Join Jim and Greg as they enjoy watching Dr. Anthony Fauci blow up a litany of media conspiracy theories about how he and President Trump are at odds and Jim slams the press for covering the coronavirus like a political debate. They also strongly correct Trump’s contention that he has absolute authority but also get dizzy watching the media call him authoritarian one day and demand he shut down the country the next. And they shake their heads at more evidence China was sloppy at their labs long before the outbreak.
It always feels good to make it to Friday, but this week it’s especially welcome. Join Jim and Greg as they discuss reports that we may be days away from a national lockdown that closes airlines, the markets, and forbids millions from commuting to work. They also groan as a number of U.S. senators face lots of questions after selling off stocks before the market plummeted over coronavirus fears. And as three New Hampshire residents sue Gov. Chris Sununu over his allegedly unconstitutional order banning gatherings of more than 50 people,they discuss the tensions between freedom and safety.
This episode is sponsored by Acre Gold. Go to getacregold.com/martini. Acre is giving away a gold bar for the month of March. Tweet why you should win and mention @get_acre for a chance to win the free gold.
British Prime Minister Theresa May is assembling a new plan to pursue the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union, but this effort is likely doomed as well since no consensus exists to honor the Brexit wishes of the voters.
May’s most recent Brexit plan was crushed in the House of Commons, largely because her own Conservative Party cannot agree on a strategy and opposing parties don’t want to help her either.
“Within the Conservative Party, there’s a huge split between those who see the deal as a repudiation of what the people voted for. Over 17 million Britons voted to leave the European Union and they don’t see this deal that she put forward to them as actually bringing about a removal of the United Kingdom from the European Union.
“Then you have another element within her party I think that believes that this deal does too much,” said Daniel Kochis, a scholar at the Heritage Foundation’s Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom.
Kochis agrees with the first argument, that May is trying to force through a plan that will still leave the UK beholden to the European Union, specifically the customs union.
“I don’t think that this withdrawal agreement did enough. It kept the United Kingdom in this sort of de facto limbo or perpetual limbo, where they were going to have to abide by the same sort of regulations and rules emanating from the EU but they would have lost their seat at the table to vote on those to help shape them,” said Kochis.
“Many members of the British public and of Theresa May’s own party saw this for what it was. It was a soft way to keep the UK within the European Union, They rejected that as not something the British people voted for,” he added.
But what is the U.S. interest in all of this British drama? Kochis says a lot could be at stake and the U.S. stands to benefit from a clean Brexit.
“It’s in our interest to have a United Kingdom that is sovereign, that can dictate it’s own trade policy, that can dictate it’s own border policy and not allowing itself to take in hundreds or thousands of people against the will of their own citizens.”
“It would allow them to be a strong defense partner for the United States. For instance, [Britain is] one of the key intelligence allies the United States has. There is some concern that were they to stay in the European Union that that could be damaged,” said Kochis, who also thinks a bilateral trade deal with the British could be a very good thing for our relationship and our economy.
Listen to the full podcast as Kochis explains why the UK leaving the European Union without a deal on March 29 might be the best case scenario. He also explains why Theresa May keeps hanging on to her job despite repeated failures at getting a Brexit deal approved.
As the media focus on the thousands of students walking out of school Wednesday to protest gun violence and demand gun control legislation, a longtime officer and police academy director says a critical element of stopping or limiting mass shootings is finding the right people to become police officers and training them well.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School did have armed security when a former student killed 17 people on Feb. 14, but resource officer Scot Peterson did not enter the school when he determined shots were being fired inside.
Many critics branded Peterson a coward for his inaction, but 21-year Illinois police officer Randy Petersen (no relation) says it’s more complicated than that.
“Maybe it’s not a cowardly person but someone who is unsure of themselves, unskilled, haven’t been trained up properly. Anytime you have something like that, we can have this situation where we shoot people that we don’t want shot or we don’t shoot people that need to be shot,” said Petersen, who also directed one of the largest police academies in Texas and is a senior researcher at Right on Crime.
“To go to the point where we have a police officer that is either incompetent in their physical skills, their defensive tactics skills, their shooting, they’re not going to have confidence and a lack of confidence can get you to a point where an officer either fails to act or overreacts,” said Petersen.
