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Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Murder?--undoubtably. Suicide?--highly unlikely. Investigation?--deliberately bungled.

The mortal remains of Bruce and Nancy Shaefer are being laid to rest today, but what haven't been laid to rest are doubts about the manner in which they died, less than a week ago. I'm copying the statements that have been released now, before they evaporate into cyberspace:

Habersham County Sheriff Joey Terrell said the Georgia Bureau of Investigation was still working on the final report on the deaths. Terrell said the Schaefer’s[sic] exact time of death was still uncertain. One[sic] of Schaefer’s daughters found the bodies late Friday afternoon and called 911. Terrell said authorities are sure it was a murder-suicide. He said Bruce Schaefer left a four-page suicide note as well as other letters addressed to family members. --Charlie Bauder, WLHR

"Daughter of the victims found them in the house. She hasn't heard from them all day. Evidently, she went to the house and discovered the bodies," Sheriff Joey Terrell said. The Habersham County Sheriff says the deaths of the former State Senator and her husband are hitting everyone hard. "It's very shocking not only to myself but to everyone in the community," he said. --Elizabeth Owens and Jaime Reda, News Channel Seven

Six GBI agents were at the home investigating at the request of the Habersham County Sheriff's department, GBI spokesman John Bankhead said. The preliminary investigation is looking at the case as a murder-suicide, but he did not have further details. State Sen. Don Thomas told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution he knew the couple well and that he believed Bruce Schaefer was suffering from cancer. "In those moments, you are not at your complete sanity," said Thomas, a physician and Republican from Dalton. "Some people figure the best way is to end it for both of you. They were married for so long. Loved each other so much. When you see somebody that you love so much, every now and then, you think the best way out of it is to go and be with the Lord." --AP, March 26 [note: if Dr. Thomas is ever accused of killing someone old or ill, especially someone married a long time, I'll be inclined to believe it.]

"There will be a thorough investigation to determine what happened," GBI spokesman John Bankhead told the AJC. He could not say who might have been the shooter. Six GBI agents and two crime scene technicians are at the scene of the Schaefer home in Haberham County. An announcement was made around 7:30 p.m. Friday on the floor of the Georgia General Assembly. Mashaun D. Simon and Aaron Gould Sheinin for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, March 26

Autopsies are being performed today on the bodies of former state Sen. Nancy Schaefer and her husband, who were found shot to death Friday afternoon in an apparent murder- suicide at their Habersham County home.
Sheriff Joey Terrell said this morning that authorities believe they know who the shooter was, but wanted to wait until the autopsies are completed before releasing that information.
Terrell said the couple’s daughter, who lives in the same gated community as the Schaefers, discovered their bodies in a bedroom about 5:30 p.m. Friday. He said a handgun was used in the shootings and was found near the bodies.
Several notes were left behind, but Terrell declined to say who wrote them.
While State Sen. Don Thomas of Dalton said this morning he believed that Bruce Schafer had been ill, the sheriff said the couple’s daughter had no knowledge of any serious illness affecting him.
A prominent conservative Republican, Schaefer, 75, was known as a vocal opponent of abortion and same-sex marriage. She was elected to the state Senate in 2004 and served two terms, but she made several unsuccessful bids for public office prior to that.
State Rep. Rick Austin, whose district includes Habersham County, announced Schaefer’s death to a packed House chamber around 7:30 p.m. Friday and led lawmakers in a moment of silence.
Hall County legislators who had worked with Schaefer said they were saddened by the news.
“I had the privilege of serving with Nancy for several years in the State Senate and appreciated her kind heart and desire to serve the people of Georgia well,” said Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle. “Nita and I will be praying for the entire Shaefer family and ask that the Lord will provide them with peace that passes all understanding during this difficult time.”
“The state of Georgia has lost two fine God-fearing people,” said state Rep. James Mills, R-Chestnut Mountain. “We should all pray for the family.”
Rep. Doug Collins, R-Gainesville, said he served with Schaefer in his first term in the House. Because they served in adjoining districts, they often attended meetings together on White County issues, he said.
Collins said Schaefer served her district honorably.
“I always thought her to be an honest person who did what she thought was right,” Collins said. “It’s just a real sad event.”
Schaefer, who has been active in conservative Christian causes for many years, was president of Family Concerns, a Christian organization.
She was elected in 2004 after federally redrawn legislative districts created an open seat in the 50th District. She defeated two Republican challengers and a Democrat to win the seat.
Prior to that, Schaefer ran for mayor of Atlanta in 1993, was the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor in 1994 and finished third in the GOP race for governor in 1998.
Before seeking re-election in 2008, she considered a challenge to Brown for the congressional seat. She later chose to run for re-election, but lost in the Republican primary to eventual winner Jim Butterworth.
She once hosted a daily commentary show on WNIV-AM, an Atlanta Christian radio station, according to her state Senate biography.
She was a former first vice president of the Georgia Baptist Convention, a frequent speaker to churches of all denominations, a speaker to civic and political organizations and a frequent guest on radio and local and national television programs.
In 2001, she became the first female trustee of Toccoa Falls College.
She and her husband lived in Atlanta for 35 years before relocating to Habersham County.
The 50th District, which she served, includes Habersham, Rabun, Towns, Stephens, Banks, Franklin, Hart and a portion of White counties.
Shaefer and her husband had five children and 13 grandchildren.

--Mitch Clarke and Stephen Gurr, Gainesville Times UPDATED March 27, 2010 11:42 a.m.
Staff writer Ashley Fielding and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

According to GBI (Georgia Bureau of Investigation) official, both of them were shot to death when they were at their home. The investigation official also said that they are inspecting every aspect of murder-suicide episode but not sure. Everything will be clear once the postmortem report is done. Postmortem is expected to be carried out this weekend. Bankhead, who is also the spokesperson of GBI, explained that there are three crime scene technicians and six expert agents, finding the causes of death from Habersham Country Sheriff’s Department, who requested them to do so. The investigation team will search the house throughout the night to find murder related facts. Joey Terrell of Habersham Country Sheriff told that if there is any success in the investigation of Nancy Schaefer and her husband, Bruce’s murder, a statement will be issued on Saturday morning. by Moran Atias for Global News, March 27, 2010

When word came down Friday evening that former state Sen. Nancy Schaefer and her husband Bruce were both dead in what was described as “a likely murder-suicide,” the story rightly generated a good deal of public interest. . . . Within minutes after the first article on the death was published in the AJC’s Political Insider column, the garbage started flying. Several anonymous posters, from parts unknown, began celebrating and joking about the death of Sen. Schaefer, with most of the comments attributing the shootings to her. . . . For the record, the authorities now believe Mrs. Schaefer was killed by her husband as she slept, and he then turned the gun on himself. Austin Rhodes for Metro Spirit

