CQ…Clark Here

Thoughts and opinions. LOTS of opinions.

Archive for the category “Politics”

Gun Control

Up to now, I have written little regarding politics, but recently comments have moved me to this post.  Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York City, and uber-millionaire, has made some comments about gun control.  In case you missed it, here it is:

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/mayor-bloomberg-comment-police-strike-congress-attention-gun-control-debate-level-drew-mixed-reactions-article-1.1120980

In brief (and I’m paraphrasing), he said that he just doesn’t understand why cops don’t go on strike until gun control laws are enacted, and guns taken away from, well, everybody.

First, it is completely reprehensible that Bloomberg, or anyone else, will politicize events like the Colorado theater shooting (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/21/james-holmes-colorado-shooting_n_1692381.html).  Disgusting.  Let it alone for a bit, let the victims’ families have some time, and get Holmes in jail in preparation for his execution.  At least give it a couple of weeks, then if you must, bring politics into it.  But no.  About ten point five seconds after the last victim hit the ground, Bloomberg comes out with his crap.

A bit of background, here.  I have been a career policeman for over thirty years, first in a small town, then as a cop in a larger city, and now I proudly serve as the Chief of Police at a small University in north western Pennsylvania.  While with the City of Erie, PA, I served as a street patrolman and as a detective.  I also was on the SWAT team and Honor Guard.  In detectives, I was promoted to Detective Sergeant and founded the Homicide division, was co-head of the Burglary division, and ended up working white-collar crimes (forgeries, frauds, bad checks).  I have worked with the FBI, with the U.S. Treasury, and with the Secret Service.  I realize this is not New York City, but I have seen and done a lot.  I have had friends die in the line of duty.  I have had friends shot and their careers shortened by gunmen who I am ashamed to say lived to see prison.  I have faced guns, knives, and angry women (just which is more deadly, I will not speculate).  I have investigated homicides by guns, knives, strangulation.  I have investigated sex crimes, child abuse, bank robberies, and granny’s lawnmower being taken from her garage.  I have seen children murdered by their parents, teens shot by boyfriends, and kids hit by trains.  And I have done what I can to help the families of those victims.  I once held the sister of a boy killed by a train.  Three young kids were on their way to their home in the projects when they decided to run across the tracks ahead of an oncoming train.  She and their friend made it.  Her brother did not, and she watched the train smack him and fling him to the side like so much tissue paper.  She clung to me, and would not let me go for over an hour.  In a hot, cramped little apartment I was her life-preserver, keeping her afloat.

I am a life-long hunter, from the earliest legal age, hunting small game, big game, whatever.  I have held guns, I own guns, and I know how to use guns.  Guns are pieces of steel and alloy engineered to accurately propel a small piece of metal for a distance.  In that regard, they are not much different from a piece of steel engineered and formed to strike a small piece of metal and accurately drive it into wood.  It is not the instrument that matters, it is the person wielding it, and what they do with it that makes the difference.  If a person utilizes an instrument, any instrument, in an improper way, it becomes a tool for evil.  It is not the instrument, it is the person using the instrument.  The differences are that a gun is much less personal (in that it can harm or kill from a distance), and it can harm or kill multiple victims with very little effort.

So, would “banning” guns, or even eliminating them, prevent homicide?  Clearly not, and I doubt that any thinking gun control advocate would say that.  What they would say, I believe, is that it would make such actions more difficult, and require a different dynamic to accomplish such a crime.  Perhaps that is a point.  But assume the banning of all guns for a moment.  Do you really think that will make it all that difficult to commit such an atrocity?  Consider the same type of movie theater as the recent atrocity in Aurora, Colorado.  People enjoying a movie, eating popcorn, relaxing.  Suddenly, multiple bombs go off, killing or maiming dozens of people, with not one gunshot heard.  Fantasy?  Consider:  while sitting here at my laptop, eating a sandwich, I timed myself.  It took less than a minute and a half to find over a million websites on making pipe bombs, and over one-hundred thousand websites on homemade explosives. Guns? We ain’t got no guns. We don’t need no guns! I don’t have to show you any stinkin’ guns!  I can make a bunch of pipe bombs with fuses of various burning times, filled with explosive substances, and every piece of this killing machine purchased at my local hardware store.  So, should we ban household cleaners?  Iron pipe?  Nails?  Because with just a bit of planning and time, I can make enough material to kill a multitude of people.

