A Nurse with a Gun

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Confiscating Clergy?

Recently, Jeff Ferrell of KSLA News of Bossier City, Louisiana published a story regarding the federal use of clergy to confiscate firearms in a disaster such as Katrina. He used footage from a Hollywood movie, "The Siege" to illustrate potential events in his news story. I'll cut and paste his story here.
Homeland Security Enlists Clergy to Quell Public Unrest if Martial Law Ever Declared
Aug 15, 2007 06:07 PM CDT

Could martial law ever become a reality in America? Some fear any nuclear, biological or chemical attack on U.S. soil might trigger just that. KSLA News 12 has discovered that the clergy would help the government with potentially their biggest problem: Us.
Charleton Heston's now-famous speech before the National Rifle Association at a convention back in 2000 will forever be remembered as a stirring moment for all 2nd Amendment advocates. At the end of his remarks, Heston held up his antique rifle and told the crowd in his Moses-like voice, "over my cold, dead hands."
While Heston, then serving as the NRA President, made those remarks in response to calls for more gun control laws at the time, those words live on. Heston's declaration captured a truly American value: An over-arching desire to protect our freedoms.
But gun confiscation is exactly what happened during the state of emergency following Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, along with forced relocation. U.S. Troops also arrived, something far easier to do now, thanks to last year's elimination of the 1878 Posse Comitatus act, which had forbid regular U.S. Army troops from policing on American soil.
If martial law were enacted here at home, like depicted in the movie "The Siege", easing public fears and quelling dissent would be critical. And that's exactly what the 'Clergy Response Team' helped accomplish in the wake of Katrina.
Dr. Durell Tuberville serves as chaplain for the Shreveport Fire Department and the Caddo Sheriff's Office. Tuberville said of the clergy team's mission, "the primary thing that we say to anybody is, 'let's cooperate and get this thing over with and then we'll settle the differences once the crisis is over.'"
Such clergy response teams would walk a tight-rope during martial law between the demands of the government on the one side, versus the wishes of the public on the other. "In a lot of cases, these clergy would already be known in the neighborhoods in which they're helping to diffuse that situation," assured Sandy Davis. He serves as the director of the Caddo-Bossier Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.
For the clergy team, one of the biggest tools that they will have in helping calm the public down or to obey the law is the bible itself, specifically Romans 13. Dr. Tuberville elaborated, "because the government's established by the Lord, you know. And, that's what we believe in the Christian faith. That's what's stated in the scripture."
Civil rights advocates believe the amount of public cooperation during such a time of unrest may ultimately depend on how long they expect a suspension of rights might last.

Story by Jeff Ferrell

Wow. Tin foil hat time.

I believe there is a misrepresentation of facts in this news story.

I know Charlton Heston's statements were misrepresented.

I'm not an attorney, so I'll simply cut and paste what I can find on Posse Comitatus.

The Posse Comitatus Act could be replaced, nullified or modified by a simple act of Congress.

In early 2006, the 109th Congress passed a controversial bill which grants the President the right to commandeer Federal or even State National Guard Troops and use them inside the United States. This bill, entitled the John Warner Defense Appropriation Act for Fiscal Year 2007 (H.R. 5122.ENR), contains a provision, (Section 1076) which allows the President to:

“...employ the armed forces, including the National Guard in Federal service, to...restore public order and enforce the laws of the United States when, as a result of a natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident, or other condition in any State or possession of the United States..., where the President determines that,...domestic violence has occurred to such an extent that the constituted authorities of the State or possession are incapable of maintaining public order; suppress, in a State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy...” [3] Senator Patrick Leahy and others have condemned Section 1076 because it effectively nullifies the Posse Comitatus Act and the Insurrection Act (10 U.S.C. 331-335) and gives the President the legal ability to define under what conditions martial law may be declared. Link

The John Warner Defense Appropriation Act for Fiscal Year 2007 (H.R. 5122.ENR) says nothing about gun confiscation. It refers to restoring order and enforcing laws during civil unrest. One will note that laws are now in existance in many states prohibiting the confiscation of firearms from law abiding citizens in the event of a disaster. In Louisiana, House Bill 760 provides this protection.

The Disaster Recovery Personal Protection Act of 2006 was a bill introduced in the United States Congress to prohibit the confiscation of legally owned firearms during a disaster. It became law in the form of the Vitter Amendment to the Department Of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, in 2007. On July 13, 2006, the Vitter Amendment passed the United States Senate 84 to 16. President George W. Bush signed the Department Of Homeland Security Appropriations Act on September 30, 2006 and the Vitter Ammendment became Public Law 109-295.

So, you see, if the clergy is going to act as an agent of the federal government using Posse Comitatus to restore public order during periods of unrest following a disaster, they must be used to persuade the public, including public officials, to abide by laws already in existence. Thus, by the very laws they are trying to restore, they would effectively prevent the confiscation of legally owned firearms.

I do not know Sandy Davis, nor do I know Dr. Durell Tuberville. I do believe they were done a disservice by Mr. Ferrell, the journalist responsible for this misleading story. There is no talk from either man regarding confiscations, only of diffusing unrest, and helping to maintain the peace. I believe there was a stink pot of misrepresentation in this story, deliberate misrepresentation, to try to get a story started that does not even exist.

There were many guns confiscated in the New Orleans area after hurricane Katrina. Not one priest or minister abused the public trust to confiscate a single gun. Many priests and ministers traveled to the hurricane zone to help however they could. They were there. They did go into communities and shelters to help ease fears, and comfort the inconsolable. They did not, however, confiscate guns, nor did they to my knowledge attempt to convince people to surrender guns. In my opinion, it's time to call bullshit on this story.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Will said...

It's kind of a crazy thought. I'm Catholic, and I'm an ARC Disaster Action Team member who deployed to Katrina/Rita. Never heard of anything like that, anywhere. We had a little bit of friction with the SA, and a little here and there with local ministers who were frustrated with the relief efforts, but no one ever said boo about firearms except for one Liberty County Judge who confined us to quarters because he had apparently cleared jacklighting for food purposes.

10:10 PM  
Blogger dropdownstairs said...

Have you heard of ammo day?
I wonder if ammo day will make any difference? see the links for more info...
Just before the ammo price increase on 9/1 buy ammo on 8/28?
http://redstradingpost.blogspot.com/2007/08/ammo-day-august-28th.html

also here in Pa the computer system is being updated so no guns sold for labor day...

5:01 AM  
Anonymous Sans Authoritas said...

I'm Catholic, too. And I know Romans 15 does not say, "God established government, so you must obey whatever it says."

Romans 15 merely says that whatever authorities (those who tell you to do that which is in conformity with the will of God) there are, you must obey. You're obeying God through them, not obeying God merely because you obey whatever they say.

Someone telling you to render you incapable of defending yourself and your family is definitely not speaking with authority, and such an abhorrent command need not be obeyed. Power and authority are not the same.

St. Paul also said, in essence, "Don't fight the authorities, because they are not after you, but after evildoers." He was likely speaking to a particular group of people concerning a particular topic. He was not saying, "Whoever the government comes after is de facto an evildoer."

It's easy for people to misinterpret scripture. It's especially easy for them to twist scripture's words and meaning when they have violent political ends. Christ didn't tell his followers to form a political party. He told us to do good, and avoid evil.

Someone who asks people, in the name of God, to render their families vulnerable to rape and murder is speaking on behalf not of God, but on behalf of the sovereign of a somewhat "less-than-celestial" region.

6:33 PM  

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