Is Creation A Viable Model Of Origins In Today’s Modern Scientific Era?

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Last night, as pretty much anyone who would read this knows, Ken Ham, the founder of the Creation Museum debated the world-famous Bill Nye the Science Guy to discuss whether or not creation is a viable model of origins in today’s modern scientific era. Here is a collection of my thoughts after listening to the debate twice and reviewing the posts of friends on facebook as other internet sources.

My collection of notes are on pastebin here!

Let me start by saying I am so glad this wasn’t just a recreation of debate held years back between an atheist organization and Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort. I believe there is plenty of credence to give support for the creationist view, but holding up pictures of a “crocaduck”  or “jackalope” and saying that their nonexistence proves evolution is false does nothing but slander the name of Christianity and creationists. The playlist of that debacle is here.

Why I really hate Creation v. Evolution debates:

The entire premise of debating creation v. evolution is flawed. Basically, whenever you debate these two things, you might as well be comparing apples to yaks.

Creation: is a theory that explains how things came into being. It explains the start of the universe. It explains where everything began. It is not explanation of how things came to be the way they are today.

Evolution: is a theory that explains how things have changed over time. It explains how one thing, over long period of times, has become new things, adding in complexity to adapt to environment and enemies.It explains how things came to be the way they are today. It does not explain how things came into being in the first place.

A better argument to have, I think, would be intelligent design vs natural design on the creation aspect. Or, from the evolution aspect, whether the microevolution that is easily observable today can reasonably be extrapolated to the macroevolution in Darwinian thought.

Personally, I think extensive, public debates as this are just spectacles anyway. They are meant to persuade people (like any other debate), but they are unnaturally bad at it. These sorts of debates never change the opinions of other people. They only further solidify the opinions that viewers already have. Those who wish to convert others to their side of the debates would do better to not let a discussion turn into a debate in the first place.

It is unreasonable to try to tackle both topics simultaneously. However, since it has already been done with this debate, I won’t feel bad for using this blog to do the same thing.

Why neither Ham should not have selected himself to debate Nye:

Ken Ham is very personally vested in the outcome of the debate. His stated reasons for taking part in this debate were to promote Jesus Christ and the necessity of teaching children in school the creationist view. I am sure that is part of the reason, however I question the integrity of that being the complete reason. He is the founder and director of the creation museum, where the debate was held. He initiated the debate with Nye. His museum is failing, and has been for the past several years. He tried to make up for it by adding new attractions that are less to do with creationism and more to do with bringing in visitors (read revenue) — case in point being the zipline course. I’ve also heard talk of an amusement park joining to get more visitors.

My second reason is that Ham is an author, not a scientist. He reads the texts that others have written about their research and he reinterprets them for others in his own writings. His career isn’t to expand the body of scientific knowledge. He doesn’t know astronomy, he doesn’t know molecular biology, he doesn’t know radiology. Ham started his presentation by showing clips from creationist scientists. Any of these men that he showed would have been more qualified to debate creation and evolution based on their research in the field and expertise on their topics than Ham was. They would have been formidable opponents to anyone on the evolution team. Yet, Ham chose himself and simply acknowledged their existence.

Bill Nye should equally not have agreed to do the debate. If he wanted the debate to take place, he should have chosen someone more qualified in any topic of research to debate based on their expertise. I grew up watching the Science Guy, just like most people my age, and I am certainly a fan of his, however, he really isn’t an expert in any field of science. He has an incredible knowledge of the basics of all matters of scientific field and thought. However, he’s not an expert in microbiology astronomy that win a debate against a more formidable opponent. He also played right into what Ham needs. A debate with better experts would not bring the attention and visitors that a debate with the world famous Bill Nye would bring. Bill Nye fights hard to promote the education of science and technology (as he sees them) to students as young as possible, and yet he accidentally gave money and attention to a man that undermines everything Nye stands for.

Ken Ham’s arguments (according to my notes):

  1. Creation is not only a viable model of origins today, but it is THE only viable model of origins.
  2. Science can be divided into 2 parts and must be separated if you are to look into the past:
    1. Observational science (the scientific method) which all scientists agree upon.
    2. Historical science is a second form of science that mainstream science doesn’t agree with him upon, which he argues needs to be separated from observational science. He defines historical science as being based on the Biblical account of origins — basically, if it disagrees with what the Bible says, it must be wrong. You need to find a new theory and when it matches the historical text in the Bible, you know you will be able to prove it using observational science today.
  3. Currently science has been hijacked and is being used to indoctrinate children into the religion of Naturalism. Naturalism is a religion that teaches that all thing came to be through natural processes with no credence given to the supernatural.
  4. The creation v evolution debate is really a conflict between two philosophical worldviews based on differing accounts of historical science.
  5. Children should look to creation scientists as heroes and role models. There is an overarching opinion in the scientific community that creationists and scientists are mutually exclusive; that you cannot be both. However, Ham asserts there are creationist scientists and they have made extraordinary discoveries by looking at science through that worldview.
  6. Mainstream science borrows ideas from creationist science — ideas like the laws of logic and natural laws cannot exist without a God to create them. Molecules do not develop into logic by themselves.
  7. You cannot directly observe the past. We cannot observe creation, we cannot observe Adam and Eve. We cannot see the flood. Therefore, you can not use observational science (previously acknowledged as the agreed upon scientific method) to study these.
    1. The only way to study these are through historical science — the Bible.
    2. We can observe that things happen they way the do today. That is why we use observational science for things like technology. However, since we cannot observe that things happen today the way they did 4,000 or 6,000 years ago, we cannot use the scientific method to study them.
    3. I believe his argument is that you extrapolate past data from present data. Something along the lines of correlation doesn’t equal causation.
  8. Again, Ham reminds that the difference between viewpoints is philosophical. “We believe the Bible is the authority on the evidence’s interpretation. It’s a difference of starting points.”
  9. If the Bible’s account of human origins is true we should be able to make predictions that we can test.
    1. intelligence produced life
    2. evidence confirming after their kind
    3. confirming global flood
    4. confirming 1 race of humans
    5. confirming the tower of Babel
    6. evidence of a young universe
    7. The one thing I noticed in his list is that with this viewpoint we can only predict and test past events. It doesn’t offer opportunity to predict future events; what will happen based on what has happened. Perhaps, this means there is a “futuristic science” and that historical, observational, and future science are 3 separate bodies that can’t be used to predict things in each other’s fields? Pure speculation here.
  10. Darwin’s finches are more alike than breeds of dogs. However, we group dogs as one species and Darwin’s finches as many species.
  11. Creationists agree with observable evolution (such as dogs or finches), but disagree with the unobservable — the evolutionary tree. We cannot see any previous stages of evolution, therefore, we cannot use observable science to say that the evolutionary tree occured.
    1. instead of an evolutionary tree, creationists believe in an evolutionary orchard. There are several kinds of animals and we can watch them change. Therefore we can say this animal was made after its own kind using observational science.
    2. Creationists have determined that kind is NOT species. Kind refers to family (if you look at the scientific naming of things). Things never switch families (and presumably no new families are ever created) though they may become different species within the same family over time.
  12. The 7 C’s: Starting with Christ, they are God correcting the C that correlates to the same theme of the C on the other side of Confusion.
    1. creation
    2. corruption
    3. catastrophy
    4. confusion
    5. christ
    6. cross
    7. consumation
  13. science arbitrarily defines science as naturalism and outlaws the supernatural.
  14. You can go into space and observe that the earth is a sphere. Therefore observational science can be used to prove that the earth is a sphere. However, you cannot observe the age of the earth, therefore, you cannot use observational science to prove the age of the earth.
  15.  Christians who believe in an old earth have a fundamental problem. They are Christian, that’s all dependant on the work of Jesus Christ, not on their belief of evolution. The first death occurred in the Garden of Eden when God killed a lamb. When you look at fossils, you’re looking at death. The Bible says man was around when the first death occurred. If you place these fossils before the coming of man, than death wasn’t the result of sin — and you disagree with the Bible about sin and death. If fossils of animals eating other animals are older than the flood, then you disagree with the Bible about the origin of carnivorism.

