Nov 22

Open Thought to Music: Educational Arts, Music & Talk Radio (EAMT)

 

Educational Arts Music & Talk Radio Info

 

EAS Logo2

 

Educational Arts Music & Talk Radio will feature music in many different genres from musicians around the world.
Talk shows cover topics in spirituality, health and wellness, pet care, traditional ministry and many more.  Music will fill the air waves with melody, harmony and dissonance that rocks the soul and soothes the heart.  It will come “at you” in country, reggae, gospel, rap, salsa to name a few.  Stay streaming and we’ll keep you beaming!

The Duane Parham Show – Sundays – 6pm-8pm(est) 

Duane Parham Promo 032

“Talk to the Author” with Dr. Mamie Smith – Sundays – 5pm – 6pm (est)

You Raise Me Up (2)

Talk  & Music by The Motown Ambassadors

The Original Vandellas

The New Fantastic 4 pic

The Fantastic Four

Flyer 4 The Web-1

Detroit City is Coming Back – Written & Produced by Duane Parham

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A Jazz Version of Detroit City is Coming Back

Keeping your ear to the tunes of Educational Arts Music & Talk Radio will keep you in tune with what’s happening in the world!  Click here and mentally walk along with us.

Follow these directions if you have a problem reaching the station:

1. Click on this link:

2. That brings up a window that says “listen,” click “save.”
3.  That downloads Itunes on your site.
4.  Open it, and you will see the name “Educational Arts Music & Talk Radio” and the station “plays.”
Joey Vee Band
Joey Vee & Band Record the Country Version of: ” Detroit City is Coming Back” 

Live Celebrity Talk

Time:  7:00 am – 8:00 am – Monday – Saturday

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Live Celebrity Talk features people of prominence, fame and popularity from a variety of professions, subjects and artistic abilities.  The world-renowned civil rights activist and comedian Dick Gregory appeared on the show when it debuted November 16, 2014.  

 

Jul 30

Open Thought: How Do You Respond to the Challenges of Life?

Mamie Smith PicIt is not about life not placing challenges and roadblocks in your pathway, it’s about how you respond to them.  No one is free of human hardships, frailties and difficult times, but finding a way to use them for growth and spiritual development is the key.   When my daughter passed away in 2005, it took every ounce of mental and physical strength to regain a sense of normalcy . . .  with only memories of her to keep me balanced.  What did I do?  I turned inwardly and sought a greater understanding of the meaning of life.

 

Life became a compilation of thoughts infused with grace, love and divine understanding.  I knew that unless I discovered a deeper meaning of it, I was doomed to guilt, depression and grief for the rest of my human experience.  So each day, I looked for at least one tiny speck of “truth” that would defy what the errors of my physical being were imparting.  This was not easy . . . there were days, weeks and months of questions that did not seem to have answers, tears, doubt, fear and blame, but I reached for and clung to every sparkle of light that pointed the way out of the darkness.

 

 

 

 

 

My daughter was my life, and  . . . I realized that that had to change.  God is the only Life.  When this concept took root in my consciousness,  healing came, and the bandages of sorrow and grief unraveled, and divine Love re-clothed me with the garments of freedom.  Did I forget that she has passed away?  No!  I learned to live with the consciousness she left behind–the consciousness I knew she possessed wherever and in whatever spiritual state, she has transitioned to.  “This is deep” . . . someboMyMamareviseddy said to me.  Well, life certainly is not surface-oriented!  When we seek . . . we do find, and the doors of peace and happiness are opened to us.  Walking with Love along the way of life, gives joy-filled days–days we could never achieve on our own.

 

 

Meta Rose is my daughter’s name and she had such great outer beauty, but her inner beauty surpassed it in infinite ways.

 

This poem sums up the thoughts that got me through the darkness into the light:  

 

I did not leave you behind,

Together we walk hand in hand

With a Father, both yours and mine

Who travels with us throughout the land.

 

 

 

Do not cry, do not weep.

I am not dead, I do not sleep,

My smile is just as fresh today

As it was the day I went away.

 

 

 

My days are filled with the thoughts of God,

He is ever with me wherever I trod,

The walk is not lonely, it is not sad,

I hold the hand of my only Dad.

Written by Dr. Mamie Smith

 

  

As the months progressed into years, I developed a sense of peace, well-being, health and harmony about God, my daughter and myself.  Much of this came over a 2-year period that led to my first book entitled:  The Unfolding of a Rose.

