, Baruch Ben-Yosef, I appealed the 24th Tishrei decision to the Supreme Court. We lost. Then, as the case for the prosecution grew steadily weaker, we made another attempt to get house arrest. The same court, the same judge, a different date; the same decision: "The circumstances have not changed in any way, nor has any new fact been shown me, which can neutralize the respondent's menace." (Decision of the Be'er Sheva District Court, Case # B.Sh. 021515/03, given on 7th Kislev 5766 - 8th December 2005)

I have a couple of questions for Her Honour, Sarah Dovrat:

If the Court eventually acquits me, then should I nevertheless be held in jail indefinitely as a "menace to society"?

And if the Court convicts me, then should I be held in jail for the rest of my life, on the grounds that even after serving time, I might still be a "menace to society"?

On Monday, 4th Kislev (5th December 2005), a suicide terrorist detonated himself in a shopping mall in Netanya. Five Israelis were murdered, dozens injured. In a radio interview, a security guard stated that even though he recognized the suicide terrorist for what he was, he chose not to shoot for fear of what would happen to him if he did. Countless other security guards have made identical comments; they know that if they shoot terrorists, then they -- the security guards -- are likely to be arrested and held for months in jail, even if they are eventually acquitted. It is simply less hassle to shout a warning, let the terrorist detonate and hope that as few Jews as possible will be killed.

So, my final question to Her Honour Sarah Dovrat is: Which one of us (you or me) is the real menace to society?