The Apocalypse is here: Pennsylvania church to hold ceremony blessing AR-15s, nearby school to close during the blessing

It’s bad enough that a semiautomatic rifle, the one used to slaughter 17 people (mostly kids) in Florida, is still on sale, but the wound is salted when a &(*&$+&!! (insert expletive here) church is going to bless those guns in a ceremony!  I am not making this up. Click on the screenshot from The Hill:

The church, identified below (it’s a Moonie church), is absolutely clueless: they see no connection between their ceremony and the mass slaughter of children, so they’re going on with the ceremony, scheduled for tomorrow:

A church in northeast Pennsylvania is telling couples to bring their semi-automatic rifles to a blessing ceremony next week.

The event is meant to give couples an opportunity “to show their willingness to defend their familiars [sic], communities and nation,” The Times-Tribune in Scranton reported.

It will take place at the World Peace and Unification Sanctuary in Newfoundland, Pa., on Wednesday.

“All of the weapons in the ceremony will be checked to make sure they are unloaded, with a zip tie so that no bullets can be inserted,” Sanctuary Church president Richard Panzer said in an email, according to the The Times-Tribune.

“We are inviting local and state police to be on the premises, so that everything goes safely.”

The blessing ceremony will be held just weeks after a gunman, using an AR-15, opened fire at a high school in Florida, killing 17 people.

Panzer noted the church has “no ill intent” and does not see any connection “since these firearms are for self-defense.”

I guess the nearby elementary school doesn’t quite believe Panzer’s assertion that “everything will go safely,” for this happened (click on screenshot):

The students, from the Wallenpaupack South Elementary School, won’t completely miss class, as they’ll simply be taken to a different school 15 miles away. As the Palm Beach Post reports, the school is trying to keep people calm:

On Friday, the superintendent of the Wallenpaupack Area School District wrote in a letter to parents that while “there is no direct threat to our school or community,” given concerns about parking, traffic and the “nature of the event,” students will be bused to schools about 15 miles (24 kilometers) away.

Superintendent Michael Silsby added there will be increased security at the school all week.

“We respect your decision if you choose to keep your children home for the day,” he wrote.

The parents shouldn’t just be keeping their children home: they should be raining criticism down on the “World Peace and Unification Sanctuary” (what an inappropriate name) and picketing the event. Imagine blessing a gun whose only purpose is to mow down people and inflict terrible gaping wounds! Is this supposed to imply that God loves AR-15s? What is the blessing supposed to confer? And even if the church wants to approve of couples “defending their familiars [sic], community and nation,” why do those couples have to bring their goddam guns to church?

It’s stuff like this that makes me deeply ashamed of this country, and makes other countries amazed at how far America has gone off the rails with respect to guns.

Here’s the contact information for the church, and you can be assured that they’ll be hearing from me. If you think this ceremony is insane, well, feel free to email or call them.

Unification Sanctuary
889 Main Street
Newfoundland, PA 18445
Tel: 570-832-4476 
Email: sanctuarychurch@sanctuary-pa.org

But wait! There’s more insanity (click on screenshot) at a Moonie church (not sure if it’s the same one). You can also read this at The Raw Story.

h/t: Thomas

151 Comments

  1. GBJames
    Posted February 27, 2018 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think that’s a [sic] there (“familiars”). These are people who believe in spooks and a familiar is a kind of spook.

    • Simon Hayward
      Posted February 27, 2018 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

      I got in late but…the first definition on google is:

      a demon supposedly attending and obeying a witch, often said to assume the form of an animal.

      Of course that could mean it’s a cat, so worth defending…

  2. Bob Murray
    Posted February 27, 2018 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    I heard the Synagogue down the road is doing something similar. No blessing, but the Flash Suppressors are being cut away.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted February 27, 2018 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

      Beware any mohel armed with an acetylene torch.

      • Posted February 27, 2018 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

        Always tragic when the mohel accidentally blows his brains out trying to suck the Hoppes No. 9 lubricant out of the little gun.

  3. Posted February 27, 2018 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    I can’t even… I thought this story was satire when I first read it.

  4. Ken Pidcock
    Posted February 27, 2018 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    Gee, ya wonder why Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton didn’t make the Amazon headquarters short list!

  5. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted February 27, 2018 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    I always thought that the Unification Church and the Mormons were the two most self-evidently crazy religions in the USA.

    IN more uplifting news, the remaining family of the inventor of the AR-15 say he would be totally against marketing it to civilians.
    https://sputniknews.com/us/201606171041538222-ar-15-gun-creator-family-speaks/

    Insert expletive: Phuquing SchiessKopf

    • Steve
      Posted February 27, 2018 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

      Shoot head?

      • JonLynnHarvey
        Posted February 27, 2018 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

        Schitt head

  6. Posted February 27, 2018 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    I’m surprised they didn’t shut down the school so students could attend the event. If you are going to go crazy, why not go full crazy?

    • darrelle
      Posted February 27, 2018 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

      That’s actually what I assumed was the case when I first read the title.

      • Taz
        Posted February 27, 2018 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

        Ditto

  7. glen1davidson
    Posted February 27, 2018 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    But AR-15s are already blessed by God and the flag.

    Glen Davidson

  8. Randall Schenck
    Posted February 27, 2018 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    For those who read at this site, as I do, tell me there is no connection between religion, guns and republicans. You see it everywhere you look.

