David, The reason you are coming to Mr. Bennett's defense is that you have invested a lot of your mojo in the city's Violence Reduction Initiative (VRI). I think you are sincere, but as these other comments imply, you are also rather naive, which I seldom detect in your columns. You want to see the program work so you are looking at it and its participants through rose-colored glasses. Wake up and smell--not the roses--but the stench of city government wasting taxpayers' money on its sure-to-fail VRI program.
David, here's an axiom you can take to the bank: "Violence begets violence." And its corollary: "Initiating violence to reduce violence is trying to suppress fire by throwing petrol on it."
All taxes are collected by force. All tax laws include enFORCEment provisions. If someone declines to pay a tax, the government will use all the force (viz., violence!) necessary to see that the money is collected. The funds used to pay Mr. Bennett from the city's VRI, is OPM, which sounds like opium, is equally addicting, and stands for Other People's Money--forcibly extorted. In my opinion, receiving and spending OPM is the equivalent of stealing. The crimes Mr. Bennett may or may not have committed in the park that night pale in comparison with the crime of living off the fruits of other people's labors taken from them by force or coercion.
@"Private school(s)...profit being their primary motivation." Rickroo, what do you thing is the motive of the public-school establishment, which has taken literally trillions of $$$ by force and delivered, as you acknowledge, a putrid product. Wake up and smell the stench these government programs emit.
@"Without a doubt our government is corrupt now..." Of course it is, and the reason is its very nature. Everything government does is based on its unholy and illegitimate "authority" to use force.
"Reagan..." Hey, he is your man not mine. You are a voter, aren't you? Reagan talked a good shrink-government game, but if you look at the record of growth of government during his tenure you will see that he was just another progressive in conservative clothing. You don't like him because he spent OPM on programs (star wars, etc.) that were not to your liking. Don't try to hang Reagan on me. The only difference I see between you and Reagan is that the utterly vapid rhetoric you spout has no impact on anything, whereas Reagan's utterances could and did, like Obama's, send young Americans to their graves.
@"To think that this nation of over 3 hundred million people of such diverse character, or even 50 individual states, could be run efficiently without a strong centralized government is nuts" To think that a government officials with their insatiable desire for wealth and power can rule 300 million people is insanity gone mad. Where do you suppose your rulers derive their superior knowledge and ability to be able to manage the lives of 300 million people they don't know without screwing up catastrophically? Come on, Rickaroo, attributing such superhuman powers to the State is a form of deity worship, which Ludwig von Mises aptly dubbed Statolatry. I find such devotion to government embarrassing to witness.
Rickaroo, I assure you that you are more the conservative in every respect than I am. Conservatives are as addicted to government spending as progressives, only they would spend the OPM on other things. (FYI, OPM: sounds like opium, is equally addicting, stands for Other People's Money--forcibly taken.) I am a voluntaryist, which is as far from progressive and conservative as one can get.
Your comment suggests you have been persuaded by your rulers' propaganda.
@"Bill of Rights..." Like the Constitution, not worth the paper written on. Government, including the SCOTUS, honors it only in the breach. Ah, like being drafted to kill complete strangers isn't "involuntary servitude."
@"Civil Rights Act..." It was written to try, rather unsuccessfully, to counter the slavery and Jim Crow laws sanctioned by your federal government for all those many years.
@"Social Security..." A ponzi-like (except unlike Uncle Sam, Ponzi didn't force his marks to buy what he was selling) scheme whose real purpose is to make as many Americans as possible government dependents--and it's working. Dependency on booze or drugs or government benefits is a disease that robs its victims of their self-sufficiency and self-respect. Once their dependency is sufficiently advanced, their rulers can make them jump through any hoop they devise to keep the OPM flowing.
@"Medicare..." You acknowledge is flawed, but it is worse than that. It, along with other government-induced third-party payer systems have virtually destroyed what was once a fine and efficient medical profession, the best in the world, and made health care unaffordable for many and satisfactory health care unavailable to anyone. I'd call it a Ponzi scheme too, but as I pointed out, that would be unfair to Ponzi. Try to keep this axiom in mind as you evaluate those government programs dear to your heart: If they were good, the government wouldn't have to force people to pay for them by means of compulsory taxation. No one has to force you to buy the goods you obtain at the grocery store, or anything else you get that doesn't come to you from the almighty State.
Public schools are the problem because they are public, that is to say government schools. Government can't do anything right because it is a force-based (viz., violent)institution, except to conduct wars if there is a right way to do that. If it didn't rely on force and coercion to collect its taxes and enFORCE its laws it wouldn't be government as we know it, although whatever it became it would certainly be something better in every respect.
People just like you, David, have been raising the same futile hue and cry for eons, with the same results I expect to see from your wasted lamentation. Education is a product just like smartphones. If the government was in charge of making smartphones, they'd becalled dumbphones and, like the public schools, they wouldn't work. Get over your attachment to the almighty State. In the long run it will bury you and its schools will still be putrid.
@"violence pollutes like a cloud:" You've got that right. Violence begets only more violence. But how or when it germinates, mutates and spreads its savage spawn is unpredictable. Obama orders a drone to kill in Pakistan; Alex Hribal slaughters his school mates in Pittsburgh. Tit for tat in the world of violence.
As John Dear said at the meeting you announced in an earlier column, the only solution to the unending cycle of violence is, as Jesus said, to "turn the other cheek." We the people will respond to Hribal's violence, not by turning the other cheek, but with additional violence to keep the cycle unbroken. Already the prosecution has determined to try this sick youngster as an adult, so that we can inflict the death penalty or life in prison as our vengeance, and keep the cycle of violence going.
