Thursday, January 31, 2013

Obama may use UN to bypass congress on gun control

Political pollster and strategist Dick Morris believes that President Obama may use the United Nations to bypass congress and enact new gun restrictions. In a video message released today, Morris pointed out that Obama’s gun control proposals are unlikely to pass the senate because a number of Democratic senators are opposed to gun control.

Currently, the Democrats control the senate with 55 senators (including two independents) to 45 Republicans. Many of the Democratic senators have been endorsed by the National Rifle Association and hail from red states. In particular, Morris cites Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Kay Hagan (D.-N.C.), Tim Caine (D-Va.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), and Bob Casey (D-Pa.). Even Harry Reid (D-Nev.), the senate majority leader, has been endorsed by the NRA in the past although the group stayed neutral in his 2010 election. So far no Republican senators have signed on to Democratic gun control proposals such as a new assault weapons ban.

Under senate rules, a simple majority, 50 votes, is needed to pass legislation. However, if Republican senators filibuster gun control bills, 60 votes will be needed to overcome the filibuster. If, as seems likely, at least five Democratic senators vote against Obama’s proposals, they will not pass. Even if no Democrats oppose the bills, there would not be enough votes to overcome a filibuster without Republican help.

Morris believes that Obama’s strategy will involve the UN Arms Trade Treaty. As Examiner reported last summer, many critics believe that the treaty would allow the United Nations to define what measures the United States would have to take to combat illegal arms trafficking.

As Morris noted then, the U.S. is a signatory to the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. Under this treaty, once the U.S. signs the Arms Trade Treaty, it would be bound by its terms until it is rejected by the senate. Under the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, treaties are the “supreme law of the land,” equal in weight to the Constitution itself. President Obama could have Secretary of State Kerry sign the treaty and then refuse to submit it to the senate for ratification. Harry Reid could also simply not bring the treaty up for a vote as he has done on budgets and other legislation. Under this scenario, the U.S. would be bound by a treaty that could effectively repeal the Second Amendment without congress ever having voted on it.

Because of the vague language of the treaty, Senate Democrats might be more likely to vote for ratification of the treaty than to vote for a specific gun control measure. Morris notes that the treaty won’t immediately ban assault rifles or other guns, but it “empowers each country to adopt national means to stop these [illegal] exports from taking place. And that’s the key. It means that over the next three or four years this UN mandate, which is now sort of open ended, will increasingly close in on the Second Amendment.”

Under the Constitution, ratification of a treaty requires the approval of two-thirds of the senators present. If all senators are present that would mean 66 votes would be needed for ratification. Some Republican votes would be needed in order to ratify the treaty. The House of Representatives, which is controlled by Republicans, would not vote on the treaty.

After strong opposition from Second Amendment groups the administration declined to sign the treaty last summer, but Reuters reports that the day after Obama’s reelection victory the UN voted to reopen talks. The new round of negotiations will be held March 18-28, 2013.

Recent polling by Rasmussen shows that Americans are split on the issue of gun control. Fifty-three percent favor background checks for existing gun owners and 57 percent believe that enforcing current gun laws is more important than enacting new laws. Only 41 percent believe that the U.S. needs stricter gun laws. The strongest agreement came from those who believe that there is a constitutional right to own a gun (74 percent) and that background checks should be required for anyone who wants to buy a gun (86 percent).

Originally published on Examiner:

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

My prophetic evolution

My understanding of Bible end-time prophecy has undergone an evolution over the years. I’ve always been interested in the Revelation and what might happen at the end of time. I suppose that this can be traced to a comic book.

When I was young, we had a number of issues of Spire Christian comics. Some of these comic books were adaptations of Christian classics that I read later in life. We had a comic version of “God’s Smuggler” by Brother Andrew, “the Hiding Place” by Corrie Ten Boom, “the Cross and the Switchblade” by David Wilkerson, and “Born Again” by Chuck Colson. There were stories of people like Dallas Cowboy coach Tom Landry, the appropriately named Nate Saint, a missionary bush pilot killed by South American natives, Mitsuo Fuchida, a pilot in the Japanese navy who led the attack on Pearl Harbor, and Johnny Cash. There were also adaptations of Bible stories set in modern (1970s) day. I would love to find some of these for my kids to read today.

The one that is most memorable was an adaptation of Hal Lindsey’s “There’s a New World Coming” (you can read the whole thing online here). For a child, this was an intriguing comic. It was also more than a little scary. Fortunately, I was certain that the end of the world was many years into the future.

I also remember reading a short book based on the Revelation at a young age. I think that it was called “Out of Time” or something similar. A brief Google search didn’t turn up this book, but it was a short prototype of “Tribulation Force.” Again, it was a bit scary for me at the time.

Fast forward about 20 years. Pat Robertson’s “the End of the Age” (1995) was more intriguing than scary. So were the “Left Behind” (1995-2007) novels by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. It was these books that probably really inspired me to start reading commentaries and guides to Revelation. It was around this time that I remember praying for enlightenment and understanding for these Bible prophecies.

It was slow in coming, but I think that God did lead me to more understanding. Years later, after watching the September 11 attacks and the Iraq War unfold, I began to realize that there were many similarities between radical Muslims and the forces of the Antichrist in the Revelation. I wrote my first blog, “Islam and Revelation,” and created on October 26, 2007.

About the same time, my brother told me about a book called “Epicenter” by Joel Rosenberg. Rosenberg made me realize that to understand what is to come, you have to look at other prophecies throughout the Bible. Rosenberg’s book, which centers on Ezekiel 38-39, was the subject of my second blog post.

As I looked through the Bible, I found many more passages that described the end of the world as we know it outside of Revelation. There were passages in Daniel, Joel, Thessalonians, Timothy, and Peter that also addressed eschatology, as the study of the end-times is formally known. Jesus himself talked about the end of the age in the Mount Olivet discourse that is described in three of the four Gospels. I took much of this information and put it into another early blog post, “Signs of the Times.”

Rosenberg’s book made me think about America. America is the best friend that Israel has in the world. Sometimes America seems to be Israel’s only friend. Ezekiel 38-39 describes a multinational coalition that is assembled against Israel and that is subsequently destroyed by divine intervention. The coalition is led by Gog of Magog, a figure that many speculate is Vladimir Putin.

I wondered how a coalition could be assembled against Israel under America’s watch. The U.S. typically vetoes anti-Israel resolutions in the United Nations and aids Israel in its wars. If a coalition were assembled against Israel, wouldn’t the U.S. intervene? There is no indication in the Bible that it does. That leaves two possibilities for the U.S. Either America becomes anti-Israel at some point or it ceases to be a player on the world stage.

About the same time, the authors of “Left Behind” released the nonfiction, “Are We Living in the End-times?” I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in prophecy. It is very readable and has good explanations and descriptions of figures and events in Biblical end-time prophecy. It does focus primarily on the events in The Revelation however.

As the Great Recession deepened and Barack Obama came into office, I began to wonder if the two events were not related to prophecy. Barack Obama is the most anti-Israel president that the U.S. has had since Israel was reborn as a country. Obama may have inherited the recession, but his policies prevented a recovery and, with his reelection, will lead to an economic lost decade. While he is in office, he is rolling back American power abroad. The Obama Administration seems to fit perfectly with the theory that America will cease to be Israel’s ally or will cease to a military and diplomatic power. A blog, “Why is this Happening?” on Feb. 28, 2009, describes this in more detail.

