Jul 032016
 

cinemarkThere’s been a big brouhaha on Facebook about reports that Cinemark Theaters if seeking to recover nearly $700,000 dollars from the survivors and families of those injured or killed in the theater shooting there on July 12, 2012. Twelve people were killed, and over 70 wounded when James Eagan Holmes set off tear gas grenades and shot into the crowd during a midnight showing of the  Dark Night Rises film in the Batman series.

Holmes was convicted of twenty-four counts of first-degree murder, 140 counts of attempted first-degree murder, and one count of possessing explosives on July 16, 2015. On August 7, 2015, he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. On August 26, 2015, he was given 12 life sentences, one for every person he killed, and 3,318 years for the attempted murders of those he wounded, and for rigging his apartment with explosives.

Three victims sued Cinemark in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado on September 21, 2012 for the company’s alleged negligence in failing to provide adequate safety and security measures. Their attorneys released the statement “Readily available security procedures, security equipment and security personnel would likely have prevented or deterred the gunman from accomplishing his planned assault on the theater’s patrons.” Continue reading »

Back with My Thoughts on the Aurora Shooting

 Crime, Featured, Gay Issues, Religion, Society  Comments Off on Back with My Thoughts on the Aurora Shooting
Jul 232012
 

I haven’t been posting anything really in a long time. I’ve been writing so much for work, that even though there are lots of things I want to write about, I just haven’t been able to find the motivation. However, there are a couple of stories lately I would like to share some thoughts about, and one is the horrible event at the movie theater in Aurora, CO this past weekend.

Here is my primary thought. To everyone who was actually touched by this calamity, my prayers are with you and your families.

My second thought is, everyone else needs to just take a breath, and let’s bring some sanity to the discussion. We all want to know why. We want to understand how this person came to this place. We want to assign some motivation, some identifiable cause. We want to blame someone or something so it will look like we can control these situations. We want these answers because we want to be safe. We want to know how to identify this person in the future, or how to create circumstances where this can never happen again.

There are already those taking to the airwaves and the internets to blame Hollywood’s violent movies, gaming violence, guns — both the lack of regulations and the lack of a gun-toting savior, our mental health system, troubled youth, social media, normalization of gun violence, lack of prayer in schools, gays, abortions. I’ve heard criticism of parents who brought children to the movie premier, midnight openings, and once in a while, even some mention of the alleged shooter.

We search for meaning in madness, and don’t take the time to simply grieve. I understand that very basic human compulsion. But “why” will drive you crazy. Has everyone in the entire country forgotten what it’s like to be around a two-year-old, … Why? Because I said so. Why? Because I’m in charge. Why?….” Sometimes there’s just no good reason anyone can articulate for some of the things that happen in this world.

In my Sunday School class were doing a study from a book called The Psalms for Today by Beth LaNeel Tanner. Coincidentally, This past Sunday’s lesson was “Learning to Live Without Fear.” Appropriate for the time, no? This coming Sunday’s lesson is on Psalm 13, and the Chapter is titled, “Living In A Broken World.” The first five verses of the Psalm are, in the American Standard Version:

How long, O Jehovah? wilt thou forget me forever? How long wilt thou hide they face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, Having sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall mine enemy be exalted over me? Consider and answer me, O Jehovah my God; Lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death; Let mine enemy say, I have prevailed against him; Lest mine adversaries rejoice when I am moved.

You see, even David didn’t have all the answers. Sometimes he cries out to God for some sign, for some deeper understanding. The Rabbi in Ecclesiastes often has the same response. They don’t understand why some things happen in this world, yet we desperately want those answers. However, the rhetoric we’re getting so far is not going to do anything to heal anyone, nor the nation, nor the world.

In her book, Dr. Tanner talks about how the Israelites often, for protection, carried a Psalm rolled into an  amulets. We Christians wear crosses and many wear St. Christopher necklaces. Dr. Tanner writes, “We have become a society where fear sells everything from the latest weather forecast to new cars. Much of our economy is fueled by tapping into our fears. If we own the right things, we can protect ourselves and our family from harm, and that will make us happy. We have replaced amulets with things that supposedly will keep us from harm and offer that ever elusive contentment.”