Summary: Science is an all encompassing word but should be divided into observation and historical science. When things cannot be observed today so we have to make assumptions that they were the same before we observe them, which is not allowed in science. You cannot make assumptions about how natural laws used to act. You must be able to observe that natural laws 4,000 years ago or 6,000 years were the same as they are today before you can say that they are the same. They may be the same, but they may not be the same, and it is impossible to prove or disprove. As a result, you can not use observational science in any way when it comes to earth and human origins. Since this cannot be done, you must use historical science. Since God is the only witness to the event, we must take him at his word and consider it fact, knowing that the true answers of science will line up with God’s word.

Bill Nye’s arguments (according to my notes):

  1. Ken Ham’s model of creation isn’t viable. It doesn’t hold up when put to scientific rigor.
  2. All it would take to change the world of science and disprove everything that Bill Nye believes is for someone to find evidence of 1 animal buried where science hasn’t predicted it to be. An animal that we know from fossils we found to be buried after an animal that we know to have come after it. Just 1 example, anywhere in the world, would change science.
    1. Whoever finds this piece will be considered a hero in the world of science. They would win a Nobel Prize and revolutionize all scientific thought by finding just 1 example. Nye believes it will never be done, but if someone can do it he challenges them to do it, get their paper written, and change the world.
  3. What makes the US a world superpower and leader is that the United States has a history of being on the front lines of innovation. If we askew science, by teaching children models of science that do not hold up against the scientific method, then the United States will lose it’s spot as world leader in technology and innovation.
  4. The fossil record is evidence of evolution. Kentucky (where the debate was held) is on top of layer after layer of limestone with coral fossils that lived their entire lives there. A flood 4000 years ago would not have been enough time for these to live out their whole lives, as evidence suggests they did, and become buried in thousands of layers of rock. There just isn’t enough time.
  5. In Greenland and Antarctica they’ve bored holes into ice and found ice that’s 680,000 layers deep. It takes a full winter-summer cycle in order for a new layer to form. It would take 170 winter-summer cycles every year for the last 4,000 years to produce that many layers of ice.
  6. There are trees that are 6,000 or even 9,500 years old. A flood 4,000 years ago would have killed those trees. It is impossible for them to survive submerged under water for a full year and survive.
  7. The Grand Canyon is filled with layers of ancient rocks. For them to have been formed by a flood 4,000 years ago there would have had to be charring and boiling and settling at a rate that just isn’t possible. It takes sand far too long to turn to stone for something like the grand canyon to be built in less than 4,000 years. And if a flood created it, there would have been Grand Canyons on every continent. It’s much more likely that over millions of years the Colorado River cut through the rock to expose it like we see today.
  8. Fossils of specific animals are always found in the same layer. They are never intermixed with fossils from a different layer. If a flood had occurred 4000 years ago to create them, there would mixing all over the place.
  9. If Noah put 7,000 kinds of animals on the ark that turned into the 15 million species we know today, it would require 11 new species coming into existence on a daily basis for the past 4,000 years.
  10. The best boat builders in the world with modern technology can’t build a boat as big as the Ark. How is it possible that an unskilled man and his family could 6,000 years ago. How was the knowledge of that ability lost?
  11. The key to science is the ability to predict. Science is just observations if you can’t use those observations to predict. We can predict how much space an elephant needs because of science. We can predict that a creature that has characteristics of a lizard and a fish would be found in a specific marsh. The creationist viewpoint doesn’t have the ability to make predictions — it’s not science.
  12. Science builds off itself. Hubble discovered stars are moving away from each other, Hoyle suggested it was a big bang. Wilson found the radio evidence that science predicted would be left behind if a big bang occurred. Science can make those predictions, creation can’t.
  13. You have to ask yourself, would a reasonable man believe this? Is it reasonable to assume there are trees older than the flood, rocks older than the earth, starlight that has travelled for longer periods than creation? Nye says these aren’t reasonable.
  14. The US constitution specifically states in article 1 to promote the progress of science and useful arts. Voters and taxpayers need to vote to keep science in schools to keep the United states’ place in the world. Convincing children to ignore all scientific reason in favor of creationism develops generations of children who will not be able innovate because they won’t even understand how science works.
  15. Bill nye can’t see anyway for Ham and himself to agree if Ham insists that natural laws have changed in the last 4,000 years without evidence.
  16. All things we observe are in the past, even things we observe now are simply remnants that happened, if even moments earlier. To say you have to throw out all observational science in order to look at the past is to say you have to throw out all science.
  17. Nye finds no reason to accept Ham’s interpretation of the Bible in English today, after 3000 years of being constantly translated and assume that his interpretation has more authority and objectively more correct than what we can observe today. It’s unsettling for Nye to think that people can follow that logic.