    This is the highest level of stupidity you can reach. It must be something like reaching the 32nd level of Mason or something. Next it will be, load up the kiddies honey, I’ll bring the guns and we can go down to the shoot’em up amusement park.

    I will maintain that anyone who spends the $700 or so dollars to buy one of these worthless pieces of junk guns is already mentally unstable and should not be allowed out in the general public. So by their own standards, if you bought one of these things, you are automatically illegal and should not be allowed to own one. There, I just gave you the reason to eliminate these weapons.

    • Posted February 27, 2018 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

      Come on Randall, you know that is no reason at all. It’s just anger. A justified anger (which I share), but that’s all it is.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted February 27, 2018 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

        So go ahead. Give us a justified reason for this kind of behavior. Give me one good reason to be making these guns for the public and why they should have them. Take out all the politics and religion and tell me what you use this gun for? It is entertainment and nothing more. Where do we see entertainment in the 2nd Amendment? Even the young kids at the school know this, why not adults?

        • Posted February 27, 2018 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

          Because this is the year that everybody is angry and they want to make damn sure ‘the other side’ knows it.

          • Randall Schenck
            Posted February 27, 2018 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

            That is not an answer to anything. What do sides have to do with my questions? You provide the reasons for this AR-15 type weapon?

            • Posted February 27, 2018 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

              They sell and people want them. America is a capitalist society. Constant advertising from the NRA works.

              If you really want to know “why” people want them, go to a Republican, right-wing, gun-loving site, and you’ll get even more simplistic answers.

        • Posted February 27, 2018 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

          Randall, I share your anger at the stupidity of allowing these guns to available to the public, but suggesting that we can prevent them from acquiring them by calling anyone who wants one “mentally unstable” will never fly. It’s a non-starter. As much as I think owning one says something very dark about one’s character, I would not say they are mentally ill.

          • Randall Schenck
            Posted February 27, 2018 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

            Maybe if some professional analysis of individuals who have these weapons were done we would know. Right now my guess as to their mental balance is only a good guess but a professional review might show one way or the other. You are only speculating about their mental health, right?

            What is a person who lays out $700 bucks just for the weapon doing this for. As I have said before, hunters of any worth do not use these things for hunting so what does that leave for the sale of thousands of these weapons? Entertainment is the only thing I can guess. The bullets cost lots of money as well so it is similar to burning money. To shoot the thing they most likely must go to a proper shooting range and you pay for that. If you hear that far out excuse, I need this weapon to protect my family, well then, again I say, what is the mental state of the person who really believes this?

            • Posted February 27, 2018 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

              You don’t understand why people invest money in these things. I don’t understand it either, but I also don’t understand why anybody would spend their money on a visit to a karaoke bar. I don’t think not understanding the attraction of something is good grounds for assuming they are mentally unstable, and it’s certainly not a “good” guess.

              • Randall Schenck
                Posted February 27, 2018 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

                And going to a karaoke bar is not quite the same as allowing lethal weapons of war to be sold to the public. I would guess that you are not giving the specific problem much thought if worrying about mental stability is your argument. We alreally know that the mentally competent idea is nothing but a ruse by the gun lovers to divert attention.

              • Craw
                Posted February 27, 2018 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

                Look at those goal posts go! Secretariat would be envious!

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted February 27, 2018 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

      “That’s some catch, that Catch-22.”

    • Posted February 27, 2018 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

      The AR-15 platform (it’s actually not a specific gun) is merely a semiautomatic rifle. It functions no differently and is no more lethal than most other semi-auto firearms. It’s perhaps the most popular type of long-gun due to its suitability for hunting, target shooting, and self-defense.

      I own one myself, and I’m pretty sure I’m not “mentally unstable.” Nor are the vast majority of the millions of others who own them.

      • GBJames
        Posted February 27, 2018 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

        I love it when gun fans try to make this issue a discussion about taxonomy.

        Fine. It’s a platform. The platform needs to be banned. If it just “one kind” of similar platform, fine. We need to ban the entire class of high powered semi-automatic weapons. Too many people are being slaughtered by your carefully classified weapons. Correcting the taxonomy isn’t going to prevent any of these deaths.

        • loren russell
          Posted February 27, 2018 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

          By the way, just how “long run” does a platform need to be to bring down your favorite varmints? Or give you a statistically satisfactory target cluster? Or take down the entire threatening horde?

          • Posted February 27, 2018 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

            “Or take down the entire threatening horde”

            OK, then! If we’re now in Zombie territory, I would prefer this long-range weapon over short-range pointed stick.

        • Posted February 27, 2018 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

          Precisely. And they all think that’s a “gotcha!”.

          • Posted February 28, 2018 at 11:43 am | Permalink

            It is an attempt to show that the original commenter was ignorant about the subject and hence shouldn’t be taken seriously. Of course, the subject is *not* “kinds of guns”, but rather “how to prevent gun violence”, so this is, as the medieval logicians called it, an example of ignoratio elenchi

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted February 27, 2018 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

        The AR-15 type weapon was a civilian replica of the M-14 military weapon. It is not like other rifles made for hunting and this weapon is not much good for hunting either. It has a short barrel that makes the bullet flight less stable or accurate at longer distance. I have never know any hunters who would go hunting with them. You surely are not such a poor shot that you need to be lugging around the weight of 15 or 30 bullets in you gun? Hunting usually involves lots of walking and very little shooting. If you think you need this weapon for self defense I think that alone would call into question your stability.

