links: this went thru my mind (on violence)

 

V-for-violenceCrime prevention, intelligence, police, terrorism & violence: G.K. Chesterton’s Nightmare

“Thirty years ago, a British newspaper took an unscientific survey of current and former intelligence agents, asking them which fictional work best captured the realities of their profession. Would it be John Le Carré, Ian Fleming, Robert Ludlum? To the amazement of most readers, the book that won easily was G.K. Chesterton’s The Man Who Was Thursday, published in 1908.

“This was so surprising because of the book’s early date, but also its powerful mystical and Christian content: Chesterton subtitled it ‘a nightmare.’ But perhaps the choice was not so startling. Looking at the problems Western intelligence agencies confront fighting terrorism today, Chesterton’s fantasy looks more relevant than ever, and more like a practical how-to guide.”

Drones: Despite Administration Promises, Few Signs of Change in Drone Wars

“More than two months after President Obama signaled a sharp shift in America’s targeted-killing operations, there is little public evidence of change in a strategy that has come to define the administration’s approach to combating terrorism.”

Inspiration, interpretation, Scripture & violence: The Cross and the Witness of Violent Portraits of God

“… since the ultimate author of Scripture is God, any given passage may have a number of meanings that go beyond what the human author intended. (This “surplus” of divinely-intended meaning is traditionally referred to as the “sensus plenoir” of Scripture). …

“So the question I’ve been wrestling with for the last several weeks is, how [such might] … help us discern how portraits of Yahweh causing parents to cannibalize their children (e.g. Lev. 26:28-29; Jer. 19:9; Ezek.5:10 ) or commanding genocide (Deut. 7:2) point us to the enemy-embracing, non-violent, self-sacrificial love of God revealed on the cross?”

Value of human life: Why Should We Value Human Relationships?

“As God’s image bearers we are all equal. We are equal in dignity and worth. We are created equally in His image. We are also fallen equally (Romans 3:23). Genesis 1:26 explains that God created man in His image. Of all of God’s creation, we are the only ones created in His very image, we have dominion over the rest (Genesis 1:28). It is a profound mystery (God is spirit so we do not bear His physical image, John 4:24) and yet a great privilege. Understanding our equality as image bearers changes everything we think about as it relates to our human relationships. As image bearers we should view others as God views them.”

links: this went thru my mind (on violence)

 

V-for-violenceAmerican public opinion, culture & military service: Public Esteem for Military Still High

“Americans continue to hold the military in high regard, with more than three-quarters of U.S. adults (78%) saying that members of the armed services contribute “a lot” to society’s well-being. … the military still tops the list of 10 occupational groups, followed closely by teachers, medical doctors, scientists and engineers. A solid majority of the public says each of those occupations contributes a lot to society.

“By contrast, just 37% of Americans surveyed think the clergy make a big contribution to society, about the same as in 2009. … even among adults who say they attend religious services at least once a week, only about half (52%) rate clergy in general as contributing ‘a lot’ to society.”

Capital punishment, death penalty & executions: Will the Supreme Court Make an 11th-Hour Intervention in Georgia

“A mentally retarded man is scheduled to be executed next Monday, and he has an appeal pending to the Supreme Court.”

Drones: Who Would Jesus Drone?

“…  being a Christian inevitably means many things — it means being baptized, partaking of the Lord’s supper, and belonging to a community marked by the confession that Jesus Christ is Lord. Likewise, being a Christian means lamenting the violence carried out by those powers and principalities that coercively seek their own lordship over God’s good creation — powers and principalities like America.”

Jesus, non-violence, the Book of Revelation & violence: Book of Revelation: Friend or Foe to Nonviolence

“Revelation is a violent book, but the violence is not dished out as much as it is absorbed. And although there’s a lot of bloodshed, it often flows from the veins of Christ and His followers, not from His enemies. In fact, Revelation supports Christian nonviolence more aggressively than any other biblical book.”

this went thru my mind (on violence)

 

V-for-violenceCapital 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.”

Drones: * Hellfire from Above; * Singing the Virtues of Drones

* “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?”

this went thru my mind (on violence)

 

V-for-violenceApologies, reconciliation & torture: Britain Apologizes For Colonial-Era Torture Of Kenyan Rebels

“A 60-year-old wound in Kenya has finally found its recompense. Last week, the British government finalized an out-of-court settlement with thousands of Kenyans who were tortured in detention camps during the end of the British colonial reign. The historic apology — and the unprecedented settlement — has been years in the making.”

Bible, children & violence: Is the Bible Too Violent for Kids?

“How did you balance the need to convey the Biblical message and keep it age appropriate? How do you respond to the modern desire to keep children from being exposed to the violence in the Bible?”

