Murders Upon Murders!
Another shocking murder took place this past Sunday in an Illinois church.
The AP reported about the incident on March 9, 2009:
“The gunman, identified by authorities only as a 27-year-old from Troy, strode toward the Rev. Fred Winters shortly after 8 a.m. Sunday, exchanged words with him, then fired a .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol until it jammed. Winters, 45, died of a single shot to the heart, the coroner said Monday.”
While others were wounded, had not this man’s gun jammed, many more of those in the church would have fallen victim to his murderous rampage.
Deutsche Welle, March 12, 2009, reported on another school-related mass murder. Pointing to German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s televised address to the nation and her description of this horrific event “…as a day of sorrow for the entire country,” the article also gave this summary of the tragedy:
“A 17-year-old gunman entered a school in the town of Winnenden shortly after nine in the morning and opened fire, killing students and teachers. He then left the school, shooting dead more people as he fled. The assailant killed 15 people in total. He commandeered a vehicle and traveled to a town around 40 kilometres from Winnenden, where police cornered him. The gun battle that ensued left two police officers seriously injured and the attacker dead. Police say he turned his weapon on himself. The gunman is believed to have been a former student of the school.”
German commentators pointed out that no country seems to be safe from these horrendous acts. Early reports stated that the murderer targeted mainly young female students and that he suffered from depression. There has been no evidence so far that he was in any way connected to terrorists or neo-Nazis.
From Reuters, March 11, 2009:
“U.S. authorities trying to piece together why a man killed 10 people in the worst rampage in Alabama’s history focused on Wednesday on the grudges that he bore.”
USA, March 11, 2009, adds these details of the murderous crimes:
“Alabama authorities say the gunman who killed 10 people, including five members of this family, was armed with two assault rifles and a .38-caliber pistol. They say he fired more than 200 rounds in his crime spree Tuesday afternoon.
“According to authorities, the suspect, Michael McLendon, killed his mother in Kinston, Ala., then drove to the town of Samson and killed four more relatives and two others. Finally, he went on a general shooting spree in the town, the Associated Press reports. The victims included the wife and child of a local sheriff’s deputy. McLendon then killed himself.”
Northern Ireland Sees Return to Sectarian Violence!
From the Christian Science Monitor, March 8, 2009:
“Police believe dissident Irish nationalists attempting to smash the decade-old peace in Northern Ireland might have been behind the shooting deaths Saturday night of two British soldiers.
“The soldiers were killed in a drive-by shooting at Massereene Army base in Antrim, Northern Ireland. Four others, including two pizza delivery men, were injured when gunmen opened fire. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, but police are blaming dissident Irish republicans.”
Grim Financial News!
On March 8, 2009, a World Bank report was summarized in the Washington Post:
“Developing nations are facing a massive financing shortfall of up to $700 billion this year as private investment evaporates and global trade collapses, threatening to return many countries to the days of heavy reliance on foreign aid, the World Bank warned yesterday…
“The World Bank predicted that the global economy will shrink this year for the first time since World War II, a prognosis more dire than that of almost any private investment house. Its report underscored what many are calling a mounting crisis within a crisis, as the downturn that started in the wealthy nations of the West washes over developing countries through a pullback in investment, trade and credit…
“Falling demand in the West is sparking the sharpest drop in world trade in 80 years, sending sales of the products and commodities of poorer nations spiraling down, the report said.”
Also reporting on the World Bank assessment, CNNMoney.com (March 9, 2009) stated:
“The world economy is on track to post its worst performance since the Great Depression, with developing countries bearing much of the economic pain, the World Bank said Monday.”
Bloomberg added on March 10:
“Billionaire Warren Buffett, whose Berkshire Hathaway Inc. posted its worst results ever in 2008, said the economy ‘has fallen off a cliff’ and that efforts to stimulate recovery may lead to inflation higher than the 1970s.”
Mr. Obama to “Restore Scientific INTEGRITY”???
MSNBC on March 9, 2009, wrote the following in its coverage of President Obama’s signing of a Presidential executive order:
“Before an East Room audience of doctors, scientists, lawmakers and religious leaders President Obama signed an executive order Monday lifting the ban on federal funding for stem cell research, fulfilling a promise he made on the campaign trail.