        • Posted February 27, 2018 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

          The AR-15 type weapon was a civilian replica of the M-14 military weapon

          Actually, the M14 is not related to the AR-15. The M16, on the other hand is the US military version of the AR-15 (the AR-15 came first).

          The AR-15 was designed unequivocally as an an assault rifle (guess what AR stands for) and, according to Wikipedia, was “not available for civilian use”.

          • Posted February 27, 2018 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

            Wrong. The “AR” stands for Armalite, the original manufacturer, not “assault.” It’s just a semiautomatic rifle and it’s always been legal.

            • Posted February 27, 2018 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

              I didn’t say it was illegal, I said it was not available for civilian use.

              The AR-15 was unequivocally an assault rifle designed for soldiers to kill other soldiers with. It was never designed with civilian use in mind. And, by the way, it was capable of fully automatic fire.

              • Posted February 27, 2018 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

                Sigh. Still wrong. The problem here is that there are two completely different guns that share a common name. Yes, the first AR-15 was a fully automatic military rifle that became the M-16. Then Colt bought the rights to the AR-15, which they used to brand their new semiautomatic rifle. The bottom line is that the AR-15, which is the focus of the current debate, has never been a military weapon. It just shares cosmetic features to an M-16, which was Colt’s marketing strategy.

                How many times does it need to be said? It’s just semi-auto rifle platform no different or more lethal then most other semi-auto rifles.

              • Posted February 27, 2018 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

                The modern AR-15s are based on the original AR-15.

                And yes I agree they are no more lethal than any other semi automatic rifle. That must be comforting to its victims.

              • darrelle
                Posted February 28, 2018 at 8:19 am | Permalink

                negativevariance,

                “Then Colt bought the rights to the AR-15, which they used to brand their new semiautomatic rifle.”

                True.

                “It just shares cosmetic features to an M-16, which was Colt’s marketing strategy.

                How many times does it need to be said? It’s just semi-auto rifle platform no different or more lethal then most other semi-auto rifles.”

                Not true. What makes a good assault rifle for combat? It isn’t full auto capability or any single capability. It’s a combination of features. The combination of features that the original AR-15 was designed to include are considered by many to be a very good formula for an assault rifle as evidenced by the long history of military use of AR-15 derivatives.

                Those features are lighter weight, moderate barrel length that allows for decent mid-range and reasonable handling in closer quarters, a round & cartridge design that is a good compromise between magazine size, weight, range / accuracy and lethality, higher magazine capacity, semi-automatic (which mode these weapons are used in almost all the time in combat) with full auto capability, ease of use, reliability.

                The Colt AR-15 doesn’t just look like an assault rifle, it shares nearly every single characteristic that makes the original AR-15 a good assault rifle. The only significant difference between the Colt AR-15 and the original AR-15, or the M-16 for that matter, is that the AR-15 does not have full auto. Which feature is rarely used in combat except to suppress enemy fire or respond to an ambush, or similar situations. The mechanics that give rise to the characteristics don’t matter, it’s the characteristics that matter.

                The difference between an assault rifle and other categories of long guns is that they are optimized for killing many people quickly. The AR-15 and its derivatives are real good for that, and they are very easy to use effectively. I’ve seen young teens, boys, girls, mothers who have never shot anything before shooting the shit out of center of mass human targets with an AR-15 at room entry ranges with just about 60 seconds of instruction. Heck, intentional head and neck shots for that matter. I have past experience shooting and that level of accuracy right out of the box, as it were, is very rare with other types of fire arms. That’s what makes a good assault weapon.

                This argument that the AR-15 isn’t really an assault rifle is bogus. It’s marketing propaganda. If you are experienced with fire arms you really should know better.

              • Posted February 28, 2018 at 8:38 am | Permalink

                “I’ve seen young teens, boys, girls, mothers who have never shot anything before shooting the shit out of center of mass human targets with an AR-15 at room entry ranges with just about 60 seconds of instruction…”

                Would this be the same type of weapon given to “Child Soldiers”?

              • darrelle
                Posted February 28, 2018 at 9:03 am | Permalink

                I’d think that would be much more likely to be the AK-47, or some variant thereof. I don’t have any personal experience with that weapon so I couldn’t say if it is as easy to use effectively as AR-15 types. I suspect it isn’t, though it is obviously a darn good assault rifle. It is renowned for its reliability in harsh conditions. But it is bigger and has a larger round than AR-15 types. I don’t know, but my guess is that it has more recoil which would make it less easy to be accurate, especially when firing rapidly. The AR-15 types have relatively little recoil.

            • Posted February 27, 2018 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

              The weird thing is that Colt owns the trademark on “AR-15”. How’d that happen?

              There are many versions of the AR-15, called by different model names by different manufacturers, that much I know.

              • Randall Schenck
                Posted February 27, 2018 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

                I believe Colt may have bought ArmaLite. And yes, many others make weapons like the “15”. That is why I usually say AR-15 type. But no matter how much or how little we want to know about these weapons we know this. The manufacturers make lots of money selling them all over the country. America is the sucker for the makers of this crap and anyone who pretends this is a weapon needed for hunting or for any purpose other than their entertaining is just selling you a story.