Summary: Bill Nye says that geological, biological, and astronomical evidence proves that the earth must be older than 6,000 years. To separate science into 2 categories, the scientific method and the Biblical account and saying you cannot use the scientific method to study the past hurts America and the field of science. The creationist view is not science, it’s religious. There is tons of evidence to support an old earth and nothing but the idea that you can’t assume the evidence to be true because you didn’t observe it to argue against him. The most important part of this debate for Nye is that voters and taxpayers realize how much their votes are necessary to ensure that children learn real science and that children know that the world needs them to understand science so that the US can maintain it’s position in the world.

Some final thoughts:

This debate was not so much a scientific debate as it was a rhetoric debate. Ken Ham did a huge disservice to his side by saying that science needed to be split into the scientific method and the Biblical account, and that when studying anything not directly observable we have to unquestionably accept the Biblical account as fact. In the Q&A he said there is no piece of evidence that could ever convince him that evolution is true. Any piece of evidence that contradicts the Bible must be false and therefore can be ignored without investigation. He set himself up for failure with the intro, and guaranteed it when he answered that question. The absolute worst way to win any debate with an atheist is to give them Bible verses and say they are true because they are true and anything that says otherwise is false because you already determined the Bible to be true. You can’t win a debate by saying that you won’t even investigate claims that you already disagree with.

Now to the creationist viewpoint, Bill Nye said that it would only take 1 piece of evidence to change his viewpoints about science. That one fossil that swam up to a higher layer. Proof that stars only appear to be far away but are actually much closer. Proof that the earth can’t be billions of years old. Proof that the Big Bang theory is wrong. So anyone on the creationist side who wants to be the guy that proves Bill Nye wrong, that’s all he requires. 1 piece of evidence that discredits what science already says. He would consider you a hero, you would revolutionize the world and science, and to top it off, you’d win a nobel prize!

Now Bill Nye also got something deeply wrong. He acknowledged that there are many scientists who are devotedly religious. But he misunderstands the Biblical context of an Old and New Testament. He assumes they are mutually exclusive — that by having to create a New Testament, that the Old Testament was somehow flawed, which he joked about towards the end of the debate. It’s not flawed, nor is the New Testament an “improvement” to the old one. They tell two different parts of the same narrative. The first covenant (which is made in the early chapters of Genesis) and then articulated through the rest of Pentateuch. The second covenant was the one made by Jesus at the start of the New Testament and later shown through the early church (acts and epistles) and promised to be the covenant that would endure forever.

There seems to be a misunderstanding when it comes to the Old Testament, that I think escapes Bill, but Ken understands. It’s that not every portion of the Bible was written to us today. The laws of Israel were abolished for the gentiles in the book of Acts, so the common arguments of Levitical law, don’t apply to Christians today. One of the questions during Q&A brought this to mind for me, and I think it’s a concept many Christians don’t actually understand. The Law according to Moses doesn’t always apply to us today the same as it applied to Israel during the founding of the nation. The only Law that Christians must follow is the Law of Jesus.

When asked, he said that the greatest commandment was to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind. The second was to love your neighbor as yourself. So what about the other laws? Do we just get rid of them? I say no. In Matthew, Jesus said he didn’t come to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it. Therefore, we don’t do away with the Pentateuch, but we embrace it as the embodiment of what we can’t fulfill, but what Jesus has already fulfilled for us.

So where does this leave me?

This is a very difficult question for me to answer. As far as this debate goes, Bill Nye came in firing facts and evidence while Ken Ham only came in saying that since you can’t go back and observe it, you can’t use science to say what happened in the past, even 4,000 years ago — at a time when we all already agree that man was around and at least somewhat sophisticated.  The winner of the debate was without a doubt Bill Nye.

As for my beliefs on evolution (which didn’t change, just like everyone else after watching the debate) is that some evolution has without a doubt occurred, Even as recently as 50 years ago, the best scientific evidence wasn’t really all that convincing. But hundreds of fossils from all over the world discovered by people looking for evidence of evolution and people looking to discredit it have made the argument that no evolution has occurred irrational. Even Ham admits that evolution has occurred, which is how we’ve gone from a few thousand kinds of animals to the millions we know to exist today. I believe in an earth that is more than a few thousand years old, because all evidence suggests there is. I do not agree much with Ham’s position, because I interpret Genesis differently than he does. I can accept that we didn’t all originate from a single cell organism. But I can’t buy that millions of species have evolved over just a couple thousand years from just a few kinds of animals and now have seemingly all simultaneously stopped evolving.

I think there is a misunderstanding of the Genesis phrase “day,” Having personally talked to an ancient Hebrew scholar, I am convinced that the word originally was a period of time and over centuries of translation has become the word day in english. So I don’t think it took just 144 hours to make all creation. I believe God could have done it that way, but that he didn’t. Why, I don’t know.

I feel like it puts a great hinderance on God’s powers to say that he couldn’t have used evolution as a means of creation; as if God were incapable of correctly picking out which alleles and which mutations should be passed from one generation to the next to reach the point where we are. The Bible is very clear that when it came to making man, he stepped in and changed things. He made man in his image with the breath of life; he made man a truly living being with a soul like his own. When man sinned and death entered the world, couldn’t God have been talking about spiritual death — a separation of his soul from ours? Clearly, God didn’t mean a physical death otherwise Adam and Eve would have died when they ate the apple, not gone on to live a full (ridiculously long) life with many children.

But what if I’m wrong?

Well, that’s ok. If Bill Nye is right, then I am still in the clear — no harm, no foul. If Ken Ham is right, then I’m still in the clear. Like he said, if he’s right about a literal 6 day creation and I am wrong about an old-earth creation it doesn’t affect my salvation. The only thing that affects that is my belief in Jesus. If he is right, then I’ve misunderstood scripture, but I haven’t committed the unforgivable sin. If I’m right, then I’m obviously still in the clear.

I think there is a sect of Christianity, a very vocal sect in fact, that believes that Christians must all believe the exact same thing. Coincidentally, they believe they have infallibly got it correct themselves, which is a huge miracle since Christianity has differed in opinion since before they first stopped calling themselves a sect of Judaism. New theories have been made, and even some (like the old Team Calvin and Team Arminius problem) have become some vocalized that Christians accuse each other of not being Christian at all because opinions that didn’t even exist during the days of the apostles.