I would like to leave you with this video.  It is a summary of how I was raised above the sorrows of life, and discovered that joy comes in the morning–a morning that embraces the sunlight of truth.  Truth is defined as the spiritual nature of man–a spiritual nature in direct opposition to the human and physical conditions that the five physical senses are holding in front of your gaze.

My Version of the song “You Raise Me Up!” 

Jesus-Christ

Enjoy!

Jul 06

Open Thought to the Letters of Paul: A Messenger of Jesus Christ

“Saul, (Paul) yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord . . . . “(Acts 9: 1).  

Paul is one of the most loyal followers of Jesus, but he was not always a follower.  In fact,  as Saul, he hunted down Christians and imprisoned them for daring to follow a man he did not understand, or care to understand.  However, one day, as he made his way to Damascus, his thought became so enlightened by the Word of God, that he became physically blind–a blindness caused by the expression of the evil thoughts and practices his heart had embraced, and he began to reflect on his actions.  As the “light of truth” shone more clearly in thought, he humbled himself before God and was led to believe that he would be healed by a man called Ananias … and he was healed.  Once regenerated, his name became Paul.

apostle-paul-84This revelation became a basis for Paul’s journey of

spiritual growth and development, and to date, he is one of the most prolific writers of the New Testament.  This article will look at The Letters of Paul:

                1.  List the Letters of Paul

                2.  Summarize Each Letter

                3.  See How Each Relates to Today’s World 

 

 

Thirteen letters have been attributed to Paul, and are listed in the New Testament as Books.  They are:

 

Romans

I & II Corinthians

Galatians

Ephesians

Philippians

Colossians

I & II Thessalonians

I & II Timothy

Titus

Philemon

Hebrews

The Letters of Paul will be discussed in 11 articles–just as they occur in the New Testament of the Bible–the Books of Romans being the first.   Not only will each article discuss the author’s understanding of Paul’s letters, but will also look at how Christian leaders throughout the ages have weighed in on the meaning of Paul’s letters, and how reading them can aid mankind in discovering the pathway to freedom.

 The first letter that Paul wrote was to the Romans–people he referred to as “beloved of God, called to be saints” (Romans 1: 7).  What is the message that he is sending them?

Many spiritual leaders before Paul spoke to Christians–primarily Jews, but Paul was destined to reach outside of  sect or religion and embrace the Gentile.  His teachings revealed that God is “no respecter of persons,” for he looks at the heart and not the body.  He also embraced the idea that God’s child is not “”born in sin,” but equipped with truth, not error, love, not hate and good, not evil as many leaders of the Old Testament had espoused.

He wrote to the Romans about the clear distinction between God’s law and man’s law–one being good and the other evil–one developing faith and grace, the other sin and fear.  He says in affect:  “sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace” (6:14).  The law he refers to is man’s law.  Faith, he taught,  is not partial to nationality or religion, it is the same for everyone who has it, and further, every man has the capacity to have it.  Any belief to the contrary, is merely a dictation of human law, not a commandment of God.  Human law is flesh-directed, Spirit is God and man expressing spirituality, is God-directed.

This letter to the Romans also makes it clear that Paul believed Jesus to be not God, but the Son of God.  He says, “what the law (man’s law) could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:” (8:3).  He’s saying that Jesus, God’s son, appeared in the flesh (not God appeared in the flesh) so that fleshly mortals could identify with him and learn that it is possible to overcome sin as humans living in fleshly bodies, but thinking divinely, as Jesus taught.  This nullifies the idea that man is not expected to overcome sin while here on earth because God did not make him able to do so.  Such a view is mortal thinking, not immortal, human, not divine.  The man that God created, as Moses points out in the first chapter of the Book of Genesis, is made in “the image and likeness of God” and has the capacity to be Godlike–to express all that God is.  Once man believes this, he improves his chances of practicing it here on earth.  As long as he believes he is a sinner and cannot cease sinning, he will do so!  As a “man thinketh, so is he.”