Along with the decline of America, the construction of a new Jewish temple in Israel is also required before the events of Revelation can be fulfilled. The aftermath of the War of Gog of Magog might pave the way for the rebuilding of the temple. The Temple Mount is now occupied by the Islamic Dome of the Rock mosque. The Israeli government protects the mosque from Jews who would like to clear the mountain and rebuild the temple. For the Jews to destroy the mosque would undoubtedly spark a major war. However, if the mosque were destroyed in the Magog war, it would be easy for the Jewish temple to be built on its site.

A chance meeting led to more understanding about the Jewish temple. In 2010, while traveling home from work on an airline, I met a Jewish woman in the Newark airport. We were eating lunch and I had been at a table by myself. There were no other open tables so she asked to sit at mine. I rarely strike up conversations in airports, but we started talking.

Somehow, the conversation turned to a blog that I had written a few weeks earlier, “the Khazar conspiracy.” This post was inspired by some Ron Paul supporters who espoused the theory that modern Israelis were not Jews. Instead, they claimed that they were Khazars, descendents of an ancient Eastern European nation that had converted to Judaism over a thousand years ago. This theory was easily disproved by modern genetic studies which verified that Jews who migrated to Europe remained genetically distinct from their host populations and that they had originated in the Middle East. Written two years ago, the Khazar article remains one of the most read articles on my blog.

The woman mentioned the Cohen gene, something that I had never of. Upon investigation, I learned that the Cohen gene was a genetic marker that identified the priestly line of Aaron. Not only had God kept his chosen people separate from the gentiles after a Diaspora lasting 2,500 years, he had kept the family of priests separate from Jewish laity. When the Jewish temple is rebuilt, it will be simple for the new priests to be identified from the Aaronic line.

In the years of the first Obama Administration, I saw many signs that my worldview was correct. There began a movement among the Russians and Chinese to replace the dollar with a new world currency. I became more aware of the apocalyptic nature of the Iranian government. In 2011, the Iranians even released a film that said that the arrival of the Mahdi, a Shia Islam version of the Messiah, was imminent. The Arab Spring uprisings swept radical Islamists into power in many Arab countries and destabilized others, a development that prominent Israeli rabbis said may signal the coming of the Messiah. In America, there was apostasy in the church and unprecedented attacks on freedom of religion and the freedom of speech of religious believers. For the first time, voters approved same-sex marriage laws and President Obama publicly pushed “marriage equality.”

As the 2012 election approached, I felt that President Obama would surely be turned out of office. Reelecting him would be like reelecting Jimmy Carter or Herbert Hoover (although Americans did elect Franklin Roosevelt, a similarly disastrous president, to an unprecedented three terms). I felt that if Obama won the election that it would almost have to represent God moving his plan for America’s judgment forward. In September 2012, I wrote “the Biblical prophecy case for Obama’s second term,” which described how Obama might have to remain in office in order for prophecies regarding Israel to be fulfilled.

In the weeks leading up to the election, I felt certain that Mitt Romney would win after his strong performance in the debates and President Obama’s obfuscations in the wake of the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. In the end, less than a week before the election, Hurricane Sandy ravaged the east coast from Washington, D.C. to New York City. Obama’s performance in the wake of the storm, particularly his bipartisan appearances with New Jersey governor Chris Christie, shifted the polls enough to allow Obama to eke out a victory. In any case, the reelection of Obama represented a rejection of Christian principles and teachings by a majority of Americans.

It seemed that the path of the storm may have represented divine intervention. In Parade magazine, Marilyn Vos Savant explained the unusual confluence of factors that steered Sandy toward New York: “On Sandy’s way north, it ran into a vast high-pressure system over Canada, which prevented it from continuing in that direction, as hurricanes normally do, and forced it to turn west. Then, because it traveled about 300 miles over open water before making landfall, it piled up an unusually large storm surge. An infrequent jet-stream reversal helped maintain and fuel the storm. As if all that weren’t bad enough, a full moon was occurring, so the moon, the earth, and the sun were in a straight line, increasing the moon’s and sun’s gravitational effects on the tides, thus lifting the high tide even higher. Add to this that the wind and water, though not quite at hurricane levels, struck an area rarely hit by storms of this magnitude so the structures were more vulnerable and a disaster occurred.”

While researching my article on Hurricane Sandy, “’Divine wind’ swept Obama to second term,” I was led to my most recent revelation. I discovered “the Harbinger” by Jonathan Cahn. I was honored to have Cahn respond to several questions that I had emailed him while working on a review of his book.

While I had suspected that America was on the verge of divine judgment, Cahn’s book pointed to specifics. Cahn found hidden but precise parallels between the fall of ancient Israel and the calamities that have befallen America since 2001. In addition to the removal of divine protection that led to the September 11 attacks, the U.S. underwent two financial crashes that occurred on the same day of the Hebrew calendar, a day that called for the cancellation of debts according to Jewish law. American politicians had uttered exactly the same words of defiance to God’s judgment that the ancient Israelites had proclaimed. The American response to the 9/11 attacks led directly to the financial crash, a relationship that even secular observers have noted.

I have come to realize that the Bible is more than life’s instruction book. It is the story of Israel, God’s chosen people. It contains their history and their future. The Bible is, among other things, the story of Israel’s rejection of God and ultimate restoration. It was not until Israel rejected the Messiah that God extended the offer of repentance and salvation to the gentile world.

For that story to be complete, the U.S. must undergo radical changes. It is likely that these changes will happen soon or are already occurring. The process began when Israel was reconstituted as a nation in 1948. In his Mount Olivet discourse, Jesus spoke of a blooming fig tree that is widely believed to refer to a reborn Israel. Jesus says that the generation that sees “these things” will “not pass away” until the end-time events he describes have happened. Obviously this means that the America must cease to be a powerful ally of Israel first.

America may cease to be an ally of Israel as pro-Muslim politicians like Barack Obama become increasingly powerful. It might cease to be powerful. The growth of government and the federal debt might strangle the economy to the point where the U.S. cannot support a standing army of sufficient size to protect its interests and allies around the world. This is already happening to many European nations.

A more catastrophic scenario, and one that I fear may come to pass, is that the U.S. might suffer a military defeat. A “nuclear 9/11” could destroy the American economy. A nuclear attack with an electromagnetic pulse weapon could wipe out the entire American electrical grid and cause mass starvation. Such an attack might be a prelude to a second wave of nuclear strikes or conventional attacks.

Interpretation of prophecy is not a certain thing. Often the realization that a prophecy has been fulfilled can only take place in hindsight. The prudent thing to do is to be prepared. Even if there is no large scale disaster from an EMP attack, we are still subject to local disasters from hurricanes, tornados, floods, riots or even a small scale terrorist attack. The experience of the L.A. riots, Hurricane Katrina, and Hurricane Sandy underscore the importance of preparedness and being able to fend for yourself for at least a little while.

No one can say exactly what lies ahead for America. What can be said with certainty is that if America continues down its current path it will not only face economic stagnation, but it is increasingly likely that there will be more examples of divine “shakings” and judgment. We should all be prepared for disasters and be ready to protect ourselves in an emergency. We should also be spiritually prepared. As Jonathan Cahn told me, “The time to repent, to be saved, and to get right with God . . . is now.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Remember the Challenger


Saturday, January 26, 2013

Myths, lies, and conspiracies about the Sandy Hook massacre

Often after a violent event that leads to a dramatic shift in public opinion or government policy, conspiracy theories abound. The Kennedy assassination, the moon landing, and the September 11 attacks all spawned numerous conspiracy theories. Now the Sandy Hook school massacre in Newtown, Ct. is becoming fodder for the purveyors of conspiracies.

