Fallout – Zimmerman Verdict

I held off on posting more on this trial until the verdict was in because so much was supposition based on what evidence would be submitted, what testimony would be heard, and what conversations would occur between the jurors once the case was given to them to decide.

Personally, as someone who paid attention to the situation from the beginning, the trial, and has served on a jury before as the foreman, I have just a few observations.

  1. The prosecutorial misconduct in this case stretches from here to China and back – concealing evidence, apparent construction of evidence/testimony, and a gross overcharge on murder two.
  2. The judge was pretty clearly biased and at one point in the trial it was almost as comedic as a Saturday Night Live sketch with the number of objections sustained by the judge for the prosecution and overruled for the defense.  The verbal lashing she gave the defense, during their portion of the trial regarding Zimmerman’s potential self-testimony, was ridiculous and unbecoming of anyone on the bench at any level.
  3. The reaction of the masses as an whole were not unexpected by me.  There are strong opinions about this whole case – perpetuated by the media’s handling of the case (constant referrals to Trayvon Martin as a kid and using pictures of him that predated that fateful night by five or six years at the least gave the perception of an innocent kid instead of a large black man who was physically larger and more athletic than Mr. Zimmerman).  The media’s portrayal essentially convicted Mr. Zimmerman months before this trial which left the riotous fools wanting blood when he was eventually acquitted in court.
  4. Now the more radical members of society are calling for the blood of the jurors from professional athletes, politicians, and other so-called celebrities are lamenting the verdict publicly – further fanning the flames of hate and distrust in society.
  5. It’s watershed moments like this that lead some people to make stupid decisions – such as those that lead to riots, arson, revenge attacks, and other criminal acts.
  6. While I live in the suburbs, I’m not completely confident that will be a buffer anymore in light of active threats and that is why my magazines are loaded for my FDR.
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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.

The Shadow of the Gun

Gun horror is not a productive emotion, but learned helplessness disguised as moral superiority. Rather than teaching children to hate killers, schools are instead teaching them to hate guns. And reducing murders to instruments rather than morals, children are left with no sense of right and wrong, only an instinctive horror of violence.

Read more at Sultan Knish’s blog.

Lead

Sometimes, the best lessons are taught in the shortest phrases.

Greatness lies, not in being strong, but in the right using of strength; and strength is not used rightly when it serves only to carry a man above his fellows for his own solitary glory. He is the greatest whose strength carries up the most hearts by the attraction of his own.

Henry Ward Beecher

Power acquired by violence is only a usurpation, and lasts only as long as the force of him who commands prevails over that of those who obey.

Denis Diderot

Strength under control.  Gentleness cannot exist unless it comes from strength under control.  Christ said that the meek shall inherit the earth.  I do not believe that Christ meant meek as we understand it, which is as a synonym for weak, but rather that he meant that those with strength who control it well will inherit the earth.  A strong man can force his will for a time, but he can be overcome. A virtuous man, with strength at his disposal that he willingly chooses not to exercise, cannot be overcome by any force arrayed against him because that man, with strength under control, has allies in others who wish to follow him, to emulate him, and to be like him.  Isn’t that the model that Christ Himself modeled for us by submitting to death on the cross?  Christ, the commander-in-chief of the armies of heaven itself and the physical manifestation of the living God, the Creator of the universe, held his hand – and look at what happened.  The Roman guard at the cross saw it firsthand – that ultimate power, so controlled.

And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”

Mark 15:39

Uplifted

My wife and I are embarked on a journey to read the entire Bible in a year.  We’re reaching the parts about David prior to the establishment of his kingship over Israel and I am reminded how divinely provident so many of the actions and coincidences in his life were.  David was extremely cognizant of the divine nature of these things, and I find myself wondering how many instances of divine providence that I’ve encountered in my life?  How many did I recognize at the time?  How many days, week, months, or years later?  How many did I fail to see at all?

In all things God works for the good of those who love him.

