Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, November 29, 2014

MVNews this week:  Page B:4



 Mountain Views-News Saturday, November 29, 2014 


A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder




Susan Henderson


Dean Lee 


Joan Schmidt


LaQuetta Shamblee


Richard Garcia


Patricia Colonello




John Aveny 


CoCo Lasalle

Chris Leclerc

Bob Eklund

Howard Hays

Paul Carpenter

Kim Clymer-Kelley

Christopher Nyerges

Peter Dills 

Dr. Tina Paul

Rich Johnson

Merri Jill Finstrom

Lori Koop

Rev. James Snyder

Tina Paul

Mary Carney

Katie Hopkins

Deanne Davis

Despina Arouzman

Greg Welborn

Renee Quenell

Ben Show

Sean Kayden

Marc Garlett

RON Carter Curbing Bad Behavior




If I was a conspiracy theorist, I would surmise that the timing 
of the release of the grand juryverdict is suspicious regarding 
police officer Darren Wilson shooting and killing Michael Brown 
inFerguson, Missouri. Why would the County Prosecutor, Bob 
McCullock, release this controversial verdict at 9 pm Eastern 
Standard Time? He had to know an anxious community, who 
did not trust his leadership from the onset, was awaiting the grand juryÕs decision 
for two days. The Òoutsiders,Ó who the local Ferguson community members called 
the troublemakers, those who were looting and burning buildings, were simmering 
since Saturday to behave badly. Why give them the cover of night to enact havoc on 
FergusonÕs community? Even President Barack ObamaÕs speech and Michael BrownÕs 
mother plea for peaceful behavior were ignored. Maybe Mr. McCullock intended the 
narrative in the media to be on the looting and unrest than on his decision. What a 

 There had been peaceful protest taking place in Ferguson, Missouri over the last 
100 days. Last night, that peaceful protest was not the focused report in the media, 
because a mistake was made to release the controversial verdict without regards for the 
citizenry of Ferguson, Missouri.

 The easiest path to decrease unrest in communities in the United States of America 
(USA) is to create jobs for the young men and women, who live in those communities. 
Depressed communities fester crime. There are predominant African-American 
communities in the USA such as Baldwin Hills, California and Hyde Park, Chicago 
where crime is very low. Why? The residents in those communities have jobs and 
they have not lost their will to be productive members of our society. So, letÕs stop the 
talking and posturing and create jobs for young individuals. ItÕs a way forward to curb 
the lost of faith and distrust some young individuals have for their elders in authority 
in the USA.

Ron Carter is the Managing Director of The Carter Agency in Pasadena

Pasadena, CA 91104 

He can be reached by email: 

web site:

Towards the end of last week, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage presented 
me with a rather fascinating proposition. My attitude in life has always been, 
when she speaks I will at least listen.

 I want you to know I am not easily propositioned. I am very suspicious of anything that has the 
appearance of being good for me. I do not believe everything I hear or see. I guess I am just a skeptic.

 A telemarketer recently called with the news that the government had randomly chosen my name 
to receive $8400. If this was the government calling me, it would not be to give me $8400 but to solicit 
$8400 in taxes.

 Like my father used to say, ÒSon, there ainÕt no free lunches.Ó He was right.

 So when my wife propositioned me, I was rather skeptical.

 ÒHow would you like to go with us to the kidÕs basketball game on Friday night?Ó

 So, I thought to myself, where is the catch? Somewhere along the line in this proposition is a catch. 
Now, where was it?

As it turned out, there was no catch and I did not even have to drive to the game. To make the 
proposition even more appealing, my granddaughter was to play in this basketball game. So, with 
a great deal of enthusiasm I accepted this passionate proposition and prepared myself for a wonderful 

 I have not been to a basketball game since the Harlem Globetrotters played in the Hersheyarena in 
HersheyPennsylvania. My favorite player was Meadowlark Lemon.

 I was off to the little kidÕs basketball game anticipating an enjoyable evening.

 We finally got to the right place where my granddaughter and her teammates were playing basketball.

I am not complaining, but it has been a long time since I sat in bleachers. I had forgotten how narrow 
they really are when you set on them. I am not sure who invented bleachers like this, but I am positive 
they never sat on one during a game. I could only get half of my posterior on the bleacher at any one 
time. The trick of the game for the evening was appropriately rotating my posterior.