Second shooters and the man in camouflage

One of the first conspiracies about Sandy Hook is that there was a second shooter. News coverage on the day of the murders showed a man in camouflage who had been arrested in the woods near the school. Bystanders reported that the man said, “I didn’t do it,” but no information on the man’s identity was forthcoming.

The mystery was quietly solved two weeks after the murders. On Dec. 27, the Newtown Bee reported, almost as an afterthought, that “a man with a gun who was spotted in the woods near the school on the day of the incident was an off-duty tactical squad police officer from another town.” The article does not explain what the officer was doing in the woods, but his identity was probably withheld because of his status as a SWAT officer. It is plausible to think that he might have been nearby and responded to the shootings. The Bee cites a “reliable law enforcement source.”

The SWAT officer was not the only person detained by police near Sandy Hook that day. Chris Manfredonia ran around the school trying to find his six-year-old daughter when he was handcuffed by police according to a Dec. 14 Los Angeles Times report. Manfredonia was released and found his daughter alive. Another unidentified man was detained according to Snopes, but was released when it became clear that he was not involved in the murders.

Chris Rodia was also accused of being the second shooter by some conspiracy theorists. In reality, the Connecticut Post reports that Rodia was being stopped for a traffic violation in Greenwich, Ct. at the time of the murders. Connecticut State Police spokesman Lt. J. Paul Vance told the Post that Adam Lanza was the only gunman and that the car belonged to his relative (Nancy Lanza, his mother, according to other reports), not to Rodia, whom Vance had never heard of. Apparently, the officer who stopped Rodia was using the same police frequency as units responding to Sandy Hook, causing bloggers monitoring scanners to become confused.

The Post tracked the Rodia conspiracy to several websites including one called “USA Hitman.” The administrator of the site admitted that “"I have a full-time job and don't have time to research the stories.”

Did Lanza use an assault rifle?
The weapon used by Lanza has also been the source of confusion. Paul Vance of the State Police confirmed to CNN that Lanza carried three guns in the attack. The primary weapon was a Bushmaster AR-15, but he also carried Glock 10 mm and Sig Sauer 9 mm pistols. The Newtown Bee’s law enforcement source confirms this information.

Early reports that the AR-15 was found in the trunk of Lanza’s (not Rodia’s) car were not correct. The weapon recovered from the trunk was actually a shotgun. CNN noted that authorities had not released details of the shotgun. A Youtube video shows police removing the gun, which does not appear to be an AR-15, from the trunk of the car.

There are reports that the gun in the trunk was a Saiga 12 gauge shotgun, but these could not be verified. The Saiga 12 gauge is a combat shotgun that can accept a large capacity magazine and could easily be mistaken for an “assault rifle.”

Ryan Lanza’s ID

Ryan Lanza’s role in the massacre has also been the source of confusion. Initial reports were that Ryan, Adam Lanza’s brother, was the killer. In reality, Ryan Lanza was at work in New York City when he heard about the shooting according to the Daily Mail. Lanza was picked up by police for questioning and was later released.

The confusion stems from the fact that Adam Lanza was reported to have carried Ryan’s identification. Precisely what sort of identification cannot be determined from the information that has been released. It is possible that the identification was old and out-of-date since the Lanza brothers did not live together.

Peter Lanza and LIBOR

There were also reports that Lanza’s father was scheduled to testify before Congress in the LIBOR scandal. The conspiracy theory claims that the father of James Holmes, the “Dark Knight” killer from Aurora, Co., was also scheduled to testify on LIBOR. The problem was that no such hearing was scheduled to take place according to Talking Points Memo. Holmes worked for FICO and Lanza worked for GE. Neither is connected to LIBOR scandal, which is not even an American scandal.

Victoria Soto

Another myth involves Victoria Soto, one of the teachers murdered by Lanza. Early reports indicated that Soto had hidden her students in a classroom closet and then told Lanza that they were not in the classroom. In reality, one of Soto’s students said that Soto lined her students up and put herself between them and Lanza. The student, Aidan Licata, told CNN that he had been taught to run if they saw someone with a gun. Aidan and several of the other students ran past Lanza and escaped. Aidan was picked up by a woman who took him to a police station, but some of the students from Miss Soto’s class ended up in Gene Rosen’s driveway.

The closet tactic was used by another first grade teacher, Kaitlin Roig, according to ABC News. Roig hid her class in a bathroom and wheeled a storage unit in front of the door. She piled some of her six- and seven-year-olds on top of the toilet to fit everyone inside while telling those “who believed in the power of the prayer, we need to pray and those who don't believe in prayer" to remain positive. When the police came, Roig refused to open the door, thinking that it might the murderer trying to trick her. She told them that if they were really the police they could find a key to open the door themselves. Roig and her students all survived.

Gene Rosen

Gene Rosen, who opened his home to several Sandy Hook survivors, has also been the target of the conspiracy buffs. Rosen’s home is slightly more than a tenth of mile from Sandy Hook, an easy walk for first graders. (Examiner is not publishing Rosen’s address to protect him from further harassment.) In spite of claims to the contrary, Connecticut’s News Times reported that Rosen did invite the bus driver who was with the six children into his home. The children eventually told Rosen what had happened. One of them even said that the killer had “a little gun and a big gun,” supporting the claim that Lanza carried the Bushmaster into the school. The original article does not specify whether the bus driver was male or female.

Much has been made of Rosen’s delay in contacting the police, but the News Times article indicates that he was initially somewhat skeptical about the children’s story. He did not realize that it was true until he watched the news that night.

It is not clear how much the bus driver knew about what had happened at the school. The driver may have even been in shock, since Rosen focuses mainly on the stories that the children told after they came inside. A Fox News report indicates that Rosen and the bus driver called the driver’s supervisor, who helped them to contact the children’s parents. It is reasonable to assume that the police would have been notified, either by Rosen or the supervisor, even though this is not specifically mentioned in the story. The bus driver’s name is apparently not mentioned in any news story. With the negative attention that Rosen has received, who can blame the driver for remaining anonymous?

According to the article, parents of four of the children were contacted and picked up their children at Rosen’s house and then the group went to the firehouse next door where other parents were gathering. Presumably, the other two children were either reunited with their parents or turned over to authorities there.

According to Snopes, Rosen was never a member of the Screen Actors Guild as some have claimed. This was a case of mistaken identity with another Eugene Rosen. The Eugene Rosen who lives near Sandy Hook has been a lifelong Connecticut resident. This is easily confirmed through online address searches and background checks.

Emilie Parker

Six-year-old Emilie Parker has also been the target of conspiracies thanks to a photo of President Obama surrounded by children. A girl in the picture bears a striking resemblance to Emilie and even wears the same dress that Emilie wore in a family portrait. The girl with the president is Emilie’s sister, Madeline, who is now four-years-old.

A collection of pictures posted on Metabunk helps clear up the confusion. The family portrait was taken in 2010 when Emilie was four and Madeline was two. Two years later, Madeline is at the same age that Emilie was in the family picture. She obviously wore a hand-me-down dress in the picture with the president.