      • darrelle
        Posted February 27, 2018 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

        The designer of the AR-15 platform disagreed with the view you present here. Surviving family members of his have even spoken to the press recently in order to point that out. Stoner’s purpose was without question to design a weapon for combat and according to his surviving family he would have been appalled to see his design freely available to civilians.

        Trying to portray the AR-15 platform as not specifically designed for combat, for killing people as efficiently as possible in the widest range of circumstances a soldier might be presented with, is a revision of history. That such weapons are also efficient for killing other animals logically follows. The point is that a hunter’s convenience, or preference, or lack of sportsmanship is not a sufficient reason to burden everyone else with the negative consequences of the current status quo with respect to weapons like this.

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted February 27, 2018 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

          Some of these folks should go look at a field and stream magazine or two. They like to give hunters advice on what rifles are best for different types of hunting. Guns they recommend are as example: Winchester model 70, 270, 243. Weatherby is another brand. These are the kind of guns hunters buy and use. They are not interested in those assault type semi automatice (mass murder) weapons.

        • Posted February 27, 2018 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

          Rather than endlessly debate the supposed “intention” of the AR-15 platform design, what really matters here is function as it relates to lethality, correct? What, exactly, according to you makes it more lethal than other types of guns? Is it the caliber? The semiautomatic action? Magazine capacity? What?

          I think if you are being honest, you’d have to at least advocate a ban of all semiautomatic firearms. It’s the only feature of the AR-15 that makes it arguably more lethal than other types of guns. (Although I would argue a mass murderer could do just as much damage with a couple of double-action revolvers or a pump action shotgun.)

          • rickflick
            Posted February 27, 2018 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

            I think there’s a psychological factor. The availability of a glamour gun that’s used by the military is going to be irresistible to a group of young would-be Rambos. Boys who feel a tragic sense of powerlessness. Now that a particularly nasty reputation for civilian deaths has been established, it’s time to make a point of removing it from circulation.

            • Posted February 27, 2018 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

              So you honestly think that if guns which have a cosmetic resemblance to military rifles were banned, mass shooters would just forget about it? And not simply use any one of many functional equivalents? Really?

              • rickflick
                Posted February 27, 2018 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

                I think it would have an effect in combination with other commonsense measures.

          • Posted February 27, 2018 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

            We would advocate a ban of whatever weapons can wreak so much carnage in so little time. You’re still stuck on taxonomy.

            • Posted February 28, 2018 at 5:48 am | Permalink

              Agreed. We should ban it and all other weapons of its type. There is no justified use for them, and this “taxonomy” excuse is just daffy.

          • darrelle
            Posted February 28, 2018 at 8:20 am | Permalink

            Rather than make another reply or copy & paste my previous reply here, please see my reply to another comment by you a bit above here.

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted February 27, 2018 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

        What is the exact spec/setup of your AR-15?
        What do you hunt with it?
        What round[s] do you favour & why?

        • ThyroidPlanet
          Posted February 27, 2018 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

          What other strategies of “self defense” – including home security – can you recommend?

          • Michael Fisher
            Posted February 27, 2018 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

            Is there some snark directed at me in there or at the person I’m asking a question of? What is the intent of your question to me? Or is it meant for negativevarience?

            I’ve kept out of this until now, but I’m genuinely curious as to nv’s use of his weapon & why he settled on an AR-15 “platform” – I don’t like ‘dogpile’ situations

            • ThyroidPlanet
              Posted February 27, 2018 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

              I was confused too

              Not you

              negativevariance

              This thread is wicked long and I [click here for more excuses].

              Not snark – the term “self-defense” was used, so,… fair question, I’d think.

          • Posted February 27, 2018 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

            It’s probably a snark directed at me. But I’ll answer even though the question wasn’t asked in good faith. Your security needs are highly personal, so it’s difficult to recommend anything without knowing your specific situation. It would suffice to say that if you struggle with depression and/or have suicidal/homicidal thoughts, or have a substance abuse issue, or have a tendency to engage in domestic violence, or can’t secure a weapon from any children in your house, or are just uncomfortable with guns, then you definitely shouldn’t own one.

            • ThyroidPlanet
              Posted February 27, 2018 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

              “It’s probably a snark directed at me. But I’ll answer even though the question wasn’t asked in good faith”

              I know it sounded like snark, as I wrote it, but I thought this was really straight ahead – you used the term “self-defense” as – what, a reason? – again, not snark – to own – _own_, _personally_ – again, not snark, I’m asking if this is incorrect – a weapon of the specific platform AR-15. And seems there are no details on this obviously sensitive topic on offer – fair enough. And you’re the only person I ever encountered with such knowledge – I guess Michael Fisher’s questions encouraged me – ah – that’s the “dogpile”. Not intended.

              FWIW I think I’ve read your comments before and you sounded cool, so…

              Maybe a ref can blow a whistle on this, but I’ll gladly close out my comments on this post now, giving you all last word.

        • Posted February 27, 2018 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

          If you’re asking me:

          1. It’s just a “basic” AR-15 with iron sights. No folding stock or suppressor, etc.

          2. I don’t hunt, period.

          3. It’s chambered for .223 Remington. I bought it from a private seller, so I didn’t have a choice about the round.

          • Michael Fisher
            Posted February 27, 2018 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

            What’s the full spec?
            16″ barrel? 20″ barrel?
            55 gr round?
            Mag size?
            etc.

