Category: Blog

George Floyd, Police, and Coming Together

George Floyd, Police, and Coming Together

My friends, this has been an incredibly hard few months for our country. From lockdowns to police brutality to rioting in the streets… the outlook can be seen as very dark for our country right now. 

We are being separated by politicians, the mainstream media, and social media sites.

These institutions make their money and generate power by driving fences into the ground between Americans that wouldn’t normally want a fence there. The rhetoric is vehement and vile from “professional” commentators and impromptu social movement leaders. Black Lives indeed matter. They have always mattered. They will always matter.

Support for this movement comes from a good place, they want to address and end the discriminations that still very much exist in this country. But saying that all white people are racist no matter their circumstance or background is just wrong. It alienates and drives further wedges between people. Brother Malcolm X and MLK Jr. accepted the help and assistance from white people to drive their movements forward. They understood that an ally to their cause could come in the form of any skin color.

There is no monopoly on changing things for the better.

Demanding repentance from white people for actions of another will not bring the masses along with us. This is not a white vs. black problem though that can be a problem in individual instances. This is a bad cop vs. citizens’ problem. George Floyd was the victim of police brutality plain and simple. I don’t care what drugs were or weren’t in his system. I don’t care what his attitude towards the cops were. I don’t care about any previous encounters with law enforcement. We saw a murder plain and simple in that video. Breonna Taylor was the victim of police incompetence and a horrible no-knock raid that was poorly planned and executed. I could sit here and discuss the multitudes of police brutality instances targeting black people. But don’t forget about David Dorn, the black former police chief of St. Louis.

He was shot in the back of the head defending a friend’s business during the looting. He was a black man killed by another black man. Black Lives Matter don’t want to talk about him. They only want to talk about non-police black lives… and that is just wrong. You can’t pick and choose which black lives matter. ALL black lives matter. Every single damn one. A cop or a priest. An artist or a truck driver. ALL. BLACK. LIVES. MATTER. 

We can overcome this. Violence is not the answer.

Statistically, it has been proven that non-violent protests result in longer-lasting changes to the system. Defunding the police is not the answer either. That will only hurt poor and minority neighborhoods the most. Of course, there must be police reform and it must happen now. But most police see the problems very clearly. I’ve seen many videos of police officers and captains calling the George Floyd death what it was, murder.

Do you want to defund the good cops as well?

That is the definition of throwing the baby out with the bathwater and it will only hurt those most vulnerable. We have a long way to go and change won’t happen overnight. In fact, we may not see the fruits of our labor in our lifetimes. It may take decades or generations but small improvements are still improvements. Our ultra-connected world of phone cameras and CCTV is making it harder and harder to get away with the brutality we have seen now and in the past. Officers are charged. Maybe not as quickly as we want but they are charged. They may not get the sentences they deserve but they are sentenced. Good luck getting another job when the entire country saw you murder a man in the street or stood there and watch a man be murdered by a fellow police officer. Their lives are and should be ruined. But instead of violence and looting, paint a mural for Floyd.

Make a sculpture of Dorn. Start a community garden in Breonnas name to feed those who are hungry. Volunteer in the name of Filando Castillo at the food bank. These reminders and actions are our path forward. We are far from perfect but we are improving and we must acknowledge the progress, as well as how far we have to go.

 

What this country needs to move forward

What this country needs to move forward

Back on Track

Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are fun forums to banter about many different topics from the inane to the profound. Sometimes it makes us laugh and sometimes we just want to cry. One recent topic that came across my feed asked “What does it take to get our country back on track.”

Education was my answer. This may seem pretty funny to those who know me by my posts alone. I often say that college is not necessary for financial success. Please don’t confuse college with education or knowledge. Elon Musk, founder of Tesla recently said “College are basically for fun and to prove you can do your chores, but they’re not for learning,”

The educational system is failing America. Baltimore spends more than $16,000 per student per year in 2016 graduating 70% with a reading proficiency of 11% and math proficiency of 12%. While that is just one horrific metric but the real tragedy is not being measured. 

One area education should address is difference among rights, needs, and wants. Reread that. Now don’t be dismissive of something so seemingly simple. These are important ideas that have started many wars that have and continue to shape our world. As simple as these are they can be hard to define.

In the Declaration of Independence it speaks to unalienable right among these are life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. These are examples of natural rights, often attributed to God, because it applies to people everywhere There are also civil and political rights. These include the right not to be discriminated against or the right to vote.