Romans 8:28

A few nights back, I watched the movie Machine Gun Preacher.  I tried to put myself in the main character’s (Sam Childers) shoes.  He was an outlaw, a man as far from God as light is from dark.  He is at the absolute bottom of the pit.  He can’t see his way out, and isn’t sure there is a way from him to get out.  Long story short, he comes to find Christ and begins to turn his life around.  He becomes inspired some years later to build a church for men and women like him – people at their absolute worst who need Christ’s saving grace and forgiveness, and to begin using that church to support his passion of saving the children and orphans of the ghastly civil war in Sudan.

Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.

1 Timothy 1:15

The divine providence evident in this man’s life (since the movie is based on the real Sam Childers) was incredibly portrayed.  While in prison, his wife and daughter find Christ, which opens the door for him to find Christ as well.  Once he is starting to get his feet under him, he goes on a mission trip to Uganda and convinces a soldier to help him go to the front lines of the war because he feels called to help those in need.  There he sees the plight of the children who live in constant fear.

Newly built, the village and orphanage he built are burned to the ground by the Lord’s Resistance Army in Sudan.  He becomes despondent and discouraged.  He calls his wife and she says “Get off your butt, stop your crying, and build it again.”

This man poured his life and spirit into his passion to build something for the glory of God and to help the children and he earned a price for his head.  His response was that he “must be doing something right then.”

Every step in this man’s life along the way prepared him to be a man willing to live with a price for his head.  That is great faith.  I envy that faith.  Despite all of Sam’s failings, Christ reached down into that pit of despair, of drugs, of violence, vulgarity, and wretched sin and grabbed this man and pulled him up.  He washed him clean and used him in such a way as to glorify Himself.

Paul called himself the worst amongst sinners, and he was saved by grace and became one of the most righteous and faithful men to have ever lived.  David lived a fallen life, replete with sin and failings, yet God loved him and provided for him at every turn.

It doesn’t matter where you are or how far down you have fallen, Christ can reach you. Christ will reach for you.  You just have to be willing to take his hand.

I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
and put their trust in him.

Psalm 40:1-3

 

An Absolute Right

I know that some of you read what I write because I try to always bring things back to God, to those of you I apologize for my focus as of late has been on the works of men.  It’s not that I hate lost sight of God through all of this hyperbole and vitriolic hatred highlighted by the political left’s insistence on punishing all gun owners for the actions of evil men, but that I have recognized it for the threat that it is.  I do not say it lightly when I say that any attempt to ban, confiscate, or register any firearms will not be met kindly by myself or many others like me.  I will not hypothesize on what I will and won’t do in that event as we have not crossed that bridge yet, but I fear that there are short-sighted politicians who are flirting with the idea far too much.

So why do I consider it a threat?  If I believe that nothing man can do can hurt me as Scripture tells us, than why does it matter?

It matters because of the long-term results of those efforts.  That violent crime rates go up following such actions each and every time – rape, armed robbery, gun crime, assault, home invasions, murder – across the board in every instance in history.

It matters because of the actions of democratically elected governments that move to ban the last protection of the minority in the face of oppression and tyranny – the ability to use adequate force in defense of liberty and freedom.

Wait, what?

Let’s play a quick hypothetical: let’s say that the United States passes a law either by legislation or executive order (Don’t get me started on how egregious this idea would be, but can you say casus belli?) that bans further purchase of certain semiautomatic firearms and then requires those that are permitted by a grandfathering clause to be registered with the federal government.  What is to prevent the next mass shooting from causing the same politicians from deciding to now confiscate all of those registered firearms?

You see, without registration, confiscation is exceptionally difficult and dangerous.  There aren’t enough law enforcement officers and agents and every level of the government combined to confiscate the firearms of 100 million gun owners (and let’s not mistake ourselves, every modern semiautomatic handgun and rifle would be part of this round up since they can accept magazines of whatever capacity the manufacturer wants to build and distribute).  With registration, the politicians would be able to “target” the population for confiscation more effectively and eliminate unnecessary searches, etc.