Actors and smiling parents

Other conspiracies revolving around the massacre are more subjective. Conspiracy buffs claim that the parents interviewed on television are too happy to be grieving parents and that they are actually crisis actors employed by the government. There are many reasons that a parent might laugh after the death of child. There might be anxiety and nervousness about going on television, they might remember a happy moment with their baby, or they might even be in shock and not yet fully comprehending the loss.

An online conspiracy video states that Robbie Parker, Emilie’s father, is listed in an internet search as being 57-years-old. This is another obvious case of mistaken identity. An internet search performed by Examiner found no fewer than 12 Robert Parkers in Connecticut, including two in Sandy Hook. What the video fails to note is that the Robbie Parker interviewed on the news is the same man in the 2010 family portrait with Emilie and Madeline.

An Anderson Cooper podcast shows Veronique Pozner, another parent who is obviously distraught and says that she is still numb from the loss of her son. Lynn McDonnell, also cited on the conspiracy video with her words dubbed out, was on Anderson Cooper as well. A transcript of the interview shows that she was talking about her daughter’s sweet spirit, how she loved school, and how she would blow kisses as she got on the bus. These are memories that could easily make a grieving parent smile for a moment.

It is not reasonable to judge a parent to be an imposter based solely on their facial expression. People grieve in different ways. There likely were parents who fit the stereotype of grief in which they constantly cry and are totally inconsolable. It is reasonable to assume that these parents declined to do television interviews.

The claim that the parents are actors is easily debunked. Crisis Actors is a private business that provides actors for mock disaster drills. This is not a secret government organization. These are private citizens who work with government agencies to help them train for disasters, terrorist attacks and mass killings. The Crisis Actors website states, “We do not engage our actors in any real-world crisis events, and none of our performances may be presented at any time as a real-world event.”

Snopes believes that it has traced the origin of the actor conspiracy to Wellaware, another conspiracy site. This site apparently promotes the idea that many famous people have been replaced by actors. Among their theories are that Jerry Sandusky was replaced by Kevin Costner, that George Herbert Walker Bush was really Joseph Kennedy, Jr., that Queen Elizabeth is really Betty White, and that Kermit Roosevelt, son of President Theodore Roosevelt, portrayed both Adolf Hitler and Walt Disney.

The idea that actors are portraying the parents defies logic. If the parents on television are actors, then where are the real parents? If actors were being used, wouldn’t they be trained to portray stereotypical grief instead of laughing? If parents are not really grieving, where are the children? If the children and teachers were really killed in a “false flag” operation then why bother to hire actors? Wouldn’t the real parents be more convincing since they were really grief-stricken?

Ambulances, Lanza’s accuracy and controlling the crime scene

The conspiracy video also refers to news camera pictures showing the lack of activity around the school in the wake of the shooting. The answer here is simple: Most of the news crews arrived long after the action was over. The famous photo of a teacher leading a line of children was taken by the Newtown Bee, the local paper and apparently the first and only reporters on the scene for a time. The video says that there are “no ambulances” while simultaneously showing a video in which ambulances are clearly present. By the time video news crews reached the scene reached the scene, the children had already been removed from the school, to the fire station if they were uninjured or in ambulances if they were. NBC News reports that ambulances were even called in from neighboring towns, but most were unused. The majority of the victims were dead, not injured.

Adam Lanza’s accuracy has also been questioned due to reports that all victims had multiple wounds. The Hartford Courant reports that Lanza was a frequent player of first-person shooter video games and, according to MSNBC, he was familiar with guns and marksmanship. Children in the classrooms with one door had little room to escape. Many of the bullet wounds were probably inflicted after the victim was already dead or injured and unable to run.

Conspiracy buffs have keyed in on a comment about “controlling” the scene by Connecticut’s chief medical examiner, Dr. Wayne Carver. A full transcript of Carver’s comments indicate that he was talking about controlling access to the crime scene to spare the families more emotional distress.

Carver’s full comment was, “We did not bring the bodies and the families into contact. We took pictures of them of their facial features. It’s easier on the families when you do that. There is a time and a place for up close and personal in the grieving process. But to accomplish this, we felt it would be best to do it this way, and you can sort of – you can control the situation, depending on the photographer and I have very good photographers.” This explains why the parents were kept from the crime scene and not allowed to see the bodies as well as why any closed circuit camera images have not been released.

Bridgeport FEMA conference

Conspiracy sites have also pointed out that FEMA was holding a conference in Bridgeport, Ct. on the day of the massacre. The topic of this sinister conference? “Planning for the needs of Children in Disasters.”

The location of the conference was not on the same road as Sandy Hook as some sites claim, although Highway 25 does connect both towns. According to Yahoo Maps, the two locations were 20 miles and about half an hour apart. It should be remembered that Connecticut is a small state with an average length of 90 miles and width of 55 miles. This means that the conference in Bridgeport was halfway across the state from Sandy Hook.

None of this is in the least incriminating or suggestive of FEMA involvement in the shooting. In fact, the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection calendar reveals that the same course was offered a total of four times in December. On the days of three of the four classes, no mass murders occurred.

Dates on internet postings

One of the last conspiracy items is the claim that news stories and Facebook pages about the murders were posted to the internet before the shootings actually occurred. This is based on dates posted on Google search results.

To see the fallacy in this theory, go to and type in a search term, something along the lines of “Sandy Hook shooting.” Click “search tools” in the menu below the search field. Click the arrow beside “any time” to open up a time range menu and then select “custom range.” Select a date range before the Sandy Hook shooting to search, for example, you can search the dates between January 1 and December 1, 2012. The results show news stories about the Sandy Hook massacre from as early as Jan. 14, 2012, far beyond the day or so early claimed by the conspiracy buffs. When dates are expanded, search results dating back to 2007 and 2008 can be found. This should be too early for even the most ardent conspiracy believers to justify as secret operation.

A similar search on Bing does not yield similar results. Bing does not offer custom date range searches, but after scrolling through many pages of search results, nothing prior to Dec. 14, 2012, the day of the shooting was found. The same is true of other search engines including Ask and Yahoo. Obviously, there is a flaw in Google’s methodology.

Without a doubt, President Obama and the Democrats are using the tragic murders at Sandy Hook for their own political ends. There is no evidence that they actually carried out the shootings or orchestrated a hoax of any sort. They didn’t need to. Mass murders happen on occasion and this one, happening just after the election, came at an opportune time.

A hoax would have been much smoother. They would have hired actors who knew how to cry. They might have set up websites in advance, but they would not have activated them, much less more than one, before the shooting. Eyewitness testimony would have matched. In reality, conflicting testimony is not a sign of a hoax because people perceive things in different ways and remember things differently. Stories that match up perfectly are more likely to indicate that the testimony was planned in advance.

For Sandy Hook to be a hoax perpetrated by the government, the conspirators would have to be exceedingly incompetent. They would have had to execute the killings and plant Adam Lanza as a patsy, but forget to plant the AR-15 on his body. They would also have to inexplicably put one of the “dead” girls in a photo opportunity with the president and launch websites several days early. Actors portraying the parents would have to all be so incompetent as to forget their roles on camera.

In any unfolding news story, there is a lot of erroneous information at the beginning. The “fog of war,” conflicting information coming in from different sources and all presented as fact, means that some of the early information is not true. The news media are not intentionally lying; they are just reporting the story as they know it at the time. When this information is corrected later, it isn’t a hoax or a cover up; they are just setting the record straight.

As with any conspiracy theory, the best solution is to apply Hanlon’s razor to conspiracy claims about Adam Lanza and the mass murder at Sandy Hook. “Never accept for malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.”