Needs are things you must have or you will die. That’s how many people see needs. Abraham Maslow broke down needs into different strata which we know as the Hierarchy of Needs. Each level provides the foundation for the next. Physiological needs like food and sleep come before Safety needs come before Belonging and Esteem needs. Most people recognize that the foundational physiological needs are universal needs. As you move higher on Maslow’s pyramid the “needs” are less needy in most people’s minds.

A want can be just as powerful a motivator as a right or need, maybe more so. Many times our wants are actually tied to our needs. I want a bacon cheeseburger because I need to feed myself. 

So how does knowing the differences between rights and wants get the United States back on track? Tracks lead some place and if we follow those tracks we will get to where we want. If you follow a want, thinking it is a right, then you will eventually find out you are not where you want to be. 

Free healthcare is considered a right by many people. A lot of time and money have been put forth into making this a reality in America. Is it really a right? We say that life is a right given by God and recognized in our founding documents. Here’s the false equivalence the healthcare equals life can be seen. We know for certain that nothing is truly free. Economist study the use of things that have alternative uses. Even the most abundant things end up being scarce meaning they are limited. You know what’s not free about free healthcare? Everything. Doctors don’t work for free. Construction companies don’t build hospitals for free. Government workers who oversee the industry don’t work for free. So that means government must take money, by force or threat of force to make this happen. This violates the pursuit of happiness and liberty of others. 

Rights are before needs are before wants. Before you act consider what is really the goal. Does your path to success infringe on other peoples rights? Does it fulfill a need? Maybe next time we can address lack of teaching involving critical or logical thought and the art of debate and salesmanship.

Laugh More Heal More

Laugh More Heal More

We’ve all heard the old adage that Laughter Is The Best Medicine, but how many of us take this natural prescription regularly?

Things haven’t seemed very funny lately.

Why’s everybody got to be so serious?

In today’s world, even professional comedians can’t laugh at themselves without being called out for being insensitive to someone’s feelings. ​We humans are taught to believe that we are all very different from one another, but there is scientific evidence that shows that collective human DNA is 99.9% identical. That’s not what you hear from the mail in ancestry kits, is it?

This fact is not meant to diminish or take away from our individual and family history. We are who we are based on our parents, and their parents, and so on. Some of us have straight hair and wish we had curls, just like some of us are tall and slim while wishing we were petite and curvy. Our skin may be pink and ruddy, or warm like cocoa. These are factors that are out of our control, but they are ours, and if you’re blessed with parents who loved each other, your traits are genetic gifts of love. If we look at ourselves and devalue what we see, based on what society tells us we should see, we will never be happy. Maybe if we begin to accept that we really all are quite similar, then just maybe we can start honoring not only ourselves, but also accepting each other.

In the southern neighborhood where I grew up, where everyone’s skin tone varied, we all played together anyway. Skin color was a non issue. What did matter though, was how good you could make mud pies, explore the woods, and ride a bike. Many lifetime friendships were formed in my community.

As someone who appreciates wise words of wisdom, my grandmother once said to me,

“You must learn about where someone comes from in order to understand how to walk with them.”

At the time, I didn’t fully comprehend the gravity of that statement, but recently I’ve come to realize what she meant.

What if we encourage each other to not only walk together physically, but proverably? How could that change us, and the world in which we live? Before we can fully grasp where we are in this country today, we must first take a hard look at the history of how we, the human race, have treated each other.

When people are taught only one way to do things, it’s not easy to adapt to a different way. It often takes time, and a different skill set to do things a new way. Most of us don’t want to do that. We like to do things the way we like to do things. Look how long it took us to get beyond the tea cupping grip in shooting. Heck, people are still teaching something that gives no support or stability to a shot. Those who don’t step outside of the tea cupping box will never know if their control or accuracy will improve. But if it did improve, that could open a whole new world.

In order for us to successfully work together as a team, there are certain elements that have to be in place, such as kindness, empathy, and mutual respect. Why is it that we can do this to make our salary paying jobs flow, but not when we step out of that arena?

Perhaps if we seriously look inward and examine what is stopping us from being able to step outside of our world, and what we hold closely, we could see the 30,000 foot view. Who knows, We just might find some like minded people on the outside of our tea cupping box to walk with.

Wouldn’t it be cool If we were the conduit to bringing some of the much needed healing that needs to happen in our broken world.

