Monthly Archives: November 2017

Sola Scriptura — Scripture Alone

Sola Scriptura

Wayno Guerrini

August 22, 2017

Revised October 23 & 24, 2017

I. Introduction

The five planks of the reformation are:

By Grace Alone (Sola Gratia)

Through Faith Alone (Sola Fide)

In Christ Alone (Sola Christus)

According to Scripture Alone (Sola Sciptura)

For God’s Glory Alone (Sola Deo Gloria)

Imagine for a few minutes what things where like in the 1500’s. Feudalism was the politics of the day. You were one of 3 things:

You were Nobility and part of the ruling aristocracy of the day. You kept your people and the land safe, but usually by going to war with your neighbour. This made up maybe 3-4 % of the population.

Another choice was Clergy. You interpreted the Word of God. You were well educated. No one else had the skills necessary to read the Holy Writ. You may have been involved in selling indulgences. A way to buy yourself (and others) out of suffering that was necessary to try to make it in Heaven. You remember the rhyme, right? When a coin in the coffer rings, a soul from Purgatory springs. Your allegiance was to the Papacy. God never entered into the equation. The clergy constituted 5-6 % of the population.

Finally was Serfdom. The 90% who did the labour for the other 10%. Life was grim, gritty, weary, tiring. Day after day you did the same thing. Except on Sunday when you went to mass. It was a grand building. The biggest in the town. It was replete with statues and pictures of the saints, stained glass, and holy relics and iconography everywhere. A beauty to behold. You waited patiently to confess your sins, receive absolution, do penance, and finally receive the Eucharist.

Let’s travel further back for a moment. To the 3rd century. Augustine of Hippo. From the wikipedia article we learn: After his baptism and conversion to Christianity in 386, Augustine developed his own approach to philosophy and theology, accommodating a variety of methods and perspectives. Believing that the grace of Christ was indispensable to human freedom, he helped formulate the doctrine of original sin.

The seeds of the Reformation were born here as he read from Romans 13:13-14

Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts. (op cit)

Augustine fully understood the transformative power of the Gospel.

Let’s set our way back machine to 1384. John Wycliffe. You may have heard of him. He wrote the first English Language translation of the Bible into common English. Heretic! The word of God is the exclusive domain of the Roman church. We shall interpret the Bible, certainly not you. Wycliffe died of a stroke on December 31, 1384. His works were burned. His grave dug up from consecrated ground, at the order of Pope Martin, and his body burned, and the ashes scattered in the River Swift.

Wycliffe’s writing would have a profound effect on Jan Hus. He devoured Wycliffe’s writings and became the first of the Reformers. He spoke out against indulgences. Paying for sins. That hurt the pocket book. He said this about the Roman church:

[They are] worldly, proud, mercenary, pleasure-loving, and hypocritical…. They do not regard their sins as such, do not allow themselves to be reproved, and persecute the saintly preachers. There is no doubt that if Jesus lived among such people, they would be the first to put him to death.

We cant have this! Off with his head! And Jan Hus was executed on July 5, 1415. His ashes were scattered in the Rhine River.

Hus was a few decades before our next stop. 1440. Johannes Gutenberg invents a printing press with movable type. Suddenly the cost of books, which were hand copied, became cheap and affordable to the masses. This was perhaps the most important invention known to mankind. Education became available to not only the clergy and the ruling class, but to common, ordinary serfs. This single invention revolutionized education and learning to this day. The Bible we hold in our hands today, is a direct result of this man’s incredible invention.

What sparked the Reformation? What made a difference in the life of an insignificant monk, nearly 500 years ago? It wasn’t sudden wealth. It wasn’t a man. It was an encounter with the truth. The power of Scripture comes not merely from what is written, but it comes from the experiential encounter with the truth.

This isolated monk, though well educated, was cutoff from the world. He was pious. He was penitent, but he was still mired in the guilt and shame of sin. Nothing he could do, would ever please God. And he was absolutely right.