There are only a few things that you must believe to be Christian. Apart from those things, there’s wiggle room. Evolution falls in the wiggle room.

Al Sharpton Is Responsible For Zimmerman’s Acquittal

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Over the past months, the United States has been rocked by the murder trial of George Zimmerman. By now we all know the basic facts, Zimmerman followed Trayvon Martin because he was unfamiliar in the gated community where Zimmerman lived following a string of recent burglaries. A fight broke out between the two men, and in the end Martin was shot once in the heart and killed.

We all know that already, this is the story of how Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, NAACP, and every other protester unwittingly caused George Zimmerman to be acquitted of murder. It goes like this:

Following the police investigation, Zimmerman was released from custody without being charged. The lead detective simply couldn’t find any evidence to suggest that Zimmerman’s account of what lead him to shoot Martin was inaccurate. He’s acknowledged that after receiving all the evidence, he believed Zimmerman’s account — that Trayvon attacked him for following him, pinned him to the ground, expressed that he was going to kill Zimmerman, and pounded his head into the pavement when Zimmerman fatally shot Martin. If Zimmerman’s account of events is true, he acted in self-defense.

Because physical evidence and eyewitness affidavits corroborated Zimmerman’s story, the police determined they should not charge him at that time.

This is where Sharpton et al. get involved. They have no facts, they have not seen the evidence, they have not read the affidavits. All they know, and all they understand, is that a black 17 year old was killed by a “white” guy (who wasn’t), and didn’t get charged with murder. They felt that this would make a perfect opportunity to turn the event into a civil rights issue, and would force the state’s hand into charging Zimmerman.

They organized protests, they bombarded the media with false reports, and the media rolled with it. Before any facts were publicly known, the media already convicted Zimmerman of murder. They convinced celebrities to make speeches and join the propaganda to spill racism into the event. Even president Obama, of whom those who know me know that I adore, said that if he had a son, he would look like Trayvon, before anything about Trayvon was known.

They got the media to post childhood pictures of Trayvon along with mugshot-esque photos of Zimmerman to make it look like a thug killed an innocent child. Zimmerman was stupid, but no thug, and Trayvon wasn’t the innocent child that America initially believed him to be.

So what happened? Protests. Mass protests calling for the arrest and trial of Zimmerman. Political pressure was too great, and the state had to cave in. They knew the public wouldn’t be satisfied with a voluntary manslaughter charge (which they may have been able to get at a later date), so they charged him with murder in the second degree — a charge they knew couldn’t stick to appease the general public.

As the facts of the trial came out, it was obvious that Zimmerman couldn’t be found guilty of murder two. Our legal system doesn’t work that way. Our legal system is designed on the Blackstone formulation: “It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer.” This is how we come up with beyond a reasonable doubt. Basically it means that if there is doubt that a charged person doesn’t meet the requirements of the crime for which he is charged, he has to be found not guilty of the crime. It doesn’t mean they are innocent. It doesn’t mean they are more likely innocent than guilty. The jury believed that Zimmerman’s story of self-defense matches the physical evidence and the witness testimony, so they had to accept that it was reasonable doubt to the murder charge. It may or may not be true, but it casts reasonable doubt. Once the jury determined tha thtey believed self-defense, the lesser charge (added last minute) of manslaughter wasn’t an option. If they bought self-defense for the larger charge, they had to accept self-defense for the lesser one. They had to acquit him.

This could have been avoided. The police may have in the future decided to charge Zimmerman on their own. Without the media attention and public outrage, the state would have had the option to give Zimmerman a plea bargain. The public outrage prevented that — it wouldn’t satiate the public’s bloodlust if Zimmerman got a deal, and they knew that. Murder 2 wasn’t an option, but without a trial to determine self-defense, voluntary manslaughter would have been an option. It would have been the smarter move, and likely would have been the move that would have convinced Zimmerman to plead guilty instead of force a murder trial.

There was also the possibility that if Zimmerman intended to kill Martin that night that down the road he would have confided that to someone. Then the state would have had him on murder — but that time never came because the media-fueled public outrage didn’t give him the opportunity.

Zimmerman may be in jail right now if it weren’t for the attention that Sharpton et al. put on the case. Their desire to turn it into a civil rights issue and give the nation a bloodlust let a man who was likely guilty go free.

I hope that made sense.

Now a few details about the case that I keep seeing on facebook, twitter, and news blogs reported incorrectly.

  1. The jury wasn’t a jury of his peers — the law doesn’t require it. That’s a phrase from the movies. It was an impartial jury, which is what the 6th Amendment to the Constitution requires.
  2. The prosecution and defense selected the jurors out of a huge pool of potential jurors and together and BOTH sides agreed to it. The fact that it was 6 women (with a man and woman on reserve in case others proved to not be impartial later) is coincidence. The judge also approved of each member of the jury.
  3. Police did NOT order Zimmerman not to follow Martin. A dispatcher said that they didn’t need him to continue to follow Martin. That’s not an order not to, and even so, a dispatcher’s opinions (or orders) do not hold the legal weight of those from a sworn officer. The dispatcher is not a sworn officer and does not have the training that police officers have.
  4. The facts leading up to the fight do not negate Zimmerman’s Constitutional rights to defend his life once the fight escalated to a life or death situation.
  5. Stand Your Ground was not an issue in this case. Zimmerman’s attorney refused this defense, and it was not brought up in trial. You can stop attacking this law based on Zimmerman’s acquittal. It played no role whatsoever in the case. Stand Your Ground (see Supreme Court Cases Beard vs US 1895 and Brown vs US 1921) says that when your life is in clear, immediate danger, but you have the opportunity to flee that you have NO obligation to flee before using force. That isn’t what happened in the case, and that isn’t what Zimmerman used as his defense. What it does have in common to his defense is that both are affirmative defenses (they would acknowledge that he killed him, but that it was justifiable).
  6. Zimmerman’s claim was simply self-defense. He claimed that his life was in immediate danger and that he did not have the possibility fleeing. His claim was that when Martin expressed his intentions to kill Zimmerman and that when Martin had Zimmerman pinned to the ground and was pounding his head into the pavement that he was incapable of fleeing and that if he didn’t take immediate action he would be killed.
  7. Justice was served. Just because no one was sent to jail doesn’t mean justice wasn’t served. He was tried in court, an impartial jury found that his affirmative defense was more likely true than not (in an affirmative defense the defendant has to prove a “preponderance of the evidence”, not the same “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the prosecution has to prove, that the defense is true). Again, our legal system believes it’s better for the guilty to go unpunished than for the innocent to go punished for a crime they didn’t commit. That’s what happened here. Justice was served.
  8. Mob justice isn’t the answer. Violent protests such as those in L.A. following the verdict or the Black Panther $10,000 reward for the capture of Zimmerman prior to his arrest does nothing but hurt our justice system and collapse a free nation.