Christians, hypocrisy, prayer & the military: The Hypocrisy of a Warring Christian

“Just stop and think about it for a minute. Every Sunday, if not every single day, thousands, if not millions, of prayers are offered up in the name of the Prince of Peace begging the God of all reconciliation to please end all wars and ‘bring the boys home safely.’ We pray for our leaders to make wise decisions about the use of our tax dollars. We pray for love and charity to overwhelm the powers of hate and evil.

“And we scream like a bunch of scalded dogs when the military suggests that we no longer need the base down the street. …

“Christian brothers and sisters – can we not stop and think about this for a moment? Of what earthly or heavenly good does it do to pray for peace, of what earthly or heavenly good does it do for us to pray that God end all wars if we proudly and stubbornly refuse to turn our swords into plows? And why, among all peoples, are disciples of Christ among the most vociferous defenders of our killing machines?”

Drones: “I felt like a sociopath” – Drone Operator Says He Is Haunted By The 1,600 He Killed

“[Brandon] Bryant, now 27, served as a drone sensor operator from 2006 to 2011, at bases in Nevada, New Mexico and in Iraq, guiding unmanned drones over Iraq and Afghanistan. Though he didn’t fire missiles himself he took part in missions that he was told led to the deaths of an estimated 1,626 individuals. In an interview with NBC News, he provided a rare first-person glimpse into what it’s like to control the controversial machines that have become central to the U.S. effort to kill terrorists.”

Gun control: Democrats Quietly Renew Push for Gun Measures

“Americans remain broadly supportive of legislation that expands background checks on gun purchases but are skeptical that such a bill will pass.”

Gun sales: Smith & Wesson Booked Record Sales as Gun Debate Raged

“The past 12 months have been bad for gun violence, but good for Smith & Wesson. The gun maker reported preliminary results Thursday showing that sales for the fiscal year ended April 30 hit a record $588 million, a 43% increase versus the year prior.”

Military expenditures: F-35 Fighter Jet Struggles to Take Off

“After a decade of administrative problems, cost overruns and technical glitches, the F-35 is still not ready for action. … The GAO estimated the program would cost an unprecedented $12.6 billion a year on average through 2037 — that’s an average of about $1.4 million an hour for the next two and a half decades. The per-plane cost estimates have climbed to $161 million today from $81 million in 2001, the GAO said.”

this went thru my mind (on violence)

 

V-for-violenceDrones: White House Defends Drone-War Killing of Americans by Olivier Knox

“These strikes are legal, they are ethical, and they are wise.”

Ex-military experience: * ‘Nightmare’ at Home for SEAL Who Shot Osama bin Laden by Jamie Gumbrecht; * The Shooter by Phil Bronstein

“‘They spent, in the case of the shooter, 16 years doing exactly what they’re trained to do, which is going out on these missions, deployment after deployment, killing people on a regular basis,’ said Bronstein, executive chairman of the Center for Investigative Reporting. ‘They finally get to the point where they don’t want to do that anymore.’”

“‘I remember as I watched him breathe out the last part of air, I thought: Is this the best thing I’ve ever done, or the worst thing I’ve ever done?’”

Faith, gun control, logic & theology: * Toward a Theology of Guns: A Christian’s Perspective by T. Michael Halcomb [eight-part series; required reading]; * Guns and Jesus in America by Rich Little

Links to parts one, two, three, four, five, six, seven & eight of Halcomb’s posts.

* “… is living in this type of fear good, healthy, or even responsible? The Christian’s answer to this should, echoing Jesus’ views, be a resounding ‘No!’” (T. Michael Halcomb)

* “It’s difficult to vigorously defend rights to own semi-automatic weapons while simultaneously sending a message of love, hope and peace to the world and expect the world to not see a conflict in this message. … One isn’t considered liberal because they support sensible restrictions on the first amendment, in fact great support for these restrictions has come from the Christian community, so it seems perhaps somewhat dishonest to hear Christians arguing that any restrictions to the second amendment is an ‘attack’ on the second amendment when they have never considered reasonable restrictions to the first amendment an ‘attack.’ However, when we come to the second amendment a different logic and argument is employed by many.” (Rich Little)

Desensitization, entertainment, media & murder: Murder Shows and the Lamp of the Body by Dan Bouchelle

“‘Are you going to watch another one of your murder shows?’ asked my 5th grade daughter as she was trying to decide whether to watch TV with us or go upstairs and read. … hearing my baby describe one of our principle TV genres as ‘murder shows’ hit me between the eyes like a sledgehammer. Do we really feast our eyes on human slaughter for entertainment? Has our family living room turned into the Roman coliseum?”

