Friday, March 28, 2008

A Call to Arms

To the citizens of Oklahoma:

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Currently in the Oklahoma State Senate, legislation is being considered to allow citizens with previous military experience who have concealed carry licenses to carry their concealed weapons on college campuses. Politicians need to hear from their constituents. We can’t waste any time. As opponents of this bill have correctly surmised, this is legislation that can be used to establish precedent. From this step, we can later push to allow all those with concealed carry licenses to carry on campus, as is their constitutional right.

First, find your State Senator and email them, telling them to SUPPORT current legislation allowing those licensed to concealed carry with previous military experience to be able to legally carry their weapons on college campuses for the protection of themselves and others by lifting the unconstitutional infringement of concealed carry weapons on college campuses.

Sample form:

To Sen. “Jones,”

As I’m sure you are aware, the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution reads, “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” I am writing to encourage you to support lifting the unconstitutional infringement of the rights of licensed concealed carry citizens on college campuses. The safety of students and faculty at our state colleges and universities is important to me, and as your constituent I appreciate your efforts to ensure both the Second Amendment rights of the citizens of Oklahoma and the welfare of those attending and working at state colleges and universities.

Thank you in advance for your support on this issue.


Your name

Then, find your State Representative and email them, thanking them for their part in passing the bill. Even if they voted no, it will get the point across.

Sample form:

To Rep. “Smith,”

As I’m sure you are aware, the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution reads, “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” I am writing to thank you for your part in lifting the unconstitutional infringement of the rights of licensed concealed carry citizens on college campuses. The safety of students and faculty at our state colleges and universities is important to me, and as your constituent I appreciate your efforts to ensure both the Second Amendment rights of the citizens of Oklahoma and the welfare of those attending and working at state colleges and universities.


Your name

It doesn’t take much, even just a quick form email. That’s not a whole lot of effort, but any amount of pressure we can put on our respective elected officials is important.

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Power to the people!!!

*images collected – but not created – by me

Friday, March 14, 2008

Not Against Flesh and Blood

The political landscape of the State of Oklahoma is currently a front line in spiritual warfare.

In an unprecedented move, an openly gay man, Jim Roth, is running for a statewide office. He was previously appointed Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner by Governor Brad Henry when the position was vacated last year by the previous Commissioner. Now, that seat is up for election, as well as one other, and he could very well be the first open homosexual to be elected to office by an entire state. The fact that this is happening in Oklahoma and not, say, California is even more significant. Because of this, gay activist organizations from across the nation are pouring money into his campaign.

Next month, several major high school districts across our state are participating in the Day of Silence, an event created to recognize the oppression of homosexuals as inhumane. Students are encouraged by faculty to participate by wearing special t-shirts, taking a day-long vow of silence and handing out literature promoting the event. Obviously, the students who refuse to participate will be easy to identify.

Now, of course, this is America. As Americans, citizens have the right to live the way they want to live, promote what they want to promote and donate to whom they want to donate. They can say what they want and do what they want, and are protected by our Constitution, as they should be.

However, this is one of those times when being a Christian can conflict with being an American.

As a Christian, I take civic duty very seriously, as you know from previous blogs. The welfare of our country has been placed in our hands. And when America says something is okay but God says it’s not, the choice should be obvious. Christians, American Christians, should tremble in fear when their fellow citizens openly and publicly refute the Word of God as unnecessary, irrelevant, and untrue. And when we have the power to stop or at least resist the deliberate, militant march of organized sin, we should run to the forefront of the fight.

Are we to fight homosexuals and their sympathizers? Not really. We must realize who it is we are really fighting against. Make no mistake, sin is sin, and anyone who encourages the social acceptance of sinful living, Christian or not, will have to face the consequences.

But we are not struggling against the sinful and the hateful. We are struggling against the powers of evil, “against spiritual wickedness in high places.” That phrase has never been so plain to me before. Recognize the Enemy for what he is, the Great Deceiver, and recognize the sinner for who they are, the Deceived.

But, with that, recognize the need for truth. God is loving and merciful, or else he would not provide us an escape from our sin. But God is also just and holy. He cannot tolerate sin, and pronounces harsh penalties against those who not only practice it but promote it.

It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to stumble. (Luke 17:1)

I know your works--your love, faithfulness, service, and endurance. Your last works are greater than the first. But I have this against you: you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and teaches and deceives My slaves to commit sexual immorality and to eat meat sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to repent, but she does not want to repent of her sexual immorality. Look! I will throw her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her practices. I will kill her children with the plague. (Rev. 2:18-23)

We have an obligation to proclaim the truth. To publicly recognize sin as sin is certainly offensive, but also loving. After all, if we are Christians, and we believe Hell is a real, physical place, why on earth would we be ashamed of warning those we care about away from it?

Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not give up. Instead, we have renounced shameful, secret things, not walking in deceit or distorting God’s message, but in God’s sight we commend ourselves to every person’s conscience by an open display of the truth. (2 Cor. 4:1-3)

We need to understand that the world is meant to be offended by the truth of the Gospel, because it is offensive to it. It is not unloving, but it is at odds with the world and those who cling to it. And while it may hurt and be difficult, Paul talks about the result of such offense, or “grief”:

“For although I grieved you with my letter, I do not regret it…Now I am rejoicing, not because you were grieved, but because your grief led to repentance. For you were grieved as God willed…for godly grief produces a repentance not to be regretted and leading to salvation, but worldy grief produces death.” (2 Cor. 7:8-10)

So, Christians, you must decide why you are so embittered against, embarrassed by, ashamed of, or in any way opposed to a fellow believer who stands in the public arena proclaiming the Word of God as truth. Why do so many to try and distance themselves from someone who does that, by saying things like, “she makes Christians look bad” or “I don’t really think that should have been said there/to them/that way.” Are we taking a stand for Christ when we join the world in denouncing those who proclaim his Word? Why do we make excuses for protecting those who need to be broken?

Do you remember how you came to Christ? Do you remember what it took to make you realize you needed a Savior? It took brokenness, guilt, shame, conviction, and an honest look at yourself as a sinner in need of forgiveness. And if that’s what it takes to be cleansed and made new by God, why do we try and shield others from going through that? Why do we try and let our loved ones take the “long way” to Jesus by trying to give them a feel-good version of Christianity without honestly telling them what the Word says? Why do we assume that being nice is enough to bring people to Jesus?

Friday, March 7, 2008

We All Know Where Good Intentions Lead

I recently heard a state legislator, apparently one of many on our side, who opposed the hearing of a bill in our state legislature allowing Oklahoma university students to carry concealed weapons on campus. His reasoning for this was founded in the entirely fictional premise of a mentally unstable person having a concealed weapon in class and using it to shoot up his classmates.

Okay, I know you’re going to skip the rest of this and flame me regarding Virginia Tech and such. I truly believe that this legislator only has the best intentions for protecting students’ safety. But there are some fundamental problems with the example he gave, mostly regarding the person with a concealed carry permit.

First of all, such a bill would not allow Joe Blow to carry an AK47 slung over his shoulder to Comp I. It merely extends the already existing right of Oklahoma citizens to have a concealed carry permit and operate in accordance with it to include a college campus. There is a major difference there. In case any of you haven’t applied for a concealed carry permit in Oklahoma, which is probably most of you, let me give a brief outline.

Getting a Concealed Carry permit isn’t as easy as getting a driver’s license. You have to pass a background check. You have to be fingerprinted. You have to shell out a couple hundred dollars to cover the class and fees and whatnot. You take the class after signing up for it up to three months in advance. Then you take the test, both a paper test and a shooting test. If you last through all that (and a lot don’t) then after several weeks of waiting, you get your concealed carry permit, which allows you to discreetly carry a weapon any place where it is not explicitly prohibited. The emphasis is on “discreetly,” as a person with a concealed carry permit cannot make it obvious in any way, by word or deed, that they are carrying a concealed weapon. They are only allowed to draw it in public for the express purpose of self-defense or the defense of others.

The process takes several months, and a person in an unstable or emotionally charged condition would probably not go through such a process in order to “sneak” a weapon onto campus. And let’s face it, if someone is deranged or disturbed and determined to hurt people, will the simple legal prohibition of a handgun keep them from using a gun? As we saw with Virginia Tech, it certainly does not.

While this legislator is well-meaning, he is obviously uninformed about the nature of concealed carry. The situation at Virginia Tech would not be replicated merely because of a single piece of legislation allowing students with concealed carry permits to bring their weapons to school, because the gunman at Virginia Tech did not have a concealed carry permit. Yes, he legally owned a gun, but he did not have a concealed carry permit. They are not the necessarily synonymous.

One of the other points this legislator made was, if “everybody” had a gun in class (hyperbole his) and the police showed up to an emergency situation, how would they know the difference between the “good guys” and the “bad guys”? The policemen will be “nervous and jumpy” and “will shoot whoever has a gun because they won’t be able to tell who’s who.” (Sounds like he has less faith in our law enforcement than in John Q. Citizen.)

It’ll be pretty easy to figure out who the “good guys” are. They will be the ones the other students are thanking for taking down the gunman before he had a chance to kill them.

I can’t deny I have an emotional stake in this. It may have been natural for this representative to have such a fearful reaction because he is unaware of the process involved in getting a concealed carry permit. But it is also likely that he was never in a personal situation that makes such legislation seem necessary.

A year ago, I was the female college student who had to walk across campus to the library after dark, knowing that the only thing standing between me and harm’s way, at best, is an overweight security guard, his golf cart and his walkie-talkie. In my junior year, a female student at my school was attacked in her dorm room in the middle of the afternoon. She was raped and brutally beaten. And she, simply for being a college student in her dorm room, was denied the choice of having the most effective instrument for self-defense at her disposal. I didn’t know the girl personally, and I can’t say that, given the opportunity, she would or would not have chosen to have a firearm in her room to protect herself. The point is, the chance to make that decision for herself was denied her.