I can totally agree that some laws may need to change. That’s why it’s important for you to vote at every election. You can change the laws by voting directly on the ones up for vote and indirectly by replacing politicians you disagree with for ones with whom you do agree.

I can totally agree that Zimmerman is more likely guilty than he is innocent. That doesn’t mean our justice system is flawed. If I ever get falsely accused of a crime, I will be ecstatic that we’ve decided that our justice system requires beyond a reasonable doubt before punishing me rather than just punishing me because it might be true. I suspect in the same situation, any of my readers would feel the same way.

Please people, watch the trial if you want accurate facts about what happened — do not look to the media. Remember, media outlets look for headlines and stories that will give them the most viewers/readers and the highest ratings, they do not care about making sure the information is factually accurate. They don’t have the legal obligation that courts do to review facts and wait for evidence before pronouncing a person guilty. This case exemplifies that.

Finally, do not let the likes of Al Sharpton, the NAACP, or their cohorts trick you into thinking every situation where two people of opposing races is a civil rights issue. There is a reason that it has been said of Al Sharpton that he would show up to a car accident if one of the vehicles was black. His bias goes to an extreme and he stands to make significant financial gains and personal attention every time he convinces people that non-racially motivated circumstances are civil rights issues.

A Life Without Hope

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Let me start by saying that this isn’t a post about gun control, but it is about a school shooting. So, while  there may be little bits of my opinion in there, please don’t think it’s the take home message I am trying to leave you with.

Today, T.J. Lane, 18, was sentenced to 3 life sentences plus 25 years with no possibility of parole for the murders of 3 students at their high school (Lane did not attend the high school) as well as 2 counts of attempted murder, and felonious assault. He was 17 at the time of the shooting, and the fact spared him from the death sentence.

I think his life is an extreme example of what happens to a person who has no hope. From what I’ve read about his life, there’s never been the proverbial “light at the end of the tunnel” for this kid. As he grew up, he saw his dad go to jail for attempted murder, he had been arrested for violent acts himself multiple times. He attended a behavioral disorder school alternative (for good reason). He had serious mental problems. He had severe depression and hallucinations. I don’t present these facts to justify his actions; just to evidence my thoughts that his entire life, he’s never experienced hope.

His actions the day of the shooting and since further evidence the fact that this kid’s life was hopeless. Typically, school shooters have expressed reasons why the did it; they planned it extensively; shooting people has often been a way to retake control. This wasn’t the case for T.J. He has said multiple times that there was no reason, and that seems to fit the story. He wasn’t bullied, wasn’t well acquainted with the victims, in fact, it seems that he just decided on the fly to open fire while waiting for the bus. The one detail I question, that hasn’t had a real explanation put forward, is why he was carrying a handgun and a knife that day to begin with.

T.J. made sure he was convicted. Ohio law, where he was convicted, says that a child cannot be be charged as an adult if they don’t understand the charges, court procedures, participate in his defense, punishment if convicted, is mentally ill, or has an intellectual or developmental disability. He didn’t allow his lawyer to file the motion for a mental evaluation. In fact, he didn’t allow his lawyers to present any real defense. He plead guilty to all charges without attempting a plea deal.

The last bits of evidence that he lives with no hope occurred today at his sentencing hearing. After entering the court room he took off his outer shirt to reveal that his undershirt read “KILLER” in permanent marker. He was smiling as the judge announced his sentence. In the middle of the court appearance, he swung his chair around to face the victims’ parents, flipped them off, and said, “This hand that pulled the trigger that killed your sons now masturbates to the memory. Fuck all of you.” It seems obvious to me that he wanted to be sure he was in prison until he died. All of his actions, from the shooting until today, suggest that was his goal.

This story has intrigued me since the story first broke last February. School shootings in general have always held an interest to me. Perhaps it has to do with the hit list/safe list that my name was written on in 8th grade. Perhaps it has to do with the kid that I sat next to in Speech class in 10th grade that was removed from class by police because he had a gun in his backpack. Perhaps it’s because I grew up during the “heyday” of school shootings. Perhaps it’s just because I became friends with several people in middle/high school of whose stories he reminds me. Perhaps it’s because there are people I know today of whom he reminds me. Whatever the reason, this case stood out to me.

As I read the news stories this afternoon about his final actions in court, and perhaps joy, that he would be in prison until the day he dies, I couldn’t help but wonder why! Why would anyone want to be jail? Why would anyone work so hard to ensure that they would be? He clearly didn’t want to die, or he would have killed himself… he would be on suicide watch. He wants to live, but he wants to live in prison. Why?

Then it hit me. He has no hope. The world isn’t predictable. Sometimes, it flat out sucks. But jail is different. It’s the same every day… occasionally people change, but that’s it. You don’t have to worry about making decisions. You don’t have to see the light at the end of the tunnel. There doesn’t have to be one. Everything is decided, everything stays the same. It’s a shame that someone can feel that the best, safest place for them is jail — but it seems to be the most reasonable explanation.

I am beyond grateful that I have something more to hope for. I don’t know how anyone can function without hope for more. Hope for something past this world. Hope that good will win. Hope that there is more to life than this; more than the here and now. I take pity this kid. Not because he was treated too harshly, not because he’s just a kid. I take pity on him because he’s got not hope. Except for an act from God,  he will go his entire life without experiencing true hope. Perhaps one day his eyes will be opened and he won’t have to experience hopelessness for eternity.

Anyone else who’s familiar with the case care to give me your input?

Dial 911 For Murder

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Ok, so my sister went nuts as I kept telling her the details released about Christopher Dorner. She jokingly said I should write a blog about it, so I’m writing a blog about it — a blog to ask the questions that I’m sure will never be answered.