Originally published on Examiner:

Ga. senator to retire next term

The Atlanta Journal reported today that Georgia Republican Saxby Chambliss will not seek reelection to the U.S. Senate in 2014. The report cited Gov. Nathan Deal, who said he told the two-term senator to “make sure he served out his full term because I didn’t want to appoint someone.”

The report was confirmed by the Republican Security Council on a Facebook posting that noted that Chambliss was vulnerable to a primary challenge from Tea Party-backed candidates. The posting also noted that Chambliss had an “excellent record on defense, foreign policy and war on terror issues.”

The real battle for Chambliss’ senate seat is likely to occur in the primary. Georgia has become increasingly Republican and is likely to remain so during Obama’s tenure. The last Democratic senator from Georgia was Zell Miller who was appointed to the seat by Democratic governor Roy Barnes after the death of Republican Paul Coverdell. Miller served from 2000 through 2005. Even though Miller was a conservative Democrat who spoke at the 2004 Republican National Convention, he declined to seek reelection.

The AJC article notes that two members of the Republican house delegation, Paul Broun and Tom Price, have considered a primary challenge against Chambliss. Chambliss has been criticized by conservatives for his role in the “gang of six” discussions on the deficit with moderate Democrats in 2011.

Chambliss’ departure from the senate is the second confirmed retirement for 2014. Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.) is also retiring. New Jersey senator Frank Lautenberg, who will be 90, is also likely to retire.

A Republican Security Council preliminary estimate for 2014 shows six tossup senate races. These seats in South Dakota, Alaska, West Virginia, North Carolina, Arkansas and Louisiana are all held by Democrats in states with a strong Republican presence. Nothing is assured, however. Before the primary season, Republicans were favored to win the senate in 2012 with Democrats defending a number of vulnerable seats. Missteps by GOP candidates and a strong get-out-the-vote effort by Democrats ended those hopes.

Memories of Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock may spur Democrats to enter the race for Chambliss’ seat. Their best hope might be that the Republicans nominate a political novice with a propensity for putting his foot in his mouth.


Originally published on Examiner:

Court rebukes Obama for recess appointments

A federal appeals court ruled yesterday that President Obama unconstitutionally exceeded his executive authority when he made three recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board last January. As Examiner reported at the time, the president made the recess appointments in spite of the fact that the senate, which confirms presidential appointments, was still conducting pro forma sessions and was not in recess.

According to Article II section 2 clause 3 of the Constitution, the president has the power to fill vacancies that occur while the Senate is in recess. These recess appointments escape the immediate need to be confirmed by the Senate, but expire at the end of the next session of Congress. However, Article I section 5 clause 4 states that neither house of Congress can adjourn for more than three days without the consent of the other. This is done by passing a resolution in both the House and the Senate. In the case of Obama’s appointments, there is no disagreement that Congress was not formally recessed since neither the House nor the Senate had passed a resolution to end the session.

The case was prompted by a lawsuit by Noel Canning, a Pepsi Cola bottling company, according to National Public Radio. The NLRB with its new Obama appointees ruled against the company in a union dispute. The company then sued on the grounds that the Obama appointees were illegal and that without them the NLRB lacked a quorum and could not legally decide the case.

The court ruled on two points. On the first, the Washington Post describes that the three judge panel unanimously decided that a recess under the Constitution means that the Senate must be between sessions and not simply on a break. The court noted that the senate, not the president, decides when it is in recess. The court also ruled on what type of vacancies could be filled by recess appointments. In a stunning limitation of presidential power, two judges held that recess appointments were limited to vacancies that arise during a recess. All three judges were appointed by Republican presidents.

For now, the ruling applies only to the Noel Canning case, but there were many other rulings issued by the NLRB that included Obama’s appointments. These cases could be opened to legal challenges as well under the new precedent. Currently the precedent applies only to the D.C. court of appeals.

The ruling was condemned by the White House and the NLRB. “The decision is novel and unprecedented, and it contradicts 150 years of practice by Democratic and Republican administrations,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said Friday in the Washington Post. “We respectfully but strongly disagree with the ruling.” Carney did not say whether the president would appeal the decision.

In a statement on the NLRB website, the board’s chairman, Mark Pearce, said, “The Board respectfully disagrees with today’s decision and believes that the President’s position in the matter will ultimately be upheld. It should be noted that this order applies to only one specific case, Noel Canning, and that similar questions have been raised in more than a dozen cases pending in other courts of appeals.” The board apparently intends to continue business as usual even though any decisions made are likely to be challenged by the loser.

The decision also calls into question the appointment of Richard Cordray, the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Cordray was installed via a recess appointment at the same time as the three members of the NLRB.

During his first term, President Obama lost a series of legal challenges to his unilateral executive actions. Although his administration triumphed when the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare’s individual mandate, Obama lost many other lower profile cases. The Supreme Court upheld most of Arizona’s immigration law in spite of a Justice Department lawsuit. The Obama Administration was held in contempt for its ban on deep water oil drilling and for failing to issue permits to oil companies according to Examiner. The Environmental Protection Agency also suffered a number of legal defeats under Obama for exceeding its authority to regulate carbon and cross-state air pollution under the Clean Air Act. As previously covered by Examiner, several courts have also ruled that Obamacare’s abortion and contraception mandates are unconstitutional burdens on religious freedom. Obama’s unilateral decision to halt deportation of illegal aliens who entered the U.S. as children may also have unconstitutionally bypassed Congress.

Nevertheless, it seems that Obama’s strategy of using executive action when he cannot get Congress to act will continue into his second term. Earlier this month he signed 23 Executive Orders dealing with gun control. According to the Wall St. Journal, the president may also be considering more executive action on environmental issues as well. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Ca.) recently told supporters, “There doesn't have to be a bill. I'm telling you right now, EPA has the authority in the transportation sector, the electricity sector, and the industrial sector under the Clean Air Act” to enact anti-carbon regulations without congressional approval.”

President Obama’s strategy represents a test for the American system of separation of powers. While executive action might move the president’s agenda forward in the short term, as this week’s ruling shows the courts might eventually dismantle much of his legacy because it was enacted via illegal shortcuts.

Originally published on Examiner:

Monday, January 21, 2013

Interview with Harbinger author, Jonathan Cahn

Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, the best-selling author of “the Harbinger: the Ancient Mystery that Holds the Secret of America’s Future,” recently took time from his busy schedule to answer a series of questions from Rabbi Cahn, who will be the keynote speaker at today’s Presidential Inaugural Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C.

“The Harbinger” is a work of fiction, but Cahn uses the fictional story of a writer’s meetings with a mysterious prophet to tell the real story of nine harbingers that preceded the destruction of ancient Israel. Cahn believes that the same harbingers are warning modern America of God’s impending judgment. “The Harbinger” has recently passed a major publishing milestone with a 1 million copies sold.

David W. Thornton: How was The Harbinger prophecy revealed to you?  Was it similar to the fictional account in the novel or was it purely through prayer and study?

Jonathan Cahn: After 9/11, I was praying and was led to a particular section of Scripture in Isaiah concerning the first warning of judgment given to Israel.  I found out later that David Wilkerson in Time Square Church told his congregation that the Lord was giving a word to America and it was the same section of Scripture. In fact, he even spoke the specific “decoder” verse of “The Harbinger” [Isaiah 9:10].  And he did say it because he saw the harbingers manifest.  Most would only come later.  But it was simply from the Lord.

