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Saturday, April 25, 2015

They're asking for it.

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM

Some feminists at Oberlin College are asking to be sued for libel.

0 Comments

Friday, April 24, 2015

Christian weakness, capitulation and surrender on divorce

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM

We hear a lot from conservatives who want to protect "traditional marriage" from the prospect (now the reality) of government recognizing the union of two men or two women as a marriage. But those same conservatives are willfully blind to and sometimes even supportive of something that has done much more to destroy the institution of marriage than homosexual marriage ever will. That is the scourge of no-fault divorce.

What is most distressing is how the church - despite the very clear teaching of Jesus Christ on the subject of divorce - has utterly abandoned Biblical doctrine on the subject of divorce. Not only do you never hear sermons about the Bible's clear teaching on divorce in the vast majority of churches, but many of those churches actually endorse what Jesus Christ Himself described as adultery by performing marriage ceremonies for people who have divorced their spouses without Biblical justification. They are not just silent. They are in open rebellion against Scripture.

Is it any wonder why non-believers see this hypocrisy as a stain on Christianity itself? Is it any wonder why even some Christians become discouraged and abandon the local church due to the hypocrisy?

But aren't there some Biblical justifications for divorce?

Yes. But when the foundation of such an important truth has been destroyed, it is not appropriate or helpful to start covering the exceptions to the rule. What the church needs to do is reaffirm God's clear statement in Malachi 2:16 that He hates divorce. We need to rebuild the foundation that has been destroyed through decades of compromise with sin and open rebellion against God's word that has corrupted the church. Only after we have rebuilt the doctrinal foundation should we start talking about exceptions.

So what can individual Christians do to be faithful to God's Word on the subject of divorce? We should rebuke, exhort and encourage our pastors and elders to not compromise and take a stand against this sin. If a church will not repent, leave that church and find one that honors God's Word. Churches will be more likely to repent if their congregations hold them accountable. Most importantly, we should pray for compromisers and rebels to repent of their sin.

1 Comments

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Peace through violence?

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM

From Radley Balko, at the Washington Post:

The police official in the video is saying that sometimes, state administration of violence is a prerequisite for peace. In other words, to obtain peace, violence is inevitable.

Of course, sometimes, we do need police officers to protect us from dangerous people. But to begin from the position that peace can come only through violence risks converting a police fear of violence into a guarantor.

Scary.

1 Comments

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Seven years in prison is too extreme

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM

When so-called "teachers" in Atlanta were found to have changed students' grades on test scores, it was a scandal that got nationwide coverage, and rightly so. Many parents wondered if this was happening in their school. As the criminal case draws to a close, though, it is unsettling that a judge has exposed these teachers to an extreme punishment. For fixing test scores, they will spend seven years in prison.

Is it really necessary to send these people to prison for seven years? Now, don't get me wrong. I do not want to see them ever working in a school again, even as a janitor. They have broken the public's trust and they have no business in the educational environment. It would be an extreme breach of the public's trust and a shameful waste of money to ever allow these people to work in a school again.

But what public good is served by sending them to prison for seven years? None. The public is not going to be better off by throwing these teachers in prison.

Now that they have been removed from their jobs, are they still a threat to the community? Will they be able to commit more crimes like this if they are not sent to prison? Again, the answers to both of those questions is no. Removed from their positions of authority, they will not be in a position to commit more crimes like they did in their jobs, and they will not be able to defraud students and parents of a good education. Putting them in prison does not protect anyone.

These people stole an education from vulnerable children in order to make themselves look good. There is no way to defend or excuse their reprehensible behavior. But sending them to prison for seven years is a huge waste of money in addition to being a wildly disproportionate reaction to the fraud they committed. It will heap more costs on the taxpayers, because housing prisoners is expensive.

Putting them in prison does some social good in that it is punishment for the offenders and serves as a deterrent to others who may be tempted to commit educational fraud. But the punishment needs to fit the crime. We execute murderers, but we do not execute jaywalkers. We can also hold these degenerates as an example with a stiff financial penalty. They should also be permanently ineligible for government benefits. The message there would be simple: If you commit fraud in your public job, you can expect to be financially ruined.