“The order overturns the Bush policy that said no government money could be used for research on stem cell lines created after Aug. 9, 2001.”
While only those opposed to the new directive took strong ethical and moral positions decrying both the destruction of human life and the potential for more and more erosion in anything based on religious views, the President seems ready to justify much in the name of science. The article adds these comments:
“The president also signed a memorandum that directs the head of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to develop a strategy for restoring scientific integrity to government decision-making. Obama spoke frequently on the campaign trail of the need to make sure public policy was based on sound science.
“’It is about ensuring that scientific data is never distorted or concealed to serve a political agenda,’” Obama said, “’and that we make scientific decisions based on facts, not ideology.’”
Reuters added on March 10:
“After Obama signed the order on Monday, the Vatican and U.S. Church leaders condemned the move… Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ committee on pro-life activities, called Obama’s decision ‘a sad victory of politics over science and ethics… This action is morally wrong because it encourages the destruction of innocent human life, treating vulnerable human beings as mere products to be harvested,’ he added.
“The Catholic Church, other religious groups and pro-life advocates oppose such research — which scientists hope can lead to cures for diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s — because it involves the destruction of embryos. The Catholic Church supports adult stem cell research, which has made advances in recent years, because it does not involve the destruction of embryos.”
Jerusalem Stays Center Stage!
The Guardian reported on March 7:
“A confidential EU report accuses the Israeli government of using settlement expansion, house demolitions, discriminatory housing policies and the West Bank barrier as a way of ‘actively pursuing the illegal annexation’ of East Jerusalem.
“The document says Israel has accelerated its plans for East Jerusalem, and is undermining the Palestinian Authority’s credibility and weakening support for peace talks. ‘Israel’s actions in and around Jerusalem constitute one of the most acute challenges to Israeli-Palestinian peace-making,’ says the document, EU Heads of Mission Report on East Jerusalem.”
The Guardian article added this comment about the European Union’s view:
“The EU report goes further, saying that the demolitions are ‘illegal under international law, serve no obvious purpose, have severe humanitarian effects, and fuel bitterness and extremism.’ The EU raised its concern in a formal diplomatic representation on December 1, it says…
“However, the EU says the fourth Geneva convention prevents an occupying power extending its jurisdiction to occupied territory. Israel occupied the east of the city in the 1967 six day war and later annexed it. The Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.”
This report comes as the new American Administration has called for a two-state solution for the conflict between the Palestinians and Israelis.
Pope to Visit Israel
As reported in the Jerusalem Post on May 8, 2009, “Pope Benedict XVI will visit Israel between May 8 and 15, the leader of the Catholic church confirmed in Sunday’s mass at St. Peter’s in the Vatican.”
Israeli president Shimon Peres was quoted in the article:
“’I am delighted that His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI has responded positively and accepted my invitation to visit the Holy Land. The pope will be a most honored guest, welcomed and respected by people from all walks of life. His visit will be a moving and important event bringing the spirit of peace and hope. Welcome to Israel.’”
Beyond the historic significance of such a papal visit at this time of turmoil in the Middle East, the specific sites chosen for the Pope’s tour hold prophetic overtones, and the article states:
“The pope is expected to tour sites in Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount, and in the Center and North. Large numbers of police will be assigned to secure these areas. He will also visit sites in the Palestinian Authority.”
Iran’s Military Threat Grows!
The Jerusalem Post wrote on March 8, 2009, about the successful test-firing of a new generation of long range missiles.
“Last Wednesday, a senior Teheran official announced that Iranian missiles can reach Israeli nuclear sites.
“’All the nuclear facilities in different parts of the land under the occupation of the Zionist regime are in the reach of Iran’s missile defenses,’ Mohammad Ali Jafari, the commander-in-chief of the Islamic republic’s Revolutionary Guards, was quoted by the ISNA news agency as saying.”
Also reporting about this latest development, Fox News on March 8, stated:
“Iran’s Shahab-3 missiles have a range of up to 1,250 miles, putting Israel within striking distance.”