By bringing unity in the 2A community, We all are the sum of our parts.

Being a catalyst for positive change requires us to use our time, GOD given talents and energy to move forward. There’s a lot of people right now who are frightened, hurting, and worried about so much. We may be one of them, but I truly believe that the key to healing begins by listening with both our hearts and ears. It is then, that GOD’S grace will be revealed to us, and the message will be loud and clear. Be the positive change.

We need to return to One Nation Under God.

We need to return to One Nation Under God.

What do I think we need to get back on track as a country?

We need to return to One Nation Under God.

In God’s eyes, each soul is equal. How well do we demonstrate that in our daily interactions? 

Having worked as a journalist, I learned a few truths. Media sells more advertising when people are afraid. If it bleeds, it leads. Bad news travels farther and faster than good news. There are economic and personal benefits for twisting news to the negative. 

God is Love.

After reading most news stories, do you feel more love in your heart? Love brings us together.

Or do these stories make you fearful, angry, upset, worried? These emotions drive us apart. The problem here is this mind-state make us suspicious of others. When we don’t trust people, it’s easier for us to support regulations to control them.

Here’s a spiritual truth: If I take away your freedom, I lose mine, too. If you sow oppression and hate, you live it. You may feel like you’re on top today, but the wheel of life turns, and eventually it runs over you. Living from the viewpoint of suspicion and mistrust, nobody is ever a true friend; they’re just biding their time to do unto you as you did unto others: Lonely, fearful times for all.

Back to Love.

Jesus said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” Why? Because God already loves us. We exist because God loves us. Giving back to God what has already been given us completes a circuit, if I may use that analogy.

Then Jesus said, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” How can you know what that means if you don’t love God? Or if you don’t love yourself? Of course, we’re not talking about narcissism, which isn’t self-love but a need to fill an unfillable hole within. When we give love, God pours more love into us, filling us.

The love I talk about here is called Charity in the King James Bible, not the warm love we feel for our family. Feeling that way towards everybody could burn us out. Charity

“is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up.”

Kindness, contentment, humility are key attributes of one who gives charitable love to others.

Have you watched a person who is giving and caring, and think, “that’s a good person”? Be that person. That’s what makes your life, your family, your community, and America great. WE do that, not elected officials, not government agencies. Attain spiritual freedom for yourself, then work to help others win it, too. 

Let Us Sweep Our Own

Let Us Sweep Our Own

Let everyone sweep in front of his own door, and the whole world will be clean.” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

 

It’s easy to feel discouraged and upset right now.

From Covid-19 to all the various reactions to it, from lost jobs and failed businesses to sick and dying friends, from systemic injustice to bigotry and prejudice, from unfit law enforcement officers (and the people who hire, retain, and fail to train them) to riots and fires in the streets – it seems like the list of ways the world has gone wrong is truly endless. And it feels like it’s getting worse every day.

Did you see the meme going around about how the Yellowstone Caldera is scheduled to erupt in June, a zombie uprising will happen in July, and then underground crab-monsters that eat people would be emerging in August? No…? Well, what about the one with the woman peering out a window, trying to figure out which chapter of Revelation we’ll be doing today?

Funny as such memes might be, in a bitter-laughter sort of way, they do illustrate the underlying reality that people are frightened and unhappy right now. And while we might not all agree on exactly what has gone wrong or how to fix that specific thing, I think we can all agree that it’s a scary and unhappy time.

 

But maybe there’s some cause for hope, too.

 

When the world seems to have gone off its collective rocker, what can good people do? What can we do to get our country back on track?

 

We can choose to “sweep in front of our own doors,” that’s what. We can deal fairly with the people around us. We can choose to speak up about injustices that we see, and we can choose to listen compassionately to others. We can be determined to protect ourselves and the people we care about, and also willing to give a helping hand to people who need it.

 

Want some specific ideas? I can do that – but keep in mind that my worries, my resources, and my priorities might not be the same as your worries, resources, and priorities. That’s one of the reasons specific calls-for-action don’t always get as much traction as we’d like. God gives each of us such different visions because no one of us can possibly ever see everything that needs to be done.

 

For many years, my deep vision was to help vulnerable people learn to protect themselves from violent crime. That remainsvery close to my heart especially as I see the world becoming more unsettled every day. If that’s your call too, I want to challenge you on one important thing: build your own competency first! Don’t become one of the all-too-many well meaning people who endanger others on the range or in the dojo without even realizing it. Do the work to become competent, then turn around and teach others. And if you’re not yet ready to teach, perhaps while you’re learning more you can also help people you care about get their training from qualified others.