 

What Others Say About the Letter to the Romans

 

At this point, it may be interesting to see how other religious leaders view Paul’s letter to the Romans.  The Easy English Bible Version gives a simplified version of Paul’s purpose for writing the Romans:

 

  • To prepare the church in Rome for a visit.
  • To give a clear explanation of the gospel.
  • To give the truth about the Christian faith to any Christians in Rome who had false ideas about it.
  • To give practical advice about how Christians should behave toward each other.
  • To give practical advice about how Christians should behave toward their rulers.
  • To unite Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians.  In many churches, there had been serious arguments between Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians.   

http://www.easyenglish.info/bible-commentary/romans-lbw.htm

Adam Clarke, a British Methodist theologian and Biblical scholar, says:

Paul had made acquaintance with all circumstances of the Christians at Rome … and finding that it was … partly of heathens converted to Christianity, and partly of Jews, who had, with many remaining prejudices, believed in Jesus as the true Messiah, and
that many contentions arose from the claims of the Gentiles to equal privileges with the Jews, and from absolute refusal of the Jews to admit these claims, unless the Gentile converts become 
circumcised; he wrote this epistle to adjust and settle these differences.  http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/view.cgi?bk=44&ch=0 

Around the 16th century, Martin Luther, a German Monk, Catholic priest and professor of theology, defines the words” law, sin, grace, faith, justice, flesh, spirit” according to his interpretation of Paul’s meaning and makes it clear that unless one understands Paul’s meaning of those words, it  is useless to read the Book of Romans.  The following excerpts from his Preface to Romans outline the meaning of those words:

“You must not understand the word law here in human fashion, i.e., a regulation about what sort of works must be done or must not be done. That’s the way it is with human laws: you satisfy the demands of the law with works, whether your heart is in it or not. God judges what is in the depths of the heart. . . . You must get used to the idea that it is one thing to do the works of the law and quite another to fulfill it. The works of the law are every thing that a person does or can do of his own free will and by his own powers to obey the law. But because in doing such works the heart abhors the law and yet is forced to obey it, the works are a total loss and are completely useless.

Luther seems to be saying that there is a clear distinction between man’s law and God’s laws.  Thus, one can conclude that just because something is legal does not necessarily mean it is fair, impartial and just, and  . . . if a person obeys the law out of fear and not out of love, he has no “just reward.”  

Luther interprets Paul’s thoughts about “sin’ this way:

All human beings are called liars (Psalm 116), since none of them keeps or can keep God’s law from the depths of the heart. Everyone finds inside himself an aversion to good and a craving for evil. Where there is no free desire for good, there the heart has not set itself on God’s law. There also sin is surely to be found and the deserved wrath of God, whether a lot of good works and an honorable life appear outwardly or not.

 

The key to this viewpoint is that all human beings are sinners.  It is only when thought unites with the divine that man is able to say and do the “work of God.”  Thus, it is sinful to point out the sins of others when one is not obeying the divine laws himself.  Religion leaders who stand in the pulpit and preach “hell and damnation” to their followers who “commit adultery” and are secretly having “affairs” themselves will be hit with “many stripes.”

 

What about grace?  Grace is that divine influence that comes into thought and makes one morally strong.  It causes us to turn from sin and reach for that which is right and good.  It stops you in your tracks with “Now, you know that is not right, don’t do it!”  Some of us heed the nudging, but others ignore it.  Luther puts it this way, “. . .it means to live well and in a manner pleasing to God, as though there were no law or punishment. It is the Holy Spirit, however, who puts such eagerness of unconstained love into the heart, as Paul says in chapter 5.

 

Faith plays an important role in one’s desire to fulfill divine Law.  According to Luther, “Faith is a work of God in us, which changes us and brings us to birth anew from God (cf. John 1). It kills the old Adam, makes us completely different people in heart, mind, senses, and all our powers, and brings the Holy Spirit with it. What a living, creative, active powerful thing is faith! It is impossible that faith ever stop doing good. Faith doesn’t ask whether good works are to be done, but, before it is asked, it has done them. It is always active. Whoever doesn’t do such works is without faith; he gropes and searches about him for faith and good works but doesn’t know what faith or good works are. Even so, he chatters on with a great many words about faith and good works.” 

 

Faith is the impetus that makes us choose “good works” over the status quo.  It guides and governs through a deep-seated desire to please God.  It constantly unfolds, uplifts and gives a sense of fulfillment and inner peace.  Should you do something and the feelings from what you do bring agitation, upheaval within yourself, you knew what you did was not in harmony with divine law before you did it.  Your faith brought you to the door, but your greed would not let you turn the “knob to get in.”

 

Justice grows out of faith.  One’s faith in God allows him to be just, to obey what is good and true, and to treat others as he wishes to be treated.  It is not a “make an excuse” kind of justice called “self-justification.”  It is a justice that asks “If God were here, is this something He would do?”  If to the depth of your soul you cannot answer “Yes,” the thing you are about to do is unjust.  Self-justification goes like this, “I am going steal this bread because my children are hungry and if God did not want me to do it, He wouldn’t have placed it in front of me.  This is God’s provision!”  That is not God talking, that is human will speaking.  God is not a thief, and He will not lead you to be one!”