Later I was standing at the corner of Ground Zero and my attention was drawn to an object.  Something said “seek it out.”  I began searching the Scriptures and the mystery began to unfold.  It was the first puzzle piece of the ancient mystery which kept getting bigger and bigger, deeper and deeper until I was completely blown away.  It was an ancient mystery that lay behind everything from 9/11 to everything that happened after.  It was [so] specific that it even foretold the precise actions and words of American leaders.  It was mind boggling.

When I shared it at my congregation, the Jerusalem Center/Beth Israel, the people were likewise blown away.  Everyone felt it was a word from the Lord that had to go forth to the nation.  As I began to write the book, an entire second stream of mysteries began to unfold, ancient mysteries which lay behind the collapse of the American [nation], mysteries so specific that they pinpointed events down to the days and hours.

When I began to write the book in the form in which it now exists, of a prophet revealing the mystery through a series of seals, the words just flowed out as it the book were already written before I wrote it.

DWT: Since major cataclysmic events occurred in the financial world on Elul 29 in the last two Shimitah years, do you believe that some act of judgment will occur on the next Shimitah Elul 29 which is September 13, 2015?  If so, do you have any idea what? 

JC: The next Shimitah will take place from September 2014 to September 2015, culminating on the 29th day of Elul, September 13, 2015, that’s correct.  I haven’t been led to be dogmatic concerning what may or may not happen, but I think it’s wise to keep our eyes open.

DWT: Much has been written about the reinstatement of Israel as a prophetic super sign.  Is there a relationship between modern-day Israel and American judgment that leads to Biblical end-time events such as the War of Magog and the tribulation of the Revelation?

JC: There is a connection between the macro pictures of end-time prophecy and the specificity of The Harbinger.  We know that there is no clear reference to America in end-time prophecy and yet America is now still the head of nations.  Thus, to go from where we are now to the scenario of end-time prophecy, somehow America must fall as the world’s leading superpower; it must lose its crown as head of nations.  “The Harbinger” fills in the gap with specific detail as to how it would proceed to that end.

DWT: Do you believe that recent cataclysmic events such as Hurricane Sandy and the Newton massacre are related to the removal of God’s protective hedge?

JC: We must be careful in our discerning what every calamity means.  “The Harbinger” rests on a precise, unique, eerie, and exact outworking of an ancient template of judgment in all its specificity and detail.  Thus there is a clear Biblical frame of reference.  With most other calamities, this is not the case.  Nevertheless there are general principles of Scripture concerning national judgment.

In the case of Hurricane Sandy, it was striking for such a storm to develop when and where it did – and then to specifically strike New York City.  It was also of note that the storm struck Ground Zero, flooding it over.  The governor of New York then went down to Ground Zero and from there made declarations that the city would rebuild and come back better than ever. Anyone who read “The Harbinger” would know the significance of such words.

DWT: Have you had any other revelations since writing the book?

JC: Yes. The mystery of “The Harbinger” has not stopped.  It’s continuing.  Since the book was released, the harbingers are continuing to manifest.  And what was foreshadowed in the book is coming true.  Some of it has been so amazing that it has left those who read the book literally gasping.  When my wife informed me of one of them I didn’t even believe her.  It was too far out (and I wrote the book)!  It involved the president of the United States and a[n] ancient Hebrew mystery.

DWT: Do you have any idea how much time is left for America to repent or what the result of the final judgment will be?

JC: We all live in the face of judgment.  And the time to repent, to be saved, and to get right with God . . . is now.

For more information on “The Harbinger” and to receive a CD and other gifts from Rabbi Cahn, visit Jonathan Cahn’s website:

This interview was conducted via email. Rabbi Cahn’s responses are presented in their entirety except for minor editing.

Originally published on

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Farewell to the Talkmaster

Today was the farewell show for one ofAtlanta’s national celebrities. WSB talk showNeal Boortz bade farewell to his fans in the last regular edition of his morning radio show.

Boortz, who styled himself as the “Talkmaster” and the “High Priest of the Church of the Painful Truth,” took calls from fans for much today’s show. Recurring guests such as former Republican presidential candidateHerman Cain and Washington correspondent Jamie Dupree also made appearances. Callers and guests were forbidden to mention the name of “the Destroyer,” a reference to Barack Obama, during the final show.

A lawyer originally, Boortz has hosted a radio show on WSB since 1993. The show has been nationally syndicated since 1999. He has also written several books, including “the Fair Tax Book,” which he coauthored with Rep. John Linder.

Boortz is different from most political talk show hosts in that he is a libertarian, not a conservative. He regular criticized Republicans as well as Democrats in the rants on his show. Boortz often said things on his show that no one else dared to say with politically incorrect jabs at many groups. Muslims, Christians, public schools, smokers, fat people, and social conservatives were frequent targets in addition to liberals.

Boortz said that he plans to tour the country in a recreational vehicle during his retirement. He also plans to return to radio as an occasional guest host and to spend more time promoting the Fair Tax, a national consumption tax that would replace all other federal taxes. Fans will be able to follow Boortz in his retirement via his “@talkmaster” account on Twitter.

Originally published on Examiner:

Marco Rubio proposes new GOP immigration policy

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) is proposing an immigration reform package reports this week’s Weekend Interview in the Wall St. Journal. Rubio, whose name was floated as a potential vice presidential nominee for Mitt Romney, wants to take the immigration issue away from the Democrats. According to Examiner’s analysis of exit polls of the 2012 presidential election, immigration was one of the most damaging issues for the Republicans.
The first prong of Rubio’s plan is to modernize America’s immigration system. He would issue more immigration visas to immigrants with technical skills needed by U.S. companies. Rubio notes that only 6.5 percent of immigrants come to the U.S. based on their labor and skills, but that American colleges don’t produce enough science, technology, engineering and math graduates to fill open positions. In fact, many foreign students who come to the U.S. to study cannot get visas to stay in the country and work.

Rubio believes that it is necessary to secure the border, but also supports workplace enforcement initiatives such as requiring employers to check the immigration status of workers. Rubio believes that these initiatives will remove the incentive for immigrants to enter the country illegally.

There is a real need for immigrant labor. In spite of high unemployment rates, Georgia is among the states where strict immigration laws have resulted in large crop losses for farmers. After Georgia’s immigration law took effect in 2011, Georgia Public Broadcasting reported that the Georgia Agribusiness Council estimated that the state’s farmers would lose as much as $1 billion because there were not enough workers to harvest their crops before they spoiled.

Rubio would solve this problem by increasing the number of permanent and seasonal work visas for farm workers. Farmers need immigrant labor to harvest their crops and immigrants need jobs to support their families. Issuing work visas would be beneficial to both groups in addition to bringing immigrants into the legal workforce to prevent them from being exploited. An added benefit would be the tax revenue that from the salaries of these legal migrant workers.

The problem of illegal aliens would be solved by bringing them into the open. Rubio proposes that they come forward to undergo background and fingerprint checks. If they had committed a serious crime, they would be deported. Those who had been in the U.S. for an extended period and who had lived within the law otherwise would be subjected to a fine, be required to pay back taxes, and possibly do community service. After they had paid their debt to society, they would be given legal status and could apply for permanent resident status. After a waiting period of several years, they might be allowed to apply for citizenship.