He was reminded of that passage from Isaiah: But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” (Isa 65:6 KJV)

Nothing he did of himself, would appease the wrath and anger of a just God. He was doomed. Condemned to walk the earth as a vagabond. Heaven wasn’t a goal. The justice of God demanded a sacrifice, an atonement, which he could never make. (Atonement means a payment in full, that is acceptable to the offended party). How could man ever do this? The answer: he cannot.

But Christ. The Monk read the words, that transformed his life:

For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. Rom 1:17 KJV

This was the answer Martin Luther had been looking for. The Gateway to Heaven had at last been opened. The answer did not lie with anything he could do. The answer lay with what Christ had already did. God is both the just, and the justifier. (Rom 3:26) A truth encounter.

Righteousness. righteousness: (dikaiosone) Righteousness involves much more than imputation and is NOT an exchange.

We receive righteousness as a gift without any trade in or exchange. We not only receive right standing, but a new heart that gives us the ability to not only do the right things, but to do them to God’s glory rather than our own credit. With an attitude of love and service that does not look for reward either now or in eternity. This righteousness is selflessness. Both law and grace define righteousness; and grace cannot be revealed or understood apart from the law. Paul carefully and systematically lays out these distinctions through the book. Defining righteousness is what this study is all about. Tim Poelstra

II. Sola Scriptura today

Let’s talk about Sola Scriptura. Only Scripture.

How does the Bible begin to shape our understanding about the nature of God? Why do we believe the Bible is a true and accurate? After all it contains 66 books written over approximately 1400 years, by 40 different authors. It can’t be true. It is inconsistent. It contains contradictions. It’s hard to understand.

The Bible does have 66 books, written over 1400 years, by 40 authors. It is ONE story written by the Holy Spirit. It is the story of a trustworthy God, revealing himself, in a Trustworthy manner.

Author Michael C. Horton said it best: “The character of God is at stake in the character of Scripture. Why is Scripture in-errant? Because we know that God does not lie.”

The in-errancy of Scripture then, rests with the nature and Character of God. Who is the author of Truth?

1 Timothy 3:16-17 tell us: All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. (NASB)

The word inspired in Greek is: theopneustos. Theo meaning God, and pneustos meaning breathed. Literally, God Breathed. As Dr. James White said: “The Bible is the only God breathed possession of the Church.”

III. Accountability to the Truth

Now that we have a basic understanding of the truth of Scripture, we are all fully accountable, not only to God, but to each other, as to how we handle the ultimate source of Truth. No one escapes accountability. Romans 14 and Isaiah tells us, no one escapes judgment before God.

I have sworn by Myself, The word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness And will not turn back, That to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance. (Isa 45:23 NASB)

An important aspect of avoiding temptation, is accountability. Small groups provide a safe environment, so that we can obtain the support, help and prayer that we need.

Right now you are asking, what is accountability? Why, then, criticize your brother’s actions, why try to make him look small? We shall all be judged one day, not by each other’s standards or even our own, but by the standard of Christ. It is written: ‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God’. (Romans 14:10-12 JB Phillips)

It is to God alone that we have to answer for our actions.

I like this from Chuck Swindoll on accountability:

What do we mean by accountability? In the simplest terms, it is answering the hard questions. Accountability includes opening one’s life to a few carefully selected, trusted, loyal confidants who speak the truth—who have the right to examine, to question, to appraise, and to give counsel.

People who are accountable usually have four qualities:

Vulnerability—capable of being wounded, shown to be wrong, even admitting it before being confronted.

–a willingness to learn, being quick to hear and respond to reproof, being open to counsel.

—accessible, touchable, able to be interrupted.

Honesty—committed to the truth regardless of how much it hurts, a willingness to admit the truth no matter how difficult or humiliating the admission may be. Hating all that is phony or false.

That’s a tough list! As I look back over those four qualities, I am more than ever aware of why accountability is resisted by the majority. Those with fragile egos can’t handle it. And prima dona types won’t tolerate it. They have a greater desire to look good and make a stunning impression than anything else. I mean, “the very idea of someone probing into my life!”