Habersham County Sheriff Joey Terrell said on Monday he had found no evidence that Bruce Schaefer was ill. "Talking with the family, talking with the daughter who sees them about every other day, they don't know anything about it," the sheriff said. "If he did, he kept it from them." Sheriff Terrell said Schaefer left a four-page suicide note at the couple's home near Clarkesville. He also left several letters addressed to family members. There may be indications that finances played a role in the case, Terrell said, but nothing he has seen so far establishes a clear motive. "The evidence might be in the letters. It might not," he said. "We might not ever know." The sheriff said he is awaiting a complete GBI report but "the investigation and the autopsy results have not uncovered any evidence to indicate it was anything other than a murder-suicide." The bodies of Bruce and Nancy Schaefer, 74 and 73 respectively, were discovered in their bed Friday evening by their daughter, who lived nearby. Evidence at the scene suggests Mrs. Schaefer was shot while asleep, Terrell said. Both were found in their bed, he said, the gun lying near Mr. Schaefer. A GBI medical examiner determined that Mrs. Schaefer died from a bullet to the back, while Mr. Schaefer died from one to the chest. He said agents still have more interviews to conduct and forensic reports to complete before the investigation is concluded. --Patrick Fox, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

As officials said Friday night, former state Sen. Nancy Schaefer and her husband Bruce Schaefer of Habersham County apparently died as a result of a murder/suicide.Reading from a statement about to be released, Sheriff Joey Terrell said, “The ongoing investigation by the Habersham County Sheriff’s Office and the GBI into the deaths of Nancy and Bruce Schaefer indicate that Bruce Schaefer shot his wife once then turned the gun on himself.”
Family members discovered the couple’s bodies in the bedroom of their home in The Orchard near Turnerville shortly before 6 p.m. Friday.Terrell said a handgun was found near the body of Bruce Schaefer and that several letters written by him to family members were found in the home, including a suicide note.
Autopsies conducted by a GBI medical examiner today “determined that Mrs. Schaefer died from a single gunshot wound to the back and Mr. Schaefer died from a single gunshot wound to the chest.
The investigation so far and the autopsy results have not uncovered any evidence to incident it is anything other than a murder/suicide.”Law enforcement officials believe Nancy Schaefer was asleep when she was shot, likely on Friday morning, Terrell said.

--Rob Moore, The Northeast Georgian, March 27 9:48 pm

Investigators believe the husband of former state Sen. Nancy Schaefer shot her in the back and then killed himself in their bedroom at home, authorities said Saturday. The couple's bodies were found in their north Georgia home on Friday in an apparent murder-suicide. Investigators concluded that Bruce Schaefer, 74, shot her once in the back in the bedroom and then shot himself in the head, Georgia Bureau of Investigation spokesman John Bankhead said in a prepared statement. Bankhead said investigators found a handgun near Bruce Schaefer's body and several letters written by Schaefer to family members, including a suicide note. . . . Authorities believe Nancy Schaefer was asleep when she was shot, probably sometime Friday morning, Habersham County Sheriff Joey Terrell told The Times newspaper of Gainesville. The sheriff said that "some financial problems were mentioned" in the notes left behind by Bruce Schaefer. "That might have been one reason," Terrell told the Gainesville newspaper. AP March 28

Contrary to early reports that Bruce Schaefer had cancer, the Gainesville Times reported March 27 that the couple's daughter, who discovered the bodies, told the local sheriff her father was not suffering from any serious illness at the time of the shootings. Habersham County Sheriff Joey Terrell said some of the letters mentioned serious financial problems and speculated that might have been a motive. --Bob Allen, Associated Baptist Press, March 29

William Bruce Schaefer Jr., a native of Toccoa, died March 26, 2010. Affectionately known as "Bear" or "PaPa" to his family and friends, Schaefer was born July 20, 1935. He was the son of Dr. Bruce and Orville Tyler Schaefer of Toccoa.
Although he lived and worked in Atlanta for 35 years, his roots were in the mountains of Northeast Georgia. After retiring in 1996, Schaefer moved back to Habersham County, went to church in Stephens County and spent much time in Rabun County. He was a member of Ebenezer Baptist Church of Toccoa.
During his formative years, he attended Culver Military Academy in Culver, Ind., and graduated in 1953. He attended Clemson University on a football scholarship and graduated in 1957. Schaefer was captain of the 1956-57 Clemson golf team. He received a commission in the U.S. Army from Clemson and served in 1957 and 1958. After service, he worked for The Trust Company of Georgia and then in the investment business, retiring from Dean Witter in 1996. He served as an officer of the National Association of Security Dealers, president of the Atlanta Quarterback Club and the Lakeside (HS) Touchdown Club and was a member of the Jaycees and the Capital City Club.
Schaefer was married to Nancy Smith Schaefer for more than 52 years.
He is survived by five children and 13 grandchildren: William Bruce Schaefer III and wife, Sherrill, children, Bruce IV and Ashley Isabelle; John Schaefer and wife, Mary, children, Mary Glenn, Maggie, Jack and Caleb; Josh Schaefer and wife, Sandee, children, Jake and Luke; Edward Schaefer and wife, Paula, children Paul, Spencer and Garland; Nancy Schaefer Almoyan and husband, Paul, children, Isabelle and Schaefer; sister, Tyler Schaefer Remsburg of Plantation, Fla.; and many nieces and nephews.

Nancy Smith Schaefer, a native of Rabun County, died on March 26, 2010.
She was born June 28, 1936, in Clayton. Nancy was the daughter of Judge Lamar Smith, a superior court judge of the Mountain Judicial Circuit, and Isabelle Coffee Smith, both of Clayton. She attended the University of Georgia, Atlanta College of Arts and Design and was a graduate of Wesleyan College.
Nancy was the president of Eagle Forum of Georgia, a conservative and pro-family organization helping men and women participate in the process of self-government and public policy making so that America will continue to be a land of individual liberty, respect for family integrity, public and private virtue, and private enterprise.
She was the founder and president of several non-profit organizations created to strengthen and protect the family: Family Concerns Inc., Citizens for Public Awareness and Family Concerns Pregnancy Center in Atlanta. She was Georgia state senator from the 50th District, first woman candidate for governor of Georgia (1998), candidate for lieutenant governor of Georgia (1994), and candidate for mayor of Atlanta (1993). She was chosen as a Gracious Lady of Georgia and was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). She was the first woman trustee of Toccoa Falls College.
Mrs. Schaefer was a member of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Toccoa. She was an eight-year trustee of the National Ethics and Religions Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) and former vice president of the SBC. She represented Family Concerns and SBC at the United Nations Fourth Work Conference on Women, Beijing, China; at the U.N. Conference on Human Settlements, Istanbul, Turkey; at the U.N. Conference on Food, Rome, Italy; and the U.N. follow-up conference to Beijing in New York. She also had spoken on the "Unlimited Power of Child Protective Services" at the World Congress of Families, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and to the Nordic Community on Human Rights in Sweden.
Mrs. Schaefer was married to William Bruce Schaefer Jr. for more than 52 years.
She is survived by five children and 13 grandchildren: William Bruce Schaefer III and wife, Sherrill, children, Bruce IV and Ashley Isabelle; John Schaefer and wife, Mary, children, Mary Glenn, Maggie, Jack and Caleb; Josh Schaefer and wife, Sandee, children, Jake and Luke; Edward Schaefer and wife, Paula, children Paul, Spencer and Garland; Nancy Schaefer Almoyan and husband, Paul, children, Isabelle and Schaefer; a sister, Elsie Smith Simpson and husband, Sam, of Athens; many nieces and nephews.
--The Northwest Georgian, March 30

And, from the archives: Note the 'died' field. This was updated before the announcement was even made on the floor of the State House:

Born June 28, 1936
Died March 26, 2010 (73 years)
Contributor JR725
Last Modifed Mar 26, 2010 07:13pm
Tags Very Conservative - Anti-Gay Marriage - Pro-Life -
Info Senator Nancy Schaefer was born in Rabun County and now lives with her husband, Bruce, in Habersham County. The Schaefers have five children and thirteen grandchildren.