 

Luther says of Paul’s teaching of justice:  God’s justice or that justice which is valid in God’s sight, . . . gives it and reckons it as justice for the sake of Christ our Mediator. It influences a person to give to everyone what he owes him.”  

http://www.ccel.org/l/luther/romans/pref_romans.html

Paul speaks of the “flesh” and “spirit” as opposites.  One does not compliment the other, but destroys the other.  If one’s thoughts are focused on pleasing, glorifying or keeping the fleshly body healthy, he is “of the flesh” not of the spirit.  Spiritual thinking focuses on the substance of Spirit, God.  Such qualities are peace, harmony, spirituality, unfoldment , wellness and purity of thought.  Healthy thoughts always turn us toward God, not a fleshly body.  Fleshly body thinking is a great fallacy of mortal thinking–the medical world.  It wants to keep the mind centered on diseases you may have, make get, don’t want to get, your family history of diseases and all of the medicines and surgeries that will prevent or cure them.  Such thinking causes diseases to multiply not cease . . . as they would have you believe.

 They say, “Go and get this test to see if you got it!”  I say, “God created you with perfect thoughts which keep the human body in check!  Blot out those evil thoughts and replace them with thoughts of health–thoughts that align themselves with God.”  Running out getting one test after another does not prevent or cure disease.  Spiritual thinking protects, governs and cures.  I speak from daily practice and experience.

Luther reiterates Paul’s teaching with:  “ Spirit, he says, comes from Christ, who has given us his Holy Spirit; the Holy Spirit makes us spiritual and restrains the flesh. ” 

Making a clear distinction between “the Spirit” and “the flesh” enables man to choose whom he will follow.  I think of “Spirit” with a capital “S”–another name for God.  It is that which is pure–without an ounce of error, whereas “spirit” with a small “s” denotes the thoughts of mortal man–thoughts about oneself, and about a god made in the image of man, not man made in the “image of God.”  God is not man-like, man is God-like, and that man is not fleshly, but spiritual.

Paul’s letter to the Romans, is also a letter to the Americans–or anyone else whose seeks to understand divine law, justice, grace and truth.  He spoke in a language the people of his day could understand, and with research into the meaning of certain words, a language we can understand.  Spiritual inspiration directed the thoughts of Paul and the pen he held in his hand, and if you are to understand his words, spiritual inspiration must guide your thoughts.  Seeking only a literal translation of his words without a spark of love in your heart, will never get you there.

Paul spoke of a law that revelation, regeneration and unconditional love for God and all that he created, enables understanding and demonstration.  Half-stepping gets little or no understanding.  It is a justice that is impartial–rising above race, color, creed or sexual orientation, a justice that seeks the perfect man, a man made in the likeness of God–without human shape, form or conditions, but is centered in faith, hope and divine anointing.  It is not words, Paul says, that allow the “kingdom of heaven to glow within us, but spiritual works.  It is not self-justification, self-love and self-glorification that open the pathway of freedom for all, but selflessness, impartiality and perfection that keep the way clear of mental debris and chaos.

Have you read this letter?  More importantly, are you living this letter?  If not, open your thought to the Book of Romans–one of the Letters of Paul, and find a clear view of the message of Jesus Christ!

This is the first article based on the 13 letters of Paul.  Look for the I & II Corinthians to follow.

 

May 14

Open Thought to the “Wisdom” of Tyler Perry!

I don’t think the dreams die, I think that people give up.  I think it gets too hard.”  Tyler Perry 

Do dreams really die or do people give up achieving the dream . . .  and it is the determination and ability to persevere that really dies?  How does one keep pushing ahead when it seems like with every advancement comes double retrogression? What is it that gives us the ability to keep getting up only to be knocked down again?  The answers are played-out and re-played-out in the life of Tyler Perry.

Tyler Perry was born Emmitt Perry Jr. on September  13, 1965 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  He is an actor, director, screenwriter, playwright, producer, author and songwriter.  Wow, what a handle!  Some say, “Wow, what a man!”  I have never met, or seen this giant man of physical stature as well as “stature of success.”  My only contact are the images and stories  generated by his thoughts flashed on my TV screen, or the screen at the movie theater.  Whether you are staring at the tough, overactive, somewhat street mentality of Madea or Perry as a serious actor, you come away thoroughly entertained, challenged in thought and astonished by a man who once lived in a car, and contemplated . . . taking his own life.  Who is he?  What is it that makes him tick?  As I began my research, the answers I received only served to generate more questions–questions like:

 

Who is Tyler Perry and can a single article define him?