 

Maybe you’re concerned about food security. It’s tempting to sit and worry, but maybe it would be better to pick up a packet of seeds and plant a garden, or learn how to can and preserve food. Maybe you’ll even be able to help a neighbor get started with the same skills. Or you might end up at the food bank, helping keep it organized and ready to serve your community.

 

How does your social media feed look right now? Angry, obnoxious, hopeless? Mine did, too. One day, I got truly fed up with the negative energy the computer was feeding me every day, and I decided to do something about it. I did not go on a rampage and cull everyone who disagreed with me. That might have felt temporarily satisfying (at the expense of cutting me off from people I care about and whose viewpoints I need to hear). Instead I did something that turned out much more useful in the long run: I made a quiet little commitment to myself that I would post something positive – something true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, something excellent or worth praising – every time I felt even the slightest irritation with anyone else online.

 

By the way, here’s a lovely thing I came across online one day. My friend Terry Trahan wrote,

“If you disagree with me, don’t like what I post, see the world different than I do… Do not unfriend me. We need to keep talking and communicating. We are the ones that need to Do the Work. You need to learn how my side sees, and I need to learn from you.”

 

Isn’t that beautiful? We need more of that. We’re all so worried about giving the people around us a good talking-to, but I think what most people really need more than anything else is a good listening-to.

 

If it’s your passion to help others, there’s always somewhere to pitch in. Maybe it will be the humane society or a soup kitchen, at your church or a community garden, in a senior center or at a youth sports activity or self defense classes. Maybe you’ll just be there to help a friend clean up a mess. Almost certainly,you’ll find some idea I haven’t even thought of because the limits of my vision do not define the limits of the world. Start with what you see and go from there.

 

None of this will change the entire world by itself. But when each of us do the things we know to be right – when each of us pick up a broom and help clean up the mess, rather than crying and moaning for someone else to do the work – the world does become a better place. One person, one household, one neighborhood at a time.

 

Stay safe. Help the people you love stay safe. Reach out to people you care about and help take care of your neighbors.

 

We’ll get through this.
Read History

Read History

If I held the power to save one young protestor by getting them to listen to reason, what would I say?

Read history. 

The end.

I tried to think of a means to convince someone, but I am embarrassed to say I cannot think of a single way to reason with a rioter. We are not talking about protestors. I attended, as a protestor, events on the National Mall. Not one time did we threaten the police or the vacationers going about their business. No one got arrested, we left the area cleaner than we arrived, and the mainstream media lied about the protest and us. 

Now, we view riots, and the media lie, “mostly” peaceful, which means violent and criminal. In a non-violent demonstration, no one cleans up after you. No one gets detained, and no property or people are damaged or hurt. I encourage the right to peacefully assemble and petition our government and proud to do so when I thought our president and Congress jumped the rails and welcomed all to participate. 

Before the pandemic, when our Second Amendment rights came under scrutiny by the governor and legislature in Richmond, I did not attend the protest. There were no reported assaults, no vandalism, no arrests, and not too surprising, no counter-protest either. Why, because those who want to limit our rights resort to violence, and doing so against armed citizens did not make a healthy choice and only further demonstrated the purpose of the Second Amendment. I supported them.

Why should I try to persuade someone not to question our government publicly? Or request people not to gather and ask for redress of perceived grievances. I support doing such things despite differing opinions because public decent is their legal right. 

The USA is a nation of laws. At the beginning of this article, I suggested people read history. Assuming you understand the concepts of the founding of this country and how unique the idea was in comparison to all other countries and people, rioting would be shocking to you. Our United States created the concept of individual sovereignty. Each person represents a nation in themselves with rights no one could take away. Individuals free to form groups, develop boundaries, and local, state, federal governments. Entities that did not exist to rule the population but to serve the citizens by keeping order, resolving disputes, protecting the country from invasion. Our representative on the world stage. 

To stand against legal authority is a personal choice. You identify with an issue. You speak up, defend your opinion, and address those issues to the people who represent you in the seat of power. Compare ligament public assembly to the rioter. Anonymous because his or her acts are criminal, and they do not wish to be responsible for the theft, arson, assault, murder, or terroristic actions of their own or their fellow rioters. 

