Tuesday, December 11, 2007

You Go Girl! Security Guard Shoots Homicidal Maniac

A female security guard killed a gunman who entered the grounds of a mega church in Colorado Springs and started shooting, killing two teenage girls.

Be sure and watch the video on the linked page (which we cannot embed here).

This raises an interesting question. Will she be a hero of feminists? On the one hand, she (1.) was performing in a traditionally male occupation, and (2.) performed very well.

On the other hand, she (1.) is a Christian, (2.) was protecting Christians -- not at all like, say, killing a man abusing his girlfriend and (3.) used a gun.

[Update]

Recent reports show that security guard Jeanne Assam did not kill the gunman, rather he shot himself in the head after she hit him with gunfire.
“The death of Matthew Murray has been ruled a suicide,” the El Paso County Coroner’s Office said in a statement.

“It should be noted that he was struck multiple times by the security officer, which put him down. He then fired a single round killing himself,” the statement said.
Further:
Murray also wounded two other people with his assault rifle as he re-entered the church.

One of them, Larry Bourbonnais, said he tried to distract the shooter before security guard Jeanne Assam made her move.

“I’m telling you right now, she’s the hero, not me. It was the bravest thing I have ever seen,” Bourbonnais said. “She had no cover. He fired -- I heard him fire three. I heard her fire three. And she just began -- she kept yelling ‘Surrender!’ the whole time. And she just walked forward, like she’s walking to her car in the parking lot, firing the whole time.”

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14 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

FYI: http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/12/11/colorado.shootings/index.html

2:07 PM  
Anonymous evil_olive said...

"will she be a hero of feminists?"

Where does this question even COME from? What is your point of generating it?

oh blah, your "understanding" of feminism just sucks.

3:38 PM  
Anonymous Sparky said...

It’s becoming very clear that your extreme hatred of feminism turns your brain into beef stew whenever you post about it. And although I realize that the next time you post on feminism you will probably make more bone-headed assumptions, I am going to try to make this as clear as possible for you.

You are clearly trying to imply that there is some inconsistency in accepting as fact the numbered points, and this is supposed to be a clever way of implying that feminists hold an inconsistent position.

But your reasoning here is simply goofy. This is what most feminists I know would say about this story:

1. It is great that she was not excluded from being an armed security guard simply because she is a woman, and it is admirable that she performed her job well. Indeed, it sounds as if she acted quite heroically. (Do you think she should have been prevented from being an armed guard because she is a woman? Or are you with the feminists on this one?)
2. Whether or not she is a Christian is completely irrelevant to the first point. In fact, many of the feminists I know are Christians. (And by the way, there is no inconsistency in being a Christian and being a feminist. If you had any idea what feminism actually is, as opposed to your straw man version, you might be able to recognize that fact. But if you think there is an inconsistency, then let’s hear the arguments.)
3. None of the feminists I know, Christian or otherwise, are anti-Christian. And it is ridiculous—RIDICULOUS--to assume that feminists would want harm to come to a bunch of people because they are practicing their faith, or to anyone for that matter--even rabid anti-feminists like you.
4. Finally, it is simply crazy to think that feminists are against police officers or security guards using lethal force against someone who is killing innocent people. Where in the world could you have possibly gotten that idea? (Your imagination doesn't count.)

Now again, I realize that you are probably going to make the same insane assumptions the next time you post about feminism. And in fairness, it’s possible that you can’t control yourself. But I feel compelled to tell you nevertheless that the only kind of person who would think that you have actually raised “an interesting question” in this post is one who is just as clueless about what feminism is as you are.

So please-oh-please-oh-please, figure out what feminism actually is before you sit down to write another confused post on it.

6:24 PM  
Blogger Michael J. Mathias said...

It seems whenever I read your blog, I find errors. The gunman, as has been widely reported, killed himself:

http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/12/11/colorado.shootings/?iref=mpstoryview

6:27 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

Sparky,

You may not see any cultural biases in feminism, but they are there, and they are pretty obvious.

8:20 PM  
Anonymous Sparky said...

"You may not see any cultural biases in feminism, but they are there, and they are pretty obvious."

Unfortunately, that does not count as a response to anything I said. I would welcome responses to any or all of my comments, but they have to be relevant to what I said to count as a response.

And by the way, I think it is pretty clear it is your extreme biases that are clouding the discussion here. And evidence for this can be found in your post. I mean really, you have absolutely no evidence whatsoever for your absurd claim that feminists would cheer the death of Christians. So saying something like sure makes it look like it's got to come from bias. It certainly can't be rationality talking.

So again, I encourage you to spend some time finding out what feminism actually is before writing silly critiques of the position.

8:54 PM  
Anonymous Sparky said...

"You may not see any cultural biases in feminism, but they are there, and they are pretty obvious."