What is the core in his psyche that allows the constant flow of ideas and concepts and the implementation thereof?

How does such a talented man have the business acumen that he has?  What or whom does he connect with to achieve the “wholeness” he seems to exemplify?

What can the rest of the world learn from him?

In answering the first question “Who is Tyler Perry?” I decided to see what others say about him.  The answers went something like this:

“He has a way of getting inside of people.  He’s generous and sensitive.  He’s a genius, but also very intelligent.  He gives a lot to people. He connects with his audience.” 

 

Nia Long says, “If you’ve ever worked with Tyler Perry, it’s the most well-oiled machine you’ve ever seen operate.  You get there, you’re treated like a queen, you have fresh flowers in your trailer every day.  It is the most unbelievable thing ever.  Everybody is on point.”  Nia worked with Tyler  on the film The Single Moms Club.

While these answers are insightful and informative, they did not get to the core of the questions above.  I needed something deeper–something that reached into my spirit, soothed my soul and connected with his spirit.   Where would I find such a thing?  I decided to “cyber on over” to Perry’s official website to see what I could find.  The first video I looked at was a collage of celebrities explaining what the “Tyler touch” meant to them.  I listened, but the core of my being remained “untouched.”  I was still clamoring for something more!  I was not sure what, but I knew I would recognize it when I found it!

 

The second video was the voice of the man himself . . . explaining his method of reaching other people, sort of getting beneath the veneer and striking an inner core.   Four words were the essence of this:  “Listen!  Hear!  Question!  Arrive!”   He compared such action to godliness by saying that  “This is what God does.   He asks the question, but He already knows the answer.  He just wants us to figure it out for ourselves” . . . and this is what Tyler Perry does when he talks with people.  He coaches and leads them to answers deeply embedded within.  He helps them uncover things that are beneath the surface, sometimes hidden, but known . . .  and sometimes unknown.  Why did this strike a tender chord with me? Because that is exactly how I communicate with God?  I ask Him questions–questions that lead to more questions–more questions that lead to self-analysis and an analysis that uncovers the most painful answers that I do not want to discover.  But it is through this process that I discover who I truly am–my likeness and oneness with the One God.

Rest assured, if Perry has perfected this process with others, he practiced on himself beforehand!  He has learned that putting God first and foremost instills intelligence that generates ideas, maintains peace of mind and guarantees unlimited success–success that yields to divine order, spiritual law and the exchanging of human thoughts for divine thoughts.  I was beginning to connect!

 

I had begun my discovery of the “wisdom of Tyler Perry!  A second point he makes is that God’s time may not be our time!  What does he mean by this?  He’s saying human will has its own aspirations, time clock and pathway to get from point A to point B, and is never in line with divine will.  All true activity must be God-inspired, God-directed and God-implemented, to be successful in thought, word and deed.  Achieving things before one is spiritually ready for them, leads to disappointment, disharmony and defeat.

 Accept where you are, perfect your thoughts, and perfect actions will follow.  Be patient, trustworthy, confident, and recognize that everything you need, you already have, and it will reach fruition at the appropriate time and place!   This recognition reminds me of a song that I sang in church as a child, “You Can’t Hurry God,” and let me hasten to add, “and you’re wasting your time trying to!”

The third point that put me in touch with the wisdom of Tyler is:  Establishing good works.  He used the biblical verse that says, “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day:  the night cometh, when no man can work” (John 9: 4).  At first glance, one could gloss over the significance of the words, “works of him that sent me” and concentrate on just the word “work.”  It is important to distinguish between the works of man and the works of God–the works that Jesus is referring to.  This distinction is also what Tyler is espousing.  All of the work that one does, must have a spiritual foundation to reach the heights of spiritual growth and development.  The effect of this growth and development,  is not measured by money, prestige and power.  Many people have achieved those, but lack the qualities that bring mental success:  peace, comfort, enjoyment, satisfaction and grace.

Good works cannot be superficial and totally self-promoting.  They must be rooted in “Do unto others as I would have them do unto me” and “Thou shall have no other gods before me” if they are bring health, happiness and true success.   These are the ingredients that have made Tyler Perry the man he is today, and I believe this article has done a pretty good job of stating that.

How does such a talented man have the business acumen that he has? 

