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BleedingHeartPatriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 12:37 PM
Original message
On God, guns and Colorado (warning: long, navel gazing rant)
Edited on Fri Dec-14-07 12:49 PM by BleedingHeartPatriot
I offer up this post to the those fellow DUers at whom I directed unpleasant, snarky posts about the NL/FB shootings earlier this week.

I had the astoundingly mistaken notion I could be objective about the events of last Sunday. For that miscalculation, I apologize profusely, a situation where one says "it's not you, it's me", no matter how cliched it may sound, and means it.

Its my attempt to reconcile conflicting emotions about this event. I know it's long and disjointed sounding but I make no claims to being an essayist. I just consider it a relating of certain moments in time and place, as viewed by a one person in a world of billions.

It is a pure pleasure to be a part of an online community where one can publicly melt down and get kindness and understanding from others.. Thank you all. :hug:



Now, the rant:

I have the good fortune to live in the beautiful state of Colorado, future home of the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

I love my adopted home state.

I grew up in New Mexico, the daughter of an Army vet, who regularly hunted. When my father came home with game, it provided wonderful meals and snacks. (I still remember jerky drying over every surface in the kitchen). Our garage doubled as the game processing center during hunting season. It was just how it was, and not of overarching significance in our childhood worlds.

As I look back on that childhood, I now realize that, growing up, I had immediate access to a variety of weapons. Of course neither I nor my siblings would have entertained the mere notion of the wisp of an idea of even touching one of those guns without Dads express permission. It wasnt in our vernacular at all.

It was just part of the landscape of my youth.

I later joined the Army, and became a proficient marksman (markswoman?) with an M16. During my stint I found that the military posts had excellent firing ranges, and/or skeet shooting ranges, at which to hone those skills. All those who used those ranges were nothing but extremely careful and cognizant of the deadly consequences of careless handling of the guns.

It was a part of the landscape of my time as a G.I.

Eventually, about 20 years ago,at the end of my military obligation and with family members here in the area, we settled down in the neighboring state of CO.

I think one could easily describe Colorado as 2nd amendment friendly. The natural landscape provides spectacular opportunities for hunting. And, gun ownership isnt just tolerated, its viewed as a deeply inherent right, for most. Back about twenty years ago, our state had the dubious distinction of defining the first make my day laws, allowing homeowners to use deadly force against alleged intruders, with little or no consequence, even if the intruder was in the street or running away or didnt appear to be a threat.

The culmination of money, guns and unimaginable alienation bubbled to the surface in our state and we had Columbine.

Devastating.

Many rethought their views of guns and violence. Many others held more tightly to their weapons.

Columbine is now part of the Colorado landscape.

I share a state with two enormous religious entities, Faith Bible in Arvada and New Life in Colorado Springs. I know several people who are members of FB and a few who attend NL.

They, and I, have very successfully compartmentalized the theological parts of our lives. In the past, I was invited several times to attend services at one or the other, which I turned down without thinking twice. Large group think settings carry little appeal for me, paticularly after years of military indoctrination.

And Ive always found something unsettling about these large modern churches, which bring to mind Jesuss reaction to the money changers in the temple. Until fairly recently, I was a member of a small neighborhood church, where we provided shelter and assistance to those in need, and tried to do good works.

Personally, I no longer feel very positive about any organized religion and have completely foregone attending church since a couple of years before my childs HS graduation.

And, Faith Bible kept buying up acres and acres of land all around me. New Life became nationally recognized as a mover and shaker church.

They were part of the community landscape.

One thing I can say about FB and NL friends, coworkers and neighbors with whom I have peacefully coexisted for 20 years is this: pious, theyre not. Not by a long shot.

Back in the day when I was apparently considered a potential parishioner, prior to my Dec 2000 political awakening, they described membership in a mega church in a way that sounded almost fun.

Music, singing, cheering and socializing with upbeat people, whats not to like?