            What recreational use do you have for it?
            Or is it home protection?
            Or both?

            • Posted February 27, 2018 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

              It has a 20″ barrel. What other spec do you need and why?

              Of course it can shoot a spectrum of loads in .223 Rem or 5.56mm caliber. I don’t currently have any ammo, but the last time I shot I used .223 Rem, 55 gr.

              Like all such rifles, it can accept a range of magazine sizes from 5 to 30 rounds.

              I like to target shoot with it. No, I don’t use it for home protection, I prefer a .357 magnum revolver for that, and use a Makarov 9mm when I carry (which is rarely these days).

    • Bob
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 5:39 am | Permalink

      Seven hundred dollars is a bargain.

      http://www.gunsinternational.com/guns-for-sale-online/rifles/colt-rifles-ar-15.cfm?cat_id=279

    • nicky
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

      Yes, a kind of catch 22: the fact you want to own an AR-15 -by it’s crazyness- disqualifies you to own one. Should maybe extended to hand guns? I like it. And it would leave the NRA fuming. Like it even more.

  9. claudia baker
    Posted February 27, 2018 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    More fucking insanity. (I seem to be saying that a lot lately.)

    I was so sure this was satire when I first saw it on-line. But no, the Moonies have gone full-out, berserko-nuts.

    While I am not American, I live too fucking close to ‘Merica to feel comfortable. Or safe.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted February 27, 2018 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

      The mouth on such a nice Catholic girl!

      Being Canadian must be like living upstairs from a bikers’ bar where they cook meth in the bathtub and the sound of gunfire echoes through the parking lot all night long, huh?

      • claudia baker
        Posted February 27, 2018 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

        Haha – yup. That’s exactly what it feels like.
        Or, being chained to a madman.

        My mouth has gotten me into trouble, from time to time. But, ffs, the gun thing is really over-the-top. As Casey Elizabeth said above: “I can’t even”.

    • nwalsh
      Posted February 27, 2018 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

      +1, claudia. It’s getting so that 70 miles from the border is too close.

      • claudia baker
        Posted February 27, 2018 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

        And, isn’t that a sad state of affairs?!

        Used to be, we spent half of our summers in Maine, at Old Orchard Beach. And, I have lots of relatives and friends who live in the U.S. Being close to the U.S. was always something that was great. The best of both worlds.

        It makes me sad and angry that this is happening.

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted February 27, 2018 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

          Dear Canada, can we have you back please? You are sorely missed

          Kind Regards
          The dis-United Kingdom xxx

          • claudia baker
            Posted February 27, 2018 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

            🙂

          • David Coxill
            Posted February 28, 2018 at 8:13 am | Permalink

            More like un united kingdom.

        • nwalsh
          Posted February 27, 2018 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

          Me too, relatives in Portland OR. Their militia looks pretty strong – We need a wall.

        • Craw
          Posted February 27, 2018 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

          Gun violence is down in recent decades. You are safer in Maine now than you were then. It doesn’t minimize the gun problem to ask that we be accurate and data driven.

          • GBJames
            Posted February 27, 2018 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

            Some kinds of gun violence are down. Mass shootings clearly isn’t one of those kinds.

  10. Michael Fisher
    Posted February 27, 2018 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    The Times-Tribune article also has this:

    …Sanctuary Church, said couples who can’t purchase an AR-15 rifle or similar weapon before the Feb. 28 service should buy a $700 gift certificate from a gun store to show they intend to purchase one.

    I expect one or more of the Moonie Elders are retailing in a certain line of business…

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted February 27, 2018 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

      Undoubtedly, but surely more is at stake because, as noted in this post, one of the Moonie siblings owns Kahr Arms, a gun manufacturing co, that makes various long guns https://shopkahrfirearmsgroup.com/auto-ordnance/long-guns/ as well as pistols, and has been touting its version of the classic Tommy gun, which was the weapon used in the first St. Valentine’s day Massacre in 1929. Now another massacre, 89 years to the day of the first. The name AR-15 trademarked by Colt, but I think that in popular culture it’s become almost a generic reference for assault rifles; so surely, Moonies wouldn’t object if people brought in assault rifles from Kahr Arms for blessing. All this will surely increase Kahr Arms coffers.

      Loathsome ironies abound at every turn (including the church spokesman’s surname Panzer).

      .

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted February 27, 2018 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

        I didn’t notice the Kahr arms connection. Thank you.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted February 27, 2018 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

        The Auto Ordnance Thompson was a beautiful piece of machinery, way over-engineered (and hence probably far too heavy and costly) for its function. It was originally conceived for use in WW1 trenches, but arrived too late. It was, of course, a big hit with the Feds and gangsters.

        As I said, it’s a beautiful piece of machining. Since it was fully automatic, it would not be legal for sale today, I expect modern versions have been modified to be semi-auto.

        But the average gun owner ‘needs’ to own one of these the way the average car owner ‘needs’ to own a Bugatti.

        cr

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted February 27, 2018 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

      “should buy a $700 gift certificate from a gun store to show they intend to purchase one.”

      So they’ll bless… the gift certificate??

      If one took in a AK-47 / AKM / AK-74 I wonder if they’d bless that? Or is that a heathen Communist weapon unworthy of the Lord’s Holy blessing…?

      cr

  11. Mark Coggiano
    Posted February 27, 2018 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    Yup! My neck of the woods and these days that’s no surprise for rural Pennsylvania. But I gotta say that the hunting culture in which I grew up, replete with an official school holiday the Monday after Thanksgiving for the first day of deer season (buck), is unrecognizable when compared to the gun-nut, 2nd Amendment, NRA culture found there today.