We often read about the oppressed. Gandhi led them, so did Martin Luther King. Who leads the crowd in Minnesota? Should you happen to be so naive as to believe what the news reports, no one, is the answer. The busses, bricks, water, and face masks were provided as well as out of town, out of state, paid agitators. Someone is leading. Who and to what purpose? 

Read history.

A subject no longer thought necessary in schools and relegated to unimportant. Why, because if you understand what happened in the past, what you are giving up.  What you represent is someone who can use your actions for their means, to strip you of your freedom.

Read history, Lenin coined the phrase, and Hitler plagiarized the idea of, “Useful idiots” getting the mob to take risks, commit the crimes, and run the riots from a safe distance and from behind the curtain, claiming the desire for justice, for the people. Mao thought using mass hordes an excellent concept also, and in less than a century between Germany, the USSR, and Red China, they murdered around 100,000,000 citizens after they gave away their rights to safeguard themselves from the mobs. (Read history, Hitler, Lenin, and Mao all turned on the useful gang of thugs.)

There is no case to persuade the criminal to be reasonable. Afterward is too late he or she committed the crime and cannot undo their deeds. As a citizen, I lack a compelling reason to convince the legal protestor using and acting within the laws our founders set up to protect society from the government. 

Read history.

The Declaration of Independence makes a bold statement and in doing so said the signers of the document were willing to take on the strongest military in the world to end injustice and obtain self-rule. “. . . whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government. . .”

Peaceful protests failed to provide for equal treatment under the existing law, and the people chose to go to war for their rights. The leaders signed their work and delivered their resolution to the King of England and Parliament. Our founding fathers threatened with hanging did not hide in an anonymous crowd. Instead, they organized a military and prepared for armed conflict. 

Read history.

Understand what was at risk. In Boston, the city got seized by British forces; anything the military did was deemed legal to cause compliance with English rule and used no existing law to quell the illegal use of force. In a short time, historically speaking, four score and seven years after forming our government, half of the states took up the words of the Declaration and went to battle again. The costliest fight in our history and the Civil War ended the most egregious wrong, conceptionally counter to the Declaration’s statement,

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Compare to a single rogue officer or four officers who abused their authority, under investigation, arrested, and sent to trial with the same protections from prosecution as anyone else accused of a heinous crime imaginable. 

What started in Minnesota as a righteous, indignation in the community, quickly and expertly escalated into riots influenced by outside forces herding “useful idiots.”

Myself, I find no way to reason with terrorists or a mob. I can encourage lawful protest, and enough education, legal protestors can deduce for themselves not to become a member of the mob. 

A quote by Teddy Roosevelt sums up the reality of much of what is wrong and how we are easily transformed into a pawn in politics without realizing it.

“If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble,you wouldn’t sit for a month.”

Read history.

Make America Great Again, I Say Nay. Reform Yay.

Make America Great Again, I Say Nay. Reform Yay.

What do we need to get back on track as a country.

Well, I really had to think about that, especially being a 56-year-old Black man in this country.  Yes, the pandemic that we are now facing has paused the world as we knew it to be in 2019. Was is good for me, or people of color? Let us take a walk down memory lane to 2019.

The LA Times reported,

“About 1 in 1,000 black men and boys in America can expect to die at the hands of police, according to a new analysis of deaths involving law enforcement officers. That makes them 2.5 times more likely than white men and boys to die during an encounter with cops”.

I am not sure if that is the country I would like to get back to. Police use of force iscomparatively like a cancer, as it relates to cause of death of blacks in this country. That does not seem to be in our favor either! (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

Lets look at the unemployment rate in the United States of America.

There are numerous reports on a national level that show the number of unemployed blacks is double the amount of those of whites. Do not think I would like to get back to thateither. It is so clear and blatant in this country that people of color are held back in every aspect of trying to live a good life. The life that many consider the American dream.

Look at television, big screen movies and Netflix which is probably the favorite these days.

There are so many actors and actresses in this world. Why is it then that in  many movies we are hard pressed to see one person of color in the movie? If we do, they are partnered with either a white guy and black girl or a black man with another black man.

Listen, Hollywood or the powers that be are not stupid.

They know we as human beings buy into what we see and most of the images they are putting in our young people’s minds are bad.  It is like they are reading the Bible and portraying the total opposite, knowing the outcome of their actions.

For me, no I do not consider THAT getting the country back on track.