 Getting settled, I noticed some activity out on the floor. First off, one little girl was refusing to play. 
Come to find out she did not like the team, she was on, particularly the shirts they were wearing, and 
wanted to play on the other team because she liked their shirt better.

 After 20 minutes of negotiating the little girl won and was put on the other team.

 I turned to my wife and ask, ÒWhen will the game began?Ó I thought it a rather innocent question.

 She looked at me, laughed and said, ÒSilly boy, it started 20 minutes ago.Ó

 ÒWho is winning and what is the score?Ó

 I was informed that in these games, they do not keep score and nobody wins. I thought I would not 
resume anymore questioning on this subject. I just went back to rotating my posterior and trying to 
watch the game.

 I noticed one little girl (why do little girls do this?) was dancing all by herself ignoring the rest of her 
teammates. I do not know what basketball has to do with dancing, but she was enjoying herself and I 
was enjoying watching her enjoy herself.

 I noticed all of the shirts on each team had the same number. The only difference between the 
two teams was one side wore blue on the other side wore white. It would not be appropriate, so it was 
explained to me, for the children to have different numbers.

 Then the coach blew his whistle and announced they would have a bathroom break. All those who 
needed to go to the bathroom should go at this particular time.

 Nobody went and in a moment or two, the game resumed with the whistle-blowing coach.

Within five minutes, three on one side and two on the other side came up missing. When the coach 
inquired as to where these kids were he was told that they had all gone to the bathroom. Furthermore, 
he was told that he planted the idea in their head and so it was not their fault.

 As I watched the activity on the floor, I realized the Harlem Globetrotters had nothing on these 
miniature basketball players. One trademark activity in a Harlem Globetrotter game is in the middle of 
the game they would begin playing baseball with the basketball.

 Something like that happened out on the floor as I was watching. It was not baseball, and I am sure it 
was not basketball, at least the kind I am familiar with. What it was, was anybodyÕs guess.

 What it was, so I came to find out, was just plain old fun.

 As I sat there rotating my posterior, I was thinking about how competitive our world has really 
become. People will do anything and everything just to win a game. Sometimes it is good just to quiet 
down, relax and enjoy the surroundings.

 I wonder if that is what Davidhad in mind when he wrote, ÒBe still, and know that I am God: I will be 
exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earthÓ (Psalm 46:10).

 When we step out of the world of competition and quiet ourselves a bit, we begin to appreciate the 
reality, especially the reality in Jesus Christ.

Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, PO Box 831313, Ocala, FL 34483. He lives 
with his wife, Martha, in Silver Springs Shores. Call him at 1-866-552-2543 or e-mail jamessnyder2@att.
net or website 

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GREG Welborn

HOWARD Hays As I See It


Ò. . . neither in this country nor in England has the suspect under 
investigation by the grand jury ever been thought to have a right to 
testify or to have exculpatory evidence presented.Ó

- Justice Antonin Scalia in U.S. v. Williams (1992)

I donÕt know whether Officer Darren Wilson is guilty of a crime for 
killing Michael Brown, Jr. None of us will know. ThereÕs the possibility 
of civil rights charges filed, but thatÕs unlikely.

 At least in the case of George ZimmermanÕs killing of Trayvon 
Martin, there was a trial. For three weeks in the summer of 2013 we 
heard the prosecution and defense present evidence, cross-examine witnesses and argue 
their case to the jury Ð in public. We questioned the performance of the prosecution and 
were dismayed by the decision of the jury, but the question of guilt was settled under the 

 In the case of Officer Wilson, however, the concern was not over establishing responsibility 
for BrownÕs death at trial, but rather how to make the whole thing go away.

Prosecutors are supposed to go after the bad guys, on behalf of We the People. If they think 
thereÕs sufficient evidence to successfully prosecute at trial, theyÕll take it to a grand jury 
and argue for indictment.

 Grand juries donÕt determine guilt or innocence, and usually donÕt consider defense 
arguments or Òexculpatory evidenceÓ. Guilty or not guilty is a question for the trial jury 
after a public trial in open court.

 Grand juries usually go along with prosecutorsÕ efforts to go after the bad guys. In 2010, 
of 162,000 federal cases prosecuted there were only 11 where grand juries didnÕt return an 
indictment. (A big exception nation-wide is cases where cops kill civilians.)

