Tremors

This must stop.  This is nothing short of murder on the part of the doctor.  Whoever issued his medical license should immediately revoke it as he is clearly violating the spirit, if not the letter, of the Hippocratic Oath.  So is this.  

To see someone so casually discussing what is, to most people, murder of a defenseless infant (not an embryo, not a fetus, an INFANT – born and alive outside of the mother’s uterus), is absolutely vile and disgusting (not to mention ILLEGAL). THIS. MUST. STOP.  There are few things in the world that anger me so much, but this casual discussion – this frank, evil speech, angers me because it is not just sinful, it is not just callous, as a father, as a son, as a man – THIS IS EVIL.  There is no explanation that can do away with how terribly evil this is.  The people in the videos have been so immersed in it for so long that they do not even realize how tragic it really is. 

On another issue at the forefront of Constitutional Rights…

THIS

SHELTER-IN-PLACE

CRAP

MUST STOP NOW.

Shelter-in-place is a new euphemism for the old term “martial law.”  Now, is this full-blown martial law – not yet (emphasis on yet), but it is a step in that direction.  Of the linked examples above, we’re talking about domestic criminals – murderers, rapists, but no different than the murderers and rapists of a year or two ago where good old-fashioned investigative police work is usually the key to a conviction that not only the people want and support, but is essential to community-based policing.  This shelter-in-place crap has the potential to quickly be abused and get out of hand.

 

 

 

 

 

Forgiveness

Forgiveness is a simple concept in and of itself.  Forgiveness implies the erasure of debt basically.  When someone wrongs you, they become indebted to you in order to make you whole again and correct the wrong.

Forgiveness implies that you count the debt fulfilled even without recompense (payment).

The last few weeks have been filled with heartache and bloodshed.  The terrible consequences of living in a fallen world echo throughout our civilization.  Despite all of our intrepidity poured into minimizing such horrors, they still occur.  Since shortly after the creation of mankind, man has shed man’s blood.  Disease takes the young and the elderly.  Accidents happen.  Atrocities occur.  Death, destruction, and evil overtake our personal worlds without warning.

Today, there are families walking about missing husbands, wives, sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, cousins, and close friends all because of our humanity.  That which sets us apart from a dog in the street, or a bird in the sky, that spark of the Divine that makes us unique with a power to create, conceive, invent, and to improve our own human condition can be harnessed for the worst of evils – to shoot, stab, bomb, abort, and destroy each other.

I have written before about the importance of Godly men and women being willing to stand up and fight such evil over, and over, and over again.

My sons are not yet ready to stand and fight at four and just over one and a half.  In our household, I stand with my gaze fixed outward at the horizon – trying to discern and classify threats.  My wife does the same, but she also must look inward and remind me from time to time that there is little we can do against some threats, but come to our knees and pray.

There is one more thing we must do though.  Those that are hurting from loss and death are usually incapable of taking this step at first as the searing pain is too great, the anguish too fresh, but those of us detached from the situation personally must take up the mantle.

Despite all of the evils done, despite all of the losses taken and the pain caused… we must forgive.  Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his elder brother could never be sufficiently punished in this life to fill the void and pain caused in so many lives (or in our collective soul as Americans).  Even if Dzhokhar faces the death penalty and is ultimately killed for his role in the Boston attacks, his life does not equal the three innocents lost and the almost two hundred permanently changed by the evil action.

Must we accept evil in this world? Absolutely not.

Must we forgive the lost souls abducted into committing gross evils among us?  Absolutely.

He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

1 John 2:2

Dzhokhar is a lost soul, just as many others.  He is as much deserving of forgiveness and grace as me.  Will he face judgment for his actions?  Yes, but they will fall short of making those hurt or killed whole again, and that is why we must forgive and turn to God in prayer so that He may make us whole again as it is He who is uniquely able.

Boston Strong

I elected to not write on this topic again until I’d had time to let the emotions of the attack, aftermath, manhunt, and capture of the surviving suspect currently in custody.  My reasons were twofold –  to avoid presenting factually incorrect information and to give myself time to think over the implications and outcomes of the event from the initiation of the attack until now.

