Monday, August 19, 2019

RED FLAG LAWS SHOULD RAISE RED FLAGS!

Weekly Opinion Editorial
RED FLAG LAWS ARE PRECRIME!
by Steve Fair
     A ‘red flag law’ is a law that permits police or family members to petition the state court to order the temporary removal of firearms from a person who they perceive to present a danger to others or themselves.  The laws are called ‘Extreme Risk Protection Orders,’   ‘Risk Protection Orders,’ “Gun Violence Restraining Orders,’ depending on the state.  There are seventeen states and DC that have some form of ‘red flag laws,’ up from just five two years ago.   Red Flag Law’s constitutionality has been challenged and it has been ruled they did not violate the right to keep and bear arms.(Redington v. State of Indiana), but it is certain it will make its way to the Supreme Court.
     At the federal level, Senators Lindsey Graham, (R-SC) and Richard Blumenthal, (D-Conn) have introduced a bill that would offer state’s money if they implemented a ‘red flag law.’  Six Republicans have indicated they would support some form of a Red Flag Law, so it is likely it will get past the Senate and the Democrat controlled House.  Would President Trump sign or veto it?  If he doesn’t sign it, is there enough support to override a veto?  Probably not.  Immediately after the El Paso and Dayton shootings, the president appeared to support red flag laws, but it appears he is not as enthusiastic.  Senator Jim Inhofe, (R-OK) has said the issue should not be dealt with at the federal level, but by individual states.  Governor Stitt has said he doesn’t favor ‘Red Flag’ laws.  Three thoughts:
     First, gun violence will not be curbed by passing more legislation.  There are already thousands of laws(local, state, federal) on the books regarding guns, many that are not enforced.  Criminals don’t obey laws, so the only person restricted when more laws are implemented is law abiding citizens. 
     Second, ‘red flag laws’ are not about mental illness.  Only one of the seventeen states’ laws mention mental health.  Red Flags rely on the prognostication premonition ability of what a person may do before they do it.  It’s real life PreCrime(Minority Report movie).  It might make good entertainment, but no one is psychic and can predict the future.  A fundamental question is who holds the ‘red flag’ and what is their criteria for raising it?   
    Third, liberty can be messy.  The second amendment makes it difficult for the neutralizers on the left.  The second wasn’t put into the US Constitution for duck hunting, but to protect individual liberty.  When lawmakers restrict liberty for the criminal, they restrict liberty for everyone and the only person who complies is the honest citizen.  After 9/11, the people inconvenienced at the airport by the Patriot Act, walking around in their sock feet, were the compliant.          
    Americans should want instruments of defense in their possession, not in the hands of government.   Knee jerk legislation in response to tragic events are never a good idea. No one wants to see another mass shooting, but slicing off our liberty to prevent one is not the right solution. Benjamin Franklin once said: “Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
 

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Epstein may have taken secrets to his grave- willingly or maybe not?

Weekly Opinion Editorial

INVESTIGATION SHOULD NOT DIE!
by Steve Fair

     On Saturday Jeffrey Epstein, 66, was found dead in his Manhattan jail cell(a federal facility) of an apparent suicide.  Epstein was a well-connected billionaire who counted Presidents Clinton and Trump as his friends.  He was also friends with England’s Prince Andrew.  Epstein was being held on charges of having sex with underage girls and holding women in sexual slavery.  His death comes just one month after his arrest and the day after the release of court documents pertaining to the charges.  Epstein had attempted suicide just two weeks ago and as a result put on suicide watch, but removed from the watch just two days ago.   He denied trying to commit suicide, and told friends someone tried to kill him.  Immediately after Epstein’s death, conspiracies began to appear on social media.  Here are a just a few:    

     Some believe Bill and Hillary Clinton are behind Epstein’s death.  Their theory is the Clintons have the most to lose if Epstein turned on them.  It has been documented former president Clinton flew on Epstein’s private jet twenty six times, sometimes to Epstein’s private island, Little St. James, that was dubbed by locals as Pedophile Island.  Clinton has denied he knew Epstein was engaging in pedophilic behavior.

     Some believe President Trump are behind Epstein’s death.  There is a tape of Epstein and Trump discussing women at a party.  One of Epstein’s underage accusers claims she was recruited by him while working at Mar-a-Lago, a resort President Trump owns.  Claire McCaskill, a Democrat former senator from Missouri implied on Twitter that Trump was behind the death saying, “something stinks to high heaven.”  Trump has denied he was close friends with Epstein.