Petersen says a special type of demeanor is needed to be an effective police officer.
“We want a blend of these two qualities where a person is not overly excitable, not easily offended, but at the same time very competent and very capable,” said Petersen.
He says finding those qualities ought to be a high priority in the hiring process.
“We can train people to fight. We can train them to be good at sports. We can train them for an event, but we don’t know how they’re going to perform before they actually do it. What we can do is, during hiring and testing, we can have an idea of what we’re looking for an officer to be able to do,” said Petersen.
However, Petersen admits the vast majority of police officers never fire their weapons during their careers, so how can there be any certainty how they’ll perform under pressure?
He says training drills can be very effective.
“You’d be surprised at how realistic your role players, if you have good ones. Some of the technologies we have can really re-create the situations you can get in the training academy or in inservice training. You can get a real picture for how someone’s going to respond,” said Petersen.
“You can put them under pressure where the stress levels will give them that adrenaline dump, make them scared, make them nervous, make them physically exhausted, right up to the point to where the real situation is going to be just a little bit different,” said Petersen.
He says the key question is what police departments are wiling to do about the officers who can’t do the job well.
“The problem becomes whether or not we’re willing to weed out people who can’t. In a lot of situations I think that we don’t. We don’t weed out the people that we recognize and say, ‘I think this person’s not going to be able to do this,'” said Petersen.
Petersen says the problem is often not with the police departments but with the powerful allies of the officers not measuring up to the job.
“The union can make it difficult in a lot of states to terminate an officer that either has a lot of complaints filed against them or is basically incompetent. A lot of times they can end up getting their jobs back.
“It’s not that police agencies themselves are hesitant to get rid of them. Sometimes they fire them and they come right back on the job,” said Petersen.
While Right on Crime does not endorse any particular legislation to address mass shootings, Petersen says armed school security officers can be a good thing, but only if proven to be capable of handling a crisis of that magnitude.
He also says those officers can be limited in their effectiveness on a large piece of property.
“A police officer that’s on a sprawling campus still may have to run all the way across the campus to get to it, which may only take a matter of a minute or two but that’s a minute or two that we have active shooting going on. By the time the officer gets there, they may be winded. That changes the dynamics of being able to shoot and fight skillfully,” said Petersen.
On the issue allowing teachers to carry guns if they want to, Petersen says it may make a big difference when seconds count.
“Having administrators and/or teachers that are armed would be keeping in line with the doctrine of active shooter training because you’re going to have people with guns on scene faster to intercept that person,” said Peterson.
A church family in Texas is devastated and other congregations need to lift them up in prayer and take the necessary steps to protect their own worshipers, according to a Virginia pastor who says church leaders have a responsibility to “protect their flocks”.
Steve Holley is pastor of ministries at Immanuel Bible Church in Springfield, Virginia, near Washington, D.C. He is also speaking out in response to the many activists who bristle at messages of prayer for the victims of mass shootings, such as those impacted by Sunday’s horrific assault on First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, where at least 26 people were killed at another 20 were injured.
Those activists, most of whom want to see new gun control legislation, suggest that people stop praying and “do something” to prevent future atrocities.
For example, House Speaker Paul Ryan urged all Americans to pray for the people of Sutherland Springs in a tweet sent Sunday afternoon.
“Reports out of Texas are devastating. The people of Sutherland Springs need our prayers right now,” stated Ryan.
Reactions from prominent critics were fierce. Former cable news host Keith Olbermann urged Ryan to “shove your prayers” in a vulgar way and then urged him to “do something with your life besides platitude and power grabs.”
Actor Wil Wheaton also raised eyebrows in response to Ryan by tweeting, “The murdered victims were in a church. If prayers did anything, they’d still be alive…,” tweeted Wheaton,who later apologized to people of faith for insulting them but not for his views on prayer.
Pastor Holley says there is clearly a great misunderstanding of prayer.
“I don’t think it’s platitudes at all. It’re really beseeching God to help out nation in its time of need. That is what’s taking place. It seems like every two weeks these events erupt and they’re horrific,” said Holley.
He also strongly disagrees with the idea that the prayers didn’t do anything.
“Prayer accomplishes much. The scriptures say that. The scriptures encourage people to pray. The psalms are a songbook of prayer in many ways. So I think they’re really having a limited view of what prayer can do,” said Holley.
