Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church Shooting Impacts All Of Us
June 18, 2015

Almost 40 years ago I began preaching the gospel of Christ.   What happened last night in Charleston, South Carolina at the Emanuel AME Church touched me dearly.  Weekly, preachers, pastors, bishops, ministers, elders hearts are made glad to see individuals assemble midweek after a long day at work, challenges with health and so many other day to day matters.  My heart dropped as I prepared for bed at 10:00 p.m. on Wednesday night following a great day serving God.  I had an excellent evening of fellowship at our 6:00 p.m. church meal, being blessed by a wonderful 7:30 p.m. study on the topic “Masters and Servants” only to arrive home and on the 10:00 p.m. news to hear about a church being targeted as the sight of a mass hate murder.

The Emanuel AME Church is considered the mother church of the AME churches in America.  It was reported that 9 of the 13 people assembled to pray and study the Word of God and encourage each other was killed by an individual who entered as a wolf among sheep.  The gunman, just like a wolf among sheep,  had no regard for anyone or anything except their own self serving desires.

The common ground for every place of assembly in the United States is not what the religious positions were of those inside the Emanuel AME Church, but rather the fact that it was a place of assembly for those who believed in the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob.  The common ground is the embrace of Jesus as the one Lord of the Christian community and for that purpose were they assembled on last night together.  If this could happen to Emanuel AME, it could also happen in any place of worship in the United States.  It’s my prayer today that collectively we can all rally around the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston in support of God, Christ the Holy Spirit and the desire they had to learn more about God’s will for their lives.

Every person in the entire world who embraces the deity of Christ and the Sovereignty of God should grieve and embrace and support the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston in time of their grief.  Rejoice with them who rejoice and weep with those who weep. Romans 12:15

Community Protection For Crime aka Emeshed Dysfunction
April 24, 2015

In towns, communities, neighborhoods, schools and homes throughout America, criminals feel safe from being caught, turned in and even being looked down upon by the citizens they see and talk with daily.  Imagine living somewhere knowing who the drug dealers are, who stole someones car, who broke into someones home, who mugged a child or adult just out for a walk, who shot up a playground, who murdered someone, who raped someone, etc. and there is no public outrage.  Imagine living somewhere and the community refuses to march in protest and demand the criminals be given over to the authorities.  Imagine living somewhere and the community refuses to hold candlelight visuals and cry in the streets in front of known crack houses and street hangouts where criminals congregate.

Throughout urban America the above senario plays almost daily sadly without voices of righteous indignation.  Throughout urban America criminals have concluded that as long as they confine their criminal behaviors upon others within the urban grid they are safe from community protest and accountability.  Throughout urban America is the unwritten message becoming one that says as long as crime is committed by those who look like us we are not bothered?  Throughout urban America is the unwritten message becoming one that says as long as our children are in fear of those who terrorize, demoralize, show self hate, show no respect for others in our community look like us we are not bothered?

Healthy Boundaries Prevent Emotional Abuse

Clinically the term emeshement refers to a family that has little to no boundaries defining acceptable and unacceptable behaviors, actions and attitudes.  Inside an emeshed family system, each individual has a designated dysfunctional role.  Within an emeshed family, dysfunction is tolerated within the immediate family but if similar behaviors, actions and attitudes manifests from any outside source the emeshed family rallies together and fight as one unit against any resembling acts coming from outside the family.  After the emeshed dysfunctional family successfully or unsuccessfully fights against outsiders they return to their regular practice of being dysfunctional toward each other.  Until dysfunctional communities address themselves internally, any efforts by outsiders will possibly be viewed as an attack.  If in fact there is such a thing as a dysfunctional community, how should the community begin addressing itself internally?

Domestic Violence – It’s Clearly A Crime – Just Not Clearly Defined In Legal Circles
September 8, 2014

Intimate partner violence includes rape, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, and simple assault by a current or former spouse, boyfriend, or girlfriend. This report presents trends in intimate partner violence by sex, and examines intimate partner violence against women by the victim’s age, race and Hispanic origin, marital status, and household composition. Data are from the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), which collects information on nonfatal crimes reported and not reported to the police from a nationally representative sample of U.S. households.

Take a look at this video and decide what type of crime is being committed?  Is it simple assault, attempted murder, a felony, or a misunderstanding?  Depending upon the officer, the prosecutor, who the person committing the action is or who the individual on the receiving end of the action is, determines how the incident is handled.

http://www.tmz.com/videos/0_ekaflcqq

Females living in households comprised of one female adult with children experienced intimate partner violence at a rate more than 10 times higher than households with married adults with children and 6 times higher than households with one female only.

Females ages 18 to 24 and 25 to 34 generally experienced the highest rates of intimate partner violence.

From 1994 to 2010, about 4 in 5 victims of intimate partner violence were female.