This case is an unfortunate example of the over-eager "war on crime" mentality that has filled our prisons. People who commit nonviolent crimes are subject to the "lock 'em up and throw away the key" mentality that was popular from the 1970's through the 1990's. But even conservatives are starting to recognize the staggering social costs of this mentality, and there is bipartisan support for meaningful criminal justice reform. Seven years in prison for cheating on tests is an anachronistic penalty that should not be imposed. These teachers need to be punished, but not this way.

0 Comments

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Is the end near for Google Plus?

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM

Slashgear.com reportsn the impending demise of Google Plus.

It's unfortunate. Google Plus had a lot of potential, but Google never made it a priority to exploit that potential.

0 Comments

Monday, April 20, 2015

"The message of Jesus the Nazarene"

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. -- II Timothy 3:16-17

If you do not get your views on Christian doctrine from the Bible, where do you get your views from? If there is another source, what is that source? Or are you just making it up as you go along?

I have often been accused of being a Bibliolater - that I worship the Bible itself as opposed to the God who provided the Bible to us. I have been accused of not understanding (or even opposing) "the message of Jesus the Nazarene" because I take the Bible too literally. (Because some alleged "adults" are immature children, I do not believe and have never said that every single thing in the Bible should be interpreted literally.)

For these people, I have a question: How and where did you discover "the message of Jesus the Nazarene" if not in the pages of Scripture? What is your source for this phantom message and where can I find it? No one has ever answered that question, because there is no answer to that question. It does not exist.

Let's be brutally honest here. People who reject the authority of the Bible reject the authority God the Father, the deity of Jesus Christ and His divine authority. They have created a fake "jesus" that is no different than an idol of stone or wood that is sitting on a pagan's fireplace or somewhere in his yard. If we are serious about discussing Christian doctrine, if we are serious about knowing what God wants to tell us, the only logical place to go is His Word recorded in the pages of Holy Scripture.

This is basic logic, people. If you want to understand Christian doctrine, the only logical place to go is the Bible. There are many helpful commentaries on Scripture, but they are all inferior to and under the authority of the original source. "Christians" who reject the Bible are not worshiping Jesus Christ at all, and non-Christians who reject Scripture are not speaking of the real Jesus when discussing His supposed "message." They have created a fake "jesus" out of thin air who has nothing to do with the Jesus presented to us in Scripture.

1 Comments

Sunday, April 19, 2015

April 19, 1995

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM

Twenty years ago today, evil terrorist Tim McVeigh bombed the federal building in Oklahoma City. Never forget the lives lost on that horrible day.

2 Comments

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Two random thoughts

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM

The Indiana legislature passed a ban on decapitation. Way to waste everyone's time by criminalizing something that is ALREADY ILLEGAL. Rock on.

If you say objective truth does not exist, you contradict yourself. Saying objective truth does not exist is a statement of objective truth.

2 Comments

Friday, April 17, 2015

Following up: The danger of flash-bang grenades

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 12:30 PM

Since the space for letters to the editor is limited by the nature of the format, no issue can be covered exhaustively in a LTTE. Of course, no issue can ever truly be fully covered, no matter how much space is given to the topic. That is why some issues will be debated forever. But the LTTE format is inherently more limited than a blog post or an opinion column. With that said, here are some follow-up thoughts on my letter to the editor last week concerning the danger of flash-bang grenades.

It is true that police jurisdictions in these United States (local, state and federal) cover a massive swath of land with over three hundred million people. It is estimated that there are over 900,000 law enforcement officers currently serving at various levels of government. With numbers that big, there are bound to be mistakes, bad choices and bad actors. The job of a police officer can be extraordinarily difficult.

That, however, is not the issue. The issue is policy. The policies governing the use of dangerous flash-bang grenades are too lax, and have resulted in people being maimed and killed. Those policies need to be examined, and government at all levels needs to be fully transparent in the use of these explosives. That is the issue.

The use of a flash-bang grenade to subdue and apprehend a violent suspect is one thing. Active shooters, barricaded and heavily armed suspects and other such scenarios cannot be solved by a knock and a search warrant, so the use of these grenades may be justified in some scenarios.

The issue is the over deployment of the weapons, especially in simply serving a search warrant on drug offenders. In many cases, the policy of deploying flash-bangs (or deploying SWAT at all) is questionable at best and overkill at worst. For example, the drug dealer in the Bounkham Phonesavanh case was later apprehended at a separate location, without incident and without the use of a SWAT raid.