First, I find it disturbing how readily people were willing to cheer what has the potential to become the evisceration of the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment IV, US Constitution

The argument could be made that the officers and other law enforcement personnel requested permission to search, but there is a significant legal problem with the way those searches were conducted.  When a dozen (or more) armed law enforcement officers are standing nearby, including some with their weapons trained on you, when you open the door or look out the window the voluntary nature of consent has been violated.  That is duress in base form as the threat of imminent force is present and being brandished openly.

Duress

Restraint or danger, actually inflicted or impending, which is sufficient in severity or apprehension to deprive a person of free choice, destroy his volition, or obtain consent only in form.

Lectric Law Library

While I am certain that many offered voluntary consent, the mere presence of so many heavily armed and armored personnel of questionable identity (local police, state police, FBI, and National Guard appeared to be wearing similar military clothing and body armor) and with vehicles that have prior-to-now been only used in war zones such as Baghdad or Kandahar is tacit and outright duress under force.  Those voluntary consents were nullified by the show of force outside and are invalid.  I can’t speak as to what happened if searches were denied by invoking the fourth amendment, but in the face of so many rifle barrels, I hesitate to believe more than a handful remembered that they had that right in the first place.

My other observation is that the lockdown (shelter-in-place order) and concurrent door-to-door neighborhood sweep and manhunt failed to locate the suspect.  The suspect was not even within the searched zone so the manhunt had zero probability of success (more on this in a minute).  The suspect was located and captured only after the lockdown was lifted.

Officers may make warrantless searches and seizures if they find that exigent circumstances exist and that they have probable cause. An exigent circumstance exists when an officer has a compelling need to take official action but lacks the time needed to get a warrant. Determining probable cause in this context requires a consideration of the totality of the circumstances to determine whether an officer acted in accord with a high probability that the search would turn up contraband or evidence.

Search & Seizure Law

Did exigent circumstances exist to allow for the search for the suspect? Absolutely.  Was there a high probability that the suspect would be found in the area where the manhunt and door-to-door searches was conducted?  It is true after-the-fact that the answer is no.

Have we ever had bombings in this country?  Yes. The first such terrorist-style attack occurred in 1886.  Since then, there have been dozens of bombings in the United States, and while the attack on Boston was terrible for those injured and the families who lost loved ones, the attack itself and the threat to public safety posed by the suspect(s) after their identities were known paled in comparison to Timothy McVeigh (who killed 169 and injured 675 in 1995), the culprits of the Wall Street bombing in 1920 (30 killed, 300 injured), or even of the infamous Unabomber, Theodore Kaczynski (3 killed, 23 wounded over 17 years of bombings).  Moreover, those prior attacks never merited the willful (even if temporary) surrender of citizens’ rights that occurred recently in Boston.  The manhunt scale and scope was unprecedented.  The shelter-in-place order was unprecedented as they have historically been used for wide-scale chemical spills and similar disasters, not fugitive searches.

I don’t want to stomp on anyone’s toes with this, I’m just trying to point out that all of the good intentions in the world don’t matter when you start shredding citizens’ rights.  What worries me even more is when those same citizens cheer it on, either ignoring or failing to understand when a watershed moment has occurred.

For more on this topic, I suggest John Whitehead’s commentary.

Definitions

What is cold?  Is cold a measurable thing?

Hardly.  Cold is a word that use to indicate an relative absence of heat.  Heat is a measurable thing.  It represents existential energy as it affects matter and excites it in order to resonate energy thermally, rather than as magnetic attraction, electricity, or kinetically.  Cold is merely the absence of heat.  There is a scientific law that states that absolute zero is the complete absence of heat (we measure this as zero degrees Kelvin, -273.15 degrees Celsius, or -459.67 degrees Fahrenheit).  We have scientifically never reproduced this absence of heat, although we can come pretty close (the world record is one picoKelvin).  Cold by itself is immeasurable as it merely a definition of a word reliant on our understanding of thermal energy, or heat.

If you really want to throw your mind for a loop, consider this – as temperatures (thermal energy) decrease, molecular interactions begin to slow down.  This continues until you begin to approach that absolute zero point and a complete lack of thermal energy, and then molecular interactions and electron travel inexplicably expands and accelerates to far greater than their normal “range” of interactions.  These interactions introduce energetic releases that begin to heat the molecules again.  It appears to be impossible to remove all heat from even a single atom.