After my awakening, it seemed I became quite vexing for them and the invitations were no longer forthcoming. Yet, we continued to maintain friendly and,in the case of work colleagues, professional relationships with each other.

Last Sunday began a seismic shift for me personally and for my community, my home.

Now, those of us who are not part FB/NL membership are looking anew at these huge religious conglomerates. It was one of their own flock, after all, who committed these horrific acts. And, there is a sense that there was much obfuscation and covering up, after the first shooting, instead of warning those who were potentially in danger. There is little understanding why the young man who had murdered with his gun, who was known to the first missionary group he attacked, was not found in the 12 hours before the second shooting, even as he posted many times on a website where he was also known.

There is an idea, slowly and steadily growing, among those who inhabit a variety of cultural and ethnic groups here in our state. The thought that if it had been an alleged brown, black and/or impoverished person, the accused shooters name and picture would have been blared from the airwaves for hours.

Haves. Have nots. Influential. No influence. Weve seen it before.

Our community is fractured, a major shift from the aftermath of Columbine, when we all came together to share in common, stunned grief and tried to go forward together. What have been spotlighted are the two different worlds that until Sunday coexisted, Colorado style, for decades.

In a big western state, theres lots of room for many people, a large number of whom are adherents of the expression live and let live. This attitude has helped these religious tax free corporations to grow, flourish and control, all while seeming to be just part of the landscape.

The pain and dismay of those most affected is not shared, this time. Those who are hurting have gone behind the closed doors of their compounds huge auditoriums, with stadium seating and stages with sound and lighting worthy of Broadway.

The hallway in New Life has already been cleaned and repaired, with all traces of the gun battle erased.

And, those of us on the outside see, yet again, that justice is different when one has Gazillions Of Dollars on ones side.

GODs warriors, revealed, for a moment.

And those of us beyond the walls gaze in wonder at the changes to the landscape.

MKJ
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dbackjon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 12:43 PM
Response to Original message
1. Very well written - thanks for sharing - nt
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BleedingHeartPatriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 02:47 PM
Response to Reply #1
11. dbackjon,
Thank you so much and you're welcome.

(P.S. are you a Diamondbacks fan?) :-) MKJ
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eleny Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 12:57 PM
Response to Original message
2. One thought that came to mind after we learned who the shooter was
I'm a long time Colorado resident. I remember when Peter Boyles was doing the traffic updates on the morning radio back in the '70s. When the shootings occurred, I wondered if he was calling in favors to find out early on if the shooter was an illegal alien given his daily focus on this issue.

So I nodded in agreement as I read your assertion : "brown, black and/or impoverished person, the accused shooters name and picture would have been blared from the airwaves for hours". I'd just add that it would have been an issue for months locally and gone national for a very long time. And surely it would have become part of the election debates in '08.
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BleedingHeartPatriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 02:14 PM
Response to Reply #2
8. You observation is spot on, Eleny.
Peter "Jon Benet" Boyles would have been one of the growling dogs with a chew toy, for sure.

Good to see you, are you staying warm? MKJ
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eleny Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 03:47 PM
Response to Reply #8
16. I think he was stuck on the Jon Benet story every day for years
Yes, staying warm. I just sanitized a giant, old bird feeder and am hoping to hang it full of seed tomorrow. Today is not a day for getting up on a ladder.

Take care :pals:
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piedmont Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 01:05 PM
Response to Original message
3. I still see no reason for anyone to have kown who he was.
His affiliation with YWAM apparently ended years ago, probably before any of the witnesses or victims there joined up. And as for his posts online-- the police can't be blamed for not trolling every message board on the internet. If no one reported his comments to law enforcement, then there's no way to know he posted them. And even if they were known to the police, I haven't seen anything that would have indicated who he was or exactly what he was going to do.