Don’t misunderstand. I’m not suggesting for a moment that accountability gives the general public carte blanche access to any and all areas of one’s private life. If you will glance back a few lines you will notice I referred to “a few carefully selected, trusted, loyal confidants.” They are the ones who have earned the right to come alongside and, when it seems appropriate and necessary, ask the hard questions, to serve in an advisory capacity, bringing perspective and wisdom where such may be lacking.

In our society, where privacy is a reward of promotion and a life of virtual secrecy is the prerogative of most leaders, a lack of accountability is considered the norm. This is true despite the fact that unaccountability is both unwise and unbiblical, not to mention downright perilous!

Today we need others to hold us accountable. Sometimes an objective opinion will reveal a blind spot. Sometimes we may simply need a sounding board to help keep us on target. Just remember—not one of us is an island. We need one another.

III. The Role of Sola Scriptura today

How do we apply the truth in our life today?

You may ask, is Sola Scriptura meaningful in a culture and in a society that is fastracking away from the sound principles and teachings of the Bible? The book of 2 Timothy gives us a sure footing.

2 Timothy is Paul’s Swan Song. He knew he was about to die. He penned these final words to his young protégé Timothy, from the cell of the Mamertine Prison, in Rome. It was dark. Dank. Foul smelling. A rat infested dungeon. He wrote by candlelight. Words take on a different meaning, when me understand the context in which they were written. We do not see Paul complaining. We see him focused on the task of reminding Timothy, what his duties and responsibilities were, and that of every person that names the name of Christ:

I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. 5 But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 2 Tim 4:1-5 NASB

We apply truth to our lives, everytime we open the Bible. 2 Cor 4:16 reminds us:

Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. (2 Cor 4:16 NASB)

Truth renewal is a daily encounter. Got it? It’s not something we learn once for all eternity. It is DAILY coming before the throne of Grace. The Truth, the Bible is applied daily. Not weekly. Not month, not yearly. Not at weddings or funerals. Everyday that God graciously allows us to suck breath.

Finally, Paul pen’s warns a shy and timid Timothy (see 1 Tim 4:1) about false teachers.

Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons. 2 These people are hypocrites and liars, and their consciences are dead. 1 Tim 4:1-2 NASB

We find many false teachers today: Joel Osteen, Beth Moore, Pat Robertson, Mormons, The Roman Church, Joyce Meyer. The list goes on. When was the last time you heard Joel Osteen preach about sin? Or maybe the Resurrection? Or Christ? But Osteen, Moore, Meyer’s and others, were not the first to challenge the truth. Who was the first to challenge the Truth? Satan. We see the story unfold in Genesis Chapter 3. The doctrine of demons, must fully be met, with the doctrine of truth.

Why did the Roman Church push so hard against Luther? Was the truth at stake? Absolutely! Luther, in writing the 95 theses, challenged the authority of the Papacy (is that even scriptural?) and indulgences. I especially like # 47: Christians are to be taught that the buying of pardons is a matter of free will, not a commandment.” That hit them where the pocketbook was.

Paul warns us in Romans 1:25 what happens when you exchange the truth, for a lie:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

How many of you saw the Solar Eclipse on Monday, August 21, 2017? Do you need further proof of God’s invisible attributes, eternal power and divine nature?

The Gospel reminds us: and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free. (John 8:32 NASB)

How do you get the truth, how do you know the truth, if you can’t read it? One of the greatest influences on the reformation, was Luther’s tedious translation of the Bible into the language of the people, and subsequent distribution by Gutenberg’s printing press. The Truth was no longer sequestered and held hostage by the Roman Church, even as they continue to do, today. There is no replacement for having the Truth, the Word of God, in your own language.

You want to argue doctrine? Theology? Traditions? Sola Scriptura. Now we can separate truth from lies. We have a reliable source. The Bible.

