Capital punishment, the death penalty & executions: * Grim Milestone: Texas Set to Execute 500th Inmate; * Recollections from Hundreds of Executions in Texas; * Will Texas’ 500th Execution, Kimberly McCarthy, Help Victims?
* “The number far outpaces the execution total in any other state. But it also reflects the reality of capital punishment in the United States today: While some states have halted the practice in recent years because of concern about wrongful convictions, executions continue at a steady pace in many others. The death penalty is on the books in 32 states. On average, Texas executes an inmate about every three weeks.”
* “About once every three weeks, I watch someone die. Beginning in 1984 when I arrived in Texas for The Associated Press, I’ve been just a few feet away as one convicted killer after another took a final breath in the Texas death chamber in Huntsville, where the state’s 500th execution in modern times took place Wednesday.”
* “… executions aren’t morally bankrupt only because they are sins of omission. Executions are also sins of commission. Here’s 5 ways.”
Church security & church shootings: Feds Release First Guidelines for Confronting a Church Shooter & the guidelines
“The new federal doctrine is ‘run, hide or fight.’”
Disasters & justice: Divine Violence and Natural Disasters
“… I’ve been clipping conversations that highlight a link between calls for divine-mediated violence through natural disaster on internal enemies, but state-mediated violence through war on external enemies. There seems a further link (but it is harder to get the evidence) for those who call for individual violence on individual criminals as the primary means of moral judgment. So, under the judgement of God, criminals neeed to be shot (rather than tried or imprisoned), gay rights activists need to suffer tornadoes or earthquakes, while Iranians need to be carpet bombed or ‘nuked’. Natural disasters as divine violence thus forms an interesting exception in the way they understand God to intervene violently to restore righteousness.”
* “On the afternoon of Dec. 14, President Obama stood in the White House press room, tears in his eyes, and spoke for many Americans who had watched the terrifying events unfolding in Newtown, Conn. “I know there’s not a parent in America who doesn’t feel the same overwhelming grief that I do. The majority of those who died today were children: beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old,” he said. “They had their entire lives ahead of them—birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own.”
“A little more than a month later, on Jan. 23, a pilotless aircraft owned and operated by the United States and controlled remotely by an individual on U.S. soil launched a targeted attack on the riders of two motorcycles in Yemen. The attack missed its target. It hit the house of Abdu Mohammed al-Jarrah instead, killing several people—including al-Jarrah’s two children.
“There was no press conference for the al-Jarrah children.”
* “… we need to be honest about the fact that a case can be made for the use of weaponized drones. Nevertheless, there are several strong reasons to oppose the use of them. In fact, some of the upsides of drones have downsides hidden within them.”
Jesus & violence: The Violence in Jesus’ Parables [9.45 min. video by Greg Boyd]
“Is that the point of the parable or not?”