John Dear points out that the violence pandemic and the solution are within us. I point out that government is a violent construct. It operates by the "rule of law," and its laws are enforced by agents armed with assault weapons who are ready and all too willing to do violence to enFORCE the law. Government originates a vicious cycle of violence by collecting its taxes by force or the threat of force, using all the violence necessary to ensure collection. Forcible taxes are the lifeblood of the state; and, I would add, its Achille's heel. We have come to depend on government for a pantheon of government benefits, from security to education to roads and bridges to transportation for health and welfare and many of our other daily wants and needs. In other words, through our governments we have become utterly dependent on violence instead of God for our daily bread.
David, are you up to renouncing violence in all of your affairs? Until you are, at least according to John Dear, you may be part of the problem rather than contributing to the solution.
ayb, watched those video. I certainly concur with almost all of what they contain. KIM that I am not a Christian, and certainly don't pretend to speak for Christians nor anyone else who may believe in God. From those videos it would seem that humanism has also been informed by the wisdom of Jesus. keep the faith, Ned
"Atheists look for evidence of deities, not faith in atheism. Present evidence of deities and atheists will look at the evidence. So far, there's no evidence."
I have all the evidence I need to prove to me the existence of God, and feel no need to prove God's existence to others. I think Newton was wasting his time. The spiritual realm is not susceptible to material measurements nor empirical testing. From a scientific standpoint, belief in God is as valid as non-belief. There is no evidence that God does not exist.
"But they were wrong about many things."
Obviously, just as you and I and today's scientists are wrong about many things, as time will reveal; and just as the ancient Euclid failed to comprehend elliptic or hyperbolic geometry, so the ancient Moses knowledge and understanding of God was vastly improved upon by the not-so-ancient Jesus.
"Science moves forward by discovering what is false. Great scientists have found that by discovering what is false, the nearer one approaches the truth."
Science often makes huge errors that miss the truth by a mile, perhaps because of over reliance by some on Popper's falsification epistemology and radical empiricism, which neglected or failed to understand the scientific value of a priori knowledge and reasoning particularly as pertaining to mathematics, logic and praxeology. It seems to me the so-called "scientific method" was responsible for the utter stupidity of developing and building A-bombs and H-bombs sufficiently powerful to deplete the earth's supply of humans, which rather detracts from America's greatness since our scientists designed those bombs.
I'll look at those videos, for you too seem miles above the two you mentioned in your understanding of a non-literal bible.
What is painfully obvious to me is that if science is to find truth it needs to be informed by something more than the so-called scientific method, whether it be the wisdom of Jesus or, if it grasps the value of nonviolence, humanism."
Ricaroo asked, "But you New Age, peace loving Christians, why do you feel the need to base the goodness of love, peace, and compassion on this Jesus person?"
I am not New Age nor even Christian, but I can assure you that there is nothing new about the goodness, love, peace and compassion that Jesus taught and lived. Since no one before Jesus nor since proclaimed these virtues consistently, it seems only logical and fair to recognize and credit his role in developing the virtue of nonviolence.
RSchultz210 asks, "How dare he tell me that without having seen me or said a word to me?"
It doesn't take daring or knowing you, but rather a knowledge of Christ to know that any person using violence for whatever reason dishonors the Christ in Christian.
Conservative: "Here is all you need to know about Grace Episcopal Church..."
The invective in your comment is all one needs to know about you.
Rickaroo: "The point is that if somebody said such blatant contradictory things..."
I've read the canon and non-canon gospels. Because what Jesus said and did was reported by different people, there are bound to be contradictions in the reports, not necessarily in Jesus. My impression is that Jesus was consistently nonviolent, and consistent in the principles of righteous living he taught and preached. Some calls for nonviolence were original to him.
Rickaroo: "Do you still cling to the silly, worn-out creed...etc."
I don't, nor did Jesus. However, if I were to enumerate the inconsistencies I've found among nonbelievers' beliefs, I'd need more space than is available on the web to point them out. If I knew enough about your own past, I'm sure I could find inconsistencies there too.
Ricaroo, you suggest, "It is indeed a shame that so much of America...etc."
Atheism is also obviously a superstition without scientific foundation. Unfortunately, many pseudo-scientist take atheism as an article of faith, like religious fundamentalists in that regard. Many atheist believe the State can perform miracles, as in the atheist economist Lord Keynes' claim that State spending has the power "to turn stones into bread." Such atheists worship at the alter of the State and their religion is best described as Statolatry. The modern superstition of atheism among modestly intelligent people seems to me as unreasonable and shameful as those ancient superstitions you decry.
allahsyoungerbrother said, "It's a shame that America...still has a backwards, primitive belief...etc."
Your assertion of what America believes is a straw man. America is not a sentient being that believes in anything. You sound as silly as I would if I said Islam believes in wantonly murdering as many people as one can load into three modern airliners.
Rickaroo says, "The only way that the Bible makes any sense at all is to view it for what it is: a compilation of ancient myths that originated from primitive people whose only knowledge of the world and the cosmos came from their wild imaginings of the invisible spirits that they thought ruled their world."
This seems a rather silly assertion from someone who evidently thinks himself modestly intelligent. The wisdom of those "primitive" people you disparage, such as Aristotle, Euclid, etc., established the foundation on which all of the modern science you appear to admire was errected.