Dr White writes: “Scripture is the sole infallible rule of faith, the sole instrument of Justification, to the Glory of God alone by Christ alone.”

Justification by faith was the gateway for Luther. As a church, we must proclaim it loudly for all to hear.


Maybe the words I have spoken have reached your heart. It is not something I did. It is the Holy Spirit, taking the message from your ears, to your heart.

If God has spoken to you today and you would like to discuss this, Pastor Dan, Michael, Tim or I stand ready to help you.

A look at Arizona’s SB 1070 and National Sovereignty

Originally Published August 28, 2011

Judge Susan Bolton’s recent decision regarding Arizona’s SB-1070, brings to mind the question of National Sovereignty.

She admitted in her opening remarks during a recent press conference…

Against a backdrop or rampant illegal immigration, escalating drug and human trafficking crimes, and serious public safety concerns, the Arizona Legislature enacted a set of statutes and statutory amendments in the form of Senate Bill 1070… U.S.A. v. State of Arizona.

She openly acknowledged the problems, but through her ponderance over these laws, issued an injunction against the bill anyway. While Judge Bolton is in Phoenix, she is far removed from the scene here in Tucson, which is the single most active sector in the U.S. for il-legal border crossings. She does not see what the residents of Tucson see. Did Judge Bolton just give the Feds a get of our jail free card? The issue is National Sovereignty. Do we, or do we not, have any control over our borders? She seems to have paid lip service, anyway, in acknowledging the problems.

Through her in-action, she has given control to Foreign Governments and their Citizens, the power to come and go as they please. Is our border now a turnstile? If il-legal’s can freely cross, what about Terrorists? The Bush and Obama Administration’s have both long ignored the problems faced everyday. The crime waves. The murders. The cost imposed on the states: Education, Housing, Food, Medical Care, for these Citizens.

Do we control our destiny, or is that power now vested in Foreign Governments, that have managed to re-locate their Citizens? Things look very stark here. Arizona’s attempt in SB-1070 said: If you won’t do the job of enforcing the Federal Statutes already in place, then we’ll do it for you. Can one blame a state for trying to protect it’s citizens when the Federal Government steadfastly, ineptly, and impotently refuses to do their job? Mr. Obama had time to be on The View but doesn’t have time to visit the border. What are his priorities?

Our borders are no more secure today, then they were on September 11, 2001. Where are those in charge of our safety and security?  History proves to be incredibly pragmatic. If we don’t learn the lessons offered by history, we are pre-destined to repeat the mistakes of the past. Will Durant offers this insight: A great civilisation is not conquered from without, until it has destroyed itself from within.

Judge Bolton, should be criticized for her ruling helps dismantle this great nation, one law at a time. It is indeed unfortunate, she can’t be voted out of office. Frank Zappa was right on when he said: The United States is a nation of laws, badly written and randomly enforced.

QE2: A ship that never should have sailed

Originally Published September 8, 2011

When most people hear the term QE2, they think of the ship: The Queen Elizabeth 2.  But to economists and those who follow the economy, QE2  sails far deeper then any ocean liner. Quantitative Easing is far more treacherous then anyone ever imagined.

What is Quantitative Easing?  It is the government running the printing presses to print money, and then using the money just printed, to buy back its own debt.  It’s like using one credit card to pay off another. This gives the illusion that all the bills are being payed, and everything can continue as normal. But what really happens, is that the Federal Government, is increasing the money supply.  Why is it called QE2?  Because the Fed has done this before!  Unchecked expansion of the money supply leads us to our next economic stopping point:  Inflation.

How We Got Here

Brooksley Born, unknown outside economic circles, predicted the economic collapse in 1998.  As head of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) from 1996 – 1999, her astute observation led her to conclude that the unregulated over-the-counter credit default swaps market, would lead only to disaster. She was adamantly opposed by then Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, and Treasury Secretaries Robert Rubin and Larry Summers.  They squashed her like a bug!  She resigned.