We all know the basic story — Chris Dorner, a former LAPD officer was fired in 2008 and last week went on a killing spree of all the people who he believed wronged him. All of this information was released through a manifesto that was posted to Dorner’s facebook account. It led to a massive manhunt that ended with a man being killed in a California cabin last night. However, the LAPD, who is well known for corruption, seems to have some serious flaws in the story. Here are a couple of them:

  • They were never able to confirm the man in the cabin was Chris dorner
    • Authorities also never knew if anyone else was in the cabin
  • The fish and wildlife officers who spotted Dorner somehow managed to identify driving in the opposite direction of him — which let’s be honest, isn’t likely even you know the person you’re identifying at reasonable driving speeds.
    • Let’s also not forget the LAPD believed 2 old ladies and a white guy were Chris Dorner when seen in vehicles
  • US Marshal on scene told a CBS reporter on scene that a man tried to leave out the back door of the cabin, but was pushed back inside (not tackled, not retreated under fire, pushed inside) — sounds like whoever that person was being held captive in a cabin with no telephone or electricity according to the cabin owner
    • Of course, LAPD, who said they were not on scene later said that never happened.
  • The Sheriff told all media to keep their helicopters zoomed out so the cabin was barely visible and eventually told to get rid of them entirely; conveniently  no one but police on scene were ever able to see the man inside the cabin.
    • later police told the media on scene to turn their microphones off and stop tweeting live updates. Minutes later, “a fire broke out” — read police lit the cabin on fire — without video and audio evidence of what caused the fire
      • of course, many people listening to the police scanners overheard that police through 7 burners into the cabin; followed by burn that mother@%$#er down.
    • The fire burned the cabin down; pretty conveniently, burning all evidence and refusing to let firefighters go in until you are sure nothing could survive the blaze.
    • Something did survive the blaze though; Dorner’s driver’s license survived miraculously
      • Does anyone else remember that the LAPD found Dorner’s wallet a couple days ago near Mexico? I do. How many times are they going to find that guy’s wallet? 2 sounds too many to me, but maybe I’m just weird.
    • What evidence was there that Chris Dorner killed anyone? A manifesto? …and??? Nothing. A confession that could have been typed and posted by anyone with the ability to access his Facebook page. It’s a good thing no police department has ever tried to hack into someone’s account…
      • ….wait, the LAPD has! I’m sure they’d never have tried it again though.

Ok, so does anyone else see a movie here? Pretty simple. He knows something that some high ranking people wanted to be sure never got out. How do you do that? You kill a few people; conceal any evidence, force a public admission of guilt that can’t be traced back to the real sender, kill the person in secret, and end with a massive finale… a finale so splendidly planned that everyone can see, but no one will be able to view any evidence after the fact — AKA burn that mother$&#$er down!

LAPD killed 6 people; the girl and her fiance, 2 cops, dorner, and the final act scapegoat — along with spending millions of dollars in taxpayer money to cover up a big secret. America deserves to know what that secret is…

On Abortion…

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Last year, a buddy of mine posted a link to this article from the Gospel Coalition about 10 questions that pro-choice politicians never seem to have to answer. He asked that a pro-choice person answer them because he was honestly curious about how they would be answered. I don’t know that I fully agree with the answers I’ve provided, but I believe they are pretty accurate for what a standard pro-choice person would say

I find myself at a difficult impasse on the issue of abortion. I wouldn’t say that I think it should be legal 100% of the time. I also wouldn’t say I think it should be illegal 100% of the time. As a Christian, I know there are many of my own religion who would condemn me for being more on the pro-choice side of the argument, but I don’t necessarily believe that my own religious views need to be law for others. Most simply, I know that I will never have an abortion (male), and I will never pressure a girl to have one.

Anyway, here are the responses I came up with to his questions (and the questions themselves). I have edited a couple of them from the original response because our further conversation showed that I wasn’t clear or didn’t phrase some spots quite how I wanted.