The business acumen of Perry, comes from “being about my Father’s business” and not his own.  He understands that such a business has as its center and circumference love, not fear, Soul, not sense, truth, not error and the expressions of divine Mind, not the human mind.   Thus, he listens for divine ideas, directions from truth and government of Principle.  These never lead toward failure and discontent, but glow in the sunlight of abundance and serenity.  The “bottom line” becomes less important because it is replaced with the “straight line”– the line that bends not from the forces of adversity and power, but holds steady with the forces of strength and mercy.  This is the wisdom of Tyler Perry!

What can the rest of the world learn from him?  Listen!  Hear! Question!  Arrive!  Be mindful of what you are listening to, hear with ears of faith, hope and quietness–ruling out the persistent voices of fear, impatience and self-glorification, question your thoughts, motives and actions every step of the way, and you will arrive in the most comforting and satisfying place for you.

 

Perry says,  “The question that a lot of people ask me all the time is how did you make it? The truth be told, it was nothing but the grace of God.”  What is this grace, but the divine influence acting in one to make him morally strong?  Each of us is equipped with such grace.  Find it, tap into it, and begin  . . . the “wisdom of Tyler Perry!”

Mar 13

Open Thought: What Does the “Stand Your Ground” Law Really Mean?

“STAND YOUR GROUND!” 

Those three words cause some people to swell with pride, and others to shrink from injustice.  The way you feel  depends on whether you are black , brown, red, yellow or white.

  

Shouldn’t they mean the same thing to every American?  We are all citizens of this great nation–have shed blood, sweat and tears to make it what it is today.  Every ethnicity has brought “something to the table.”  No one group did it all!

 Looking at the picture on the left, gives most Americans a sense of accomplishment, freedom and self-respect . . .” we stood our ground against Great Britain–a country that dominated us for too long and finally, we took a stand and gained our freedom.”  Is that what the new “stand your ground” law is claiming?  The answers vary according to politics, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation and race.  This article will look at it from several perspectives and find the true meaning of “stand your ground”–not for some . . . but for all.  Three areas will be discussed:

  1. What does “stand your ground” mean?
  2. Does it meet the needs of all people?
  3. Should it “stand” or be replaced?

 

 What Does the “Stand Your Ground” Law Mean?

Wikipedia says, “A stand-your-ground law is a type of self-defense law that gives individuals the right to use deadly force to defend themselves without any requirement to evade or retreat from a dangerous situation” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stand-your-ground_law).

This definition seems to give a person the right to kill someone without trying to find a solution to an altercation other than “pulling out a gun” and shooting.  Is this legal in America?  What if he initiated the “dangerous situation?”  What if walking away from the altercation would have avoided the killing?  What if the assailant is fleeing?  These are all logical and lawful questions that should be asked.  To secure answers, the writer looked at Florida’s so-called  “stand your ground” law–a law during the first trial that allowed a young person to be killed while fleeing an altercation and the killer given a “free pass” for his death.   The next paragraph is a portion of Florida’s “stand your ground law.”

 776.031 ”Use of force in defense of others.—A person is justified in the use of force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to prevent or terminate the other’s trespass on,  . . .   or in the possession of another who is a member of his or her immediate family or household or of a person whose property he or she has a legal duty to protect. However, the person is justified in the use of deadly force only if he or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony. A person does not have a duty to retreat if the person is in a place where he or she has a right to be. “

 

Examining that law gives one pause, especially with the word “reasonably” and the phrase, “in a place where he or she has a right to be.”  Who determines the meaning of reasonable?  The term itself is very subjective–what is reasonable to one may not be reasonable to another.  Further, what is to prevent one from saying he reasonably felt his life was in danger to make a stronger defense position after he has taken the life of another?  To establish a law based on logic so subjective, is very troubling!

Also, why is the determination of what is reasonable left up to the assailant when the other person is unable to give his analysis of the situation?  In such a case, is it justice to invoke “stand your ground” laws?  Should the defense be prohibited from using that law as a defense mechanism?  If the person is dead, the meaning of reasonable and place he has a right to be are very limited–determined only by the person who pulled the trigger.   I ask you, “Is that reasonable?’   Another phrase that seems questionable is, “He believes.”  Because a person believes something does not make it  justifiable or true–again giving the weight of the law’s determination of “reasonable” to the assailant.  Should not the principles and regulations

establishing lawfulness take into consideration the

beliefs of all participants in a given situation and not some?