    • Posted February 27, 2018 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

      Same here. No resemblance whatsoever.

  12. Jon Gallant
    Posted February 27, 2018 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    In my hunting culture, we depend on semi-automatic rifles and high-capacity magazines for hunting dangerous kinds of game. When hunting squirrels, you need a 30-round magazine to nail the varmints before they start shooting back at you; for rabbits, which are even deadlier, we ought to have machine guns and rocket launchers, as is our 2nd amendment right. For duck hunting, we really ought to have ground-to-air missiles.

    • Desnes Diev
      Posted February 27, 2018 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

      May I ask what’s for bison? (I already feel sorry to ask.)

    • David Coxill
      Posted February 27, 2018 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      You have been watching too much Monty Python .
      Great bit of sarcasm by the way .

    • David Evans
      Posted February 27, 2018 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      A squirrel won’t make much of a trophy after you hit it with an AR-15. Might I suggest Sarin as an alternative?

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted February 27, 2018 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      Assault weapons must be the weapon of choice for Sarah Palin when she’s shooting wolves from helicopters.

  13. glen1davidson
    Posted February 27, 2018 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    As the Palm Beach Post reports, the school is trying to keep people calm:

    Yes, and they probably did right to take the actions they did to calm fears.

    But the whole gun-blessing nonsense is hardly a significant threat to anybody. The place will be full of cops, and the guns empty of ammunition. You wouldn’t leave ammo in with a lot of cops around.

    Of course it’s a ridiculous ceremony, but the real threats are the unscheduled events, not publicity events like this one.

    Glen Davidson

    • Posted February 27, 2018 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

      Well, if it serves to drive home the point to the little tykes that people who own these weapons are scary people who should not be trusted, it’s a good thing.

      We can’t get rid of guns legislatively -that battle is lost- but as a culture we can get rid of the love of guns. We’ve forced cultural changes in a lot of ways without the help of the government; one of the greatest tragedies of our government is that our leaders are followers.

      We have to change minds because we can’t change the laws. We did it with civil rights, women’s rights and the environmental movement. Once our minds are changed, perhaps the leaders will follow and some day, far away, something can be done about this insanity.

      One way to contribute to that is to make pariahs of the owners of these kinds of guns. People who are looked down upon; those who’ve made a choice that says something deeply disturbing about their character.

      So in a small, ineffably sad way, frightening the children about their gun nut neighbors may add a tiny drop to the culture change we need.

  14. Ken Kukec
    Posted February 27, 2018 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    “… these firearms are for self-defense.”

    What? They’re expecting an armed invasion from New Jersey? An amphibious landing along the Wallenpaupack Creek, maybe?

  15. David Jorling
    Posted February 27, 2018 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    The church is right about one thing. Jesus supposedly said in Matthew 10:34: “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household.

    No doubt if this fictional character were to “return” today he would be dumb enough to choose an AR-15. He could do so much better to choose a thermonuclear warhead.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted February 27, 2018 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

      Where’s Pliny the In Between? We need a rendering of Jesus at his Second Coming, with an automatic rifle in his hands.

  16. HBB
    Posted February 27, 2018 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    A church President named Panzer blessing guns. Didn’t see that coming. What’s their assistant president named, Ulrich U-boat? Just shakes head (can’t face-palm because of the specs).

  17. Dan Paslawski
    Posted February 27, 2018 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Sounds like “Beneath The Planet of the Apes”!

  18. Toni Jordon
    Posted February 27, 2018 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    Insane. Epicurus was absolutely correct.

  19. Desnes Diev
    Posted February 27, 2018 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    I wonder why they say:
    “All of the weapons in the ceremony will be checked to make sure they are unloaded, with a zip tie so that no bullets can be inserted,”

    Isn’t the people that are dangerous, not guns? Surely they don’t think that a bad guy with a gun could attend their peaceful picnic full of good guy with a lot of guns. So nothing could go wrong.

    Moreover, ask any talibans, it is a lot of fun to discharge (semi-)automatic weapons in the air in a manifestation of joy and God blessing.

    • Posted February 27, 2018 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps the bullets will be blessed in a separate ceremony. Double blessing them would be a sin.

    • Kev
      Posted February 27, 2018 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

      The brother of a Lebanese friend of mine was killed in Beirut in the eighties when one of those bullets fired at random in the air came down and hit him on the head. He was on the way to the swimming pool.

  20. Posted February 27, 2018 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Why wouldn’t they bless the AR-15s at the factory? Surely it could be automated.

  21. Graham
    Posted February 27, 2018 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    It’s an ASSAULT weapon. The clue’s in the name. Can they really not tell the difference between defense and assault?

    • Posted February 27, 2018 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

      The “AR” in AR-15 refers to Armalite, the original manufacturer, not the word “assault.” There is actually no such thing as an “assault weapon.” It’s just a politically-created term for arbitrary semiautomatic rifles that are “scary looking.”

      In any case, any gun can be used for defense or offense. It’s physically impossible for there to exist a firearm that could be used for self-defense, but not also used to assault people. What matters is the behavior of the shooter, not the type of gun.