It is good that police have a variety of tools to use on a continuum of force. American law enforcement is not (and must not be) like a dystopian movie where lethal force is the first option, especially on an unarmed person running away at a below-average pace. That person should be tackled and subdued, not shot to death.

For example, a Taser is technically a "less lethal" weapon that can (and has) caused fatalities, but is certainly a big step down from bullets. But even the less lethal tools and techniques must be closely examined and good policy must be in place governing their use. Police are not soldiers and criminals are not enemy combatants in a war zone. We need to stop treating law enforcement as a military engagement.

This, of course, brings me back to the primary point of my letter: It is simply factually incorrect to call flash-bang grenades "non-lethal" weapons. A non-lethal weapon does not kill and maim people when used as designed. It is not an example of media bias to use the correct terminology. It is good reporting.

0 Comments

Thursday, April 16, 2015

False accusations of "rape" are real

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM

In the middle of the sex-abuse hysteria of the 1980's, Bernard Baran was accused of rape. The accusations were false; he committed no such crime. Baran was convicted anyway and sent to prison for decades, where he was violently raped more than 30 times. When Zerlina Maxwell says "the costs of wrongly disbelieving a survivor far outweigh the costs of calling someone a rapist," does she mean that the emotional trauma from disbelieving someone who was actually raped is worse than sending an innocent man to prison for 25 years? Is it worse than condemning that innocent man to be violently raped 30 times?

By now, it is obvious to almost everyone that the "rape" recounted last fall in Rolling Stone was a complete fabrication. The account was so dramatic - that "Jackie" was thrown onto a glass table that shattered, then gang raped on the broken glass - it sounded like something out of a movie where a vigilante played by Charles Bronson goes on a murderous rampage against criminals.

The Rolling Stone scandal not the only false accusation given national headlines. Tawana Brawley started a national firestorm when she fabricated a story of "rape" out of whole cloth in the 1980's. Convicted murderer Crystal Gail Mangum also fabricated a story of "rape" out of thin air, leading Duke "University" to take action against the lacrosse team members who had committed no crime. We should never forget the Scottsboro Boys, a group of nine black teenagers who were falsely accused of "rape" and nearly murdered by a lynch mob.

But we do not have to look to national headlines to see false accusations of "rape."

  • The Herald-Times reported in September 2006 that "an 18-year-old IU freshman who reported she was the victim of a sexual assault on Sept. 3, and the victim of a battery on Aug. 29, admitted Friday that she fabricated both reports."

I have no doubt that the vast majority of accusations of rape are true. It is also true that a large number of rapes are not reported to law enforcement for various reasons. But the fact that false allegations do exist makes it critical that we meticulously follow due process to ensure that the accused gets a fair trial. No one should ever suffer as Bernard Baran suffered. No one should ever be sent to prison for decades for a horrific crime committed by someone else, as was the case with the Central Park Five. We must never compromise on due process and civil liberties, and we must never forget the principle of "innocent until proven guilty."

2 Comments

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The reality of campus rape

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM

The national controversy over rape on college campuses has provided an example of overreach by feminists, but conservatives need to be careful not to overreach themselves. Ann Coulter overreached badly in her editorial on the subject last week, in which she wrote:

From the Duke lacrosse team, the Columbia mattress girl and the University of Virginia, the left has not been able to produce one actual rape on a college campus.

Not one actual rape? Really? Come on, now. Not one?

The often-cited statistic that "one in five" women on college campuses has been sexually assaulted has been widely debunked, based on a combination of FBI crime statistics, the poor methodology of the study, and common sense. Women are now a majority of students on most campuses. If female students had a 20% chance of being sexually assaulted, why would anyone send their daughters to such a dangerous place?

But conservatives do ourselves no favors when we engage in the sort of ridiculous hyperbole that Coulter uses. Perhaps she was being sarcastic, or perhaps she is being intentionally inflammatory in order to get attention. (It is most likely the latter.) But the fact that some women have been assaulted at college has been well-researched and well documented, including by FBI crime statistics. The number is not one in five, but it is not zero.