 With violent crime, prosecutors are the voice of victims who no longer have a voice. They 
argue on behalf of the victim before the grand jury as they hope to later seek justice for that 
victim at trial.

 And then thereÕs Ferguson. St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch had not 
only the options of whether or not to take the case to the grand jury, but a third option 
of recusing himself. His office simply didnÕt go after cops who shot civilians. There were 
personal and professional connections between McCulloch and the police.

 The community had no confidence that McCulloch could muster the impartially 
necessary for the job; a concern that appointment of an independent, outside prosecutor 
could have addressed. Instead, McCulloch made up a fourth option: dump everything on 
the grand jury who could make it go away quietly; rather than risk an open, public, on-the-
record trial.

 Grand juries are supposed to operate in secret. Within days of Michael BrownÕs shooting, 
a number of witnesses came forward, publicly identified themselves and told of BrownÕs 
appearing to surrender when killed. Later, from the supposedly-secret grand jury came 
leaks that anonymous ÒwitnessesÓ had contradicted those earlier accounts. There were 
stories about an earlier robbery, BrownÕs affinity for rap music, Ògang signsÓ and marijuana. 
The focus was not on determining whether Òprobable causeÓ existed for indicting Officer 
Wilson, but on indicting the character of the eighteen-year-old whoÕd been shot dead, along 
with the credibility of those witnesses whoÕd earlier come forward.

 There were leaks about Officer WilsonÕs version of events, which he had weeks to prepare 
prior to testifying before the grand jury. If Wilson were on the stand at trial, he might have 
been asked to explain statements he gave to officers the day after the shooting, such as, 
why would an eighteen-year-old whoÕd allegedly robbed a store earlier that day respond 
to a uniformed officerÕs call to get on the sidewalk by cussing him out and beating on him 
through the squad car window? Why would someone ÒchargingÓ the officer do so with his 
Òhand in his waistbandÓ, especially if he had no weapon? If, as according to Wilson, Brown 
ran 20-30 feet from the car and then ÒchargedÓ 10 feet back towards the officer, why was 
BrownÕs body found 150 feet from the car? And why, as the body of Michael Brown lay dead 
on the pavement for four-and-a-half hours, didnÕt he have time to prepare a timely incident 

 Prosecutor McCullochÕs announcement of the grand juryÕs decision struck many as 
ÒbizarreÓ, coming off not as a prosecutor seeking justice for the victim but as a defense 
attorney announcing how heÕd gotten his client off the hook. 

 Marjorie Cohn, professor of criminal law at Thomas Jefferson Law School and past-
president of the National LawyersÕ Guild, observed; ÒThe prosecutor did not want an 
indictment, and he passed the buck to the grand jury to make that decision . . . It was clear 
the prosecutor was partisan in this case, and not partisan in the way prosecutors usually 
are, which is to get people indicted.Ó

 The heart of the matter was reflected in an exchange on ÒMeet The PressÓ, when former 
NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani expressed disappointment they werenÕt talking about the 
fact that Ò93 percent of blacks in America are killed by other blacks.Ó Professor Michael 
Dyson of Georgetown University responded by pointing out Òthey are not sworn by the 
police department as an agent of the state to uphold the law . . . Black people who kill black 
people go to jail. White people who are policemen who kill black people do not go to jail.Ó 
According to Pro Publica, Òyoung black men are 21 times as likely as their white peers to be 
killed by police.Ó (For the record, 83% of white murder victims are killed by white folks.)

 This goes beyond Ferguson; thousands have taken to the streets to express their rage in 
L.A., Seattle, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, Washington D.C, Denver, and NYC. News 
coverage has extended through Europe, Asia, Australia and the Middle East. Ironically, 
because of Prosecutor Robert McCullochÕs efforts to make matters like the killing of 
Michael Brown, Jr. simply go away, this might turn out to be the one time it doesnÕt.

There are no shortages of tragedies and crises in the world, and this 
Thanksgiving week offers no exception. But, equally so, there are 
always many things for which to be thankful, and this Thanksgiving 
demands no departure from that comforting reality.

 Anyone who honestly ponders for a moment what we have here 
must inevitably be struck by how bountiful a country we have. Its 
blessings defy complete categorization and certainly exhaustive enumeration. Whether we 
look at the material, spiritual, political or economic realms, GodÕs hand still seems steady 
upon our helm and His grace as magnanimous as it is unwarranted by anything we have 
done to earn it.