 

Let us look at our country’s leadership. As a reality show star,Trump was funny because of how rude he was with thecontestants. I also will admit that as a businessman, either he or the people he has surrounded himself with have been able to pull him out of some tough situations to keep him wealthy.

As the President of the United States, he is not worthy of running the presidential kitchen!

His actions of blatant racism has lead and allowed the country, to openly display racism against people of color, to the point where white officers feel comfortable killing a black man in the open daylight. While many of these horrific actions are being witnessed and or recorded and they dare you to try to help, knowing that if you do your life is in jeopardy as well.

So if you ask me, what do we need to do to get back on track as a country?

I would ask, have we ever been on track for people of color? For the fifty-six years I have been on this earth I have been made to feel as if I am a second or even third class citizen. I have not had the same opportunities as my white counterparts. It doesn’t matter how many degrees you have, if you’re a professional athlete, an “A list” actor or even the President of the United States. If you are black, you have a mountain to climb that thus far we have not seen the top of.

Do I want to get back to where we were, on track, making America Great Again, I would have to say a resounding NO!

What we need is for God to soften some hearts to see the truth and be willing to rebuild with us at the table, at the meeting before the multi-culturial/ethnic meeting.

 

Dr. Lionel Green Sr., D.Min,

 

Gun Control Is Dead

Gun Control Is Dead

Let’s be honest…the ol’ gal was kind of on her last legs anyway, but it’s beginning to look like the hordes of anarchist rioters burning America’s cities may just have delivered the coup de grace to the gun ban movement. Let me explain…

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What I mean when I say, “gun control is dead” is that popular support for gun control has been effectively killed off. The convergence this spring and summer of a pandemic virus and now violent riots in our cities seems to have done a pretty fair job of finishing off the ideas that “you don’t need a gun,” and “only the police should have guns,” and “the police will protect you.”

A quick browse of Twitter last night revealed numerous posts by people announcing that they are done with the idea that being without teeth and claws makes them anything other than prey. And they don’t want to be prey. If you look around, you can find plenty of similar sentiment out there on social media and other opinion outlets. While it isn’t scientific, it isn’t my imagination, either.

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I believe that this year’s events (and we’re not even halfway done) have awakened a lot of people to a concept that many of us in the community of gun enthusiasts and 2nd Amendment supporters have understood for a long time…

Korean shop owners during the 1992 LA riots.

YOU. ARE. ON. YOUR. OWN.

No matter what you have been told, there are multiple court cases which have set the precedent that the police have no legal obligation to protect you. And legal obligation aside, it isn’t even possible for the police to arrive at your emergency before you do. Most of the time, most cops will do their absolute best…even risk their own lives…to come to your aid. But most of the time isn’t all of the time, and if you want a guarantee that someone will be there to defend your life at all times, the safest bet is on yourself. I think current events have caused a many of Americans to see this more clearly than ever; the mask is off all of the gun control lies which have been told for decades.

There are obviously very good reasons to have an AR-15.

There are good reasons to have magazines which hold a lot of ammunition.

There are reasons that waiting periods and “may issue” permits and background checks are harmful.

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There are reasons you should not be dependent on another to come rescue you.

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So while the gun ban lobby won’t abandon their efforts to disarm everyday Americans (and we’ll keep fighting them), I think the events of the last few months have cemented their eventual failure, because those everyday Americans have now been awakened to the truth. Guns save lives, and the freedom to own guns is a very real and important right. As a serious idea, gun control in America is dead. Good riddance.

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Original post at deltabravocharlie.com

5 Things My Manager Did That Helped Us Work Effectively At Home

5 Things My Manager Did That Helped Us Work Effectively At Home

Working from home can be challenging.

No one was prepared for the changes in our routines that the Coronavirus caused. My new manager did the next best thing. He moved faster than others in getting us ready for what is now the “new normal.” My office has been working effectively from home for two months now. We are part of a larger government entity that is part of the national defense department.  From the seat of the new guy in the office, here’s what I saw.

The most important thing my manager did was:

(1)  assign us tasks that we could effectively accomplish remotely. To do this as a manager you must know the jobs, responsibility and potential of your team.

(2) prepared for the confusion that was to come.  He  did not wait to be told by his managers how to take care of his team.

(3) revised our processes.

(4) made rituals.

As the newest member of our team, he prompted me to take training on the security ramifications of working outside the office. He found out the right equipment I would need to connect with the team. He identified what we were going to need, what was expected from his managers, and filled in the gaps. There were a bunch of tools available and as security concerns came up he paid close attention to the best practices.