We have this overblown fear when things like this happen that is out of proportion to the real danger. It’s been noted that, while nothing takes anything away from terror and pure evil of this event, the 12 people killed here represent merely one-half of the total number of people killed by guns on an average day in the United States. John Mueller writes: “International terrorism generally kills a few hundred people a year worldwide—not much more, usually, than the number who drown yearly in bathtubs in the United States. Americans worry intensely about “another 9/11,” but if one of these were to occur every three months for the next five years, the chance of being killed in one of them is 0.02 percent. Astronomer Alan Harris has calculated that at present rates, the lifetime probability that a resident of the globe will die at the hands of international terrorists is 1 in 80,000, about the same likelihood that one would die over the same interval from the impact on the earth of an especially ill-directed asteroid or comet.”1

Let’s take a look at some of the rhetoric up to now. Not surprisingly, the krazy kristian kooks have taken to the internets will all sorts of bullshit. Continue reading »


  1. As quoted on American Broadcast Network’s 20/20, Feb. 23, 2007. John Mueller was commenting about his book Overblown: How Politicians and the Terrorism Industry Inflate National Security Threats, and Why We Believe Them (New York: Free Press, 2006). These statistics apply to the world in general and not war zones such as Iraq. 

Dec 162006
 

Of course everyone’s heard the big story about Ted Haggard being forced out of the closet when his regular hustler finally “turned him in.” It now appears the founding pastor of another mega-church in Colorado has also had to confess his sin.

In the case of Haggard, he was simply dishonest about the situation right to the very end. On top of that, he’d made himself a leader in the konservative kristian kook movement, and railed against homosexuality, same-sex marriage, etc. He got what he deserved.

In this case, I’m a bit more sympathetic, but still somewhat torn. Rev. Paul Barnes of Grace Chapel in Douglas County gave a video statement to his congregation saying he’d engaged in infidelity and gay sex over the years. From what I can gather, Rev. Barnes was not nearly the conservative firebrand that Haggard had made himself out to be. In fact, I’m given to understand that much of the media had a problem even finding a file photo of Rev. Barnes. Most of the commenters to the Denver Post article say they never recall Barnes preaching a sermon with a political agenda, and his church reportedly stayed out of the Amendment 43 debate.

In his video Barnes speaks about knowing he was different as early as five years old. He also talks about the only “sex talk” he ever had with his father. Barnes said his father took him on a drive and talked about what he would do if a “fag” approached him. Like many, Barnes had a conversion experience around 17 which he expected would “cure” him. He got married and went into the ministry…all in hopes that would be the thing that would end his homosexual feelings.

Most all gay people of my age or older have been through some of those experiences…always hoping and expecting that you’d just start feeling “normal.” Despite what those of Haggard’s ilk preach, we who have been through it know it doesn’t change. We can pretend, and live a lie…but the feelings don’t go away.

Barnes expressed hope for a future where one can “be who you are” and be accepted and loved in the Christian community and also spoke about “separating some of the teachings from Scripture” from Jesus Christ. An Associate Pastor of the church said he wasn’t sure what Barnes meant, but Barnes told him that he believes God views homosexuality as a sin.  Continue reading »

Dec 162006
 

Of course everyone’s heard the big story about Ted Haggard being forced out of the closet when his regular hustler finally “turned him in.” It now appears the founding pastor of another mega-church in Colorado has also had to confess his sin.

In the case of Haggard, he was simply dishonest about the situation right to the very end. On top of that, he’d made himself a leader in the konservative kristian kook movement, and railed against homosexuality, same-sex marriage, etc. He got what he deserved.

In this case, I’m a bit more sympathetic, but still somewhat torn. Rev. Paul Barnes of Grace Chapel in Douglas County gave a video statement to his congregation saying he’d engaged in infidelity and gay sex over the years. From what I can gather, Rev. Barnes was not nearly the conservative firebrand that Haggard had made himself out to be. In fact, I’m given to understand that much of the media had a problem even finding a file photo of Rev. Barnes. Most of the commenters to the Denver Post article say they never recall Barnes preaching a sermon with a political agenda, and his church reportedly stayed out of the Amendment 43 debate.

In his video Barnes speaks about knowing he was different as early as five years old. He also talks about the only “sex talk” he ever had with his father. Barnes said his father took him on a drive and talked about what he would do if a “fag” approached him. Like many, Barnes had a conversion experience around 17 which he expected would “cure” him. He got married and went into the ministry…all in hopes that would be the thing that would end his homosexual feelings.

Most all gay people of my age or older have been through some of those experiences…always hoping and expecting that you’d just start feeling “normal.” Despite what those of Haggard’s ilk preach, we who have been through it know it doesn’t change. We can pretend, and live a lie…but the feelings don’t go away.

Barnes expressed hope for a future where one can “be who you are” and be accepted and loved in the Christian community and also spoke about “separating some of the teachings from Scripture” from Jesus Christ. An Associate Pastor of the church said he wasn’t sure what Barnes meant, but Barnes told him that he believes God views homosexuality as a sin.  Continue reading »

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