     Some believe the Russians are behind Epstein’s death.  Joe Scarborough, a former congressman, says Epstein had so much information that would have destroyed rich and powerful people that the Russians had him killed.  Others believe the so called ‘deep state’ were behind his death.  There are those who believe the Saudis are behind Epstein’s death to protect Jared Kushner.  Still others believe Epstein’s death was faked and he paid jailers to allow him to escape.

     Jeffrey Epstein clearly knew some dirt on several very powerful people and some may be relieved he is no longer alive, but it is unlikely any of the conspiracy theories are why Epstein is dead.  Neglect at the jail was clearly involved, but determining criminal intent may be impossible to prove.  A thorough investigation into how Epstein could have committed suicide should be conducted.  Questions should be asked why he was taken off suicide watch.  If someone was behind his death, they should pay the price. 
     The investigation into the unseemly activities of Epstein and his associates should not end with his death.  If Clinton, Trump, the Prince and others were involved in Epstein’s escapades, then the truth should be come out and they should face the consequences.  Expect this saga to continue- you haven’t heard the last of Jeffrey Epstein.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Playing the blame game will not address the root cause of mass shootings!

Weekly Opinion Editorial
HEART OF MAN IS ISSUE!
by Steve Fair
     This weekend there were two mass shootings- one in El Paso, Texas and one in Dayton, Ohio.  At least thirty people were killed and scores wounded.  The alleged El Paso shooter was captured within minutes of leaving the scene.  The shooter in Dayton was killed by police.  It appears the El Paso gunman is a white supremacist and the Dayton shooter is described as a ‘pretty dark kid,’ that kept a hit list in high school.   The immediate response from the Democrats was a call for more stringent gun control, while Republicans said more people should be armed to prevent future shootings. Three observations: 
     First, life has been devalued in America.  When 2,000 unborn children are aborted every day in the United States, is it no wonder troubled people have no respect for life?  Life is a gift of God and subject to His control.  Mankind is made in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-27) and shedding of innocent blood is absolutely forbidden (Proverbs 6:16-19).  When a person takes innocent human life, they violate God’s law and will pay a price before their Creator.  That goes for the mass murderer and those that kill babies in the womb.  America should start valuing all life, including the unborn.
     Second, disarming law abiding citizens will not stop mass shootings.  Criminals don’t obey the law.  That is why they are criminals.  Putting up a ‘Gun Free’ sign in a retail store does nothing but stop honest people from being able to defend themselves in the event of a mass shooting. 
     Third, guns are not the blame.  A gun is a tool.  It can be used for good or bad.  The blame must be placed on the condition of the hearts of the shooters.  Wickedness and hatred is in the heart before it’s in the hand.  Both gunmen exhibited behavior that raised red flags to friends and family.  Clearly they had mental health issues that should have been addressed.  The meagerness of funding to mental health by government contrasted to monies spent on social programs is more to blame than a gun.   
     The answer to stopping mass murders and abortion in America is not more political debate and activism.  It is not more or less gun regulations.  It’s not better mental health intervention or better parenting.   The real answer lays in praying God will work in the hearts of people.  It lays in the regeneration of the heart of individuals.  That can only come through the propagation of the Gospel: the simple truth that man is born with a depraved wicked heart and needs Christ.  Blaming the president, Congress, the other political Party when someone takes innocent life fails to address the fundamental issue- the heart of man.
 

Monday, July 29, 2019

America is no longer one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Weekly Opinion Editorial
DEEPLY DIVIDED AMERICA!
by Steve Fair
       
     At 6:14am on Saturday July 27th President Trump tweeted: Rep, Elijah Cummings has been a brutal bully, shouting and screaming at the great men & women of Border Patrol about conditions at the Southern Border, when actually his Baltimore district is FAR WORSE and more dangerous. His district is considered the Worst in the USA......  He followed up with another tweet: ....As proven last week during a Congressional tour, the Border is clean, efficient & well run, just very crowded. Cumming District is a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess. If he spent more time in Baltimore, maybe he could help clean up this very dangerous & filthy place.  Trump’s comments came after Congressman Cummings, a twenty six year member of the House, screamed at acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan during a congressional hearing regarding alleged conditions near the southern border where illegal immigrate children are being held.  The tweets set off a firestorm of criticism of the president.  The Baltimore Sun said in an editorial:  “Better to have some vermin living in your neighborhood than to be one.”  Three observations:

     First, Trump should not have said what he said.  Baltimore does have its challenges.  It is a city of 600,000 with a high crime rate, high unemployment and lots of empty buildings.  A documentary made two years ago called attention to the rodent infestation in Baltimore, so the president wasn’t totally off base with that comment, but calling out an American city that is struggling is inappropriate for the president.   Sometimes it is better to leave some things unsaid.
     Second, Cummings should not have attacked McAleenan.  The border patrol is doing the best they can in very tough circumstances.  They didn’t create the crisis at the border, but they are dealing with it.  The southern border is being overrun with illegals, including children separated from their parents.  The conditions in the facilities holding those children are not the Hilton, but it’s a far cry better than being left in the desert heat.  Cummings was grandstanding and playing to the cameras, something he does often.  His outrage should be directed toward those causing the mass invasion at our southern border, not toward those dealing with it.  Cummings has never been one to miss a chance to aggrandize.
     Third, the cycle of coarse, uncivil, blunt impolite disputation is prolonged.  Both sides are to blame.  Cummings knew his attack on McAleenan would enrage the president.  He knew how Trump would respond.  Like it or not, you attack him, he strikes back- twice as hard.  The media(the Sun) and every politico takes a side and the cycle of divide continues. 
      Our leaders are not willing to work together for the betterment of all Americans.  The divide about the direction of the country is deep and unity is not considered an option.  It doesn’t matter what Trump does, his critic’s criticize and his supporters applaud.    America is no longer one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.   It is deeply divided with liberty and justice only for those who agree with our view.  The intolerance of the tolerant rules the day.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Invoking the GOLDEN RULE for a vote is clear misuse!

Weekly Opinion Editorial
MISUSE OF THE GOLDEN RULE!
by Steve Fair

          Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution condemning President Donald Trump for his Twitter remarks directed toward four Democrat congresswomen, calling the remarks, ‘racist.’  The floor vote to approve was 240-187.  All four GOP congressmen in Oklahoma voted against the resolution.  Fifth district Congresswoman Kendra Horn, (D-OKC), voted with the majority.  In a press release Horn said: “Growing up, my parents taught me the importance of the golden rule.  Of treating everyone, no matter who they are, with dignity and respect.  That’s what today’s vote was about.  I’m troubled on many levels by the tone and tenor of our discourse.  And I’m troubled by the remarks of the President, which are below the dignity of the office he holds.”
     The Golden Rule is the principle of treating others as you would wish to be treated. It is a precept found in many religions and cultures. It has such universal appeal that in 1993, 143 leaders of the world’s major religions endorsed the Golden Rule as part of the ‘Declaration toward a Global Ethic.’  Most young children, no matter their cultural or spiritual background, are taught a form of the Golden Rule. John Piper says this about the Golden Rule: If we will put God back in the Golden Rule, we will see that it is not a bland bit of moral counsel intended to improve us slightly. It is a radical way of living that can be followed only by those who daily experience the infinitely great generosity of God in their own lives. 
Two observations:
     First, Horn didn’t follow the Golden Rule.  Invoking higher ethics as justification for her vote and ignoring remarks of her four Democrat colleagues’ hateful rhetoric in this battle of mud exposes Horn’s ignorance of the Golden Rule.  The Rule is about justice.  Horn didn’t treat Trump as she wished to be treated- she judged, she condemned- the exact opposite of what the Rule teaches.  John Calvin said about Christ’s command in Matt. 7:12: We are here informed, that the only reason why so many quarrels exist in the world, and why men inflict so many mutual injuries on each other, is, that they knowingly and willingly trample justice under their feet, while every man rigidly demands that it shall be maintained towards himself.
          Second, President Trump didn’t follow the Golden Rule.  While attacked first, Trump struck back twice as hard.  In what has become a pattern, his attackers then transformed to victims and the cycle of balderdash escalated.  Both parties used sensationalism and puffery to gain publicity for their position.  Neither party took the high road in their actions and it is important that Christians do not excuse misbehavior, no matter who is committing it.   
     Alistair Begg teaches the Christian Golden Rule is believers directing their love toward their enemies and giving to those who offer nothing in return.  The Golden Rule is certainly not a tool of vindication to be used to justify a vote in Congress.