Nancy is the President and Founder of Family Concerns, Inc., a non-profit organization located in Georgia; Family Concerns was created in 1986 for the purpose of strengthening and protecting the family through local, state, national and international policy, and through the education of citizens and leaders in the vital importance of obeying God's moral law in our society and in our culture. She is the founder of Citizens for Public Awareness Inc., a lobbying arm for Family Concerns. She was Founder and President of the Family Concerns Pregnancy Center (1988-1998), which met the needs of over 5000 girls and women in the Atlanta area.

Mrs. Schaefer has been a host of "Live Talk With Nancy" daily commentaries, and "Family Concerns with Nancy Schaefer" in WNIV in Atlanta, GA. Mrs. Schaefer was the Republican Nominee for Lt. Governor in 1994 and the first woman Candidate for Governor of Georgia in 1998.

As an eight year Trustee of the National Ethics and Religions Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), Mrs. Schaefer represented Family Concerns and the SBC at the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China, at the U.N. Conference on Human Settlements in Istanbul, Turkey, at the U.N. Conference on Food in Rome, Italy, and the U.N. follow up Conference to Beijing in New York.

She is a former First Vice President of the Georgia Baptist Convention, a frequent speaker to churches of all denominations, a speaker to civic and political organizations, and a frequent guest on radio and local and national television programs across the nation. She is also a Sunday School Teacher.

Mrs. Schaefer was chosen as a Gracious Lady of Georgia, served on numerous advisory boards and directorships and in 2001 became the first woman Trustee for Toccoa Falls College in Toccoa, Georgia. She is married to Bruce Schaefer, and they are parents of four sons and one daughter. They also have 13 grandchildren. Nancy and Bruce recently moved from Atlanta, where they have resided for 35 years, to Clarkesville, Georgia (Habersham County) in North Georgia.

Senator Schaefer represents the 50th district, including Banks, Franklin, Habersham, Hart, Rabun Stevens, and Towns Counties, as well as part of White County.
08/05/2008 GA State Senate 50 - R Runoff Lost 37.68% (-24.65%)
07/15/2008 GA State Senate 50 - R Primary Won 37.52% (+0.00%)
11/07/2006 GA State Senate 50 Won 52.91% (+5.82%)
11/02/2004 GA State Senate 50 Won 58.01% (+16.01%)
08/10/2004 GA State Senate 50 - R Runoff Won 53.61% (+7.23%)
07/20/2004 GA State Senate 50 - R Primary Won 47.01% (+7.49%)
07/21/1998 GA Governor - R Primary Lost 7.72% (-42.66%)
11/08/1994 GA Lt. Governor Lost 42.48% (-11.83%)
11/02/1993 Atlanta Mayor - Inital Election Lost 11.09% (-37.89%)

Schaefer was born in Rabun County and graduated from High School in Stephens County. She married Bruce Schaefer of Toccoa, Ga., the son of Dr. and Mrs. Bruce Schaefer. The Schaefers reside in Habersham County. They have five children and thirteen grandchildren. Their fourth son, Edward, is the executive director of the Athens Y Camps for boys and girls in Tallulah Falls, Ga. He also owns a business with his brother Josh in Toccoa, Ga. Nancy and Paul Almoyan, their daughter and son-in-law, are the proprietors of Isabelle’s Restaurant in Tallulah Falls, Ga. Other sons, Bruce and John, reside in Atlanta and South Carolina.
Republican Party of Habersham County

Mrs. Bruce Schaefer of Toccoa was on the State Board of Education in 1962. In 1963 and 1965 Mrs. Bruce Schaefer was the Director, Georgia Department of Family & Children Services. From 1963 to 1967 Mrs. Bruce Schaefer, Lakemont, was on the State Commission on the Status of Women.

Orville Tyler Schaefer
Brenau Women's College 1930, 1908 ->1988
* Director of the State Welfare Department, which later became DFACS
* Speaker, lecturer
* Member of the Georgia Democratic Executive Committee (12 years - chair for 4 years)
* Georgia delegate to the national Democratic Conventions in 1956, 1960 and 1964
* Member of the Brenau Board of Trustees
* President of the National Brenau Alumnae Association
* First Brenau alumna to deliver commencement address
* Chaired the Brenau 90th anniversary celebration
Community Involvement Included:
* President of the Medical Association of Georgia Auxiliary Women of the Church, Athens Presbytery Member, Governor's Commission on Aging
* Chair, Greater Atlanta Commission on Crime and Delinquency
* Better Health Council of Georgia

Orville's father, Edward Schaefer, was a charter member of the Episcopal Church in Toccoa. He owned the first telephone system in Toccoa and The Toccoa News. He also served as president of the Bank of Toccoa.


Well, we still don't know what happened. And we're not going to claim we do until either the police or the family come forward and tell us what was in the documents left behind by the murderer.

I'll continue to add news items as they break in the space below.
The couple’s lives ended suddenly last Friday, in a way no one expected. Police say Bruce Schaefer, 74, killed his wife of 52 years while she slept. Then after shooting his 73-year-old wife, he turned the gun on himself. Their daughter found the bodies at their Habersham County home. So on a sunny Wednesday afternoon, mourners streamed into Toccoa’s Ebenezer Baptist Church to bow and pray. And to try and make sense of it all.
Former Atlanta residents, the Schaefers were renowned for their involvement in right-to-life issues and other traditionally conservative causes; to die as they did, friends said, was nearly unbelievable.
“There were moments, in the past few days, when I said, ‘Lord, I don’t understand
this,’ ” said the Rev. Andy Childs, one of two speakers in the 70-minute funeral service. Before him, flanked by carnations, rested two caskets, each draped with an American flag. A spray of roses lay on one.
Childs paused and looked at more than 300 people, including legislators who came from Atlanta to say goodbye to their former colleague, who served two terms in the Senate until her defeat in 2008. She also had been a candidate for mayor of Atlanta as well as lieutenant governor and governor. Her husband was a retired stockbroker. They had five children and 13 grandchildren. They also had friends who are trying to understand their deaths, Childs said.
“Intense hurt,” he said, “leads to intense hope.”
The Schaefers specialized in hope, said Kay Arthur, founder of Precept Ministries International. Based in Chattanooga, the nonprofit organization specializes in teaching Bible lessons worldwide. She and Nancy Schaefer, said Arthur, had similar beliefs, hopes and politics.
“They didn’t go the way we expected them to go,” said Arthur. “But they went, and they went to God Almighty.
“Don’t think of the way they died,” she continued. “Think of the way they lived.”
They lived good lives, said Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp. Wednesday morning, he and about 30 legislators boarded a chartered bus for the 100-mile trip from Atlanta to Stephens County.
“It’s hard to understand a situation like this,” said Kemp. “And that’s not for us to speculate on.”
The service ended as it began, with a woman on a harp and her father playing the violin. They played the old standards, “How Great Thou Art” and “It Is Well With My Soul,” among others.
Their music rose in the spring air of northeast Georgia, sunny and filled with daffodils waving in the wind, as a van carried two caskets away to a private graveside service.
--Mark Davis, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Well, we can't say this isn't being investigated by anyone. Here's more from Rob Moore at The Northeast Georgian:
Whether financial troubles were the motive for the March 26 murder-suicide of Nancy and Bruce Schaefer of Turnerville isn't known.
What is clear is that financial problems were plaguing the couple.
At 9:06 a.m. Wednesday, March 31, hours before the Schaefers' funeral in Toccoa, The Northeast Georgian received a legal advertisement of notice of sale under power to secure debt by Nancy S. Schaefer.That legal advertisement notice states the original principal amount was $755,000.
The home is scheduled to be sold "at a public outcry for cash to the highest bidder before the courthouse door of Habersham County" during legal hours of sale on the first Tuesday of May (May 4).
The 4,700-square-foot house, located at 458 Yates Circle, Clarkesville, is located within the private, gated golf course community known as The Orchard near Turnerville.
The home is valued at $629,000, according to the Habersham County Tax Assessors' Office.