Pacifism & pacifist: When “Top Gun” Becomes a Pacifist by Kurt Willems [required reading]

“Not only in time of war or combat, but in any other type of aggressive conflict our first and natural reaction to any offender who seeks to harm is to retaliate.  How can I reconcile this with the words of Jesus who tells us to actually turn and offer our other cheek to them? As a soldier I could not do this since I was commanded to retaliate against any kind of aggression. … My weapon is not an M16 or .38. My weapon is not an AR-15 or 9mm. In fact, God tells me that none of my weapons are of this world. So, what am I doing practicing my shooting skills aiming to hit the silhouette of a human target at the gun range? No, as disciples of Christ our weapons are of divine origin, incapacitating our enemies not with bullets, but with truth, righteousness, peace, faith, the Word of God, and prayer.”

The conquest of Canaan, genocide & God: How Could God Command Genocide in the Old Testament? by Justin Taylor

“In the book of Joshua God commands Israel to slaughter the Canaanites in order to occupy the Promised Land. It was a bloody war of total destruction where God used his people to execute his moral judgment against his wicked enemies. In moving toward an answer it will be helpful to think carefully about the building blocks of a Christian worldview related to God’s justice and mercy.”

this went thru my mind (on violence)

 

V-for-violenceChurch, concealed-carry & guns: Arkansas Guns In Church Bill Passes In House Of Representatives

“The Arkansas House of Representatives approved a bill on Monday to allow concealed-carry permit holders to take their weapons into churches, and it is expected to be signed into law by the state’s governor. The Church Protection Act would allow individual places of worship to decide whether to allow concealed handguns and who could carry them. The Republican-controlled House passed the bill 85-8 with bipartisan support. The measure previously passed the Republican-controlled Senate 28-4. Arkansas joins a handful of other states, including South Carolina, Wyoming and Louisiana, that allow guns in churches, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.”

Drones: * From the Sky: A Film About Drone Strikes, Family, and Resistance; * Drone Strikes: the New Crucifixion

* “‘From the Sky’ will be among the first (if not the first) narrative works of cinema from the U.S. to show the impact of drone strikes on civilians in the Arab world. The film also explores the roots of extremism, the bond between fathers and sons, and ultimately asks a universal question: When we are harmed, will we respond by retaliating, or in life-giving ways?”

* “Remember, the cross is not only where sin was dealt with and where Satan was defeated, but also where empire revealed itself for what it truly was,  dispenser of injustice; no matter how much Pilate continues to wash his hands of the matter.”

Gun control: National Organizations With Anti-Gun Policies by the NRA-ILA

“The following organizations have lent monetary, grassroots or some other type of direct support to anti-gun organizations [i.e. - organizations that disagree in some way with the NRA - my words; David Smith]:”AARP … American Bar Association … American Medical Association … American Psychological Association … National Association of Police Organizations … National Coalition Against Domestic Violence … National Parent Teachers Association …

“The following listing includes the most prominent national corporations that have lent their corporate support to gun control initiatives or taken position supporting gun control. …AMC Theaters … Hallmark Cards … Kansas City Chiefs football team … Levi Strauss & Co. … Sara Lee Corporation … Sprint Corp … Time Warner …”

Suicide: VA Study Finds More Veterans Committing Suicide

“Every day about 22 veterans in the United States kill themselves, a rate that is about 20 percent higher than the Department of Veterans Affairs’ 2007 estimate, according to a two-year study by a VA researcher. … The number of suicides overall in the United States increased by nearly 11 percent between 2007 and 2010, the study says.”

this went thru my mind (on violence)

 

V-for-violenceAustralia & gun control: I Went After Guns. Obama Can, Too. by John Howard

“… nothing trumps easy access to a gun. It is easier to kill 10 people with a gun than with a knife.”

Children, culture, guns, heroes, power & violence: Giving Up Chuck and the Daisy Red Ryder [required reading]

“My heroes have always been powerful. Heroes are and should be powerful, but how you define power… that makes all the difference. … The American definition of “power that solves problems” is intertwined with the cultural mystique of guns and violence. Once my definition of power changed, a few years ago, my heroes did as well …”

Christ’s cross, discipleship & violence: A Meditation on the Cross by Paul Smith [required reading]

“I’ll say it again. If you are nailed to a cross you cannot hold a gun. If your hand is wrapped around an instrument of death you cannot grasp the hand that was pierced with an instrument of death.”

Deception, fake quotations, & lies: Did Jefferson Really Say That? Why Bogus Quotations Matter in Gun Debate

* “‘The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.’ … staff ‘have not found any evidence that Thomas Jefferson said or wrote’ those words.”

Drone strikes: The Guilty Conscience of a Drone Pilot Who Killed a Child

“The Bureau of Investigative Journalism reported last August that in Pakistan’s tribal areas alone, there are at least 168 credible reports of children being killed in drone strikes.”

Faith & guns: If I Can’t Take My Gun, I’m Not Going by Neal Whitlow

“Modern weapons and an individual’s right to possess them are not dealt with in scripture. All the texts dealing with warfare don’t seem to apply. However, there a few principles from the New Testament that inform my thinking on the subject.