This is a point of contention among non-white citizens . . .  particularly when statistics reveal that the conviction rate of whites killing non-whites is considerably low compared to non-whites killing whites.  Is the law equally administered by our court system or do whites get preferential treatment?

 

 The following chart reveals statistics relative to whites killing non-whites and non-whites killing whites.  The findings reveal that when a white person kills a black person, there is a 350% likelihood of his being found not guilty, whereas when a black person kills a white person, there is a 0% likelihood that the black person will be found not guilty –suggesting that the law is not equally distributed:

1

For purposes of clarification “SYG” means “stand your ground.”

 

Another section of the Florida law reads:

 776.032 Immunity from criminal prosecution and civil action for justifiable use of force.—

(1) A person who uses force as permitted in s. 776.012, s. 776.013, or s. 776.031 is justified in using such force and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such force, unless the person against whom force was used is a law enforcement officer, as defined in s. 943.10(14), who was acting in the performance of his or her official duties and the officer identified himself or herself . . . .

Wow!  Giving immunity from criminal prosecution and civil action to a person who takes the life of another because he reasonably felt his life was in danger, with no one to challenge that feeling, seems to be placing the law in the hands of the person who committed the act–leaving prosecutors with a very difficult case to establish justice.

 

A study by Texas economics professors observed that the adoption of stand-your-ground laws correlated with a statistically significant increase in the raw homicide rate.  Specifically it states that of the 22 states that have “stand your ground” laws, many see justifiable homicides increased by about 53% in the 5 years the laws have been enacted (http://www.demandaction.org/detail/2013-09-mayors-against-illegal-guns-national-urban-league-vo).

The Stanford Law Review found that aggravated assaults temporarily increased in those states with stand-your-ground (See : http://lawreview.law.miami.edu/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Shoot-to-Kill.pdf).  In the case referenced, two Latino men were shot in the back by a neighbor as they were fleeing from breaking into the house next door to him.  He called 911, was told not to go outside several times, and  . . . that the police were on their way.  He listened to none of that, opened his door and shot and killed two unarmed men.  He was aware of the new “stand your ground” law and felt justified in doing so.   Laws that leave the door open to a defense based on 99% subjectivity, are  begging for misuse.

Another analysis of stand-your-ground laws by economists at Georgia State using monthly data from the U.S. Vital Statistics, observed a significant increase in homicide and injury of whites, especially white males.[13] They also analyzed data from the Health Care Utilization Project which revealed significantly increased rates of emergency room visits and hospital discharges related to gun injuries in states which enacted these laws.

 

 

The Emotion Called “FEAR”

According to research, a leading factor in the passing of such SYG laws is fear–fear  based not on facts, but years of racial discrimination and others “playing into those fears” for financial gain.  Unless citizens have a balanced reporting of news, many believe stories that have “half-trues” or outright lies–thus causing them to seek any means to feel safe and secure.

Fear of African Americans dates back to slavery–wherein some slaves, unable to bear the inhumane treatment imposed by slavery, rebelled against such cruelty by roaming the countryside and killing every white person they saw.  These were very rare incidents, but reeked devastating results on attitudes of whites.  Thus, white patrols were formed and continued for decades as a means of keeping slaves in line (http://www.crf-usa.org/black-history-month/slavery-in-the-american-south).   History reveals that such fear has led to many whites believing that blacks are somehow innately more violent than whites–this, in spite of the fact that data shows the most heinous crimes committed in this country, are done by whites.  What one believes is not necessarily compatible with what is.  Belief, as mentioned above, is subjective–based on mental conditioning and environmental experiences.

 

 

Do Stand Your Ground Laws Serve Equally?

Looking at the data above, the writer concludes that they do not–that they were put in place to calm founded and unfounded fears, soothe prejudices and allow some citizens to basically use the law to act out these emotions without or with little retribution–thereby negating its ability to render “justice to all.”

 

Are the Fears of Whites Justified?

 

This question generated deep concentration and soul-searching for me . . .  yet, I have to answer  . . . yes in many cases.   In spite of the fact that many of the fears of whites are based on historical and ingrain racial prejudices, one has only to look at the data relative to African American and Hispanic behavior in our inner cities to understand why I had to answer “yes.”.  There are many underlying reasons as to why this behavior is the way it is, but no one America caused those reasons, yet each American feels it is his duty to protect himself and his family.   Thus, not only white Americans, but African Americans also are arming themselves with guns.  Let’s investigate why?