And this from WLHR, Lake Hartwell Radio:

Nancy and Bruce Schaefer were found dead in their bed March 26th by their eldest daughter, in what GBI investigators say was a murder suicide. Investigators said Bruce shot his wife in the back while she slept sometime Thursday night then within hours shot himself once in the chest. A motive for the murder suicide is not known.

Bruce Schaefer left a four-page suicide note as well as other letters to members of his family. However, the contents of the suicide note or the other letters have not been made public.

UPDATE NOVEMBER 2011 Well, a year and a half has gone by, and--no surprise--the "suicide notes" have never been released. Officials are no doubt hoping the story has gone away--but people continue to search for the real answers. I'm sorry that I can't offer them here, other than to say that the Shaefers do appear to have done one really stupid thing, that may have contributed to their deaths: they borrowed more than they could afford to buy their house in a gated community. One of the main things that background investigators always look for is excessive debt, as it makes someone a security risk. For that, and whatever other crimes she was perceived to have committed against the powers that be, Nancy Shaefer was murdered. And it's highly unlikely that anyone will ever be charged with the murder.

Tracking down Zerubbabel

Isaac Newton was a genius; no one disputes that. And no matter what he applied his genius to, he made breakthroughs that changed the way things were done. For example, turn a dime or quarter on edge. You will observe a ribbing that goes all the way around the coin. While this serves no purpose today, it was a breakthrough in its time, invented by Newton to end the practice of 'clipping' the edges of specie, a sort of do-it-yourself degradation of the money supply. He came up with this idea when put in charge of the Royal Mint, and ever since then, coins have carried ribbing--as have the tokens that replaced them. Nickels and pennies don't, because they were never made of precious metal.

One idea Newton tinkered with throughout his life (claiming to spend only his 'idle time' on it) was a universal chronology of ancient kingdoms. The unfinished manuscript has once again been posthumously released, edited this time by the same man who brought Ussher's chronology back in print. Inasmuch as it was written before any of the treasures of Ancient Egypt had been opened up by the Rosetta Stone, it could bear editing again by an Egyptologist. And inasmuch as its dates for ancient Egyptian History could be falsified by Carbon-14 dating, this also should be attempted.

But one thing Newton gave to the science of chronology in this work was the technique of dating by generations. It turns out that he didn't originate the idea--it actually underpins much of ancient Greek chronology. What he did was bring Science into the picture, thus drastically reducing dates in ancient history. For example, he set an upper limit of 26 to 28 years for generations in a dynasty, with 18 to 20 years the average length of a reign. Ancients, on the other hand, assumed 33 to 40 years per reign (and in some cases as high as 80 to 100), thus greatly inflating the dates for the earliest monarchs when calculated by generations. Newton was able to conclusively prove that the dates generally accepted for European history get off by up to some three centuries as the inflated generations take us farther and farther back. Modern historians have disregarded Newton's work in this area, to their great detriment.

Calculating chronology by generations is actually an idea I had come up with myself several years ago. I even made a post on it earlier. This post represents my latest thinking.

The Gospels contain two different genealogies of Jesus, the son of Mary. They are so different that people have puzzled for millennia how they can end with the same person. I happen to believe that Matthew's genealogy is that of Joseph, Jesus' common law father, and Luke's is that of Mary, Jesus' birth mother. But regardless, both genealogies share one name in common--or at least appear to: Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel.

Personally, I think this is just a case where two people had the same first and last name--all too common in genealogy. But the interesting thing about this name is that it doesn't really matter: we can use this unique name to date anyone who has it, regardless of how many there were.

Zerubbabel has a very specific meaning in Hebrew: literally, it's sown in Babylon. Now, whether this refers to the individual's conception or his birth, we can reasonably date it to within one generation of 598/7 BC when Jeconiah was taken captive to Babylon. Using this technique relies on only two assumptions:

1) A Jewish father would give this name to his son if he was the first in his family line to be conceived and/or born in Babylonian captivity. The name reflects both the fresh despair of captivity, and a spark of hope for eventual return.

2) The name carries such a negative connotation that it would not be passed on to later generations.

So, let's start with the working hypothesis that anyone named Zerubbabel was born between 586 and 550 BC. Plugging this date into Matthew's genealogy, we find a perfect fit: Zerubbabel was the grandson of Jehoiachin (alias Jeconiah or Coniah), who was born in 616 BC. It's apparent that his first son was born before his exile at age 18, so Shealtiel's firstborn would have been the first in his line to be born in Babylon.

One fascinating piece of information was found on Cuneiform tablets dating to the general time that Jehoiachin was "given a regular ration by the king" of Babylon. It states something to this effect:
Tablet 28122: To Jaoukin, king . . .
Tablet 28178: "10 (sila of oil) to ...Jaoukin, king of Ja[...]
2 1/2 sila to []ns of the king of Judah"
Tablet 28186: "10 (sila) to Jakuukinu, the son of the king of Jakudu
2 1/2 sila for the 5 sons of the king of Jakudu"

I don't think we can identify the men on the third tablet with those on the first two, but at any rate we do know that Jehoiachin had 7 sons, and it's likely that 1 or 2 died young. This is likely the reason why Zerubbabel is sometimes listed as the son of Shealtiel, and sometimes as the son of Pedaiah; apparently a levirate marriage was involved.

But who is Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri in Luke 3:27? He doesn't appear to be closely related to the other one by blood, but, due to the unique historical conditions of the time, must have been in his same generation.

Now, taking that information, we can plug a date into the long genealogy from Nathan (born around 1050 BC) to Jesus (born around 0 BC). The 41 generations would average 25.6 years each--very reasonable when each generation doesn't have to be a firstborn, and an indication that probably none are missing. Plugging Zerubbabel in at 575 BC, we get fore and aft averages of 22.62 and 28.75 years respectively, both of which are still within the normal range.

But trying to fit Zerubbabel into Matthew's genealogy has a big problem: he's only 11 generations back from Jesus, rather than 20. This means an average generation of 52.27 years; way too many, especially since most of these are first- or second-borns. But remember, we already know that Matthew deliberately excluded 3 or 4 generations farther up. So how many can we reasonably say he excluded between Zerubbabel and Abiud--the descendant who follows him on Matthew's list?