According to The U.S. Department of Justice in a July 1996 National Institute of Justice report to Congress under the Violence Against Women Act:

Within the criminal justice system, data collection is complicated by the division of
responsibilities across many independent entities—law enforcement agencies,
prosecutors, courts, and corrections. Although some local jurisdictions have
established integrated criminal justice information systems, most criminal justice data
are fragmented along operational boundaries. The continued difficulties in obtaining
complete and accurate criminal history records were cited as one indicator of the
inability to track individuals as they move through the criminal justice system or
recidivate for subsequent crimes.

The U.S. Department of Justice 1996 report revealed another eyeopener:

Multi-jurisdictional—multiple State and local agencies
Because of victim and offender mobility, agencies increasingly must be able to share
information across State and local boundaries. There are several Federal and regional
efforts under way to either provide mechanisms to do this or to encourage the
development of these systems. Achieving this goal will take time, however, and many
technical and organizational obstacles will have to be overcome.
One situation where this has been identified as a serious problem is with court
protection orders because officials outside of the originating jurisdictions generally do
not have ready access to the information required for enforcement. In addition,
policies and standards for issuing court protection orders can vary from area to area, making enforcement across jurisdictional boundaries a complex issue for local authorities.

The absence of a national definition of domestic violence causes irregularities in the
inclusion/exclusion of more informal relationships such as current or ex-boyfriends/
girlfriends, roommates, and cohabitants.  For example, Michigan and Kansas
have added a box on their crime incident report forms that officers must mark to
indicate whether an incident was domestic violence related. Other States (e.g.,
Connecticut, New York, and Wisconsin) have separate forms for reporting domestic
violence. The special domestic violence report form enables States to collect offense specific
information that may be more difficult to include in a general crime incident
report form. Use of a separate form, however, does carry the physical and
psychological burden of additional paperwork, which increases the likelihood that
officers will fail to complete or submit a report.

Because domestic and sexual violence victims can face possible reprisals by the
offenders, a heavy burden of embarrassment, and other repercussions, obtaining their
cooperation can be extremely difficult for law enforcement and other agencies. The
act of reporting domestic violence and some sexual violence incidents may be
considered by victims as a last resort or as a way to make an irreparable break in a
relationship. Consequently, the victims may perceive reporting as an admission of
personal failure that they cannot face or believe is avoidable.
Additionally, the problem of adequate training of personnel in handling these cases
often was cited in the project panel discussions and survey responses. As many
jurisdictions are recognizing the seriousness of these offenses, new laws and policies
are being adopted, which in turn may require time to train all relevant staff in new
procedures and to fully implement them.

For all the above reasons, under reporting of domestic and sexual violence can be
more of a problem than for other types of offenses. Although efforts can be made to
overcome some of the factors hindering accurate reporting, some barriers may never
be completely surmounted given the nature of these crimes and the social and
behavioral issues involved.

Because identifying domestic violence crimes may involve consideration of a criminal
act, the relationship between the victim and offender, and the offender’s motive for
committing the act, properly classifying cases can be more difficult than for other
types of offenses. For example, a crime incident that would normally be considered a
property crime (e.g., a burglary, motor vehicle theft, larceny, or vandalism) could be
classified as a domestic violence incident if the perpetrator’s intent is to harass or
intimidate the victim. This may require the investigating officers to go beyond the
facts initially presented for a complaint to its possible underlying circumstances.
An additional complication for data reporting is that some States have not mandated a
specific domestic violence offense with which to charge an offender. In these
instances, the offender is charged with another offense, but his case may be flagged as
a domestic violence case for reporting purposes. Other States have broader family
violence statutes that include domestic violence.

As early as 1930 the Uniform Crime Reporting System has been in existence and all states contribute data into it in one form or another.  The UCRS was not mandatory however.  In 1980 the FBI replaced the old 1930 UCRS with the National Incident Based Reporting System NIBRS.  The new NIBRS is not mandatory for states to enter data.  Whether it’s the old UCRS reporting or the newer NIBRS reporting system, neither system has a clearly defined category for Domestic Violence under Category A or Category B Crimes. 

Time has come for our communities, schools, churches, businesses and families to demand that individuals who commit domestic violence be held accountable for their behaviors.  Men are to honor women as vessels of high value.  Women are to esteem men as one who is her point man or one who is willing to go before her.  Behaviorally, whenever domestic violence presents itself, it is certain that someone is functioning below God’s expectations.  There is never a time when domestic violence should be accepted or explained away in a civilized society.

White on Black Violence Is Wrong: But What About Black on Black Violence?
August 20, 2014

Aug 10, 2014 · A toddler in Prince George’s County dies in a shooting. Now police are looking for the suspect.

July 31, 2014 – Prince George’s County police are looking for at least two suspects in the fatal shooting of a Bowie, Md., man who was gunned down in his home early Thursday morning, authorities said.

February 24, 2014 – CAPITOL HEIGHTS, Md. —Prince George’s County police are investigating what they called one of the worst crimes they’ve seen in years.
Officials said three people were shot to death inside an apartment in the 5200 block of Marlboro Pike in Capitol Heights on Saturday night.