“It is not the responsibility of God’s people to overwhelm the darkness by force of arms. We use other tools to fulfill our mission. Our weapons are truth, faith, patience, love, forgiveness, and hope. … God’s people defend the defenseless. …  Jesus calls us to abandon our compulsions of power and control. Let’s face it. A big part of the reason that Americans can’t let go of our guns is we are enamored with the feelings of power and invincibility they give us.”

Faith & nonviolence: Jesus’ Way Doesn’t Work by Tim Archer [required reading]

“The church heard Jesus’ message. They didn’t run away. They didn’t fight. They endured patiently. For more than two hundred years. They suffered. They died. They loved their enemies and prayed for them. They turned the other cheek. And they were killed for it.

“Because Jesus’ way doesn’t work. It doesn’t protect your from suffering. It doesn’t protect you from death. (well, not immediately) It doesn’t bring your enemies to their knees. It doesn’t protect the weak nor avenge the innocent. In the eyes of the world, Jesus’ way is a complete failure.

“If you’re looking for something that works, don’t look to Jesus’ teachings. But remember one thing: if you choose what makes sense to men, you’re choosing something that God despises.”

Gun control & President Obama’s plan: * The President’s Plan to Reduce Gun Violence [required reading; download the .pdf file]; * Joe Biden Addresses the U.S. Conference of Mayors on Jan. 17 [55 min. video; skip to 10 min., 20 sec. to begin]

* “Download the full text of the President’s plan.”

* Scroll down to the Opening Plenary Luncheon to find this video.

Gun control & public opinion: In Gun Control Debate, Several Options Draw Majority Support

“Fully 85% of Americans favor making private gun sales and sales at gun shows subject to background checks, with comparable support from Republicans, Democrats and independents. Similarly, 80% support laws to prevent mentally ill people from purchasing guns, with broad support across party lines. But this bipartisan consensus breaks down when it comes to other proposals.”

Gun control & the states: * Gun Laws in the US, State by State – Interactive [very interesting & helpful]; * The Gun Challenge

* “… the majority of gun legislation in the US is enacted at the state level. That has brought broad variations across the country, with states taking different approaches to issues ranging from sales, permits, licensing, self-defence and carry laws.”

* “Inevitably, a bill like Wyoming’s has been filed in Texas.”

Guns & self-defense: * How Often Do We Use Guns in Self-Defense?

“We don’t know exactly how frequently defensive gun use occurs.”

Guns & the escalation of danger: Lessons From Guns and a Goose by Nicholas D. Kristof

“… that episode … underscores the role that guns too often play in our society: an instrument not of protection but of escalation. … One study, reported in Southern Medical Journal in 2010, found that a gun is 12 times more likely to result in the death of a household member or guest than in the death of an intruder. Another study in 1993 found that gun ownership creates nearly a threefold risk of a homicide in the owner’s household.”

Gun ownership: Why I Don’t Own a Gun by Brian Zahand

“I don’t own a gun because I don’t need one and I don’t want one. And that is perfectly acceptable. Please try to be at peace with this. As I said, I don’t own golf clubs either, and that’s bound to upset some people too.”

Gun violence & statistics:* Lack Of Up-To-Date Research Complicates Gun Debate by Carrie Johnson; * How Many People Have Been Killed by Guns Since Newtown? [interactive map]

* “Public health research dried up more than a decade ago after Congress restricted the use of some federal money to pay for those studies.”

* “The answer to the simple question in that headline is surprisingly hard to come by. So Slate and the Twitter feed @GunDeaths are collecting data for our crowdsourced interactive. This data is necessarily incomplete. But the more people who are paying attention, the better the data will be. You can help us draw a more complete picture of gun violence in America. If you know about a gun death in your community that isn’t represented here, please tweet @GunDeaths with a citation. (If you’re not on Twitter, you can email slatedata@gmail.com.)”

Military & prayer: How Do We Pray for the Troops? by Craig M. Watts [required reading]

“The language of public prayer should express a reality shaped by the creative and redemptive activity of God, not simply one that can be read from the pages of the newspapers or heard from the mouths of either marketers or politicians. …

“So when I stand to pray in worship I never pray that God protect our troops for the simple fact that we don’t have any troops. We do not gather as Americans who plead on behalf of national interests or partisan favor before either God or the world. We are the church. Who we are has been determined by whose we are. We are people of God. We gather as the body of Christ united with Christ’s body throughout the world. Yet I do pray for the protection of soldiers and civilians alike. I pray indiscriminately, without regard to borders because all people are creatures made by the hand of God and are so loved by God that God sent God’s only begotten Son on their behalf. May they be preserved from danger and be restored to circumstances where they can live without the threat of violence either to them or from them.”