Yes, false accusations do exist. But it is simply illogical to conclude that the existence of false accusations means there are no true accusations - especially given the presence of FBI crime statistics documenting a specific number of reported crimes. By making such an outrageous claim, Coulter damages no only herself, but damages other conservative commentators by proxy because we are associated with her. She would be well served to needs to town down the hyperbole and be more serious.

But that would not sell as many books, would it?

2 Comments

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A completely random thought

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM

Facebook is, to some degree, a fantasy world. People present their best faces (no pun intended) there and leave out the warts in their lives. It's like a campaign commercial for non-politicians.

0 Comments

Monday, April 13, 2015

Dialing back our military aggression

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM

Matt Walsh made a really good point on Facebook regarding foreign policy:

Sadly, it appears that many Republicans have a near insatiable appetite for war. Paul, however, has shown a more restrained and reasonable attitude toward foreign policy, similar to the approach our Founding Fathers took.

One day, Republican politicians and voters will wake up and realize that you can't prowl around the world starting armed conflicts with every dictator and militant cell you find.

Certainly, we have engaged in some just wars. But those just wars cannot be used to justify our overly hawkish attitude toward foreign policy. Just because some wars are just does not make all wars just. We have, overall, become far too willing to engage in war - especially without the needed authorization from Congress. As much as Republicans love to complain about President Obama in this regard, the problem of expanding executive authority in matters of armed conflict has been a bipartisan problem going back to the nation's founding.

While it is sometimes necessary and unavoidable, armed conflict should always be the last resort to dealing with foreign policy conflicts and should only be used to protect a vital national security interest. How many of our armed conflicts since World War II meet that criteria? When you consider all of the little wars we have engaged in - a drone strike here, a short-term invasion and occupation there - that percentage is not very big at all. And let's be honest here: You cannot be a little bit at war. You are either at war or you are not. If Canada or Mexico fired some missiles across our border, we would rightly consider it an act of war.

Plus, we cannot and should not be the world's police force. We only create resentment and hatred by sticking our nose in where we do not belong and projecting military power everywhere around the world. Not all of the hatred for us is because of our imperialist or pseudo-imperialist actions, of course. Foreign relations, like all human interactions, are very complicated with many layers and both contributing and competing factors to consider. But there is no doubt that someone who has seen a wedding party blown to smithereens by an errant American missile is more likely to hate us than someone who has been left alone.

This is why Rand Paul's candidacy is good news for the Republican Party, whether he wins the nomination or not. Paul is going to force a conversation about American foreign policy that has long been needed in the GOP, and I think he is going to find a surprising number of people who are weary of never-ending military conflict and are skeptical of hawkish politicians who keep pushing us to get involved militarily in more and more places.

The Democrats have had and will continue to have that debate in their presidential primaries, and it's long past time for the Republicans to have it too - especially since the War on Terror has rapidly expanded the surveillance state and restricted civil liberties.

0 Comments

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Random thought

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM

The achievements in Words With Friends are... interesting.

Not every game needs achievements.

0 Comments

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Flash-bang grenades can (and do) kill and maim

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM

Bloomington Herald-Times, April 10, 2015 (Comments)

To the Editor:

There was a factual error in the March 11, 2015 Herald-Times article (http://bit.ly/1HEAtjP) regarding a standoff with Bloomington police. The flash-bang grenade used by police, an explosive designed to produce a blinding flash of light and a deafening sound to disorient and confuse suspects, is NOT a "non-lethal" weapon. It should have been identified as a "less lethal" weapon, because flash-bang grenades can (and have) caused fatalities and serious injuries.

The most well-known case is the horrific burns suffered by 18-month-old Bounkham Phonesavanh, who was maimed last summer when a flash-bang grenade was tossed into his crib during a SWAT raid in Georgia. Tragically, a SWAT officer was killed by a "less lethal" flash-bang grenade in 2011. A woman in Minneapolis "suffered third- and fourth-degree burns" in 2010 when a flash-bang grenade exploded next to her legs.

For more resources on flash-bangs, see here: http://bit.ly/1bDENGg

Because of the dangerous nature of these explosives, it is imperative that we have a full accounting of the use of flash-bang grenades by local law enforcement. I call on both the Bloomington Police Department and the Monroe County Sheriff's Department to detail all use of flash-bang grenades and the justification for their deployment.

1 Comments