Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Better to Have it

Civilian Gun Defense blog carries all sorts of stories about how average citizens everyday use guns to save their lives and the lives of others. Here's a recent example (the permalinks aren't working but this story can be accessed by going to the above link and scrolling down):

An elderly wheelchair-bound man shot and critically wounded an intruder at his Orange Mound home Friday afternoon, Memphis police said.

Officers were called about 2 p.m. to the 2300 block of Zanone, where the unidentified homeowner "apparently heard a crash as if someone was coming in through the window and saw a male subject he did not know," said Det. Monique Martin.

The homeowner fired two shots and struck the home invasion suspect at least once. The wounded intruder was transported to the Regional Medical Center at Memphis in critical condition, Martin said.

Police say 84-year-old Willie Hancox called 911 around two Friday afternoon to say that he had shot an intruder.

Hancox says he fired two shots, hitting an intruder twice in the head.

Hancox says he is sick of the crime in his community.

"He said if they come in the door, I'm not gonna let them kill me and he meant that," says neighbor, Dorothy Dickerson.

Dickerson lives across the street and looks after Hancox.

Dickerson adds, "I say God is good, cause they had no business in there, and whoever did that got what they deserved. And, I say it in front of they face, not behind they back and I mean it."

Dickerson's sentiment is shared by most neighbors.

"He did the right thing," says neighbor, Markel Dickerson. "People that's law abiding people is getting tired of being pushed around by the thugs and thieves and dope dealers."

That's why Mr. Hancox had a gun, one his sons recently tried to take from him.

"We came over here that Saturday morning he said, hey, where's my gun, I need it back. I told him dad, you dont' really need a gun in this house." says Jake Hancox.

Jake Hancox says after speaking with his brother, the two decided to give the gun back to their father.

Now, both brothers are glad they listened. Jake Hancox says that the situation could have easily ended the other way around.

"Maybe somebody looks at the situation here and they might not do it," says Hancox.

It's a message homeowners hope criminals hear as loud and clear as a gunshot.

The intruder is listed in critical condition.

Mr. Hancox's neighbors sound as feisty as he does.

Anyway, somewhere in this story there's a lesson or two for those, like Barak Obama, for instance, who would have made it illegal for Mr. Hancox to possess that weapon.

One lesson, perhaps, is that it's always better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.


Church of Christ Without Christ

Damian Ference writes at First Things about the Church of Brunch. Ference tells us that The Church of Brunch is:

...a congregation of believers and atheists that leaves religion, deities, and dogma at the door and gather for a non-god-centered Sunday ceremony. Services begin an hour before noon as the community joins in song in order to stir fire into the hearts of the non-faithful. Any song will do so long as it is inspirational, nonreligious, and has the potential to invoke full, conscious, and active participation on the part of the assembly.

Here are some more excerpts:

Since this is an entirely nonreligious gathering, the Torah, the Qur'an, and the Bible are deemed offensive, but there is always a place for inspirational and thought-provoking readings.

Quiet contemplation comes next. After hearing the word and allowing it to be broken open within the community, silence is needed to allow the word to penetrate the hearts of the non-faithful.

Finally, the community is just about ready to approach the table of fellowship-but not until they first raise their heads and join together in a Johnny Cash number. Seeing that his most recent albums have been coated in religious imagery and metaphor, reaching back into the vault and flat-picking a hearty version of "Folsom Prison Blue" is deemed more appropriate. After the song, there is the traditional sign of peace, and then it's time to break bread.

There's nothing like singing "I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die," sharing a sign of peace, and then sitting down to a vegan potluck with your brothers and sisters in Brunch.

Ference says that listening to a discussion of the Church of Brunch on NPR he thought of Flannery O'Connor's novel Wise Blood in which the main character starts his own church called the Church of Christ Without Christ. Reading Ference's description of the Church I thought at first that he was describing a mainline protestant congregation.


Internecine Warfare

NewsMax e-mailed (no link) this piece of analysis by former Clinton advisor Dick Morris predicting an impending civil war in the Democratic party. It looks to Morris like the party is set to do the 1960's all over again:

Iraq is not the only place that is threatening to dissolve into the anarchy and bloodletting of a civil war. It's about to happen to the Democratic Party.

Reacting to Bush's planned "surge" in troop strength, the Democratic leaders in Congress, savoring their victory, are contemplating taking only symbolic steps to protest Bush's war policies, a timidity that will highly displease their leftist boosters.

The liberal activists who funded and impelled the Democratic victory in 2006 did not focus on winning a congressional majority so that it would take merely symbolic action. Symbolic action would have been appropriate for a minority party, but the backers of a party in the majority expect something more.

So the Democrats are about to form their customary firing squad - a circular one - and begin again the battles that ripped their party apart in the late 1960s. The battle lines are the same: The new left vs. the party establishment. Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid are about to squander their credibility with their supporters on the left by failing to cut back, or cut off entirely, funding for the war.

The Democratic Party's left wing is not to be trifled with. It is a massive force, fully mobilized, and led by aggressive online organizations such as It has plenty of political leaders - like Ted Kennedy and John Kerry - who are more than willing to articulate fundamental differences with the party's congressional leadership and are not shy about doing so.

The congressional leaders' plan is to give Bush all the rope he needs to hang himself by increasing troop strength in Iraq. They are deeply skeptical about whether more soldiers will accomplish anything besides increasing casualties. But they are not about to take the rap in front of the American people for seeming to sell out our troops by cutting their funding and forcing the administration to retreat. Nor are they ready for a constitutional confrontation with the commander in chief over his wartime powers.

So, instead, they are going to hold hearings during which a parade of former generals will voice their misgivings and air their disagreements, past and present. It will be like one of Bob Woodward's books enacted on a congressional stage. But this theater is not going to appease the left.

They did not elect Democrats to Congress so they could hold hearings. They expect laws not shows. Their frustration will become increasingly apparent as the Cindy Sheehans of the world react to the increased troop commitment in Baghdad.

The left will launch campaigns of civil disobedience, public marches and protests, online petitions, and the like. It will be the 1960s all over again.

As long as the Democratic Party could be counted upon to represent the left on Iraq, protests against the war were channeled through the political process and were aimed at electing a Democratic Congress. But now that the Democratic leadership has, in the eyes of the leaders of the left, "betrayed" them, look for protest to overflow the bounds of partisan politics and go into the streets.

One can expect candidates in the Democratic primaries to run to the left seeking to capitalize on the frustration of peace activists at the passivity of the party's congressional leaders in the face of Bush's determination to add to troop strength committed to Iraq.

Moderate candidates like Barack Obama, John Edwards, and even Hillary Clinton may find themselves outflanked by those more willing to run to the left like Al Gore and John Kerry.

Until now, we have had a two-party system in our post 9/11 debates. Now a new entrant is in the field: the new left.

The result of the 1960's was that Democrats found themselves able to elect only two presidents (including Jimmy Carter who capitalized on the nation's ill-feeling about the Nixon years) in forty years. It will be interesting to see if the Democratic convention in Denver next year reprises the turbulence of Chicago in 1968.