History proves to be patient, if not pragmatic.  Ten years later, the U.S. suffered one of the worst economic collapses since The Great Depression.  The unregulated market in these swaps led to where we are today.  She was right all along.

Missed Golden Opportunity

The Bush Administration had a golden opportunity to cleanse the toxic assets of the housing debacle, To Big to Fail (TBTF), General Motors, Chrysler and so on, but instead followed a path of fiscal irresponsibility, by creating TARP, (Troubled Asset Relief program.)  This program transferred billions of dollars, to some of the most poorly managed companies in the United States.  The Bush administration turned a $140+  Billion SURPLUS into a  a whopping $1.2 TRILLION DEFICIT due to the unfunded liabilities:  The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, TARP/Stimulus, Tax Cuts, and Medicare Part D (The donut hole prescription drug plan seniors on Medicare live with daily.)

The Obama Administration had a golden opportunity to cleanse the toxic assets.  Instead it proffered  an ever ballooning National Debt, and Cars — Car Allowance Rebate System.  More affectionately called: Cash for Clunkers. Another unfunded liability.  While the goal was to stimulate the sale of new auto-mobiles, in reality what this did is remove the supply of good used cars out of reach of working class citizens.  Total cost to taxpayers:  $3 BILLION!

The Future?

The U.S. economy is fragile. It may face what’s known as a Liquidity Trap.  No matter how much money is created, no matter how low interest rates go, the economy can not be sustain-fully expanded.

What’s ahead for the United States?  The toxic assets MUST be cleansed.  There could be a gradual decline over the next few years, and then suddenly the balloon will pop and deflation (contraction of money supply and available credit) could ensue.  TBTF banks will fail, the housing market will collapse, and the toxic assets will finally be cleansed.  But remember all that money the government is printing? The Quantitative Easing?  Deflation is the handmaiden of inflation. That is, one follows the other, as if joined hand-in-had.  Once the assets are cleansed, hyper-inflation is just around the corner.

Oil Prices

Oil prices will continue an upward price acceleration, as the dollar declines in value.  We could see oil prices pegged to another currency: Yuan or Gold. Perhaps G20 (finance ministers from the 20 most industrialized nations in the world) may move to stabilize the world economies, by fixing exchange rates, creating a de-facto:  One World Economy.

A great civilisation is not conquered from without, until it has destroyed itself from within. – Will Durant

Tucson Remembers: The Road Ahead after the Tucson Shooting

Originally Published:  January 6, 2012

The Road Ahead: Tucson Remembers

Externally, every facet appears normal. It’s like nothing ever happened. January 8, 2011, at 10:11 am, is a date indelibly woven into the history of the Old Pueblo. At that hour, the worst mass shooting in Tucson history occurred at a supermarket just a few miles from my home.

Tucson Shooting site - 1 year after

Tucson Shooting site – 1 year after

How does a community and a nation come together to honour the 6 slain and 19 wounded? What has changed in a year? As a community, the shock and disbelief of residents are common threads of any tragedy that rattle the foundation and core of our world. No one who attended the Congress on your Corner that day, knew that such a terrifying and life changing event would ever take place in our city.

We are reminded of images of accused mass murderer Jared Lee Loughner, flashed on the screen with that sadistic and twisted smile. We saw heartfelt images of the slain and wounded. President Barack Obama came to our corner of the world, to remind us we are not forgotten. We are not lost. That although the road ahead is long and hard, we would NOT make that voyage alone. Together we Thrive became our credo. He affirmed us at every level. He infused hope when we were utterly shattered.

Tucson Shooting Site - January 12, 2011

Tucson Shooting Site – January 12, 2011

Perhaps the greatest inspiration of all: U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Her Story of Courage and Hope continue to amaze us all. When Dianne Sawyer of ABC News interviewed Gabby and her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, we hung on every word.