Once a significant amount of the population is disarmed, there is not enough manpower to offer significant resistance against oppression or tyranny.  This isn’t me just speculating, it is documented history.  Just in the last hundred years we have the following instances.

Turkey (1915-1917). 1-1.5 million Armenian Christians killed.  Turkey required permits to own firearms at all and total registration (which led to targeted confiscation from the Armenian population).  Gun control laws were passed in 1866, 1911, and 1915.

USSR (1929-1945). 20 million political prisoners. Total registration and confiscation laws passed in 1918, 1920, and 1926.

Nationalist China (1927-1949). 10 million communist sympathizers and political opponents. Total registration and confiscation laws passed in 1914 and 1935.

Nazi Germany & Occupied Europe (1933-1945). 20 million political opponents (communists, anti-fascists), gays, Jews, Gypsies, and others. Total registration laws passed in 1928. Confiscation laws passed in 1938.

The People’s Republic of China (1949-1952, 1957-1960, 1966-1976). 20-35 million political opponents and “enemies of the state.” Total registration laws and ban on private ownership laws passed in 1951 and 1957.

Guatemala (1960-1981). 100,000-200,000 Mayans, indigenous peoples, and political enemies. Registration laws passed in 1932. Prohibition on bearing arms laws passed in 1947. Total ban and confiscation laws passed in 1964.

Uganda (1971-1979). 300,000 Christians and political enemies. Registration law passed in 1955. Confiscation law passed in 1970.

Cambodia (1975-1979). 2 million educated people and political enemies. Total registration law passed in 1938.

Rwanda (1994). 800,000 Tutsi people. Registration and confiscation laws passed in 1979.

Other notable government-sanctioned murders are as follows:

Japan (5,964,000 noncombatants during WWII), Vietnam (1,678,000), North Korea (1,633,000), Pakistan (1,503,000), Mexico (1,417,000), Yugoslavia (1,072,000 from 1944 to 1987), Czarist Russia (1,066,000 from 1900 to 1917).

Grand total, not counting other genocides such as those in Bosnia during the 1990s, or Darfur in this past decade, stands at 88,533,000 killed by their GOVERNMENT.  88 million is a conservative estimate, the grand total is surely higher.

That is why I fight so hard about this issue.  The very people put into power to protect your freedoms and liberties can turn around and use their authority to kill you, your family, and everyone you love.   With just one exception, the gun control laws passed “to save just one life” were turned around and used by future regimes to target minorities and political enemies.  In that one case, the SAME regime used those laws to target their internal enemies.

Semiautomatic firearms of military pattern in the hands of the people of America defend every single person in this country from the same fate now and decades in the future, because any attempt to push this country in that direction will and can be met with equal force of arms.  THAT is what the Second Amendment enshrines.  THAT is what is what George Washington and the other founders meant when they wrote or spoke the following.

If circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude, that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people, while there is a large body of citizens, little if at all inferior to them in discipline and use of arms, who stand ready to defend their rights.

Alexander Hamilton, Federalist 29

Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American… The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state government, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people

Tench Coxe

The Constitution shall never be construed….to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.

Samuel Adams

Are we at last brought to such humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our defense? Where is the difference between having our arms in possession and under our direction, and having them under the management of Congress? If our defense be the real object of having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands?

Patrick Henry

Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined.

Patrick Henry

Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people’s liberty teeth and keystone under independence … From the hour the Pilgrims landed, to the present day, events, occurrences, and tendencies prove that to insure peace, security and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable . . . the very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference – they deserve a place of honor with all that is good.

George Washington

Those, who have the command of the arms in a country are masters of the state, and have it in their power to make what revolutions they please. [Thus,] there is no end to observations on the difference between the measures likely to be pursued by a minister backed by a standing army, and those of a court awed by the fear of an armed people.

Aristotle, quoted by John Trenchard & Water Moyle

For further reading, I highly encourage you to read Daniel Polsby’s Of Holocausts and Gun Control.