“Through effective listening during senior staff meetings, while watching national and local news on the hour, I leaned on my 30-plus years of experience and quickly determined that I needed to set my team up to successfully work from home,” said Ron Young. “Our team could not have been successful without each member quickly buying in to the process as it evolved.”

He solicited frequent feedback from our team about how things are going and what we could do to better enable our processes. He set clear objectives and emphasized why we were going in this direction. He assigned responsibilities based on the strengths of the team.

But wait there is more.

Early on he established and maintained trust and accountability with us. We have our own remote, short “stand-up” meetings a couple of times a week.

We are required to check in on the hour. Even if in my case, the new guy that doesn’t know all the ends and out of the office, checks in with the team with one of my “dumb jokes.”

“Our success is due to the outstanding professionals on the team,” Young said. “It might take a few months after we return to the office for the ‘new guy’ to fully understand how he helped the long-serving members of the team. Without much time to get to know us personally while in the office, once he began working from home he relied on his interpersonal strengths by using humor throughout the day, while reminding us to stay focused on our families well-being and to not forget how the world is affected by the virus.”

In the government environment there is often a requirement to handle classified information that cannot be done remotely. He established a team to go into our old workspace to do the necessary tasks on a fair schedule. While some things are time sensitive, he is managing that by personally attending to what is required.

“Decisiveness is the one word that makes a good manager.” – Lee Iacocca

Here are the five things you can do if you are a manager.

  1. Plan
  2. Prepare your Team
  3. Find and Use the right tools
  4. Set clear objectives
  5. Maintain trust and communication

 

I hope you are staying healthy and safe during this season of uncertainty. If you are working from home help your office mates with whatever is missing. Be whatever your team needs to succeed. We can make it.

Check out these podcast:  Black Man With A Gun Show ,  Speak Life church , and  Indian Motorcycle radio  The Books, Kenn has written.
Pastor and a Porn Star

Pastor and a Porn Star

This story was too strange not to share it on Indian Motorcycle Radio.

Pornography is older than podcasting by a million years. It is frowned upon by many openly that have consumed it in secret. Pornography is a moral issue for some, but not everybody. Some believe it is a health issue. How pornography is used and within what context can determine how helpful or hurtful it can be to any one individual or relationship. It can be addictive. It can mean that you are depressed, and need to talk to someone professionally. This is the story that taught me something I had never realized before and put some others things in context for me. What happened when a pastor speaks to a famous porn actress on his podcast?

I’ve been podcasting for twelve years. I attend a lot of podcasting conferences and events to learn. Podcasters have a community where we share equipment, tips, tricks, best practices and marketing information. We are all trying to do better with what we have.

It’s our art. It’s our craft, man!

One day, about six years ago, my podcast mentor said that he was scanning the podisphere for new shows and saw that former Porn star, Ginger Lynn has just started podcasting but didn’t have all the right links and tags displayed in iTunes. My buddy said it was going to hurt her in the long run. The name struck a bell with me. She was a hot blonde from the 80’s that was a displayed expertly on the cover of VHS tapes they used to keep in the back room of the video renting place.in my neighborhood. Back in the day, 18-25 years old,

I thought “OOOH MAMA.”

I’m just keeping it real.

 

Well, I went to the website and hit the contact button. I found an email and the next thing I know I am talking to Ginger Lynn. I shared with her all the things my mentor had mentioned that were wrong and how she could better her show. She was like the woman next door. Honest, humble and didn’t judge me for being a Christian pastor. I admitted to her that we were the same age and that I had seen one or two of her videos in our youth. You know what happened next?

She shared some personal stuff and I told her that if she ever needed to talk to someone I was here. In Christian talk, I witnessed to her, and said if she needed a pastor, call me. Something about this call was different though. You know when you, well maybe not you are judging someone and then you realize you got just as much dirt to hide as the next person you shut up.

I’m glad I got to speak with her. It taught me something.

My faith is built around the belief that we are all less than perfect. We have all sin and still do. I realized that some stay where they are because the perfect people make it so hard for them to talk. Not you. I have spoken to drug addicts, sex addicts, coffee addicts, alcoholics, liars, murderers, and probably a host of things they never confided in me about. But here I was. It made me readjust my collar. I looked in the mirror.