Permanent memorials have sprung up all over town, replacing the ad-hoc ones a year ago. We are beginning to leave the pain, strife and grief from a year ago and starting to put that behind us. As a community, we still have grievous wounds that remain. Time will heal the wounds but they will be scarred. Reminders of the past tragedy, but signposts of healing that has already occurred.

– U.S. District Judge John Roll, 63.
– Gabe Zimmerman, 30, Giffords’ director of community outreach.
– Dorwin Stoddard, 76, a pastor at Mountain Ave. Church of Christ.
– Dorthy Murray, 76.
– Phyllis Scheck, 79.
– Christina Greene, 9, a student at Mesa Verde Elementary.

Dominoes to Descent: A look at the Tucson Shooter, Jared Loughner

Originally Published September 10, 2011

The tragic events of January 8, 2011 are firmly woven into the fabric of Tucson, Arizona. Gone are the days of innocence, that slowed to let young children grow and prosper. Instead many are left wondering what caused the fatal shootings that left 6 dead and 13 injured, including incumbent U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (Democrat) from the 8th Congressional District? Let’s examine the sequence of events that led to this tragedy.

The Warning Signs

It was obvious to many that accused shooter Jared Lee Loughner, is a young man in trouble. He began showing erratic behaviour to his [1] friends and family about 4 years ago. Loughner had turned from a quiet shy kid who played jazz music on his saxophone, into someone that was disconnected from reality, and later whose thoughts became nihilistic and garbled over the course of time. Family and friends were not the only ones to see this disconnect.  When Lounger tried to enlist for military service [2], he was declined because of drug use.

Perhaps the most culpable and capable, failed Jared Lee Lougner. His college. Loughner had disrupted classes at Pima Community College on five separate occasions, from February – September, 2010. After the last incident, Pima CC told Loughner he needed a mental health evaluation in order to return, and proceeded instead, to suspended him. Pima CC did NOT seek mental health assistance for Loughner, simply because he was NOT a threat to himself or to others. Therefore, he was never flagged as a mental health risk.

The first domino is now tipping.

Mental Health Issues

While it was obvious to Pima CC that Loughner had mental health issues, they did not seek any aid for him. They could have invoked Arizona’s Title 36 / Chapter 5 Statue [3], which would have permitted a 3 day involuntary mental health commitment. Parents could have done this. Friends could have done this. But all seemed to turn a blind eye and a deaf ear on Loughner’s deteriorating state of reality.

The Mental Health Care System in Arizona must be scrutinized as well. Facing a looming $1.3 BILLION budget deficit, the State of Arizona, gutted its Mental Health Care System. Thousands [4] in Pima County were dropped. One methodology employed by the State of Arizona, was to require proof of U.S. Citizenship to continue to receive mental health services.

Gone are case management and therapy. NO follow-ups are provided. Group therapy which used to be free, now require a $15 per session co-pay. For people living on Social Security, that is a budget buster. Medication and follow-ups, which were provided by CPSA (Co-operative Partnership of Southern Arizona. CPSA is the umbrella organisation overseeing mental health care in Southern Arizona), are now taken from Medicare for those who are eligible. Medicare is now tasked with paying for Medicare-eligible seniors and the disabled. It’s still free to the patient, but shrinks the prescription drug coverage, and pushes some ever closer to the edge of the Medicare Donut Hole Prescription challenges. Arizona seemingly has un-encumbered itself from providing adequate mental health care coverage. Loughner nor any of his family, friends or associates, sought aid from this crippled and failing mental health care system.

The second domino, has flipped.

Arizona Gun Laws

Arizona has the most lax gun laws [5], in the nation. One is permitted to carry a concealed weapon without a permit virtually anywhere in the state, and without any training. Requiring only a simple background check. Disregarding, the shootings one week after the tragedy, a long planned gun show was held at the Pima County Fair grounds. What was the true agenda? There was no deference shown to those killed, maimed, or distraught from this event.