  1. You say you support a woman’s right to make her own reproductive choices in regards to abortion and contraception. Are there any restrictions you would approve of?
    1. Yes. And there are very few serious candidates who would say otherwise. Namely, late term abortion is almost universally not welcome (except for health of the mother). Typically pro-choice people agree with the supreme court ruling that if the fetus can survive (is over a 50% chance threshold with modern science) outside the womb than the abortion shouldn’t be allowed. — Notice that means it is becoming earlier and earlier that the abortion would be illegal.
  2. In 2010, The Economist featured a cover story on “the war on girls” and the growth of “gendercide” in the world – abortion based solely on the sex of the baby. Does this phenomenon pose a problem for you or do you believe in the absolute right of a woman to terminate a pregnancy because the unborn fetus is female?
    1. That is due primarily to legal or sex-trade issues in other parts of the world. The question isn’t actually an issue in the United State that I know of. Further, you could ban gender-based abortions, but that wouldn’t change a woman’s decision to get one. She would just pose a different reason, whether real or fake, if she wanted the abortion.
  3. In many states, a teenager can have an abortion without her parents’ consent or knowledge but cannot get an aspirin from the school nurse without parental authorization. Do you support any restrictions or parental notification regarding abortion access for minors?
    1. Yes. I don’t think a teenage girl should have to have parental consent for contraception – whether medical, physical, or emergency because of the low risk to her health. However, typically you have to sign waivers (in a sense a contract) when you have surgery due to the risks to your health or life as a result of them. Since minors cannot enter a contract without parental consent, teenage girls should be required to have parental consent to have an abortion.
  4. If you do not believe that human life begins at conception, when do you believe it begins? At what stage of development should an unborn child have human rights?
    1. I’ll go with Joe Biden’s response when he was asked this question at the VP debate. He does believe that life begins at conception, as per his religion. But it cannot be proven that the deeper sense of life – I’ll go with cognition since not everyone is religious and believes in the soul – so, it is not his place to force that religious belief on others who do not share it. As for when a human develops its own constitutional rights – that occurs when the fetus reaches the threshold of life outside the womb; as the supreme court ruled. Again, the exact timing of that is becoming earlier and earlier with scientific advancements.
  5. Currently, when genetic testing reveals an unborn child has Down Syndrome, most women choose to abort. How do you answer the charge that this phenomenon resembles the “eugenics” movement a century ago – the slow, but deliberate “weeding out” of those our society would deem “unfit” to live?
    1. (Edited response) I’m going to broaden this to two different subjects; children that are unwanted and children who’s parents aren’t capable of taking care of them. Study after study has shown that unwanted and unloved children develop severe problems, both mental and physical. Any baby being watched over NEEDS to receive love and attention constantly in order to grow up healthy. Orphanages and the foster care system have gotten such a bad reputation due to a long history of scandals so many women are not willing to put their child up for adoption if they can’t take care of it or do not want it. Raising a child with severe mental illnesses are beyond difficult; they require a level of dedication and constant attention that almost nobody is willing and able to give. It is an absolute travesty that women and families can feel like abortion is a better solution than our own adoption system and a travesty that our government does not offer the proper prenatal, infant, and childcare services that are necessary to make women feel like they are able to keep and raise a child. That is why I propose now and have always been in favor of increasing those social services to women and families. It’s not that I am in favor of aborting those babies, I am favor of sparing them from miserable lives caused by a government that won’t care for them and parents that are incapable. If we can convince the government to support these women and give them monetary, emotional, and physical support; so they believe they can raise a child with special needs (or that they otherwise weren’t ready for) we can prevent abortion and raise a generation of loved, healthy, happy children.
  6. Do you believe an employer should be forced to violate his or her religious conscience by providing access to abortifacient drugs and contraception to employees?
    1.  Absolutely. They aren’t buying the drugs and they don’t even know about them. There is no reason for an unclean conscience on the issue. They pay for all sorts of things they probably don’t want to pay for; FICA etc., but all they are doing is providing a health insurance package. Already they pay for STD treatments, sexual enhancement medication, and a host of risque medications that they probably don’t agree with — but have never had any issue with. The greater sin is denying your employees health insurance benefits for fear that they MIGHT spend it in a way you don’t approve of. Again, like from Biden’s answer, you shouldn’t govern your religious beliefs onto others. BTW, chemical birth control is prescribed for more than just contraception.
  7. Alveda King, niece of Martin Luther King, Jr. has said that “abortion is the white supremacist’s best friend,” pointing to the fact that Black and Latinos represent 25% of our population but account for 59% of all abortions. How do you respond to the charge that the majority of abortion clinics are found in inner-city areas with large numbers of minorities?
    1. That charge is completely correct. That has to do with inadequacy in the government’s handling of welfare resources and racism in private sector employment. Affluence is strongly negatively correlated with abortion rates. The best way to correct this is to create government programs that specifically focus on providing financial, emotional, and parenting support to poor and minority families. If they don’t feel like it is the most fiscal responsible thing and that they would just provide a bad life for their children, they are less likely to feel like abortion is the best option for them. Again, this ties to the prevention through assistance theory.
  8. You describe abortion as a “tragic choice.” If abortion is not morally objectionable, then why is it tragic? Does this mean there is something about abortion that is different than other standard surgical procedures?
    1.  At the most basic level, look at the hormonal changes for the woman. Innately, due to these changes, the mother feels bonding and emotional connection to the child. On a more sophisticated level, nearly every woman who gets an abortion thinks about it hard and as a last resort option. As hard as it seems to believe to a pro-lifer, girls who get abortions don’t decide to do it on a whim. They consider all their options to their full extent. Politicians describe it as a tragedy because these girls believe that all other options are worse than abortion – it’s a tragedy that they don’t get the support that they need to keep the child. I will comment after question 10 why they aren’t getting this support from the government.
  9. Do you believe abortion should be legal once the unborn fetus is viable – able to survive outside the womb?
    1. I think I’ve pretty well answered this. At the threshold of viability outside the womb, abortion shouldn’t be legal.
  10. If a pregnant woman and her unborn child are murdered, do you believe the criminal should face two counts of murder and serve a harsher sentence?
    1. Yes. I see that the point of the question is that if I think they should receive a harsher punishment, it’s because the baby has rights. That isn’t my rationale though. The baby becomes an aggravating circumstance to a “standard murder.” The idea is that there is a standard murder (or standard any crime), and every change from that standard – such as pregnant – is either an aggravating circumstance or a mitigating circumstance – such as if you walked in on your spouse in adultery. Using a standard scale of determining how aggravating or how mitigating each change to the standard is; you can fairly determine how much to adjust the sentence. Pregnancy would be an aggravating circumstance, therefore murdering a pregnant woman would have an increased sentence.

As stated above. The reason specific groups are more likely to have abortions than other groups is due to affluence and financial, emotional, and parenting support. The thing that bugs me most about the abortion debate is that the group of people fighting so hard to prevent women from getting abortions also prevents funding to agencies that offer those services and fight hard to take away funding from the few agencies that do that already. You cannot take away a woman’s right to choose whether or not to have a child AND not give her access to the support she needs to properly raise the children. You ask for neglect, abuse, and crime — because the woman who need that support see no other options than that.

Obviously, even though thats a lot to read, the answers are simplified and watered down a lot, because these issues are so complicated. So forgive lack of citations and specific numbers, and things of that nature

Now, I just edited one question that was based on his critique, because I answered it so poorly and confusingly the first time. His other critique was based on the idea Biden had (this was immediately following the VP debate when Biden made the remarks) of separating yourself from religion when making political decisions. Specifically, he argued, that if I take away the religious moral aspect of it, how can I decide that anything is murder –

My response: Yeah, it’s really difficult to take religion out of it. But, as far as murder goes — our legal system has set up a basis. You have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Our law says that if you unlawfully take life away from someone, that is murder. Within just Iowa State law, homicide (legal and illegal) gets split into murder 1, murder 2, voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter, civil liability, feticide, non-consensual termination of a pregnancy, partial-birth abortion, murder of fetus aborted alive, duty to preserve life of a fetus, and attempt to commit murder. It lays out what requirements taking the right to life from someone has to meet to fall into any one of those circumstances.

It is definitely difficult to determine when the deeper sense of life–soul–breath of Life — arrives, because it is immeasurable. I think that is why pro-choicers choose to give humans civil rights at the point where they have a greater chance to survive outside the womb than to not survive.

The real issue — more than the right to choose abortion — is that there isn’t enough funding going into promoting the alternatives. There just isn’t the money going to help the people who would choose to get an abortion for any reason other than the health of the mother. The foster care system doesn’t have the reputation that promotes girls choosing to give up children that they can’t care for offering the child for adoption. It looks like a bad option because of all the scandals. What pro-choicers really want, more than anything else, is for there to be those social services or for them to be improved. It will make it so girls feel like they either can raise the child well or their child will be well taken care of if they give the child up for adoption. 