Well, as it turns out, 1 Chronicles 3 already gives Zerubbabel's descendants out for 6 generations--and Abiud doesn't make the list. Adding these six to the 11 already listed gives an average generation of 33.82 years--still a bit too long.

If, as Newton showed, we can use generations to fix chronology, we can also do the opposite--by counting the years between Zerubbabel and Jesus, we can show that at least six, and probably about ten, generations are missing between Zerubbabel and Joseph--and likely before we even get to Abiud. UPDATE May 2012 I recently discovered a possible factor in Matthew's dividing Jesus' genealogy into three sets of fourteen: One set getting us to David the King, one set of Davidic Kings, and one more set of exiles down to Jesus, the heir to David's throne. 'DAVID' in Hebrew gematria has the value of fourteen.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Another Vatican abuse case


Got your attention, didn't I? Well, this probably isn't what you were expecting, so calm down.

The Vatican library is about to enter the digital age, apparently--for once--with no help from Google. This is an excerpt from their March 24, 2010 Newsletter:
The digitization of 80,000 manuscripts of the Vatican Library, it should be realized, is not a light-hearted project. Even with only a rough calculation one can foresee the need to reproduce 40 million pages with a mountain of computer data, to the order of 45 petabytes (that is, 45 million billion bytes). This obviously means pages variously written and illustrated or annotated, to be photographed with the highest definition, to include the greatest amount of data and avoid having to repeat the immense undertaking in the future.

And these are delicate manuscripts, to be treated with care, without causing them damage of any kind. A great undertaking for the benefit of culture and in particular for the preservation and conservation of the patrimony entrusted to the Apostolic Library, in the tradition of a cultural service that the Holy See continues to express and develop through the centuries, adapting its commitment and energy to the possibilities offered by new technologies.
Now, what I wish to focus on, and pick apart, is the following phrase: "without causing them damage of any kind." Simply put, this is fallacious thinking, but of a sort that is all to common to mankind, no matter the level of expertise behind such a statement.

Damage is an inevitable part of human existence, extending even to pride, which can be wounded, and feelings, which can be hurt. Nothing in human experience is immune to damage, and damage is so universal that its occurrence can only be limited to various extents; it can never be avoided altogether.

Now granted, leaving a book on the shelf in the darkened room of a climate-controlled library is the best way to minimize damage. Under such conditions, a book can be expected to remain in good condition for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. But that is not why books were written, nor why they are retained. Books are made to be read.

What the Vatican curators hope to accomplish by this digitization project--indeed, what they can hardly fail to accomplish--is to both slightly prolong the life of the books by ensuring that they will hardly ever need to be taken from the shelf again, and to greatly expand the usefulness of the books by making them available to be read virtually, anywhere in the world, and by as many people as have access to the digital files in which their images will be stored.

This is a very noble goal, well worth the time and expense that need only be applied once in order to be effective for a long time to come. But meeting this goal comes at a cost--that of taking the books off the shelf, opening their pages to the light, laying them flat, and then turning each and every page for exposure to a bright flash. This act alone will probably age some of these books more in one day than they have aged in the past one hundred years of occasional but careful use.

This is damage, and it is unavoidable. The only question to be asked is whether this one-time dose of damage is worth it in the long run, and the answer to that question is undoubtedly, "Yes." One last dose of damage now, and the book can go back on the shelf, perhaps never to be opened again. For that matter, the book can be used to kindle the woodfire for the next Papal Conclave, with relatively little loss to the global knowledge of which it has heretofore only been a physical, rather than a virtual, part.

But "without causing them damage of any kind?" It's an unnecessarily lofty ideal, and one that simply cannot be realized. Yet we meet with this sort of thinking again and again. Take for example, the adage that having borrowed or rented an item, you should "return it in better condition than you got it." Inasmuch as any use of an item causes damage, even returning it in identical condition is impossible. To return it in better condition would require that you do something to improve the item while it is in your possession, thus making up for and even reversing some of the inevitable damage. You could, for example, shine a pair of shoes that you borrowed. This would certainly make up for the polish worn away from the tops of the shoes while they were on your feet, but would do nothing for the leather worn away from the soles. And if the shoes were already polished when you received them, all your noble efforts would still result in you returning the shoes somewhat the worse for wear overall.

To take this line of thinking in a slightly different direction, most people assume (or did until a couple of years ago) that their house, as a result of them living in it for a few years, will become worth more than they paid for it--at least if they do a good job of keeping it up. This fallacy is actually based on two different assumptions, in addition the the assumption that it is possible, by taking great pains, to "avoid causing damage of any kind" to an item being used.

The first of these assumptions is that nominal cost is equal to real cost. In this way of thinking, if you bought a house for $7500 in 1940, and could sell it for $100,000 now, your house is worth over $92,000 more than you paid for it. On the contrary, it's worth close to $10,000 less. Had the value of your house kept pace with inflation, you should be able to get $109,425 for it today. Only when all figures are adjusted for inflation do you see the change in an item's real value.

The other assumption is that the only cost of a house is its purchase price. While that may be true for the first few months, a period in which no one expects the value of a house to have had enough time to go up, the fact is that to continue holding on to a house has unavoidable ongoing costs. Many experts recommend an annual spending of 4% of the house's value on keeping it up. Under such a plan, even if your house is still worth $7500 in 1940 dollars, you already spent more than twice what you paid for the house just keeping it looking nice from 1940 up until 1990, and you're now closing in on paying for it the fourth time in annualized nickels and dimes. All this, even if you paid for it in hard-to-come by cash, and had no mortgage expenses during all those years. And don't forget property taxes! To truly turn a profit on your $7500 investment held for 70 years, you'd have to get well over three--quarters of a million dollars for it today: a one-hundred fold nominal increase would still leave you under water in the kind of terms that real investors use.

So, to get back to the original title: What is the Vatican abusing now? Well, if not the English language, at least the science of Economics. While it is less abusive to the delicate manuscripts in the long run to subject them to the indignities of being photographed for all the world to see, it is simply impossible to maintain that it can be done without causing them any damage at all.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Why The White Man is not an Expert on Anything

I wrote recently on the subject of Old Pilots and Bold Pilots, in which I appeared to find some exceptions to the rule that there are no old, bold pilots. But as I consider the question, I think that my exceptions actually proved the rule. The pilots who lived to an advanced age may or may not have started out bold; but, having survived any risks they undertook in their youth, later flew as carefully as their old age required.

There is a corollary, I think, to the question of learning. "A little learning is a dangerous thing," wrote Alexander Pope at the age of twenty-one, in his first published work. Here is the quote in context:

"A little learning is a dangerous thing;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
And drinking largely sobers us again.
Fired at first sight with what the Muse imparts,
In fearless youth we tempt the heights of arts,
While from the bounded level of our mind,
Short views we take, nor see the lengths behind;
But more advanced, behold with strange surprise
New distant scenes of endless science rise!
Alexander Pope (1688 - 1744), An Essay on Criticism L. 215, 1711.

But look what Pope wrote the year he died:

"Ask of the Learned the way? The Learned are blind;
This bids to serve, and that to shun mankind;
Some place the bliss in action, some in ease,
Those call it Pleasure, and Contentment these."
Alexander Pope, Essay on Man, Ep. IV. L. 19.