I hate the idea of mega-churches as much as anyone, but this doesn't look like a cover-up to me.
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BleedingHeartPatriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 01:59 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. A large ammunition purchase and his web rants were reported.
Edited on Fri Dec-14-07 02:01 PM by BleedingHeartPatriot
An employee at a UPS Store in Greenwood Village called police Sept. 13, after Murray had "multiple" boxes of ammunition delivered to a postal box there. Murray seemed nervous when he came to pick it up, the clerk told police.


http://www.rockymountainnews.com/news/2007/dec/13/five-... /

He had been sending hate mail to one of the missionary's chapters.

"It appears that the suspect had been kicked out of that program ... years prior, and during the past few weeks, had sent different forms of hate mail to the program, and/or its director," Pratt wrote.

http://www.rockymountainnews.com/news/2007/dec/10/cops-... /

He posted on a website between the shooting, which was reported by a web site administrator. He was then identified and an attempt was made to locate him, but no public information was released while he was still on the loose.
http://www.rockymountainnews.com/news/2007/dec/12/messa... /

Sunday morning, Murray posted nearly a dozen messages, some echoing Web posts from Columbine High School killer Eric Harris.

"I'm coming for EVERYONE soon and I WILL be armed to the @#%$ teeth and I WILL shoot to kill," one message said.

The Web site's administrator confirmed Tuesday that another user read the messages and called the FBI.

FBI spokeswoman Rene VonderHaar said the agency received a call around 10:30 a.m. and immediately began investigating.


Very good friends of mine, whose property abuts FB did not receive reverse 911 calls until six hours after the shooting.

Yet, the shots and the gunman's location were reported almost immediately after by a couple who saw him on their property:

http://www.rockymountainnews.com/news/2007/dec/11/neigh... /

Arthur Nardone heard "five or six pops" early Sunday morning as he and his wife were sleeping.

Their house backs onto the parking lot of the Youth With A Mission Colorado Center.

>snip

They both watched as the man they believe to be the shooter who killed two people and wounded two others at the YWAM center tramped through the snow on the berm that separates the parking lot from their backyard.

The man, dressed in dark clothing, crouched behind the Nardones' olive tree, which shields a transformer and pumping station for the adjacent lake.


The gunman conversed with the YMAM people for about half an hour before the first shootings. We don't know if he identified himself. But, he certainly wasn't as "unknown" as we in the community were lead to believe in the hours that followed the initial shootings.

That's all. MKJ
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aikoaiko Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 02:04 PM
Response to Original message
5. Good post, but hardly a rant..

;-)
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BleedingHeartPatriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 02:09 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. Well,
I did question if "navel gazing" and "rant" were compatible words, and then joined them in linguistic matrimony anyway.

:-) MKJ
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CTyankee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 02:11 PM
Response to Original message
7. This sounds so different from the CO I visited.
Is it just your city? I was in Boulder a few years ago and found it delightful. I was in Denver in the 80s but was with a group from the local League of Women Voters, probably not candidates for the NRA!

I have a good friend whose daughter is in college in Colorado, I think in Colorado Springs. She says it's "very different there." No kidding!

Your essay was very well done. If you are not a writer professionally, you should be. Thanks for your thoughts...
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Samurai_Writer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 02:31 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. You can't compare Boulder to the rest of Colorado
Boulder is an entity unto itself. It's not called "the San Francisco of the Rockies" for nothing! I've lived here about 2 years, and love it. I've been to Colorado Springs a few times -- that place scares me, with all the God, guns, and religion groupthink down there.
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CTyankee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 02:58 PM
Response to Reply #9
12. Well, no wonder I thought it was as nice as New Haven (nicer given the mountains!)
But I kinda figured that's what someone would tell me.

