Monday, June 09, 2014

The 3 - June 8, 2014

In this week's edition of "The 3," my week-in-review feature, I take a look at a shooting at a Christian college campus in Seattle and an act of bravery that helped to thwart the gunman's acts.  Also, almost 2 dozen campuses in Virginia now have a new free speech policy.  And, the top story involves another wave of violent attacks being perpetrated in Nigeria, attributed to the same group that kidnapped almost 300 young girls recently and continues to hold them.

3 - Shooter opens fire at Seattle Christian college, subdued by other students

A lone gunman walked into Otto Miller Hall on the campus of Seattle Pacific University, a Christian college, last Thursday and began shooting, an incident which resulted in 1 death and 3 injuries. reported that Seattle police arrested a 26-year-old man as a suspect in the shooting, someone with no known connections to SPU and who was not a student at the school. He was armed with a shotgun and a knife, police said.

Police say that the suspect was subdued by a student, who was acting as a building monitor. That student is now widely identified as Jon Meis.  It was reported that he pepper-sprayed the gunman, then he tackled him to the ground.  Police told reporters that after the student building monitor subdued the shooter, other students jumped on top of them and helped to keep the shooter to the ground.

University President Dan Martin was quoted by CT as saying that, "We're a community that relies on Jesus Christ for strength and we'll need that at this time...My message is one of hope—in our Lord Savior Jesus Christ who can get us through this." Assistant police chief Paul McDonagh is quoted as saying, "I want to remind everyone here that the actions of the subject here do not define SPU or the city of Seattle...The actions of the students and staff, that's what defines Seattle Pacific University. This is not about an evil act but about the people that actually lived through his scenario and assisted each other when things were pretty tragic."

2 - VA community colleges change speech policies after judge rules in favor of a student's preaching

A tool that you have seen on college campuses to attempt to restrict free speech is the so-called "free speech zone."  Thanks to the efforts of one particular student at a system of community colleges in Virginia, teaming up with the Alliance Defending Freedom, an entire system has abolished its used of these so-called zones.

CitizenLink has a story on the circumstances surrounding Christian Parks, a student at Thomas Nelson Community College in Hampton, who was preaching in the campus courtyard last year. A school police officer told him to stop because his words “might offend someone.” Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) filed suit this March.

This resulted in a revised speech policy, under which free speech will no longer be limited to designated areas. In addition, students do not have to be part of a student organization, or register with the college four days early, in order to exercise their free-speech rights.  This extends to all 23 campuses in the college system.

In response, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) attorney Travis Barham said, “We commend the Virginia Community College System for revising its speech policy to align with what a marketplace of ideas should be...The revised policies respect the rights of all students, regardless of their religious or political beliefs, to speak freely in the outdoor areas of campus.”

1 - Violence continues in Nigeria; hundreds of girls still held captive linked to a report on the CNN website that scores of residents in four villages in the northeastern Borno state of Nigeria, near the border with Cameroon, were killed Tuesday in Boko Haram raids, a lawmaker and residents said.

They said hundreds of homes were destroyed.

Heavily armed gunmen dressed as soldiers in all-terrain vehicles and on motorcycles attacked Goshe, Attagara, Agapalwa and Aganjara villages in Gwoza district, shooting residents and burning homes.

Villagers fled into neighboring Cameroon to escape the onslaughts, said Peter Biye, a lawmaker from the area who serves in the Nigerian lower parliament.

At the predominately Christian village of Attagara, the insurgents set fire to homes and a church and killed dozens of residents, according to Bulus Yashi, who fled to Gamboru Ngala.  He believes that it was a reprisal attack over casualties that the terrorist organization had suffered in two previous attacks in the village.

The WORLD website reports that in the recent wave of attacks, some 200 people were killed and perhaps at least 2000 were driven to an area where they were trapped without food or shelter.

CNN points out that Boko Haram Islamists have in recent times stepped up raids in northern Borno state near the border with Cameroon, Chad and Niger, pillaging villages, looting food stores and killing residents.

And, the website reports that Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey was in Nigeria over the weekend.  He held a press conference, saying that Nigeria is ultimately responsible for securing the safe release of more than 200 girls who are still being held by Boko Haram.

But, Smith said, “The international community can and must play a robust supporting role especially in the area of intelligence and counterinsurgency training.”  Smith said he met this week with victims of Boko Haram, including one of the roughly 50 girls who have so far managed to escape.

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