Was Loughner’s ability to purchase a weapon a failure of the system? Simply stated: No. Since there were no flags in his background, and the gun was legally purchased from a local Sportsman’s Warehouse in Tucson. How could Loughner afford to purchase a handgun (about $500), since he had no job?

I visited the store where the gun was purchased. Most anyone from Tucson, is acquainted with the store location. I asked personnel at the store if I could take photos inside and was courteously declined.

The store is typical of a sporting goods store. Nothing really stands out. Walking towards the centre of the store, you see large glassed in display cases filled with knives. Very long to very short. ALL in a LOCKED case.

Rounding the corner to left…took my breath away. The scene was surreal. Ahead were about 75 different hand guns, pegged on a wall, 5 or 6 deep. In other words about 400 handguns hanging on a wall, with absolutely no security, except for store personnel. To the left of the handguns, were about 50 different rifles on pedestal stands. Nothing securing them except for the fact, they were bolted in place. Wandering a bit more: box upon box of ammunition (bullets) neatly stacked on the floor, for anyone to grab. Is this what America has become?

The failure was not in the sale of the gun. The failure was in letting the Assault Weapons Ban expire in 2004 [7], and permitting the sale of such weapons. [6] This included the high capacity clip (30 rounds) sold to Loughner with the gun, all legally obtained. Loughner had indeed exercised his 2nd Ammendment rights.

The second amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. [8]

A well regulated Militia. We already have one. It’s called: The National Guard.

Why does driving a car, require training and insurance? It seems a mystery, that you can purchase a gun easier then cold medication. If you try to buy too much cold medication containing pseudo-ephedrine, you are stopped. Is this the right priority?

The third domino is falling.

Pre-staging and Preparation

Loughner had previously met Congresswoman Giffords [9] at a Congress at your Corner meeting in 2007. He asked Giffords: “What is government if words have no meaning?” Giffords did not respond. Amongst the items seized during a warrant search of the Lougner home, were a letter received from Giffords’ office, thanking him for attending. The words “Die Bitch” were inscribed on the envelope.

An event such as this, requires some forethought and pre-planning. Loughner had to go to 2 Walmarts [10] to buy ammunition for his 9mm Glock. The first store he went to, refused. Evidence on his home computer [11] indicate Loughner had researched topics which included lethal injections and solitary confinement. He took the time to leave a voice mail message: “Hey Bryce, it’s Jared. We had some good times together. Peace out.” [12]

Loughner took a one way cab ride [13] to the Safeway that morning. He entered the Safeway, where he changed a $20 bill, to pay for a $14 cab ride [13]. Why do that? These steps would suggest that Loughner was cognizant of actions. A jury will be tasked to determine if Loughner’s actions were indeed pre-mediated, the act of someone mentally incompetent, or somewhere in-between?

If the gun laws in Arizona are permissive, why did no one come forward that day to stop Jared Lee Loughner? The answer is simple. It was all over in about 15 seconds and one gun clip of 30 rounds [14]. Who knows what would have happened if he was able to reload?

The final domino has toppled.

Wayno Guerrini

A Blast to the Past

Originally Published September 23, 2011

America seems to have a love affair with guns. But has it always been this way? Let’s take a closer look.

In 1791 [1], The second amendment to the U.S. Constitution was passed.

It says: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. [2]

Why did the Founding Fathers find it necessary to include this amendment in the framework of the U.S. Constitution? While there is much [3] debate on the issue, whether it is a civil liberty or state right, one thing rings true: Citizens have always owned and used guns. The Founding Fathers perhaps felt that it was necessary to keep the Government from usurping power over its citizens, much like England did in pre-revolutionary war times. Some 80 years later, in 1871, we saw the formation of the National Rifle Association. [4].

Back then, vigilantism was the law of the land. Those with the most guns and fastest shots, ruled the day. Wyatt Earp and Tombstone, Arizona. Hand guns and rifles reigned as the Supreme law of the Old West. This type of thinking, dominated the early 20th Century, especially in the 1920’s which saw the rise of the Gangster Mentality. It wasn’t until 1934 that [5] President Franklin Roosevelt introduced the [6] National Firearms Act in an attempt to control automatic machine gun weapons.