Sen. Rubio’s plan, which he would pass in several smaller bills as opposed to one omnibus bill, fills a void within the Republican platform as a way to appeal to minorities who now make up 28 percent of the electorate according to exit polls and vote overwhelmingly for the Democrats. Rubio doesn’t believe it should be this way. He says that immigration is a “gateway” issue for Hispanics. Republican outreach on this issue might well help Hispanics realize that they have much in common with Republicans on other issues.

The proposal will likely face opposition from members of Rubio’s own party who oppose any path to legality for illegal aliens.  Because of the rising share of minority voters and the ease with which Democrats demonize hard-line positions on immigration, the future of the Republican Party may hinge on the success of Rubio and his allies.

Nevertheless, Rubio believes that the issue is ripe for Republicans because President Obama and the Democrats have "not done a thing" for immigration according to the Journal article. It is likely that the Democrats will fight Republican efforts at reform in order to keep Hispanics in the Democratic fold for future elections.

Originally published on

CORRECTION:  An earlier version of this article stated that Sen. Rubio's position was did not include securing the border as a precursor to immigration reform.  Sen. Rubio's press secretary has informed the author that this is not the case.  Sen. Rubio does believe that border security is necessary before any reform package can move forward.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Obama gun control would not prevent shooting sprees

Yesterday President Obama began the largest push for gun control in decades with a list of proposals for congressional action and series of Executive Orders that the president signed unilaterally. A comprehensive list of the president’s proposals in the New York Times reveals that the president’s proposals would not have prevented most of the recent mass murders.

While the president’s wish list is long, it conspicuously excludes the one thing that could have prevented several of the recent shootings. President Obama and Vice President Biden did not ask congress to expand instant background checks to include mental health information. As a recent Examiner article discussed, most mass killers have a history or can be reasonably suspected of having mental illness.

While the president’s plan does call for increased spending on mental health programs for young people and the opening of national dialogue on mental health, it does not tie mental health to gun purchases. Instead the president concentrated on tried and failed ideas such as an “assault weapons ban” and limit on the capacity of magazines. These ideas failed to reduce crime when they were enacted in the 1990s. When they expired, the crime rate did not increase as many liberals had predicted.

One of the president’s Executive Orders also attempts to clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prevent doctors from asking patients about guns in their homes. In reality, an amendment to the ACA’s section 2716 specifically states that health or wellness programs under the law “may not require the disclosure or collection of any information relating to… lawfully possessed firearms or ammunition….” The law also prohibits data collection on the possession and use of lawful firearms and ammunition. The president is essentially attempting to use an Executive Order to amend a law enacted by congress.

The big question is whether the president’s proposals would have prevented recent mass shootings like the one in Newtown. The answer seems to be no, especially in light of the fact that existing assault weapons would remain in the hands of their owners.

Adam Lanza did not purchase the guns that he used to murder 20 children and six adults on Dec. 14, 2012. According to the Daily Mail, Lanza stole his guns from his mother, Nancy. Adam shot Nancy in the face with one of her legally purchased weapons. He then stole her car and drove to Sandy Hook Elementary. According to the New York Times, the school was locked, but Lanza shot his way through the door.

A few days earlier on Dec. 11, Jacob Tyler Roberts killed two people in the Clackamas Mall in Portland, Ore. The rifle used by Roberts was stolen from one of his friends according to the Associated Press. According to Portland’s News Channel 8, Roberts killed himself after being interrupted by a man with a legally concealed handgun, who may well have kept the death toll from being much higher.

In a third December shooting, William Spengler killed two firefighters who were responding to a fire he had set in Rochester, N.Y. Spengler, a convicted felon, could not legally purchase or own a gun. NBC News reported that Spengler’s suicide note revealed that a straw purchaser, 24-year-old Dawn Nguyen, bought the guns for him. Nguyen is facing federal and state charges for making false statements in the purchase of the guns.

According to CBS News, James Holmes, the “Dark Knight” killer from Colorado, purchased his guns legally from three different stores over a period of several months. The guns were purchased well in advance of the Aurora, Co. mass murder. The stores performed the required background checks, but Holmes had a clean record at the time.

ABC News reports that a University of Colorado psychiatrist who had counseled Holmes warned the Aurora Police Department about Holmes several weeks before the murders. The information was not placed into the instant background check system and may have come too late to stop the purchases in any event. The psychiatrist allegedly rejected an offer by the police to put Holmes on a 72 hour psychiatric hold according to Yahoo News.

In the wake of the Aurora murders, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, led an effort to reform state mental health laws. The Wall St. Journal reports that the reform modernized Colorado’s commitment laws and provides that commitment records be crosschecked for gun purchases. The Journal notes that the reforms also protect the civil liberties of law-abiding citizens.

Jared Lee Loughner, the Tucson killer who shot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, purchased his gun from a sporting goods store after passing a federally required instant background check. The Christian Science Monitor notes that Loughner’s background check was clear because he had never been declared mentally unfit by a court. Blogger Rob Doar also points out that Loughner lied on his instant background check application, a felony.

The Virginia Tech killer, Cho Seung-Hui, purchased his guns legally in spite of the fact that a judge had deemed him an “imminent danger to himself” in December 2005 according to CNN. Because the judge ordered outpatient treatment instead of committing Cho to a hospital, his mental health history did not show up on his background check. Cho bought his guns in separate purchases more than a month before his killing spree.

The Columbine killers, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, obtained their guns illegally. The Violence Policy Center says that several guns were bought for the teens by a straw purchaser. One gun was sold to the pair by a private seller who knew that they were under the legal age to buy a pistol. The straw purchaser, Klebold’s girlfriend Robyn Anderson, was never prosecuted, but the individual seller, Mark Manes, served 19 months in prison according to Yahoo. There is speculation that Anderson was not prosecuted in exchange for her testimony before the House Judiciary Committee.

Since most of the killers obtained their guns illegally, either through theft, straw purchases or fraud, it is unlikely that President Obama’s new laws would have prevented any of the mass killings. However, Colorado-style mental health reforms that would tie mental health records to the National Instant Check System and make it easier to mandate treatment for the mentally ill who pose a danger to themselves and others might well prevent some killers from obtaining a weapon. Stiff penalties for straw purchasers and enforcement of existing laws against fraud are also needed.

It will never be possible to completely end killing sprees. As Examiner previously reported, countries with much stricter gun control that the U.S. have had even worse shooting sprees. Even an outright ban of guns would leave many other weapons available. The worst school killing in U.S. history was committed with bombs, not guns. On the same day that Adam Lanza attacked Sandy Hook Elementary, a man in China injured 22 children in their school with a knife according to CBC News. This was the latest in a series of knife attacks against Chinese children. Even the presence of armed guards, an idea endorsed by the National Rifle Association, cannot guarantee that a determined murderer would be unsuccessful.

Perhaps the best advice on preventing school violence came from Paul Regnier, a spokesman for the Fairfax, Va. school system after the Virginia Tech murders. Speaking to the Roanoke Times, Regnier said, "A principal once told me, 'we don't need metal detectors at the schools; we need mental detectors.’”


Originally published on

New gun laws should focus on mentally ill

When President Obama announced his new gun control initiative today, he recycled a traditional liberal wish list of band-aid solutions to the problem of gun violence. Most of the proposals, such as a ban on so-called “assault weapons” and “high capacity magazines,” have been tried and have failed to curb violence in numerous locations.
Solutions are made more difficult by the fact that the killers in many of the rampages are killed either by their own hand or by police making it difficult to ascribe motives, but in many cases common elements can be determined. In most of the shootings, the killer had been diagnosed with some form of mental illness or can plausibly be considered to have an undiagnosed mental illness. Other factors, such as video games, movies, or broken families are also common.