Is Boulder anywhere near as expensive as San Francisco?
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Samurai_Writer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 03:24 PM
Response to Reply #12
14. Yes, it's probably the most expensive place to live in Colorado
Not quite as bad as San Fran, but comparatively speaking, yes. Although the housing prices are quite down from even a year ago.
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CTyankee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 04:11 PM
Response to Reply #14
18. When I was there it was for a conference and I wasn't around the best part of town.
Not a slum, I mean the houses were mostly modest. So I don't really know about the prime real estate in Boulder...
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Samurai_Writer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 04:44 PM
Response to Reply #18
21. Those 'modest' houses probably sell for $300K
The prime real estate is easily in the 7 digits.
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eleny Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 03:49 PM
Response to Reply #9
17. I remember when you posted about moving there
Seems like it was just yesterday. I'm glad to hear you like it. Especially since it's so different from Fla.
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Samurai_Writer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 04:44 PM
Response to Reply #17
20. Thanks Eleny!
It was the best decision of my life, I swear. Even though I had some rough times around this time last year, things have only gotten better and better since then!
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BleedingHeartPatriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 02:32 PM
Response to Reply #7
10. Thanks for your kind words CTY. And I didn't intend to give the impression that
Colorado is defined solely by what happened on Sunday.

I love my adopted home and it calls to me whenever I leave the state. Colorado is always in my heart until I return.

And, visitors here are understandably smitten. ;-)

:rofl: your friend's daughter's take on the Springs. I sometimes marvel at the polar opposite cultures that dominate different cities and towns. (I look at Boulder and Colorado Springs as diametric opposing poles).

Thanks again for your compliment, writing this essay was pretty draining, I can't imagine doing this on a regular basis.

The responses are very heart warming, especially on a cold snowy day out here. MKJ
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CTyankee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 03:06 PM
Response to Reply #10
13. I left my home state of Texas when I went East to college. I never went back to live.
I couldn't stand the whole zeitgeist of the place.

But I can understand how you feel about CO. You probably know this, but Texans LOVE Colorado. It's just this thing they have.

Keep writing. I know it's hard but after a while you get used to it. You might find some waiting audiences who would like to hear what you have to say. You should send in your essay to Newsweek's "My Turn" for publication, seriously. AFter all, what's the worse they can do? If they turn you down, so what? If they publish you, it'll give you further confidence!
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BleedingHeartPatriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 03:45 PM
Response to Reply #13
15. heh!
Y'all love you some New Mexico, too! I remember dodging crazed Texans on our ski slopes, ;-)

I love posting here, but I consider it more as participating in an online conversation or debate than actual "writing", LOL.

Thanks so much for the words of encouragement. I'll mull it over, it's not something which had occured to me before.

And, in the meantime, the laundry, dishes and various pets of mine are sorely lacking for attention.

MKJ
P.S. My absolute best friend out here for the past 10 plus years is a Texan, complete with a never lost twang and all those marvelous Texan gal sensibilities. I really do love y'all, when I'm not skiing. :toast:








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CTyankee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 04:19 PM
Response to Reply #15
19. Well, I lost my north Texas accent a long time ago, but I know one when I hear it.
My mother had that soft accent which you also hear when you listen to Bill Moyers. I can also tell a faux Texas accent, one of the many infuriating things about Bush (but don't get me started!).

Yeah, Texans skiing. Now THAT's funny.

So send in your essay already! It would only take you a few minutes. If they want some tweaking done on it you can worry about it then. You have real talent, IMO. And you have an interesting story to tell, very relevant. Sounds to me like you've done the grunt work on the piece so...
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jmg257 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 05:04 PM
Response to Original message
22. I would love to read the law that allows such over-use of deadly force. Do you have a link to that?
Usually there must be a reasonable grounds to believe the use of deadly physcal force against him/another is imminent, or the suspect is committing kidnapping, forcable rape, robbery; or the shooter reasonably believes the use of physical force against an occupant is imminent during a burgalry.

That law in Colorado is wild!
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benEzra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 06:31 PM
Response to Reply #22
23. Most states allow you to shoot someone making a forced entry into your home
if you or your family is inside it, the legal presumption being that if an intruder is trying to force entry into an occupied home, he may be treated as a serious threat. The principle goes back to English common law, and is known as the Castle Doctrine. The laws of most states reflect that, actually.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castle_Doctrine
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BleedingHeartPatriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-15-07 08:01 AM
Response to Reply #22
28. On this one, I can only respond with anecdotes, one in which I know personally someone
affected, the other a story I read, which perhaps other CO DU'ers might remember.