Mankind can split the atom, but the neutrons, protons and electrons are not destroyed.  Mankind can try to manipulate matter to a point where, theoretically, all electron motion should cease and the atom itself would self-terminate through neutralization, but as we get close, that fundamental building block of the entire universe rebels against us.

What is darkness?  Is darkness measurable?  Can it be quantified?

Absolutely not.  Darkness is the absence of light.  In the absence of light, we say that we have darkness, but really all we have is nothing.  What about something painted black? Even when shined on with a light, it remains black.  To the human eye, yes.  To a thermal camera, no.  Photons are absorbed by the black colored item and converted from photonic energy (light) into thermal energy (heat).  This is something anyone with a black car on a July day knows all too well.

Just like cold, darkness is a relative concept that must be tied to light in order to have meaning.  It is a term that must be defined based on it’s polarity in relation to it’s opposite, but it’s opposite is not reliant on it for it’s definition.

Even in a dark room, complete devoid of all internal and external light sources, there is light as chemical interactions generate photons (light) as part of the energy exchange.

Now here’s a question for you to ponder now.

What is death, but merely the absence of life?

What is evil, but merely the absence of good?

In the worst moments in our life, where we find ourselves at the bottom of a pit, buried beneath pain, sorrow, depression, regret, hate, and fear there is hope.

I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.

John 12:46

The answers to all of the questions of this world point to Him, but only if you open your eyes to see.

 

 

 

 

Paradigm Shift: Terrorism

**EDITED**

It was brought to my attention that perhaps I was being too harsh toward Bostonians as a whole, that families would need to be protected, and that putting what I laid out into practice was impractical and foolhardy.  Upon re-reading what I wrote from the perspective of someone undergoing the manhunt in their neighborhood, I partially agree.  I decided to edit this entry as a result.

Perhaps we’re approaching terrorism all wrong in this country.

Boston in Lockdown for Manhunt

Watertown, Mass. Shut Down in Manhunt for Second Boston Marathon Suspect

Two men (actually one since the older brother was killed in a shootout with police) are effectively holding the entire city of Boston and surrounding suburbs effectively under siege.  That’s approximately 4.5 million people.  Based on the city’s annual GDP, shutting down the entire city for a day will cost the Greater Boston area approximately $850,000,000 in economic production. One man – 4.5 million citizens effectively under siege – nearly one billions dollars of economic productivity lost.  All in the name of public safety.

What you have to consider is how this looks from the outside though.  The city is effectively shut down.  The people, while talking bravely, are acting cowardly by remaining locked up in their homes.  The economic impact alone is tremendous.  The 26 and 19 year old brothers suspected of the marathon bombing and the younger one, still wanted and freely roaming the streets of Massachusetts, serve as an example of a successful terrorist attack.

The impact that they have had is broad and multifaceted.  They took life suddenly, maimed dozens, and traumatically wounded the Boston Marathon for years to come in the minds, if not the hearts, of many despite the rhetoric and chest-beating by many after the fact.  The success of an hardly technical attack directly under the noses of hundreds of Boston police officers and other various agencies and directorates responsible for expressly preventing such attacks.  It immediately highlighted our vulnerabilities.  Future terror attempts will note that airports, aircraft, and firearms were unnecessary to cause terror and lock up a city in fear – common every day items properly combined are just as useful.

The economic impact will be painful as well, although it won’t be as immediately felt.

These observations are being taken by those that aspire to reproduce the same effects.  The means may be different next time, but these two managed to tie up the resources of nearly the entire state of Massachusetts, the FBI, DHS, and who knows what other agencies with little investment on their part.

The next time, the attack could come in NYC, or LA, or Chicago, Cleveland, or any number of other big cities.  The same lockdown and search approach will only further embolden the next attack as the costs in terms of manpower and wealth grow and the fear is just as insidious for those near the attack, despite whatever assurances they give themselves in the aftermath that they will continue living their lives with no changes, as city leaders order them to remain inside under a self-imposed siege in order to deny the benefit of crowds and a busy city to the fugitive on the run.