In 1994, The Federal Assault Weapons Ban [7] was enacted. It was an attempt to control the use and distribution of semi-automatic assault type weapons. The trouble was, there was no definition of what an assault weapon is. In addition, a sunset clause was written into this ban. This allowed the law to expire one decade later, in 2004.

Arizona’s Gun Laws

Arizona however has maintained that the 2nd Amendment is a state right, and has systematically dismantled gun control legislation. [8] Currently, only a simple background check is required to purchase a weapon. Anyone over the age of 21, is allowed to carry a concealed weapon. [9] No training, is required. In fact about the only places you can NOT carry a gun, is if a sign is posted outside, in a court house, or the state capital in Phoenix. Legislation is pending, to allow carrying a weapon onto state colleges and universities. The gun laws of today, do not seem any different then they were in Tombstone, Arizona in 1881. [10]

The Way Points

Let’s scrutinize some of the results of these gun laws.

University of Texas at Austin, Bell Tower

University of Texas at Austin, Bell Tower

In 1966, [11] Charles Witman at the University of Texas Belltower, in Austin, Texas, killed 16 people, and injured 32. He went to a hardware store, purchased an M1 Carbine.

In 1970, [12] on May 4, Four Ohio National Guardsmen killed 4 students, and injured 9. Why? The students were protesting the U.S. Government’s incursion of the Vietnam war into Cambodia. The guardsman fired 67 rounds in 13 seconds.

In 1984, [13] James Huberty, at a Mc Donald’s in San Ysidro, California (near the U.S./Mexican Border) took 21 innocent lives, and injured 19 others. He used a 9mm Uzi Semi-Automatic.

In 1996, [14] students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold entered Columbine High School. They killed 13 people, and injured 21, before turning their 9 mm handguns, on themselves.

In 2002, [15] John Allen Mohammed and Lee Boyd Malvo aimed their Bushmaster XM-15 semi-automatic .223. They killed 10 people, and critically injured 3 others.

In 2007, [16] Seung-Hui Cho at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia, killed 32, and injured 25. Weapons of choice: 9 mm, Glock 19, and .22 Calibre Walther semi-automatic.

On January 8, 2011 [17] Accused shooter, Jared Lee Loughner went to a supermarket Congress on your Corner, with U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle (Gabby) Giffords [18]. He fatally shot 6 people, and injured 13, including Giffords. He used a 9 mm Glock.

Tucson says Yes to Civility

Showing little deference to those killed or injured in the January, 2011 Tucson shootings, Pima County Republican Party auctioned off a Glock 23 in August, 2011.[19] It is similar to what accused shooter Jared Lee Loughner had used, just 8 months earlier. This action drew severe criticism from the Tucson / Pima County Community. Republican Ward 6 Councilman Steve Kozachik,[20] was present at the Tucson says YES to Civility anti-gun rally just a few weeks ago. He represented the other side of the Republican Party that did NOT support the gun raffle. Tucson’s Green Party Mayoral candidate Mary De Camp had this to say: I think the Green Party should auction off a gun safe. I respect the right of other people to bear arms, though I am a pacifist myself…

Current Gun Laws

Two things seem to fuel gun violence in Arizona. One was the Assault Weapons Ban sunset which occurred in 2004. [22] The expiration of this ban, provided Jared Lee Loughner with legal means to purchase a high capacity 30 round clip for his 9 mm Glock. Secondly, the Arizona legislature is considering allowing concealed weapons on Arizona’s college’s and campuses. [23]

These two items can only foster security and safety issues. What prevents any of these events from occurring again? Guns do NOT kill people. People do. But we need better screening and training, to prevent future tragedies such as these from happening. Perhaps just like in the movies of the Old West, the bad guy will help us out, by wearing a Black Hat.

“I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government.”
— Henry David Thoreau — Civil Disobedience