[The Founding Fathers] rejected the concept of a state monopoly of armed power–“the most dangerous of all monopolies,” according to Madison–in favor of “the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation.”

Daniel Polsby

*Statistics regarding genocide from Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership & Marmatt.com.

III

Paradigm Shift – Forget the Clutch

Those of us in the liberty movement, the patriot movement, the pro-gun camp, libertarians, Constitutionalists, conservatives, what have you… we need a paradigm shift if we are ever to fight back against the onward trudge of tyranny.  For too long we have allowed the political left to dominate the discussion by setting the terms of debate.

It is time for that to end.

I have pointed out before the fallacious term assault weapon and the misused term assault rifle in the past as have others ad nauseum.  The firearm industry has coined sporting utility rifle as an alternative, but I have stumbled upon another idea that has merit.  I like the idea of classifying a semiautomatic pistol grip rifle as a sporting utility rifle as it caters to the left’s strange obsession with not targeting “sportsmen” and “hunters,” but it still is allowing them to define the terms of debate.  Like I said, this is going to end here and now.

If the liberals get what they want, and I am choosing to just highlight one of their foci, on standard (or as they call them high) capacity magazines banned, they will put me and my family at risk.  If I have to reload after ten shots, I may find myself locked in close hand-to-hand combat with a thug intent on doing me and my family harm and while I believe myself capable of handling one such individual, two is another story entirely.  That is why standard (12, 15, 18 rounds for most modern semiautomatic polymer frame double-stack handguns such as the common Glock, Springfield XD, or Smith & Wesson M&P; 30 rounds for AR pattern rifles) size magazines are so important.  I can engage four or five attackers down the hallway of my house, with enough firepower and ammunition to resist a determined advance from all of them at once.

You see, my rifle is not an assault weapon, an assault rifle, a killing machine, a weapon of war (yet), or a sporting utility rifle.  My rifle is a FAMILY DEFENSE RIFLE.  With it, I can put up a wall of lead to shield my sons and wife.

So the next time someone asks me why I need so many shots in one magazine, my answer will simply be because I love my family and will always possess every advantage necessary to defend them.

 

Persecution

What is persecution?

Simply, persecution is oppression and war waged against believers either openly or privately with the sole purpose of punishing the believers’ faith in Christ.

There are many in America that are blind to persecution because of our open and tolerant society where all religions and faiths are accepted and practiced.  It also helps that we are a majority self-identified Christian nation and founded based on Biblical principles as I have written about before.  Does this mean that we are immune from persecution here?  Not at all.  Persecution will always exist.  If you are willing to profess belief in something radical, and Christ’s promises and challenges for us are definitely radical in the eyes of the world, then you will be attacked for this belief.

When lots of Christians think of persecution today, they think of Christians being herded into coliseums in the Roman Empire for slaughter.  They think of missionaries attacked in the field by the very people they came to teach the Gospel.  They think of things that have happened in the past where the lens of time provides a clear picture of how and why something happened so we can easily label it persecution.

You can look about a list a host of countries where Christianity is not just scorned, but openly attacked.  Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Nigeria, China, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, North Korea, Russia, India, Cuba, Tanzania, and Indonesia are just a few of the examples where being a Christian can open you up to public ridicule, public arrest and punishment, or even death.

With Christmas coming soon, I think you’ll see a form of persecution in this country, and possibly in your own town.  Put up a manger scene.  Will it be defaced?  Will it be burned to the ground?  Will it be stolen?  Will it be protested?  If it is on public land, will it be the target of a lawsuit?

Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Matthew 5:11-12

I even heard a ministry team member state yesterday that he was thankful that we are safe in this country from attack while we worship.  I don’t often disagree with the pastoral staff at my church, but on this point I disagree. Christians are not safe anywhere while they worship and to think otherwise is foolish and short-sighted.  The statistics say that it doesn’t matter how you worship in the US – the illusion of safety within a church is just that, an illusion.

I plan on diving into this topic all week because how thankful can we really be unless we have the right perspective?  Tomorrow – in the face of persecution, what can and what should we do?

 

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