This from a supposed nation of minutemen?  Massachusetts, the home of the Minuteman, of Lexington Green, of Concord and the opening shots of the American Revolution 238 years old this very day?  The strength of Bostonians in the aftermath of the tragedy on Monday is remarkable, but this mandated lockdown denies the police their biggest ally in the fight to capture or kill the fugitive terrorist – the observant and wary citizenry of the city itself.  Every Bostonian had a reason to want this man located and stopped and to force them to remain docile and “sheltered in place” not only removed them from the equation, but it started a clock for the fugitive as the lockdown could only last so long before it was lifted (which it was shortly after I originally published the first version of this article).

Imagine the message that would’ve been sent and received loud and clear if those same Bostonians had been allowed to respond as their forefathers did 238 years ago today.  The way you stop the next terror event is not by locking up the people for their own protection, but by encouraging an overwhelming show that there will not be a NEXT event because the spirit of the minuteman still beats within the chests of every Bostonian.  Every citizen should have been encouraged to arm themselves and go about their day as usual, protected by those very arms wherever they were, with the vigilance that comes with moving about while armed, and the ability to not only report a sighting of the fugitive, but the ability to provide for your own protection without needing the police to risk their own lives on your behalf.  At the very minimum, such a display would be of the people’s liberty teeth, not as a threat against one another, but as a demonstration for all future terrorists that ANY future attacks will not be met by a voluntary siege, but rather by return fire from any and all angles.

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

United States Constitution, Amendment II

That is the reason the Second Amendment was codified as second in the ten of the original Bill of Rights, so that the people are not reliant on benevolent police for their protection, but rather are able to provide for their own protection, so that terrorists and tyrants would forever know that their evil is not only unwelcome, but will be repelled and repulsed, not just by a select few, but by any and all of the citizenry.

Boston, I grieve for you.  I wish for your sake that your city leadership had encouraged you to help them beyond just staying out of their way and treating you as citizens – stakeholders in your city and state – rather than as subjects.

On The Run

I won’t wax poetic about the manhunt underway in Boston.  With one of the bombing suspects confirmed dead and a search of his body revealing indications that he was wearing a suicide vest, this act of terror by two Chechens has taken a new twist. Never before in the United States have we encountered suicide bombers like this.

On a personal note, my younger sister lives in Boston in the area where the manhunt is underway.

More to come…

The Raw Hairy Edge

A hypothetical pulled from the headlines today.

Three individuals of criminal intent to decide to cause mass havoc and destruction.  They find a way to set fire and then detonate a fertilizer plant as a gigantic bomb in place.  The detonation was delayed though to draw in emergency personnel like firefighters, paramedics, and police to the scene and to cause mass casualties amongst that group.  Suddenly, the town you live in is awash in flames, with over half of the structures damaged or destroyed (almost as if a nuclear warhead had gone off over the town), and dozens if not hundreds dead.

Now that by itself is bad enough, but now, that same threesome that set the fire in the first place launches a Mumbai-style attack and begins attacking the survivors at the triage tents, the government-selected shelters, and in public places.  They’re wearing Kevlar vests and working as a fire team rather than as separate lone wolves.  To make things more complicated, that same cell also has explosives and rocket-propelled grenades smuggled across the Mexican border.  With the police unable to form a perimeter around the attacks and the lone attempts to stop them due to active shooter protocol has ended tragically despite the heroic attempts by the officers counterattacking in ones and two, the department is quickly approaching a status of combat ineffective (51% dead or wounded).  Those remaining officers are the slower, older ones, that probably should be retired by now, but are still around because of union rules that mandated the younger, less experienced officers, would be laid off due to budget cuts before the more senior ones.

You are cut off, and your police force is not meant to fight such a determined attack, especially in the aftermath of the plant sabotage that injured a number of their officers.

To add to your issues, you live in state where democrats voted to ban assault weapons and magazines that could hold more than 10 rounds.  Your politicians told you that weapons of war did not belong on your city streets.

Good luck Charlie.

 

 

Do You Have an Escape Plan?

Do You Have an Escape Plan?.