This is one boat the feminists have missed. Right to Carry is one of the most fundamental woman’s rights issue there is, especially for female college students. It offends me deeply that a person claiming conservatism has the gaul to stand up and say that I should be denied my second amendment right to protect myself by having a concealed weapon, should I so choose, simply because of geography. I am resentful that a university administrator or a legislator or anyone seems to think that it’s okay to deliberately put me and my fellow female college students in the position of a victim because of nonsensical “what ifs.” This is a deliberate, intentional action on their part with little regard for the safety and welfare of students, both male and female.

Maybe if we allow qualified, trained citizens to exercise their right to concealed carry, we’ll have fewer professors throwing themselves in front of flying bullets to protect their students. Maybe female students will be able to act in their own defense, rather than being forced to rely on others. Maybe the next time a Virginia Tech happens, only one person will die – the gunman.

Yes, I just substituted his “what ifs” with my own “maybes.” But given the choice, I’d rather have legislation that lends more weight toward mine than his.

However, given legislators such as this, the chance for the voices of the people to be heard about this issue will have to limited to blogs and talk radio. How sad.

Monday, March 3, 2008

If You Build it, They May or May Not Come

We’re voting again tomorrow. I can’t remember the last time anyone under the age of thirty just randomnly brought up the subject of a tax bill vote. I didn’t think anyone voted for those but school teachers and education students. But I have to say, I’m impressed with the activity this bill is promoting. However, as with the aforementioned tax bills, there seems to be a imbalance of information on the subject. So let’s examine just exactly how this will affect tax-payers and voters alike.

There are a good number of people who see only the benefits of this bill, because they think they will only be affected by the benefits. Without going into what makes a person believe that I should pay for them to get to watch the Sonics in person instead of on TNT, a good number of younger supporters of this tax increase (yes, it is an increase, contrary to the propaganda) do not own property and are not primarily responsible for the food in their home. But, as someone who does pay property tax and grocery tax, I don’t think it’s fair to ask me to provide you with entertainment.

“But,” you say, “you don’t watch professional sports, so you don’t have a stake in the ‘positive’ side of this.” Okay, that’s a reasonable statement. Let’s change perspectives here for a second. I’ve been waiting my whole life to see Celine Dion in concert. What if good-ol’ Mick Cornett came to me and said, “Hey, if we can tack on another $100 a year to your property tax and another chunk of change to your grocery bill, and we use that money exclusively to build a larger, prettier event center, we just may be able to get Celine Dion to come to OKC and headquarter here instead of in Vegas for six months or so. All you have to do is vote yes.” Would I be more inclined to vote for the tax then? No, and here’s why.

Surely nobody is naïve enough to think that the City of Oklahoma City is responsible and honest enough to actually use tax money for what they say they are using it for. (MAPS for Kids, anyone? Wine by the glass tax? The lottery? There is an unending precedent for us being told to give the state a blank check for one thing and then the money being used to pay for Lance Cargill’s trips to Europe.) Actually, I guess we are that naïve because we keep letting these people do this to us over and over again. We just can’t seem to learn our lesson.

Let’s say that, because it’s leap year and a full moon and the planets have aligned, the state will actually use this money as promised and renovate or rebuild the Ford Center into a bigger and “better” version of itself. This still does not guarantee any of the things that have been dangled in front of us like carrots. We have no guarantee that the so-called intended outcome – bringing a Pro Basketball team to OKC – will actually happen. It’s an empty promise. And even if it wasn’t, we don’t need this extra tax and these vague, open-ended improvements for that to happen.

We already know we can handle sport events of national importance. Take the Big 12 Tournament for example. Everyone loves the BIG 12 Tournament. But this upgrade is not necessary to keep the Big 12 Basketball Tournament coming back to Oklahoma City. This upgrade has nothing to do with hosting the tournament. It was not even a year ago, Oklahoma City hosted the Big 12 Tournament - and everything went great. "What we heard,” Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett said, "was there's no way they could not come back with the success we had.” What Mick DID NOT hear is that the Ford Center would need to be completely remodeled in order to host another Big 12 Tournament. The Big 12 did come back. The Ford Center was awarded the 2009 Tournament. No upgrades were required to get it. (See George Schroeder's entire article from May 25, 2007)

Parting shots:

This plan is NOT an investment. There is no economic return for the city. Even supporters of the plan had to admit that we need to look at this as an "expense" not an "investment" because there is no return for the city. The only one who gets a return is the NBA - which is odd, because they pay nothing.

The NBA does NOT make a huge impact. Television ratings for the NBA are at all time lows. Adding an NBA team does not do much towards making Oklahoma City "big league". Instead it adds Oklahoma City to the list of cities that have been extorted for public funds by a league with waning popularity.

The NBA business model REQUIRES public subsidies. This vote is just the beginning of the public expense. The NBA requires public subsidies as part of it's business model. When the public doesn't want to pay - the team threatens to leave. The only reason this ballot measure exists is because the Sonics failed to extort $500M from Seattle. The NBA is already demanding $121M from OKC. It won't be long before they come back for more and more public money. The pattern is clear. The public pays - the team profits.

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