“Prayer sustains the spirit of those who endure and persevere through it. Prayer helps to readjust our focus, to understand that God is sovereign and that His will is in effect so we need to trust in Him and to seek after Him,” said Holley.
Holley says prayer should not be seen as a time of expecting all our prayer requests to be instantly granted. He says it’s something far more powerful.
“It shows that they really don’t understand prayer, that prayer is actually talking to the Creator of the universe, who called all things into existence, who loves us, who cares for us, cares for our every need and sent His Son into this world to die for our sin, and then by the power of His resurrection to give us life for eternity,” said Holley.
Rather than immediately promoting a political agenda in the wake of horrific shootings like the one in Texas, Holley says more valuable steps could be taken much closer to home.
“What are some things we can do to help people even curtail this, maybe even teaching our children that there is a God and that He has plans and purposes for everyone’s life, and that there is a right and there is a wrong and that human life is valuable and that we cherish human life,” said Holley.
On Monday, authorities said the killer came to the church because that’s where his mother-in-law worshiped, although it turns out she wasn’t there. Holley says another takeaway here is to seek conflict resolution long before it could escalate into the carnage we saw on Sunday.
“I think it’s training children along the way. how do you handle conflict? How do you handle difficulty? How do you work through those things and not have it end up with many people killed because you couldn’t resolve the issues you were struggling with?” said Holley.
Holley is no stranger to ministering to families suffering from terrorist attacks. One member of his church was killed in the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon and another severely injured. Another church member was killed in the 2013 attack at the Navy Yard in Washington.
He says there’s no magic formula for consoling believers devastated by the sudden loss of loved ones.
“We immediately try to get to their homes and just put our arms around them and love them and stay with them through the shock and horror that they’re facing. You try to comfort them with God’s word because His word brings comfort,” said Holley.
He encourages those around the grieving families in Texas to reach out and to know the families will need that kind of ministry for a very long time.
“This is going to be a hard road for a long time for some of those families. There won’t be a day that somebody goes by that church from now on that they don’t think about what took place in there yesterday.
“So the larger community around that small town need to think, ‘What can we do to stand by these folks and to encourage these folks and to show them God’s love. That’s what I would encourage them to do,” said Holley.
He says the most important thing is to be available.
“Just be there as sort of an anchor, as a means of encouragement, and just express your love for them and that you’re with them,” said Holley.
Holley says Sunday’s massacre is another reminder that none of us know how long we have to live. He says that should raise eternal questions in everyone’s mind?
“The hard news is it is appointed once for man to die and after that there’s a judgment. So each of us, somewhere in God’s day timer, has an appointment where we will face Him. The real issue is did I seek forgiveness of my sins through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ and am I ready for that time?
“There nothing that can prevent our death. We will not live one day longer than God wants us to or one day shorter. He will have us at His appointed time. People need to understand that’s a significant thing. We don’t live forever. We need to make sure that our eternal security is taken care of and that we’ve placed our faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ,” said Holley.
At the same time, Holley says church leaders have a responsibility to protect their family when they gather for worship. In the wake of the Sandy Hook school murders, Immanuel Bible Church got even more serious about security.
“At Immanuel Bible Church, we’ve done everything that we possibly can to try to provide an environment where people can worship Christ and also where they can be safe,” said Holley, noting that approach requires a security team made up of volunteers.
“It requires putting together a safety and security team that will be vigilant, that will be communicating with each other, that will be keeping an eye on things as people come to worship,” said Holley. “They have helped tremendously in the past with various situations that have arisen and many in the congregation never hear about or never know about.”
Holley also recommends churches work together with law enforcement to develop the best possible security strategy.
“I would encourage churches to run through various scenarios and maybe contact your local law enforcement agencies and see if they would come out and do an assessment of your church to see what things you may need to consider as you try to bring about security to your church,” said Holley.
Holley grew up in the same church he now pastors. He says attacks like the one in Texas never even crossed his mind until recent years, but he says good leaders will take the steps needed to keep their people safe.
“This is the world we are living in and so have to respond to it. We have to do it in love but we have to do it with very wise precautions and providing an environment for our congregation to enjoy a good worship experience,” said Holley.