Why did the Charleston shooting happen?

So why did the horrible massacre in South Carolina happen?

Because human beings are inherently corrupt and wicked, and only through the blood of Jesus Christ can we be saved. We’re no better or worse that that evil gunman, and all are equally deserving of God’s wrath.

Thankfully, God has provided an escape from the condemnation.

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John 5:24

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

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Romans 3:10-18

As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:

Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes.

A more nefarious motive

I think we can all agree that “revenge porn” – a subset of non-consensual pornography – is a bad thing that should be stopped. I think we can all agree that the state has a legitimate interest in penalizing those who distribute “revenge porn.” But it is just bad policy to make interactive content providers criminally liable for user generated content, as one proposal to criminalize “revenge porn” federally would do.

Think about this for a minute. A massive portion of the web is user-generated content. That is all Facebook and Twitter is – user-generated content. This does not even include comments on news websites and blogs – many of which use Facebook for comments. Congress recognized it was a bad idea to hold interactive content providers responsible for user-generated content in 1996, well before user generated content was as big as it is today. Why can they not see that now? Have they somehow become less informed about the Internet than they were two decades ago?

Might I suggest a more nefarious motive? Congress does not like the “little people” being able to broadcast criticism of them. If you greatly restrict user-generated content and make interactive content providers afraid of the long arm of the federal government, the “Wild West” of the Internet becomes easier to control and manage. Let there be no doubt about it: That is the endgame here.

Could it be that you have knuckleheads who do not understand what they are regulating, or what their regulations would do to the product they want to regulate? I would have believed that twenty years ago. Today? I find that highly implausible. Virtually every elected official from the state level on up has some sort of internet presence – not just a campaign website but a Facebook and Twitter account too. Many are also on Instagram.

So let’s strip away the excuses and see this proposal for what it really is. This is not about “revenge porn” at all. This is about nothing more than censoring political speech and criminalizing dissent. Do not be distracted by the low hanging fruit. Always look at the motives and how things like this expand government power.

A basic principle of open government

I said in the press release announcing my candidacy for city council that when it comes to city boards and commissions, if I am elected I will “introduce legislation to mandate that all such meetings take place no earlier than 5:30 p.m.”

To me, this is a basic principle of open government. If we are going to have meetings be “open to the public” then the meetings should be held at a time when most people can attend. Holding meetings in the middle of the typical 8 to 5 work day either excludes people from attending altogether or forces them to take benefit time to cover attending a meeting. It places the actions of local government under a cloud of darkness.

This is not acceptable. City government should endeavor to make sure that everything it does is done completely in the public’s eye with as much opportunity for the public to observe as possible. The Herald-Times covers city government, but there is only so much time that city reporters can spend at meetings, and they may not cover details that are important to many members of the public. This is not a criticism; it is simply recognition of reality.

This is why making it possible for more eyes to be on city government, especially the eyes of average citizens, should be a top priority for city government. If the work being done by these boards and commissions is important, then there should be no objection to making the meetings completely open to the public at times when the public can attend.

Whether I win or lose, this is something that needs to happen. The citizens of Bloomington should demand that our city government leaders fully embrace transparency by holding meetings when working people can attend them.

The horrific "Kelo" decision, ten years later

This week marks the tenth anniversary of the horrific Kelo vs. City of New London decision, in which the so-called “justices” on the Supreme Court rewrote the Constitution from the bench to allow private developers to use government as a mob enforcer to steal people’s property.

The so-called “justices” should have been immediately impeached.

Here are the articles I wrote on this abomination in the summer of 2005:

As a reminder, Donald Trump (a “Republican” candidate for President) supported the Kelo decision.

I am running for Bloomington City Council

I issued this press release this past Friday, after I filed my papers.

Today, I filed as a write-in candidate for Bloomington City Council at-large. I believe it is important for people to have as much choice as possible in the election, so without three Republicans on the ballot I am providing my name as a choice for voters unsatisfied with the Democrats on the Bloomington City Council.

There is an obvious question that deserves an answer: I am a Republican, so why am I running as an independent write-in candidate, and not as a Republican?

The answer is that, as the father of a three year old and a one year old, I do not have the time to devote to a full-scale campaign for city council. My primary role right now is to be “daddy” to my sons and husband to my wife of fourteen years. It would not be fair to the Republican Party to have a candidate who is anything less than 100% committed to this race, which I expect would be a time commitment of at least twenty hours per week and probably more.

I am running purely to give voters an option on the November ballot that they would not have otherwise. If the Republican Party fields three at-large candidates in a caucus, or if the Republican and Libertarian parties combine for three or more at-large candidates, I will withdraw my candidacy.

If enough voters express confidence in me and place me on the city council, I will fully devote myself to my role as a city councilor.

A few points on my platform:

# – I will vigorously oppose funding for Planned Parenthood, as I have done as a non-candidate since 1999.

# – My automatic orientation toward allowing development is to vote “yes” by default and allow people to build on their property as they see fit. I assume that property owners know better than I do what is the best use of their land. However, if a development would cause harm, especially to neighbors, I may wind up voting “no” instead. As a city councilor, I may well vote against every rezone or variance request that comes to me depending on what the impact of that development would be. My default position, though, is a position that strongly favors private property rights.

# – I want to see a full and complete public accounting of all property taken by the city police via civil asset forfeiture powers. I believe in due process, and it is required by the constitution. No private property should ever be taken unless someone has been convicted of a crime.

# – I want to see a full and complete public review on the policy for deployment of the Critical Incident Response Team, which is Bloomington’s version of a SWAT team. I am deeply concerned about the militarization of police, especially with the deployment of military-style weapons such as highly dangerous flash-bang grenades. The only real way to address this concern is to act locally.

# – The city has a number of boards and commissions that meet during the work day, which excludes working people from being able to fully monitor local government. As a city councilor, I will introduce legislation to mandate that all such meetings take place no earlier than 5:30 p.m.

More information will be coming in the weeks and months to come.