Another thirty-five years had dimmed in Pope's mind the value of much learning. Indeed, much learning was ridiculed by the ancients:

"Your much learning is driving you insane."
Porcius Festus, quoted in Luke, Acts, XXVI.24, c. 50

Especially was much learning of useless facts ridiculed:

"The languages, especially the dead,
The sciences, and most of all the abstruse,
The arts, at least all such as could be said
To be the most remote from common use,
In all these he was much and deeply read."
Lord Byron, Don Juan, Canto I. St. 40, published anonymously in 1819

The ancients valued learning, but never for learning's sake:

"Learning without thought is labor lost; thought without learning is perilous."
Confucius, Analects Bk. II. Ch. XV.

Even much learning could end up being of no benefit:

"I’ve studied now Philosophy
And Jurisprudence, Medicine
And even, alas, Theology
From end to end with labor keen;
And here, poor fool; with all my lore
I stand no wiser than before."
Goethe, Faust, I. Night, 1808.

Learning was only of use if it resulted in wisdom:

"The fear of Jehovah is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction." Solomon, Proverbs, I. 7, c. 1000 BCE

"Deign on the passing world to turn thine eyes
And pause awhile from Learning to be wise;
Yet think what ills the scholar’s life assail,
Toil, envy, want, the garret, and the goal.
See nations, slowly wise and meanly just,
To buried merit raise the tardy bust."
Samuel Johnson, Vanity of Human Wishes, L. 157, 1754.

So, is much learning--the kind of learning that requires one to become an expert on anything--really worth it?

"Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. " James, James III.1, c. 45

"Few men make themselves Masters of the things they write or speak."
John Selden (1584 – 1654), Table Talk, "Learning."

Perhaps, taking our cue from the Bold Pilots, we who aspire to teach should begin in our youth to acquire much learning, realising that it will be some time before we will actually have the wisdom required to profitably impart that learning to others. But we must always realise that we are ever learning, even as we are teaching:

Homines, dum docent, discunt [Men learn while they teach].
Seneca, Epistolæ Ad Lucilium VII, 64

So, The White Man is not an expert on anything--yet; and may never be. But in the mean time, I intend to stick out my neck and at least question the learning--yea, even the wisdom--of those who claim that they are. And, in so doing, I expect to learn more myself.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

The Return of Debtors Prison

Inmate Anthony McCoy was told to remove the jewelry from his teeth before heading to jail, but he said it was cemented to his teeth and couldn't be removed.

McCoy ended up spitting out blood and teeth after a sheriff's lieutenant reached into his mouth and yanked out the grill, according to McCoy's attorney David Raybin.

Raybin says the enamel on his client's front four teeth were ripped off and he was denied proper medical treatment afterward.

McCoy was arrested in November and brought to the jail for not paying child support.

Lawyers in Nashville have worked out a settlement of $95,000, which is schedule d to go before Nashville's Metropolitan Council on Tuesday evening.

The sheriff's lieutenant was demoted and suspended.
While I've heard of women being assessed child support, I've never yet known of one hauled off to jail in handcuffs for not paying it. But this is becoming an increasing problem for men, who can end up spending years behind bars for not bearing the costs of their children's mothers' independent lifestyles. The men who voted for Female Suffrage in 1919 could not have foreseen that their grandsons would be locked away in debtors prison just because their granddaughters had the vote. But all changes to the status quo have consequences that are not only unintended, but usually unforeseen.

Now that a jailer's job is more or less mob enforcement, it's no longer a surprise that a jailer should act like a mob enforcer. And there's one thing the article doesn't mention--another unforeseen consequence of Female Suffrage.

The jailer that assaulted Anthony McCoy was a woman.

Friday, 12 March 2010

US Navy discriminates against Barack Obama

There is, in medical science, something called The Iatrogenic Effect. What it means is that there is a point of diminishing returns in the practice of medicine, in which further spending on medical testing and treatment not only results in less benefit, but actual harm. In other words, there comes a point where anything more a doctor can do for you is going to hurt you, rather than helping you. Barack Obama may have already reached that point.

Provided with unlimited free medical care from the US Navy as well as his own personal doctor and ambulance, Barack Obama is an iatrogenic incident waiting to happen. He was recently given a blood test, for example, to test his Prostrate Specific Antigen level. There has been quite a bit written about this test of late in the New York Times:

"The PSA blood test, used to screen for prostate cancer, saves few lives and leads to risky and unnecessary treatments for large numbers of men, two large studies have found."

and this, by Dana Jennings:
"I’m angry because the two studies confirm my gut feeling – based on comments to this blog and on the stories of many men I know – that millions of men, especially those in their late 60s and beyond, have received unnecessary prostate cancer treatments that have, at the very least, damaged their bodies and lives, if not outright ruined them."

And this from the very inventor of the test itself:
" . . . men lucky enough to reach old age are much more likely to die with prostate cancer than to die of it. Even then, the test is hardly more effective than a coin toss. As I’ve been trying to make clear for many years now, P.S.A. testing can’t detect prostate cancer and, more important, it can’t distinguish between the two types of prostate cancer — the one that will kill you and the one that won’t."

But Barack Obama got the test anyway, because it's part of Navy policy to give it to men over 40. He also got his colon screened, even though he's not 50 yet--apparently because the Navy has him down as an African-American, and they are considered "at a higher risk" for colon cancer.

This is racial discrimination, pure and simple--because Barack Obama was not born an African-American. His wife was, but with her advanced education and ability to hire domestic help, I doubt she's ever served him the soul food that serves as the primary cause of higher cancer, strokes, and cardiac arrests among those who eat it.

The last time I was at the Field Museum in Chicago, the Races of Man exhibit was still on display, although it had been moved to its own floor. I imagine it's probably in the basement now. But it clearly showed what were considered at the time it was commissioned to be the seven Races of Man. Traditionally, though, there were only four races, generally divided by skin color, and based on the presence of melanin and carotene:

Red: High carotene, low melanin
Yellow: Some carotene, little melanin
Black: No carotene, lots of melanin
White: Little carotene or melanin

Now, there is going to be some variation in all of these broad categories. To nail down the various ratios of carotene to melanin, you have to go all the way out to seven races.

When we come to Africans, we find them falling into three broad categories: the White North Africans, the yellow South Africans, and the Black Africans everywhere else. The Sub-Saharans are further subdivided into the Nilotic, Capoid, and Bantu races: Black, Dark Yellow, and Brown. It is the Bantu, or Brown race that overwhelmingly supplied the genes to those now known as African-Americans, and Barack Obama didn't get any of them. He's a member of the Luo tribe, which is of the Nilotic race. Thus he's no more genetically suited for medical treatment designed for the Bantu race than I am. This makes him a victim of discrimination: not on the basis of his medical needs (so called), but on his listed race.

Mutations in the genome--exciting? Only in Theory.

The White Man studies Evolution a lot. And I'm referring not to the Law of Evolution (all matter changes over time) which is so axiomatic that there's not much point in studying it. I refer to the Theory of Evolution--specifically, the official dogma of Naturalistic Materialism. This isn't hard, since it's the approved dogma of science textbooks, reference works, and most media outlets. In fact, it's virtually impossible not to be familiar with The Theory.