The three opening lines in each of the stories above took place in the wealthiest per capita African American County in the United States of America.  There seem to be something missing from the Maryland stories that is highly visible in the Ferguson, Missouri current events.  Without challenging readers to figure this one out, let me be direct and just tell you what I think is the difference.  There is no public outcry about any of the murders in Maryland beyond close family and close friends, although each happened in a “black” community that is policed by a large white police presence that I believe is in  disproportion to the population.  The lack of public outcry has nothing to do with the police department but that the “black” community does not get as angry about “blacks” killing blacks as the community does when a “black” is beat or killed by a white police officer or just a white person. 

Until the African American community is willing to take the same responsibility for the safety and accountability of those who shoot, steal, abuse and disrespect its neighborhoods as when “violated” by whites, neighborhoods will not be esteemed highly by anyone, not even the police.  Where is the coming together of communities when a black murders one of its own children, rape one of its own daughters, steal from one of its own neighbors or God forbid when they murder one of its own black people?  Why don’t we demand that information be released by the “don’t snitch club”?  Why don’t we demand that addresses and names be confidentially given at least to black officials such as a black news person, or a black public official or a black merchant or someone in authority? 

How in the name of common sense can a community be taken serious when through its internal failure to hold citizens accountable, suddenly a community expects the judicial system to drop everything and jump through hoops when a white harms a black man, woman, boy or girl in the community.  Someone said, “respect comes to those who respect themselves”.  The crisis in Ferguson, Missouri exploded due to the shooting of the 18 year old black man, but remember what quality of life was accepted as a part of the “don’t snitch code” prior to the crisis. 

Are you an enabler of chaos in your community?  Enablers are simply those who support by direct or indirect means the acts or attitudes that are contrary to a safe society.  There is not a pastor, politician, civic group available designed to stop community chaos.  Behavioral change begins in the heart of people one person at a time.  Communities will only change in proportion to how the attitudes and self worth of those inside the community change.  Whether it is Ferguson, Missouri, Prince George’s County, Maryland or your community, the things manifested inside a community are an outpouring of accepted expectations in the community.

Intimacy and Devotion
April 8, 2013

Children expect parents or loved ones to love, provide, nurture, protect and be available emotionally, physically and spiritually for them from birth until at a bare minimum of age 13 to 18 years of age.  When the basic needs of children in any country goes unmet specific predictable results manifest themselves.   According to reports from The Department of Health and Human Services, child maltreatment is the most common form of child abuse.  According to DHHS children from birth to age one, are the largest group of abused children per capita.  Almost 22 of every 1,000 children under age 1 fall into that category.  78.5% of this age group experience neglect, 17.6% experience physical abuse, and 9.1% of this young group of age 1 and under experience sexual abuse.  For the fiscal year ending 2011 over 1570 children died as the result of child neglect and abuse.  80% of these reported fatalities were under age four.  78.3% of these reported fatalities was sadly reported to have happened at the hands of one or more of their parents.

A perpetrator is defined as the individual who is the abuser or neglector of a child.  The following is a sobering story:  Over 80% of duplicate child perpetrators are a parent and 87.6 percent of those parents are the biological parent(s) rather than a step parent.  Gender wise, 19% of abuse or neglect is from the father, 38% from the mother and 18% from mother and father together.  What then does all of the data have to do with intimacy and devotion?  First, parents who neglect and abuse their children cannot truthfully claim they were intimate parents.  Second, parents who neglect and abuse their children cannot truthfully claim they were devoted to the welfare of their children.  Finally, parents who neglect and abuse their children cannot truthfully claim their actions had no impact socially, spiritually, or developmentally on their children.

In 1959 Harry F. Harlow wrote “Love In Infant Monkeys”.  Harlow discovered that monkeys depraved of the natural nurturing of their mothers during their first 8 months of early development, never fully readjusted to receiving nurturing or properly interacting with other monkeys.   Harlow postulated that likewise with humans, as the statistics above seem to confirm, where there is an absence of nurturing and intimacy, it becomes the breeding ground for neglect and abuse to become generational.  These little monkeys, unknown to themselves will almost automatically develop into aggressive, combative, none intimate void of devotion adult monkeys.  Jesus expressed his desire to nurture Israel who had been abused by the Egyptians for 400 years, abused by Assyria, abused by Babylon, abused by Rome’s brutal Emperors and so much more.  Israel could not embrace nurturing because physically and emotionally they had become desensitized.  O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which kills the prophets and stone those that are sent to you, how often would I have gathered your children together as a nurturing hen would gather all of her young ones, but you would not allow me.  Luke 13:34  Summarily Jesus was declaring over 2000 years ago what Harry F. Harlow found in 1959.  Generational neglect and abuse disengages offspring from being able receive the very thing they have been depraved of that will heal the void left from their abusers.

Discussion Question:  How do you reconnect once a major disconnect such as this happens?