Sage advise MomWithAPrep.  At home, my family and I are equipped to ride out significant disasters with plenty of food, water, medicines, tools, and the like, but if we are out and about?

My car is set up with what I consider a get-home kit (or considering that I live in a potentially snow-bound area, a shelter-in-place kit, but I lack food).  Thankfully I do not live or work in rural areas so they are likely to go unused even in a personal emergency.

That all changes in a major disruption such as the West Texas fertilizer plant explosion.  If that tank farm a mile south of my work suddenly go up in flames cutting one of the main arteries through the city completely, could I change course to avoid?  Could I dismount and go on foot?  What time of year is it?  Do I need water? Food? Medical supplies? A longarm (we have wolves and coyotes in the area, not to mention the two-legged variety of predator)?

What if I’m suddenly dislocated away from home with one or both of my children by myself?  My oldest can walk well, but my youngest would tire quickly.

These are all questions that every person, every father should consider.

 

The Race

In the aftermath of yesterday, my daily life has not changed one iota.  My heart aches for the families rent apart yesterday and the people immeasurably maimed.  Right now, there is little that I or anyone else can say that will help heal the wound or patch the broken heart.  The medical care that they are receiving is about as far as humankind can provide.  The heart can only be healed by God.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

James 1:2-4

Yesterday produced moments of terror for people trapped between the blasts triggered by men bent on nothing but bloodshed and destruction of innocent life.  The murderers will meet justice eventually, but even then, humankind is only capable of a certain level of justice.

In our society, a capital crime such as a murder can only be punished once.  After the first murder, all subsequent crimes become essentially free to the murderer.  Their life is already forfeit.  While it is our right to apply the laws of our society and to prosecute the murderers and punish them in accordance with those laws, that punishment always falls short of the anguish of the imposed pain felt by the victims and the families of the victims of these tragedies.

This is the essential understanding that someone has to come to in order to truly understand God’s infinite grace and mercy.  All men fall short of the Law.  By failing to keep God’s law, we violate all of it.  Righteousness in God’s eyes is all-or-nothing. It is black and white.  There can be no gray or the very righteousness of God would be called into question.

So bringing this back to the loss of life yesterday, while I mourn for those killed and pray for those injured, the pain inflicted will far outweigh any pain that humankind can inflect in retribution.  That is the terrible fact of acts of terror – the terrorist will inevitably cause more pain than they endure in the end on this Earth.

My great fear is that this IED-style attack is just the beginning.  The attack was simple to plan and execute and few levels of interdiction would successfully stop such an attack within a free republic such as ours.  Perhaps though, this attack will prepare the people of this nation for the trials to come.

We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Romans 5:3-5

So what can be done in the face of terror knowing full well that our legal system, our military, our laws can only take from someone their life and that is the ultimate punishment that we can mete out?

Rise.

Stand up.

Be strong and courageous.

Yesterday, there were instances of God’s grace and mercy at work right in the aftermath before the smoke even cleared.  Men and women, immediately took up that great charge of the unorganized militia and sprung into action tending to the wounded, tourniquetting severed limbs, staunching bleeding, carrying people to hospitals, and intentionally putting themselves in harms’ way.  Those men and women were not just police and paramedics, but spectators – mothers, fathers, children, parents and the runners themselves (many of which heroically ran toward the blast site despite their exhaustion at the end of the grueling marathon course).

Yesterday there was death and despair.  Today there is hope.

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

2 Corinthians 4:8-12

Those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 40:31

Call It What It Is

Two blasts in quick succession right at the Boston Marathon finish line.  The first designed to disorient and the second designed to maximize body count.

My first thought was that someone had finally brought the suicide vest to America.  After a little more time, the attack appears to have been bombs left within the crowd and hidden in plain sight.

Innocent men, women, and children injured, maimed, killed and forever changed.

Pray for them and their families.

I have family in Boston.  My first thought was that they had no reason to be there, but I checked just to be sure.

As I was writing this, another blast was reported – this time at the JFK Library in Boston.

There is an active terror attack underway in Boston.

There is no reason to believe it will remain in Boston.

You are on your own.

Look to your family and stand fast.

In the word of Mr. Murrow, good night and good luck.

 

 

 

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