A woman I know had her adult son gunned down in the street by a man who claimed the "Make My Day" law, what an awful nickname that is.

Anyway, it was during the summer, and there was get together at her son's home. A few drinks were quaffed and an argument ensued with a neighbor. This woman's son exchanged words with the neighbor and came onto the neighbor's property. As he left and was in the street in front of the neighbor's home, the neighbor pulled a gun, I think a .45, and shot him dead.

Did I mention the neighbor was an off duty police officer? This happened in Aurora. And the neighbor was cleared under that law.

The other I remember reading, and I think it was about 8-10 years ago. Again, another neighbor dispute. This time, one of the arguing neighbors came to the back door of the other neighbor. IIRC, he had a board, in his hand, or something of that nature. The second neighbor blew him away through the screen door with a shotgun. He was cleared of charges, as well.

Yep, we sometimes seem to have never really advanced beyond the Wild, Wild West, that's for sure. MKJ
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Moses2SandyKoufax Donating Member (621 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 09:46 PM
Response to Original message
24. It's really only like that in the Springs.
I'm familiar with Colorado, spent most of my time in Denver's north suburbs(Adams County, Westminster to be exact). It seems that Denver and Boulder are like any other large city/college town in America(Progressive, heavily Democratic). The north burbs are also heavily Democratic and working class. The south suburbs seem like a little slice of Orange County, I don't mean that in a good way. However, Colorado Springs seemed like a totally different country. Where Denver, Boulder and the rest of Colorado for that matter seemed to hold a live and let live attitude when it comes to religion(Colorado has one of the higher percentages of residents claiming "no religion" in the country) the Springs is the epicenter of the modern evangelical movement. The Denver metro area plus Boulder seemed to favor tighter gun laws, El Paso County longs for the days of the wild west.

California is similar in many ways. Los Angeles County and the Bay Area swing the state blue. The rest of the state's high population centers(The counties of Orange, Ventura, San Diego, plus the Central Valley, and the Inland Empire) vote Republican. To someone from Los Angeles the above areas also seem like a different world!

I agree with much of what you say. Colorado is a beautiful state that is trending more Democratic by the day!
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kaiden Donating Member (811 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 10:35 PM
Response to Reply #24
25. By 1992, there were 52 religious organizations in the Springs.
This is wild. In 1936, my dad ran away from home in Kansas to join a jazz band in Colorado Springs. Back then, Colorado Springs was a hot bed of liberalism. Today, it is a frightening place, where Focus on the Family has its own highway sign. My daughter-in-law grew up in Focus on the Family. She went to church five nights a week; naturally, she was pregnant by the time she was 16 (my son didn't meet her until she was 27).

I'm always stunned by the overly and overtly religious here in Colorado. All you have to do is look out your window to know there is a God -- I don't know why people would spend all their time inside a megachurch trying to find an answer when it's just outside the door.
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Moses2SandyKoufax Donating Member (621 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 10:39 PM
Response to Reply #25
26. As a matter of fact,
that sign is the first thing you see as you enter the Springs traveling down I-25.
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BleedingHeartPatriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-15-07 07:53 AM
Response to Reply #25
27. What a perfect statement.
Edited on Sat Dec-15-07 07:53 AM by BleedingHeartPatriot
I don't know why people would spend all their time inside a megachurch trying to find an answer when it's just outside the door.


BTW, it's no coicidence that the AFA is across the highway from FOF. Those flyboys and girls are in FOF's sight, they are trying to insure that they have GOD warriors in the cockpit. :scared:

Your dad's story sounds fascinating. I wish that FOF and their ilk had picked another big Western state in which to put up their tent, but it would be bad news wherever they landed. I just, for the life of me, can't understand how they keep their tax exempt status.

MKJ



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