It is a problem of human will and evil intent, not one of “bad” objects.  It is neutral objects being used for evil purposes, and it can be a ball bat, a car, a chainsaw, a knife, or a ball point pen.  Or a gun.

However, it isn’t just gun control that cranked me up about Bloomberg.  There are several things he said that made me want to vomit.  First, his comments were disgusting just on the face.  Cops on strike?  I have been a cop for thirty years, and I have never seen an issue that I thought would justify a general strike by cops.  When I pinned on the badge, I did so as a calling, with a sense of purpose.  Strike?  That is not even in my vocabulary.  Second, even if cops did think an issue worth going on strike, it is illegal in most states for police to do so.  I know this is so in Pennsylvania where I serve, and in New York where Bloomberg lives.  So Bloomberg was kind of showing support for an illegal action.

But you know what really offends me about Bloomberg’s statements?  It is something that as far as I know no one has touched on.  His statement was that he doesn’t understand why cops don’t just go on strike until gun control laws are enacted to protect them.  One of his problems is that the only cops he apparently knows are sycophants and libs who share his views.  I would be willing to bet that most cops, in fact the vast majority of cops, are rather conservative and thoroughly not in favor of gun control.  But this is not the offensive part.  The offensive part is that essentially he is saying, “The issue of gun control is so obvious.  Guns kill cops, and if we ban guns, cops won’t get killed.  Why are they so stupid that they can’t see this or act on this?”  And this ticks me off.  This falls under what I would characterize as “typical liberal thought.”  Now a disclaimer.  I have several liberal friends with whom I have had multiple challenging and enjoyable conversations.  With them there is mutual respect and room for disagreement, as well as passion and commitment.  So when I am discussing “typical liberal thought,” please do not confuse my “debate partners” with my statements.

Bloomberg, I think, likely believes cops to be basically brain-dead thugs, without the capability of deep thought.  Why, they can’t even understand simple issues like gun control!  Clearly they are unlikely to understand more complex issues.  And isn’t that what the liberal elite think of most of us?  African-Americans, Israel, guns, wealth, taxes, the role of government, fill in the blank.  I believe people like Bloomberg think most people simply too intellectually challenged to really understand what is best.

And I believe he shows that with his latest comments about cops.

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Is honor a bad thing?

John, a friend of mine, texts me Bible verses fairly frequently, and occasionally a quote or thought.  He sent me a quote a couple of days ago.  Here it is.

The Decline of the Secular University, C. John Sommerville writes, “An ethical system based on honor is a self-regarding ethic, while one based in charity is an other-regarding ethic… With honor goes a concentration on pride rather than humility, dominance rather than service, courage rather than peaceableness, glory rather than modesty, loyalty rather than respect for all, generosity to one’s friends rather than equality.”  John then asked if I agree or disagree.  Here are my thoughts.

In the above quote, clearly Sommerville is not talking about honor, as it is defined.  Honor defined is usually something similar to, “honesty, fairness, or integrity in one’s beliefs and actions: a man of honor,” (Dictionary.com).  What Sommerville is referring to is a life based on honor.  That is, I think, a life in which honor is the central tenet of one’s existence.  Kind of, to borrow a Star Trek reference, a Klingon approach to life.

My first thought about the quote is that I see what Sommerville is driving at.  But I don’t entirely agree with him.  The opposite of honor is dishonor, and no one would prefer a life that is based on that.  So, right away we can disregard honor’s opposite as an appropriate lifestyle.  However, Sommerville is not advocating a life based on the opposite of honor.

Broken down, Sommerville seems to be defining honor as “Concentration on pride, dominance, courage, glory, loyalty, and generosity to one’s friends.”  I think Sommerville’s point is that he is advocating a life that is based on something superior to honor, a life based on “humility, service, peaceableness, modesty, respect for all, and equality.”