I like to watch Evolutionists debate Creationists. One thing I've noticed is that Evolutionists can't discuss their Theory without using the words create, created, or made/designed for. They just can't; I've never seen it happen. They often use them more than their opponent, and not to present his point of view, but their own.

In contrast to this, science articles of a technical nature almost never use these words. Even articles to a lay audience can get by quite well without them. This one, for instance.

When researchers are in the midst of a $50,000 project to examine mutations in the human genome--the very topic in which Darwin, or his Theory, is most often invoked--there's also not a single mention of his name or his Theory. Darwin's Theory, it turns out, is of no practical use whatsoever in predicting how genes will mutate and what changes in the phenotype will result from it. In fact, if you read between the lines, you'll find the Darwinian researchers surprised by their results--results that they now have to evaluate, not in light of Darwin's Theory, but of Mendel's Law.

That's right. Test results that don't conform to Medel's Law of Inheritance are tossed out as extraneous--regardless of how nice they may look for Darwin's Theory. When human lives are at stake, Science can't afford to follow an untestable Theory over a proven Law.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Words on Weather

Words on Weather & Climate—February 11, 2010

Posted using ShareThis

Is murder a hate crime? It all depends on whom you kill.

You probably haven't heard this one, have you?

CORUNNA, Mich. (AP) -- A jury has convicted a trucker of first-degree murder in the fatal shootings of an abortion protester and a businessman in a small Michigan community.

The jury found Harlan Drake guilty Thursday, rejecting his insanity defense at trial in Shiawassee County, 25 miles west of Flint. The 34-year-old faces life in prison without parole.

Drake testified for hours, admitting he killed James Pouillon and Mike Fuoss last September.

Drake testified that he didn't like Pouillon regularly standing outside Owosso High School with a picture of a dead fetus.

Drake's mother had formerly worked at Fuoss' gravel business and had disputes with the owner.

An Old, Bold Pilot

There's a saying among aviators and aviatrixes that there are Bold Pilots, and there are Old Pilots, but there are no Old, Bold Pilots. I quoted this maxim to an active aviatrix in her 90's, who agreed that she was not one of the Bold Pilots. Well, that was debatable. Some people thought it was pretty bold of her to still be taking to the skies at her age, and were relieved when she finally died in her sleep, instead of behind the yoke.

Well, all maxims have their exceptions, and if anyone ever qualified, Douglas Corrigan was the exception to this rule--much more so than his hero Charles Lindbergh, whose plane he helped build in San Diego before Charles flew it across the country and on across the ocean. Corrigan aspired to follow in his wake, but couldn't afford a fancy custom-built plane like Lindbergh had, now that there was no prize money at stake for success.

So he built his own plane out of, for want of a better term, scrap. That's the opinion the government had, and they refused to give him permission to make the flight. All his plane could get clearance for was flight over ground--so he proceeded to fly it from San Diego to New York. Time was running out as his plane limped from one airfield to another, and he reached New York too late in the summer a for safe flight over the North Atlantic. So maybe Corrigan wasn't such a bold pilot after all: he turned around and flew all the way back. Being a summer soldier when it came to transatlantic flight, he named his aircraft Sunshine.

Next year, Corrigan tried again. But this time the Bureau of Air Commerce refused to renew certification on his flying junk heap, so he applied for experimental certification instead. He got it, but only for flight to New York--and, if the aircraft was still flying, another flight back.

Sunshine made the flight in record time--only 27 hours coast to coast. He knew if he could keep it aloft for one more leg, he'd make it to Ireland. But as he approached New York, he was nearly overcome by gasoline fumes from a leaking auxiliary fuel tank behind the engine.

There wasn't time to fix the leak if he was to make it to Ireland in good weather, so Douglas Corrigan entered full Bold Pilot Mode and took off with gasoline trickling out the leak and onto the floor of Sunshine's cockpit.

But he didn't take off toward the west, as stipulated by the limitations on his certification. Somehow his compass didn't seem to be working right, and with no other instruments by which to navigate, "Wrong-Way Corrigan" soon found himself over the ocean. He later professed to have been surprised that it took a whole 28 hours for land to appear under his wing once again; he claimed he'd been distracted by the fuel leak, which he routed through a hole he punched in the cockpit floor on the opposite side of the plane from its hot exhaust pipe.

Sunshine landed safely in Ireland, but it never flew again. There was no prize for it but his own life, but "Wrong-Way Corrigan" was the first pilot to fly an unairworthy plane across the Atlantic--and probably the last. And he did it alone; not that he could have found anyone so foolish--or should we say bold--to join him. Irish officials took 600 words to list the regulations broken by his flight in a telegram back to New York. As punishment, his pilot's license was suspended; the suspension, however, ran out on his (and the disassembled Sunshine's) ship ride back to New York, where he was treated to a bigger ticker-tape parade than had been Lindbergh, eleven years earlier.

He got another chance to sit behind the yoke of Sunshine fifty years later, when his plane was reassembled for the golden anniversary of his flight. Guards were posted this time, though, to make sure he didn't yield to the temptation of repeating his famous flight.

Douglas Corrigan died in peace at the age of eighty-eight--an Old, Bold, Pilot. But he steadfastly held out to the end that his arrival in Irish skies was purely due to faulty navigation. Without any hard evidence to the contrary, he was never convicted otherwise.

Now if you ever hear the term "Wrong-Way Corrigan," you'll know the story behind the term. And remember that every maxim has its exceptions.

Even this one.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Congressional Medal goes political

I'm pretty disgusted by this. President Obama has awarded the highest military honor, the Congressional Medal, to a bunch of WWII pilots. Their accomplishment? Flying airplanes.

Over the past decade or two, many military veterans have seen their medals upgraded to the Medal of Honor, mainly because their heroic deeds that would have earned them the Honor were overlooked due to their race. Justice was done in giving them what they should have deserved the first time.

But this isn't justice. By singling out some pilots to get the Medal for flying, President Obama is slighting all those who actually did something heroic behind the yoke, and didn't get a medal for it. This is sexist politics, pure and simple.

When President Lincoln first awarded the Medal of Honor, you didn't have to do anything particularly special to get it. Other than the Purple Heart, it was the only medal a soldier could earn. For that reason, early recipients of the Medal usually aren't featured in articles, movies, and books about the Medal of Honor.

I guess that will now be the case again, as the Medal of Honor once again is being awarded to those who did nothing special to deserve it.

But maybe, just maybe, the alleged "chemical missions" some of these pilots were involved in had something to do with this. Perhaps, like Bill McGonagle, they are being rewarded for their silence.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Taser death ruled a homicide

As I mentioned earlier on this blog, the time has now passed in which The Policeman Is Your Friend. Police officers are so focused on their own self-preservation that they're only about as safe as a junkyard dog. Leashed in by the law, they're only a threat to the intruders; but watch out if their sense of self-preservation or even self-importance snaps the flimsy leash. Then they go like murder after the guests.

Delano Smith found this out when the police entered the building he was in to investigate a disturbance. They found Mr. Smith in a disturbed state surrounded by broken furniture, broken glass, and his own blood. Now, as far as I know, it's not a crime to break furniture or glass, even if you get cut in the process. But the police proceeded to take him down anyway--for his own protection, of course. But when, like the little boy who didn't want a spanking, he wouldn't hold still or submit to their ministrations, they let loose with their Tasers--several of them. As a result, Delano died.