 

 

Racial segregation is “live” in America!  The populations of most large inner cities are predominantly black and Hispanic.  The average black person’s neighborhood is 45 per cent African American.  While this article will not deal with the underlying forces causing this disparity, it is safe to say that contributing factors are implicit and explicit institutional racial inequality and cultural forces that create and reinforce racial inequality.  Having said that, let’s look at some of the data:

Crimes in inner cities are real, and most of the people committing those crimes are done by the people who live there–African Americans and Hispanics.   Chances of becoming a victim of crime in many cities is 1 in 7  to 1 in 15 for every 7 or 15 people.  Much of the crimes are in certain segments of the cities–not in every sector.   In one instance, a single zip code was responsible for 40 per cent of the crimes in the entire city– crimes such as murder, rape, robbery and assaults.  The following statistics got my undivided attention:

  • One in six black males has been incarcerated.
  • Out of the 2.3 million prison population in America, 1 million of them are African American.
  • Five times as many whites use drugs than blacks, yet blacks are sent to prison 10 times more than whites.
  • 58% of prison personnel is African American and Hispanic.
  • African Americans represent 12% of the total population of drug users, but 38% of those arrested for drug offenses, and 59% of those in state prison for a drug offense are African American.
  • 35% of black children are suspended from school compared to 20% Hispanic and 15% Whites.

(http://www.naacp.org/pages/criminal-justice-fact-sheet).  

Factors contributing to this data are poverty, lack of adequate jobs, idleness, ease of acquiring a gun and narcotics– as determined by the NAACP.  These numbers are alarming!  A call for action!  It is also these numbers that exacerbate the fears of whites, and cause them to label blacks more violent than whites.

 It is not the intent of this article to cast blame, raise racial tensions, but to say, “Let’s look at the data, band together and find solutions.  There is a solution . . . and it begins with each one of us looking within ourselves and weeding out the prejudices that both sides (black and white) are holding on to.

 

 

Should “Stand Your Ground” Laws Be Replaced?

Unequivocally, yes!  Why?  Because the foundation of those laws is based on fear–founded or unfounded, ignorance, racial-bias, cultural deficiencies and institutional limited thinking.  Therefore, they should and must be eliminated.  One does not solve a problem by adding to the problem, or by covering up ingrained beliefs with unjust laws . . . but by admitting that those beliefs exist, discovering ways to erase them and recognizing that every person has a right to be respected and treated with equality.

What should they be replaced with?  Two eternal laws:  Love your neighbor as yourself” and “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”   These laws start with equality and end with equality.  No one is judged by external features, historical data or cultural and racial biases; nor is money the driving force to get people to hate and judge each other.  Subtle racism is as devastating as overt racism–both suggest superiority and inequality of man, but the man of God’s creation, is neither black or white, rich or poor, urbanite or suburbanite.  Until the hearts and minds of men rise above the evils of the past, we will never solve the problems of our present and future.

Some believe that the past is behind us . . . “forget it,” they say,  I had nothing to do with what my ancestors did!”  But little do they realize, one cannot forget or overcome the past, unless one forgives the present.  Each one of us is a victim of our ancestry until we take the steps to eradicate it.  Forgiveness is stamping out the roots of pain, feelings of inferiority, superiority, aggression, greed and insecurity.  True security is not afforded by guns, bombs and burglar alarm systems, but by Soul–purity of thought, peace, harmony, spiritual alertness and divine consciousness.   We do have something to do with what happened in the past if we carry the scars of bigotry, guilt, revenge and pride into the open spaces of our hearts.   These scars are not one-sided.  All of us–black, white, red, brown and yellow have scars that need to be removed.  We will never become a “nation under God” until we do so.  It starts with you, you, you and ME!

“Standing your ground means” standing for “truth”– a truth that sets each one of us free–free of selfishness, arrogance, disrespect, ingratitude, greed and hate.  It does not mean taking a gun and shooting your neighbor and hiding behind  human law with cries of “self-defense.”   It does not mean passing laws that soothe the fears of some but inflict pain and suffering on others, and it does not mean robbing and killing others because you have not sown the seeds of responsibility, persistence, perseverance and self-respect that enables you to advance in the human experience.  Blaming others for one’s own mistakes can no longer be a basis for growth and development.  Each of us has a responsibility to ourselves . . . and others.

Let us stand on that ground . . . with dignity, justice and mercy for all.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stand-your-ground_law

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Justice/2014/0217/Dunn-loud-music-verdict-Does-stand-your-ground-ask-the-impossible-video

htttp://lawreview.law.miami.edu/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Shoot-to-Kill.pdf

 

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