What I think [3rd person in the conversation] meant by that was that no one really “supports abortion” … both sides want girls to choose other options. Pro-choicers just believe it should be a girls right to have abortion as an option, with restrictions (as I outlined above). Both sides want girls to choose other options, but the method of having girls choose another option is different: Pro-lifers want to make it so girls cannot legally choose the abortion option, Pro-choicers want girls to choose other options by giving support and encouragement to make the other options a clearly better one than abortion.

Alright, so that’s everything I got on the topic. I know this is a real sensitive topic; I’m sure many members of my own family don’t approve of my opinions on the matter, but I would like to see what other people have to say. Any pro-choicers please leave comments or links to posts with your own responses (or how you feel different about my responses) and any pro-lifers leave your rebuttles or links to them in the comments section!

The New Gun Debate

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Lately guns have been on everyone’s minds. Approximately 7 weeks ago Adam Lanza shot his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School and killed 20 children and 6 adults after first killing his own mother and ending with him killing himself. The nation froze at the tragedy — I remember being on a lunch break at work and reading a news article of the piece and really couldn’t believe what I was reading; it was just too shocking to be true.

Since the shooting at Sandy Hook, 1,280 people have been either murdered or accidentally killed by guns in the United States. Slate’s count was 1,475 including suicide and police shootings. It’s crazy how a centerpiece of American freedom, an item that without which we would still be British subjugates, can suddenly be on the low side of American opinion.

With all the media attention on the damage that guns are doing to innocent people, state and federal legislatures have been debating what needs to be done to reduce the number of killings with firearms.

If you are part of the camp that says, “You can’t eliminate firearm deaths by regulating firearms, so we shouldn’t make any regulations at all,” you might as well leave now,  because nothing more I have to say on the topic will appeal to you; mainly because you’re wrong.

There’s a large group that says, “We don’t need to regulate guns, we need to improve mental health.” I agree completely that mental health needs improvement. If the legislatures that were making that claim actually believed it, they would be putting mental health bills up for debate — however, to improve mental health they’d have to undo all the stuff they’ve worked so hard to get rid of for the last 20 years. They don’t want gun regulation, but they don’t want to seem callus — but they don’t actually believe what they say.

Ok, so I’ve trashed the other side: What do I think?

I believe we should have the ability to enforce the regulations already on the books. The NRA has been able to use their congressional members to push limitations on the ability to enforce gun related regulations that have already been passed — an example of which is the damage the patriot bill did the ATF — look it up, you’ll be amazed. And the clauses in there to limit them were written by the NRA directly.

I don’t believe that guns should be regulated extra hard because different pieces of plastic make them look scarier. Pistol grips on a rifle don’t matter to me. What I care about is the things that allow would be murderers to do as much damage as quickly as possible. I can’t understand why anyone would need 15 rounds or more to protect their house or to hunt. If your aim is that bad that you need to rapid fire to hit the target, you shouldn’t have a gun in the first place — a firing range for target practice is the only place you should be holding a gun.

I also think that background checks and registration of firearms are reasonable. The background checks don’t need to include every detail of the buyer’s life — just whether or not it is legal for them to own firearms. I also believe the government should have a reasonable idea of what firearms are located where and registration is the way to do that. It can protect legal gun owners from being in trouble if their former weapons are used in a crime (see my next point), if they publicly acknowledge that they no longer own that weapon. We have to register our cars annually and that has already been deemed non-intrusive, so I don’t see why a 1-time registration of a firearm is so much more intrusive.

The argument I hear from the conservative side is that all the regulations only affect law abiding, responsible gun owners. That’s why, to protect responsible gun owner’s, I suggest that if your weapon is used to commit a crime, you are in part responsible for that crime and should be criminally charged with something to the affect “failing to maintain responsible possession of a firearm” with increments depending on the affects the firearm had directly on any victims. The fact is, the legally owned guns belonging to responsible gun owners do not get used in shootings; but too often someone else’s gun is getting used to kill innocent people.

For example Christmas Day last year, 2-year old Sincere Smith killed himself while playing with his dad’s new .38 pistol. It is true, that the dad was charged with involuntary manslaughter in this instance, but surprisingly enough, it doesn’t always happen that way. For example 4 of the guns used by the shooters in the 1999 Columbine shooting were obtained from friends — did the friends or friends’ parents ever get charged? No.

The question comes about stolen weapons. Responsible gun owners know and report when their firearms are stolen. They keep them locked up and away from children. They don’t allow mentally incompetent or unstable use their guns. A gun reported stolen would obviously not result in the owner being charged, because they showed responsibility. If the evidence suggests that whatever crime a gun was used in was stolen before the gun owner could have noticed, they wouldn’t be charged either — the goal is not to be unfair, but to encourage gun owners to know where their guns are and make good choices about who has access to them; not to punish for being an owner.

NRA VP, Wayne Lapierre stated after the Sandy Hook shooting that the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. This argument has been proven wrong twice already. January 10th, a school shooter at Taft Union High School was talked down by a teacher and security guard to handing over his weapon. January 31st, a school shooter at Price Middle School had his weapon taken away by a liaison officer after shooting 1 student before he could continue. Some have pointed out that the officer was a good guy with a gun; however, the officer never un-holstered his gun — the gun didn’t stop the shooting. Even though it keeps getting reported that it was an armed guard that stopped it.

So where does that leave me? I am totally in favor of responsible gun ownership. I enjoy the rare occasion that I get to go to a shooting range, and would really like to own a gun — the only reason I don’t now is that I can’t afford one. I support the measures that Obama has put through executive order and generally support many of the measures being debated in Congress. Obama doesn’t want to take our guns away or make it illegal to buy or own a gun as some media experts choose to report; he wants to have the power to enforce the ones already in place.

What’s your opinions? Post it in the comments or a link to your own blog post about the topic!

Shameless attempts for blogging ideas

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Ok, so I obviously haven’t done tons of postings in the recent past. There are many reasons for this… at the beginning of my big break I just became so busy that I didn’t have time to blog. Then it became I was fresh out of ideas, so I never had anything to write about.

I’m going to try to come up with several new posts today that I can spread out for a little bit, but in the meantime, I highly suggest my readers (I can’t believe how many views I got with the last blog I posted, woulda thought everyone forgot about me), send an email to steven-ford@uiowa.edu with topics you want me to discuss….. anything is fair game; no topic is off limits. I promise I’ll work extra hard to make sure I have well thought out and researched things for you.

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