It's rather ironic that police would kill a man for his own protection, but that's what their job has degenerated to now that the criminals they catch are just sent back out on the streets, often before the arresting officer has even finished his shift.

One wonders if Delano Smith might still be alive had the police sent an attack dog after him instead of firing their Tasers at him. At least police dogs are trained to go for the right arm--not the jugular.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Trouble in Paradise: One member dead, one injured, rest of family in custody

I get a lot of hits on this blog from people searching for information on Michael Pearl. It really spiked yesterday, apparently due to the connection being made between Mike's child-training publications and the recent death of an allegedly 7-year old Liberian girl in Paradise, California. So, it's only fair to my readers that I make some comment.

Really, I'd rather not. While Mike's theology can be quite different than that embraced by historical Christianity, his child training methods aren't unusual enough that I've ever felt a need to comment on them. "Spare the rod, spoil the child" is proverb that's been around at least as long as the English language. That the world view that it represents has been increasingly abandoned in my own lifetime says more about the direction our society is headed than it does about Mike Pearl's orthodoxy.

Here's the story, as told in the Paradise Post:
Paradise, CA: Feb 8, 2010 . . . The Schatzes were arrested early Saturday morning, after Elizabeth Schatz called 9-1-1 to report that her 7-year-old daughter was not breathing. Officers arrived to find the girl, Lydia Schatz, in full cardiac arrest. Officer Tim Denecochea performed CPR and the girl was resuscitated and began breathing again at Feather River Hospital with aid of life support. However, she was pronounced dead later that morning before she could be airlifted to Sutter Memorial Hospital in Sacramento.
She died en route to the Chico Municipal Airport after bad weather prevented a helicopter from making the flight. Police confirmed Monday that the girl was beaten for mispronouncing a word. Officers found 11-year-old Zariah Schatz in the home during the investigation, suffering from significant injuries.

She is listed in critical condition at the Sacramento children's hospital, suffering from kidney failure among other injuries. She is undergoing dialysis treatment in hopes it will help the organs recover. The two girls had reportedly been adopted by the Schatz couple along with a 3-year-old girl from an orphanage in Liberia about three years ago. The other children reportedly told investigators the parents blamed the 11-year-old for "being a bad influence" on her younger siblings. Ramsey said the evidence suggests 7-year-old Lydia Schatz was being disciplined "for hours" prior to the 911 call for mis-pronouncing a word during a home-school reading lesson. When police searched the family's Crestwood Drive residence, they took a photograph of a 15-inch length of tubing lying on the parents' bed next to a children's book about a frog and a toad, which Ramsey said the girl had been reading from.

An autopsy was scheduled to be conducted yesterday to determine the cause of the girl's death, but the results have not been released. Paradise police said they had no record of any prior child abuse complaints against the Schatz couple. Neighbors said the Schatz' were a deeply religious and private family who home-schooled their children and seemed to regiment their behavior.
And this, from the Oroville news feed:
OROVILLE -- A fundamentalist religious philosophy that espouses corporal punishment to "train" children to be more obedient to their parents and God is now being investigated in connection with the death of a young Paradise girl and serious injuries to her sister.

Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey confirmed Thursday that other children in the home who have been interviewed told investigators "this philosophy was espoused by their parents." Ramsey said he is also exploring a possible connection to a Web site that endorses "biblical discipline" using the same rubber or plastic tube alleged to have been used to whip the two young ridge girls by their adoptive parents.

In court Thursday, a judge granted a two-week postponement before the children's parents, Kevin Schatz, 46, and Elizabeth Schatz, 42, enter a plea to murder and torture charges that could carry two life terms in prison. The delay will allow the mother to retain legal counsel as her husband did earlier.

The father's attorney, Michael Harvey, declined to comment regarding the specific allegations against the couple until he has a chance to review the evidence.
"All I can say is the family is shocked; they are grieving the loss of their daughter and (ask) that people of faith will pray for everybody involved," the defense attorney stated outside of court Thursday.

The Schatzes were arrested Saturday morning after their adopted daughter, Lydia, age 7, stopped breathing. She was subsequently pronounced dead. Her 11-year-old sister, Zariah Schatz, remains in critical condition at a Sacramento children's hospital, though she is showing some signs of recovery. The two were adopted at the same time with an infant girl, now 3, from the same African orphanage about three years ago, Prosecutors allege the two victims were subjected to "hours" of corporal punishment by their parents on successive days last Thursday and Friday with a quarter-inch-wide length of rubber or plastic tubing, which police reportedly recovered from the parents' bedroom.

Police allege that the younger girl was being disciplined for mis-pronouncing a word during a home-school reading lesson the day before she died. The two young girls reportedly sustained deep bruising and multiple "whip-like" marks on their back, buttocks and legs, which authorities believe resulted in significant muscle tissue breakdown that impaired their kidneys and possibly other vital organs, said Ramsey.
He said investigators are researching a possible connection to an Internet Web site set up by "fundamentalist Christian people" that recommends use of the same whip-like implement "as an appropriate tool for biblical chastisement ... to train a child from infancy to make them a happier child and more obedient to God because they are obedient to the will of their parents," said Ramsey.

The district attorney said some of the Schatzes' six biological children, who were removed from the family home for their protection following the parents' arrest, have made statements suggesting the ridge couple shared this philosophy.

The other children in the home said the same rubber or plastic tube was used on all of them "as a standard method of discipline, but certainly not to the extent of these two girls," Ramsey added. He said it's not clear at this point whether the Schatzes ever visited the Web site in question, which Ramsey stressed "does not endorse hurting or beating a child," nor is connected to any specific church.
I’m not going to comment on the murder charges, other than to say that it’s been legal for some parents to torture and kill some of their children in California since 1967, when Governor Reagan signed a law that decriminalized abortion. More than forty years later, Californians obviously have yet to come to terms with the implications of paterfamilias--or, as the case may be, materfamilias--as a means of population control. Granted, neither of the Schatzes appear to have a medical license, nor is their home a free-standing medical facility protected by the Free Access to Clinic Entrances law. So under current law in America, in which both beating one’s slave to death and killing one’s child after a birth certificate has been issued are both illegal, they appear to be guilty of either being at least a decade or two ahead of their time, or a century and a half behind it.

Let’s focus in this web post on the alleged Michael Pearl connection. Now, I know Michael Pearl to be a great fan of the old-fashioned sport of tomahawk-tossing. In fact, he’s so good at it, he even gives lessons. Let’s say, just hypothetically, that a 15-year old homeschooler joins Mike Pearl at a Family Camp in Tennessee for a week and takes up an interest in tomahawk throwing. Mike gives the person some good pointers, shows how far away to stand, how to aim carefully at the target, et cetera. The person than returns home with one of the tomahawks Mike recommends, and expertly buries one in a neighbor’s skull from 15 paces out. Somebody then calls 911, and the headlines soon read: AUTHORITIES INVESTIGATING TOMAHAWK MURDERER’S TIES TO TENNESSEE EVANGELIST.

Can somebody tell me how this is in any way different?