In the case of the Sandy Hook school shootings at Newtown, Ct., the Hartford Courant and NBC’s WPTV reported that Adam Lanza was a frequent player of violent first-person shooter video games. Police report that Lanza destroyed his computer before his rampage, so the exact extent of his video gaming may never be known. Lanza was known to have been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism and had not seen his father since 2010.

Peter Bell, executive vice president of programs and services at Autism Speaks told PBS that some Asperger’s patients do have trouble controlling aggressive thoughts and behavior, but that there is no evidence linking the condition to violence. Nevertheless, Randi Rentz, a teacher specializing in Asperger’s, notes that some of her students exhibit hostility. There is also the possibility that other undiagnosed forms of mental illness were present along with the Asperger’s.

A few days before the Newtown shooting, Jacob Tyler Roberts killed two people and wounded a third at the Clackamas Mall in Portland, Ore. before being interrupted by a man with a legally owned gun and concealed carry permit. Roberts’ mother died at childbirth and he had never met his father. According to CNN, he lived with an aunt up to age fourteen when he moved out to live on his own. According to CBS, Roberts was also a video gamer.

Although Roberts had not been diagnosed with mental illness, his Facebook page contained the slogan “follow your dreams” stamped with “canceled” according to CNN. He also joked that he was an alcoholic. An ex-girlfriend told ABC News that Roberts had planned to move to Hawaii just prior to the shooting, but got drunk and missed the flight. It is possible that Roberts suffered from undiagnosed depression and alcoholism.

James Holmes, who went on a rampage in a movie theater showing “the Dark Knight” in Colorado in July 2012, apparently came from an intact family, but had seen three mental health professionals at the University of Colorado according to CBS News. Any diagnosis is unknown due to a gag order imposed by the judge in the case, but Holmes reportedly mailed a package to one of the school’s psychiatrists. Because of the gag order, not much information is available about Holmes’ mental state, but Fox News has reported that he was a frequent player of video games including “World of Warcraft,” a role-playing game. One friend told the Telegraph that Holmes preferred “Guitar Hero” to shooter games.

The Week reported that a local gun range owner flagged Holmes after he attempted to join the range. The man called Holmes’ answering machine “bizarre or freakish” and told employees to refer Holmes to him before letting him do anything there. In the months before the killing spree, Holmes’ grades had fallen and he had dropped out of graduate school. Apparently, one of the psychiatrists at the college had become concerned that Holmes might be a potential threat, but he dropped out before her concerns could be addressed according to a report from the local ABC affiliate.

Jared Lee Loughner, who shot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and killed six others in Tucson in January 2011, was both mentally ill and a video gamer. Several sources, including the Wall St. Journal, report Loughner’s obsession with games. Loughner had a long history of mental illness according to Time. He had made threatening and nonsensical comments to fellow students and teachers at his college. His tests and writings included bizarre and sometimes violent phrases. At times he seemed paranoid and unable to function socially. He was also a frequent user of marijuana which may have made his condition worse. He apparently was rejected for military service due to a failed drug test. He also had stalked several women and, at one point, was involuntarily committed to a mental institution.

A Wall St. Journal investigation of Loughner’s posts in online video game forums showed a number of disturbing posts. He pondered whether one should “hit a Handy Cap Child/Adult” [sic] and theorized that women enjoyed being raped. He also lamented his inability to find a job. According to the report, Loughner played role-playing video games such as “Starcraft,” “Diablo,” and “Earth: 2025.”

Cho Seung-Hui, who killed 32 people at Virginia Tech in 2007, had been diagnosed with mental health problems at an early age according to a well documented report on the massacre by the State of Virginia. In elementary school, he was diagnosed with emotional issues that led to communication problems. In middle school, he was diagnosed with social anxiety disorder, lack of verbal skills and immaturity. In 1999, after the Columbine murders, Cho wrote a paper for his English class that indicated that he wanted to carry out a mass murder as well. He was diagnosed with selective mutism in social situations and depression. At this point, he was given a prescription for antidepressants, after which his condition improved.

Cho had an above average IQ and, with special accommodations in high school, his grades were high enough that he was accepted at Virginia Tech. In eleventh grade, he had improved enough that he was able to stop the counseling sessions and never resumed them after he graduated and began attending college.

As a college sophomore, Cho’s grades began to drop. He changed his major to English, a subject that he struggled with. He became disruptive in class and his creative writing assignments reflected dark and violent themes. He was accused of stalking a female student and had stabbed the carpet with a knife at a party. A friend reported that Cho had threatened to kill himself and Cho admitted to having depression and anxiety, although he denied having suicidal thoughts according to ABC News. Cho talked to three counselors, but failed to come to counseling appointments and pursue treatment. Throughout his school career, Cho was known for not speaking or speaking in barely audible tones.

Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, the Columbine killers, reportedly had different motives and illnesses. According to an assessment published in Slate, Klebold may have suffered from depression while Harris was likely a psychopath. Based on his journal, a panel of psychologists, psychiatrists, and FBI agents point to Harris’ contempt for others and his total lack of empathy and conscience as evidence of his psychopathic tendencies. Dr. Peter Langman, formerly a clinical director at Kids Peace Hospital and author of “Why Kids Kill,” agrees. His analysis of the writings of Klebold and Harris agrees that Harris was a psychopath while Klebold apparently suffered from a variety of psychoses including depression, paranoia, delusions and disorganized thinking. The two teens famously enjoyed violent video games as well.

There seems to be broad support for a system of screening students for mental illness. Dr. Harold Koplewicz wrote in the Huffington Post that 75 percent of psychiatric disorders appear by age 24 and that early intervention greatly improves the prognosis. Dr. Bill Knaus of the Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy network points out that many mentally ill people are not aware of their illness and therefore will not voluntarily seek help. A particularly dangerous time seems to be when people stop taking their medication, especially if they do so abruptly and without supervision.

A sensible solution to the problem of then mentally ill committing massacres would seem to be reforming laws to allow state and local governments more flexibility in involuntarily committing people who might be a danger to themselves and others. This should include follow up visits to confirm that they remain on their medication and that their condition remains stable. This may also require that privacy laws be amended so that information can be shared between agencies. Such an approach has been used in Colorado where Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, reformed the state’s involuntary treatment laws in the wake of James Holmes’ killing spree.

If he were serious about reducing violence, President Obama could also pressure his supporters in Hollywood to reduce the glorification of violence in movies and video games. As Lt. Col. Dave Grossman describes on, violent images and games can condition children to kill in much the same manner that armies condition soldiers to be able to pull the trigger. Although popular culture does not turn all children into remorseless killers, the combination of cultural cues and mental illness may combine to push some people over the edge.

Likewise, President Obama could use his bully pulpit to seek reform of federal entitlement programs and tax law to strengthen families. Children from single parent families and broken homes are far more likely to turn to crime and violence than children who come from stable families. Single parent families are also far more likely to live in poverty and require government assistance as well.
There is a legitimate role for the government to play in keeping firearms out of the hands of the mentally ill, a role that is more appropriate for state and local authorities than the federal government. Unfortunately, President Obama seems more intent on taking Rahm Emanuel’s crisis management advice to seize the moment to push for more of the same old liberal agenda.

Originally published on