Sin is breaking the Law of God.  1 John 3:4 says, “Sin is lawlessness.” Sin is a transgression, an iniquity, an unrighteous act.  Sin is a deviation from the will of God.  It is a form of evildoing since it is in opposition to God’s decrees and desires. Sin is not a merely a deficiency. It is an open rebellion and disobedience to what God has declared is right.  Sin can only be properly understood in relationship to God since God is the holy one (1 Peter 1:16) and all sin is unholy. God’s standard of moral perfection is what we are all obligated to obey and when we do not, we have sinned.

Everyone commits sin

Every person who’s ever lived, except for Jesus (1 Pet. 2:22), commits sin. This is because when Adam sinned in the garden of Eden, we inherited his sinful nature. This is why the Bible says that sin entered the world through one man, Adam. (Rom. 5:12) Furthermore, we are by nature children of wrath (Eph. 2:3).

 

Again, what is sin?

Sin is doing that which is contrary to the revealed will of God. It’s plain and simple.  If God says “Do not lie” and you lie, then you have broken His law and sinned.

There are two main reasons for not feeling the conviction of the Holy Spirit when a person sins. One is that the person is not born-again, and the Holy Spirit is not indwelling him. Therefore, he would not feel the conviction that the Spirit of God brings.

Here’s what I have found out personally about porn. If our bodies are temples or vessels that can contain the Holy Spirit, it can be polluted. It can become full of trash. Porn and the Holy Spirit don’t dwell in the same vessels. You set yourself up for failure, abandonment, the feeling of emptiness when you secretly or openly invite that into you. Your vessel is empty and can be inhabited by other spirits and entities.

So, I have learned that I have to be careful what I allow into my mind, body and soul.  We should not use our weakness in the flesh as a justification or excuse to do that which is against God.  We are made new creatures (2 Corinthians 5:17), and as such we have been bought with a great price — the blood of God (Acts 20:28) — and we should act in a manner consistent with our redemption.  We’re not to abide in sin or seek it, but when we do sin we have someone we can turn to who will cleanse us.

Just as this sidetracked podcast may have unintentionally turned into a preaching moment, it was intentioned by God, to help someone.

Back to the story. The first time I aired this podcast, I had a good guy berate me on how wrong I was to talk to Ms Ginger. I was shocked at first. Then I was hurt. You will hear in our conversation that she could be your neighbor. That is what I mean about adjusting my collar. I had to check my own prejudices, judgments. I have no hell to put you in or a heaven to kick you out of. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is the Judge.

The Old Testament contains the Law of God.  It is a perfect standard because it is God’s standard.  When we fail to keep the law, we sin.  When we sin, we offend God.  This offense against God results in a judgment.  Laws are laws because they have penalties.  There is no law without a penalty.  Therefore, breaking God’s law brings judgment which is separation from God.  “But your sins have made a separation between you and your God,” (Isaiah 59:2).  And, “the wages of sin is death . . . ” (Rom. 6:23).  So, to sin, to break God’s law, results in judgment.  The judgment is known as damnation which is the righteous judgment of God upon the sinner.  If God did not judge the sinner, then He is not upholding His holiness; and he would be allowing sinners to go unpunished.

I am still working on my salvation with fear and trembling. I am still studying and learning the Word of God so that I may rightly share it with the people God has put in front of me. I’ll understand if you don’t agree with me.

Most don’t go to church.

So now you will hear a conversation with a porno star. One who has done just about everything you can do and still live. She has survived thus far. We must be extremely careful as Christians to apply moral judgments with equity, non-partiality, love, and truth. Moral judgments without compassion and mercy become immoral in themselves. This is why we are to keep our eyes on Jesus who is the judge and the standard of righteousness. We must keep our eyes on his words and his deeds and emulate him. Jesus forgave, was patient, taught, and healed.  His words were not simple moral statements.  They were manifested by his life and loving character.

That’s how I got to Ms. Ginger. That is what transpired after I first aired this thing. I learned a lot from the conversation.

Ephesians 1:11 says that God works all things after the counsel of his will. This means that everything that occurs in your life, all your free will decisions, all your choices, all your intentions, all your mistakes, all your sins, etc. work within the divine knowledge and will of God. Nothing is outside the scope of God’s knowledge, and no one can do anything that surprises God.

Ain’t that something?

Can I get an Amen somebody?

Check out these podcast:  Black Man With A Gun Show ,  Speak Life church , and  Indian Motorcycle radio  The Books, Kenn has written.

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