      • GBJames
        Posted February 27, 2018 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

        I love it when gun fans insist that typology is critical and simultaneously insist that there’s no difference between an AR-15 and a box cutter because both can be used to kill someone.

        • Posted February 27, 2018 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

          Well said. Next someone will be telling us how guns don’t kill people, people kill people. Oops, someone did say that already.

      • Mark R.
        Posted February 27, 2018 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

        There is indeed such a thing as an “assault weapon” and they’ve been around for over 60 years. The Germans coined the term during WWII when they developed the StG 44. StG stands for “Sturmgewehr”, and translates to “assault rifle”. It wasn’t politically-created because it was “scary looking”; where’d you get that talking point. I can’t be bothered to explain in detail, but you can google it and learn all about why it was created.

      • Posted February 27, 2018 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

        You’d better tell Wikipedia there is no such thing as an assault weapon. Also there was a law that banned these no such <things.

      • Posted February 27, 2018 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

        You’re confusing a (so-called) “assault weapon” with an assault rifle. The latter is a fully-automatic military rifle, like the StG 44 you mentioned. The former is an arbitrary subset of semiautomatic firearms that have a cosmetic resemblance to some military rifles. Yes, the former was a politically-created term to obfuscate the distinction. But they are completely different things. It’s like the difference between an actual NASCAR racer and a family sedan outfitted with pinstripes and a spoiler.

      • Posted February 28, 2018 at 5:54 am | Permalink

        Negativevaraicne, you say you use the gun for target shooting. My view is that we shouldn’t allow such guns to be sold just so people like you can have fun at the rifle range. The upshot is that other people use them to take lives. Wouldn’t you be willing to give up your gun, and others like it, to prevent these horrendous mass shootings?

        Or is your big fun at the target range too imporant for you to worry about how other people use the guns.

        Let’s end your taxonomy argument, because it’s simply daffy. We need to ban ALL these types of guns.

        • ThyroidPlanet
          Posted February 28, 2018 at 7:03 am | Permalink

          I apologize for breaking my promise:

          Why not have the guns and ammo as rentals in the rifle range?

          Because it’s about gun _ownership_

          … but I still think rentals would help…

  22. David Evans
    Posted February 27, 2018 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    He may say they are for self-defense, but he also relates them to the phrase “rod of iron” which is a weapon of war in several Bible verses:

    “Yes! Jehovah hath given to his Anointed a rod of iron with which he shall break rebellious nations in pieces”

    I don’t think these are just for defending families.

  23. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted February 27, 2018 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    I apologize for the not- exactly-relevant question BUT

    can someone tell me why all the American flags have been at half-staff for like a week? Please tell me it’s unrelated to … you know…

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted February 27, 2018 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

      Government flags or non-gov flags? Gov flags returned to normal from ‘half mast’ [the UK saying] on the evening of the 19th – a week ago:

      Issued on: February 15, 2018

      Our Nation grieves with those who have lost loved ones in the shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. As a mark of solemn respect for the victims of the terrible act of violence perpetrated on February 14, 2018, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, February 19, 2018. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.

      IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fifteenth day of February, in the year of our Lord two thousand eighteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-second.

      DONALD J. TRUMP

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted February 27, 2018 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

        I see. Thank you.

        By the way, I found :

        http://halfstaff.org/

        [ comment deleted by user ]

  24. John Nunes
    Posted February 27, 2018 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    My father was a NRA national champion for marksmanship in the 1930’s-50’s. Disgusted, he quit the outfit in the early 60’s because it was getting increasingly getting infiltrated by crazy people.

    Assault weapons for the public are mostly for people with little to no learned skill in hitting a target, and little desire to get there.

    • Craw
      Posted February 27, 2018 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

      They long ago adopted the “not an inch” approach to everything. I suspect if you wanted to sell Sarin tipped bullets they’d defend that too.

  25. rickflick
    Posted February 27, 2018 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    “to show their willingness to defend their familiars [sic], communities and nation,”

    The Moonies have tapped into a deep running strain in the American psyche. There is much of Walter Mitty in us.

    A “Webley-Vickers 50.80,” or a gun with a three-foot barrel.
    “ta-pocketa-pocketa-pocketa-pocketa-pocketa…”

  26. jhs
    Posted February 27, 2018 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    Planet of the Apes!?

  27. Posted February 27, 2018 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    The Trump wall, if erected, will probably be in the wrong place.

    • John Nunes
      Posted February 27, 2018 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

      Walls work both ways. If there ends up being a wall, it will likely be to keep people IN, rather than out.

      • John Nunes
        Posted February 27, 2018 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

        End up being, that is…

      • Posted February 27, 2018 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

        exactly…

  28. Richard Portman
    Posted February 27, 2018 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    I sent them an angry email. I asked if this was true. I told them we are angry and upset. I reminded them that this is repugnant.
    Much surprise, they wrote back, so credit for that..
    I sure hope they will not bless these guns they have cost us too much already.
    They seem like nice people, don’t hate them.
    I’m getting too old for this.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted February 27, 2018 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

      Why have you left out the email exchange between you & ‘them’ Richard?

    • Posted February 27, 2018 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

      “I’m getting too old for this.”

      I hear you. Feeling that a lot myself lately.

  29. Harrison
    Posted February 27, 2018 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    Thoughts and prayers are enough for the kids, but the adults don’t feel safe without their boomsticks.