Ok, now look at each word individually.  Pride.  Dominance.  Courage.  Glory.  Loyalty.  Generosity to friends.  Humility.  Service.  Peaceableness.  Modesty.  Respect for all.  Equality.  I realize that a couple of those words or concepts have negative connotations, such as pride and dominance.  But in a proper context, each word or concept is a positive, and I think, a Godly concept.  I know I’m going to catch some flak for that, especially for pride and dominance.  However, on these two words, let’s look at a couple of thoughts.

If I am an architect and I design a truly beautiful building, is it a “Godly” thing to denigrate it, to say it is nothing?  That is what many Christian sources would espouse.  Of course we should give God the glory, but is it “ungodly” or “un-Christian” to be pleased with a work well done?  Think of a Christian singing artist.  Should they not be pleased with the beautiful songs they write, produce, sing?

And dominance.  How many times did God command the Israelites to completely dominate their enemies?  Think of Paul in his epistle to the Galatians.  Clearly he was asserting his dominance over the false teachers that had crept in.  So, in certain circumstances, dominance is a good thing.

Conversely, under the proper circumstance, each and every one of the words Sommerville used can be a negative.  I will show what I mean with just a couple of the words above.

Peaceableness is a good thing, right?  But what happens when a madman breaks into your home at 3:00 in the morning and charges you with a butcher knife held high.  Is it a morally superior, or a more Christian position to be at that moment and whatever the cost, peaceable?  I think that argument silly, at best.  Further, look at the New Testament.  There are several instances of soldiers being saved, or Christians, or whatever.  How sensible is it to expect a soldier to be peaceable, no matter the situation?  Or a policeman.  Perhaps someone would argue that yes, no matter what, the soldier or policeman would be taking a morally superior, or more Christian, approach to shun violence no matter what the situation may be.  Until it is someone dear to that person that a terrorist is about to behead.  Or their loved one that a maniac is about to mutilate.  I think that any sane person would want a soldier or policeman, even if a Christian, to use whatever force necessary to save their loved one.

What about service, that’s a good thing, right?  Sure is, but should we always be in attitude of service, no matter what?  We provide service to our children when they are born.  They are helpless and cannot survive without a caregiver providing for all intents and purposes, unlimited service.  We do this because it is what they need, and because we love them.  But at some point it becomes our task to train them as well as care for them.  And as time goes on, if we have done our jobs as parents, we serve them less and train them more, until the day that they “leave the nest” and strike out on their own.  But what if we “served” them their entire lives?  What if we never told them “no,” but provided them their every whim, their every desire?  Service would cease to be a good thing, and at some point, a bad thing.

Finally, go to any Bible concordance and look at “honor.”  There are probably dozens of references using that word.

My point here has been that each thing is neither always good nor always bad.  What is important, I think, is the attitude of our hearts.  Do I have a heart centered on Christ?  Or do I have a heart that is centered on (fill in the blank, using any of the words in the Sommerville quote).  I think that anytime my heart is not focused on Christ, I have missed the mark.  I cannot focus on pride or humility.  I cannot focus on dominance or service.  I must focus on Christ, and Christ alone.  I do not think that the Christian life and a life of honor are mutually exclusive.  But anything that takes our focus off Christ has become an idol, and therefore, evil.

I’m going to go out on a limb, here.  I am asking for comment on this.  My arguments make sense to me, but that isn’t the end of the matter.  I am asking for you to comment on this and give arguments, with or against me.  I look forward to reading your thoughts.

Well, hello, there!

Well, how about that?  My first blog on my first blog site!  I will publish more information about myself in later posts, and as time goes by.  However, for now let it suffice for me to provide just a bit of information.

I have huge opinions on just about any topic imaginable.  This blog may wander around the map, as inspiration (or stupidity, depending on one’s viewpoint) appears.  My interests range from politics to religion; from scuba diving to music; from football to movies.

See?  Can’t narrow it down from that (for now).  We’ll just have to see where this adventure takes us.

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