 We are all subject to the limitations of our own imposed boundaries; we get into habits and 
see so easily what we always have seen, and do not see as easily what is beyond those borders. 
Someone who might take a slow and thoughtful trip across our land Ð starting from where it 
all began and heading west Ð would be struck by the lushness of the eastern forests, then the 
power of that historical, and current, engine of commerce, the Mississippi, then the vastness of 
the breadbasket on our plains, then the majesty of mountain peaks which inspire, even as they 
descend to deserts which intimidate, and then lastly the imagination and inventiveness which 
emblemizes our west. Each of these regions in succeeding periods hosted pioneers which 
chose to push their boundaries and tame the vast physical and intellectual landscapes which 
lay before them.

 Ours is a nation started by Pilgrims, people who sought the freedom to worship our Creator 
and accepted the overwhelming challenges which an untamed, hostile new world posed, but 
who, in rising to that challenge, started something which is not yet finished. They, and those 
who have followed, tamed, cultivated and harvested not just great food stores for themselves 
and the world, but also a belief in, and tradition of, political equality and economic freedom, 
which to this day are unmatched anywhere else in the world. And in furtherance, if not 
undeniable proof, of their beliefs, they have from one generation to the next welcomed those 
who would follow and immigrate to this great land. Ours is not a closed culture, restricted 
only to those who have deep roots or the correct last name of a forbearer. Ours is a culture 
which tells the downtrodden who have a dream and perseverance to pursue it that the future 
can be theirs.

 And so the future is ours! For, as great as has been our past, and as overflowing our present, 
the future is filled with more promise still. AmericaÕs best days truly lie before her. We havenÕt 
crested, and we are certainly not in decline. We have our problems Ð our pauses, if you will Ð 
but these are common to all great movements of forward progress. The path is never easy or 
without its challenges. The optimism of our best leaders, and of our pioneers, has always been 
sufficient to rally the rest of us to a future no matter how dark the present has seemed.

 This is still the case today. Despite our best efforts Ð and they have been tremendous Ð we 
have not removed the scourge of war from this world or the desperation of poverty, nor have 
we achieved perfection in the implementation and practice of our best principles. We still fall 
short; this is why GodÕs grace will always be unearned. Even as we strive ever forward toward 
the perfections in which we believe, we all acknowledge in our hearts that perfection will not 
be ours in this life. We simply remain thankful to a God for the opportunity he provides here 
in this great, vast country, for the love he showers upon us, and for the hope He offers.

 As short as we may fall from the perfection of our ideals, the fact that we still hold to those 
ideals, to the belief that we can make further progress toward them, rather than to grow 
cynical and retreat in resignation, is a sign of the spirit of that God, the Creator. He is not a 
mean God; He is not a pessimistic God; He is not a God of death. The God who prompted 
our earliest Pilgrims to make that hazardous journey and who watched over those succeeding 
generations of pioneers is the same God who loves us and spurs us onward. Belief in Him, for 
all those who properly understand it, is belief in a good future. It is in such belief that cynicism 
and pessimism die.

 And so today, despite our problems, our tragedies, and our crises, so many of us can remain 
thankful, continuing a pattern well-taught. In the midst of a brutal winter in a new land, the 
Pilgrims were thankful for what lay ahead. Under the burdens of tyranny from the crown, the 
founders were thankful for what lay ahead. Under the yoke of slavery and the self-destruction 
of civil war, slaves and those who sought their freedom were thankful for what lay ahead. 
Under the cloud of world war, the generation called to fight were thankful for what lay ahead. 
Now it is our turn. As I look around, I see ample signs we have learned the lesson well, and 
none that we are wavering. We remain a generous people in a bountiful land under a loving 
God, and we are thankful.

 I wish every reader a wonderful Thanksgiving, but more importantly, a renewal or 
strengthening of that most powerful of traits Ð gratitude. Without it, the most ostentatious life 
is still empty. With it, even the simplest life remains fulfilling.

 About the author: Gregory J. Welborn is a freelance writer and has spoken to several civic and 
religious organizations on cultural and moral issues. He lives in the Los Angeles area with his 
wife and 3 children and is active in the community. He can be reached at gregwelborn2@gma/5l.

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