    • Posted February 28, 2018 at 1:47 am | Permalink

      I was just thinking that an exorcism ceremony might be more in order, for the weapons and the people. Or, maybe, they can be treated as Jesus did the Gadarene swine. Into the lake.

  30. Ken Kukec
    Posted February 27, 2018 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    I see that the Republicans who control state government in Georgia have vowed to block a tax break for Delta Airlines because Delta has spoken out against the NRA. Let’s see how many of the rightwing’s johnny-come-lately First Amendment free-speech advocates come to Delta’s defense on this one.

    • Mark R.
      Posted February 27, 2018 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

      I heard about that inane move, and good luck with that as Delta is synonymous with Atlanta and employees thousands of Georgians. Atlanta International Airport is the worlds busiest in terms of passenger traffic and Delta just happens to be their largest carrier.

      At the same time, the GA Senate just passed a bill that would disallow state adoption agencies from granting adoptions to married gay couples. The corporations are coming down hard on this one, as well as Hollywood producers (the Black Panther was filmed there).

      Southern politics is about as disgusting as it gets.

    • Posted February 27, 2018 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

      I’m a member of the NRA and have made pro RKBA posts in this thread. I side with Delta here and will come to their defense. The business between Delta and the NRA shouldn’t be regulated by the government. Also, I’m against increasing taxes (including in the form of removing tax breaks) for *any* reason. It’s a terrible move by the GA GOP.

    • rickflick
      Posted February 27, 2018 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

      I heard FedEx is a partner with NRA and has refused to drop out of the arrangement. Now there’s a move among customers to drop FedEx . You can use a competitor. If you receive a FedEx you can refuse to accept it. See, not so hard. Now if customers want to support Delta, they can patronize them preferentially. People have more power than the NRA by a long shot.

  31. Posted February 27, 2018 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

    Disgusting piece of news. I’d like to see how gun defenders explain why there are far fewer mass murders in countries without guns.

  32. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted February 27, 2018 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    I apologize for this :

    The Declaration Of Independence declares a “right … to life” – I take this to mean remaining alive for an extended time.

    How do we size this up with the constitution’s second amendment?

    • Posted February 27, 2018 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

      The RKBA (as recognized by the Second Amendment) is a *consequence* of the right to your life. You have a right to defend your life, which implies you have the right to own personal arms. And merely owning personal arms does not infringe upon anyone else’s life.

      • Kev
        Posted February 27, 2018 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

        Access to the means to defend your life gives you facilitated access to the means to take another person’s life, possibly MANY other persons.

        The UK police do not want the right to bear arms because they know it will escalate the use of arms by criminals. That has been their attitude for years. Private ownership of guns is tightly regulated and is not a RIGHT.

        “And merely owning personal arms does not infringe upon anyone else’s life.”
        Statistically it does: the more guns the more likeliehood of someone going beyond “merely” owning a gun.

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted February 27, 2018 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

        Thank you negativevariance, just saying again I’m done, but also I beg one exception for a technical comment :

        RKBA = right to keep and bear arms

        ^^^ off the top of my head.

        • Kev
          Posted February 27, 2018 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

          “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.”

          The well regulated militia is no longer needed since it has been substituted by a professional army which bears arms of such considerable superior force that any other militia is redundant, so the requirement to bear small arms is no longer necessary for the average citizen, rendering the amendment obsolete.

          Constitutions may be altered where appropriate, as is implicit in the word “amendment” itself.

          • Posted February 27, 2018 at 11:56 pm | Permalink

            You’re wrong in several respects, but this is a point that’s too deep and off-topic for this thread.

            • darrelle
              Posted February 28, 2018 at 8:32 am | Permalink

              No, that was any wronger than whatever interpretation you favor. I can almost guarantee that Kev’s is actually more historically accurate.

            • Mark R.
              Posted February 28, 2018 at 11:48 am | Permalink

              Sounds like theology to me.

        • Posted February 27, 2018 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

          Yes, RKBA = right to keep and bear arms

          • rickflick
            Posted February 28, 2018 at 5:35 am | Permalink

            Would you give up this “right” if you knew it would save many lives?

  33. Neil Wolfe
    Posted February 27, 2018 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    The service must include a reading from the book of armaments:

    “And Saint Attila raised the hand grenade up on high, saying, “O Lord, bless this Thy hand grenade that, with it, Thou mayest blow Thine enemies to tiny bits in Thy mercy.”
    And the Lord did grin, and the people did feast upon the lambs and sloths and carp and anchovies and orangutans and breakfast cereals and fruit bats and large chu–“

  34. Posted February 28, 2018 at 3:13 am | Permalink

    What do you really expect from a bunch of hypocrites?!

  35. boggy
    Posted February 28, 2018 at 5:04 am | Permalink

    The above comments show that gun nuts are as crazy as religious nuts.The minutiaie of the contributions of the gun people are as crazy as those of theologians.
    ‘If theology was explicable it would not be theology’

  36. Posted February 28, 2018 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    As the song goes, “Praise god and pass the ammunition.”

    Urgh.

    Reminds me of the ammo store/strip mall church I saw on the highway between Indianapolis and Bloomington.

  37. Matthew Jenkins
    Posted February 28, 2018 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    ‘Familiars’ is probably an inadvertent error from somebody thinking in Portuguese or Spanish. I think the person probably meant ‘family members’.


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