One more point: I think I made it pretty clear in my first comment that your assumptions about the cultural biases of feminists are absurd. So, maybe you should tell us what these biases are. And perhaps you should provide some evidence for your claims. If you can't do this then it really looks like its you who has a problem with biases. If you do, then it might provide some clue for the rest of us about what you think feminism is, which would be helpful since it seems pretty clear you're working with a straw man version.

9:09 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

Well, Sparky, just as a start, we have a former student of mine who wrote me the following:

I just finished up an entire class on how patriarchy controls every structure in our society and how women are systematically prevented from being equal to men (Capitalism and Catholicism are among the most guilty parties).

See:

http://mu-warrior.blogspot.com/2007/05/marquette-philosophy-class-capitalism.html

To Elizabeth Cady Stanton in 1885 it was evident that "History shows that the moral degradation of woman is due more to theological superstitions than to all other influences together."

See:

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/feminist-religion/

Then there is anther Colorado Christian Ministry, Promise Keepers.

See what NOW says about them:

http://www.now.org/issues/right/pk.html

I really don't have time to find a survey that asks people whether they are feminists, and show that feminists are more secular than non-feminists.

But you don't doubt that, do you?

By the way, if you really want to refute me, post a few links from feminist sources lauding this female security guard.

10:31 PM  
Anonymous Sparky said...

"Well, Sparky, just as a start, we have a former student of mine who wrote me the following:

I just finished up an entire class on how patriarchy controls every structure in our society and how women are systematically prevented from being equal to men (Capitalism and Catholicism are among the most guilty parties)."

1. Wow, one whole student; and a student who would write to YOU of all people to talk about her experience. Sounds like a pretty reliable bit of anecdotal evidence.
2. Setting aside my doubts about whether this is an accurate representation of the course she took (and I have reason to believe it isn't), is this evidence of a bias or are there good arguments for it? To answer this you would actually have to engage with the arguments—but you never do. You simply assume (here is where your bias comes in) that it must be false that we still live in a society that in certain respects continues to be patriarchal in a way that places hurdles in front of women. You don’t really want to claim that historically women have been treated as equal to men in organized religions, and in society more generally do you? That seems undeniably false as a piece of historical fact. But if that’s the case, then why would it be so crazy to think there are still vestiges of oppression still lurking in Christianity as well as other organized religions? And why would it be so crazy for people to be committed to uncovering and fighting against some these patterns of oppression? And why would you hate these people so much?
3. Critiquing aspects of a religious world-view is entirely consistent with being a person who largely accepts that world-view. (This could be compared to conservatives who were outraged that Bush would nominate Harriet Meyers for the Supreme Court.) Criticism can come from within an organization just as well as without. Furthermore, I stand by my claim that you are crazy to suggest that even anti-religion feminists would somehow feel conflicted about the death of people at the hands of a crazy gunman. I mean, come on; you actually suggested that.

"To Elizabeth Cady Stanton in 1885 it was evident that "History shows that the moral degradation of woman is due more to theological superstitions than to all other influences together."

1. Again, I have not heard you engage with Stanton’s claim at all. This is only evidence of bias if there are no good reasons for it. But again, you would actually have to engage with the arguments to determine this. So, is this bias or are there good reasons for it? (There really is a difference, you know, and at an academy we should be trying to figure out what the truth is by evaluating reasons. I don’t think I’m biased against flat earth theory, since there are good reasons for thinking that it isn't flat.) Certainly, there are legitimate complaints that women might have about their traditional place in the eyes of the church. So why should MAN-made church institutions be off limits for critical evaluation, given that religions are such integral institutions in our society? Maybe you should offer some reasons for thinking that Stanton’s charge was simply due to a bias on her part. (If you do, remember she was writing in 1885--a sort of Golden Age for women's rights.)

"Then there is anther Colorado Christian Ministry, Promise Keepers.

See what NOW says about them:"

Really? You want to appeal to NOW’s views on the Promise Keepers to support your view? The folks who think that society’s problems are primarily due to the fact that men have become too effeminate and women have become too uppity? You need to do better than that. Look, you don’t need to have a beef with organized religion to think this group is a bit nutty. Most of my religious friends think they’re nutty. They certainly do not, I think, reflect the views of most mainstream Christians. But be that as it may, if you are someone who thinks that there is nothing wrong with men and women having equal opportunities in life, and with a marriage being an equal partnership (which I would hope even you think is okay), then this group clearly ought to give you some pause. After all, they are fairly explicit about their views on women’s place in the family. And the message is that men need to reassert their dominance over women. Tony Evans: “Don’t you understand, mister, that you are royalty and God has chosen you to be priest of your home.” Can you get your mind around the idea that a woman might want to be an equal partner in a relationship, and that she might not want to be lorded over by her partner? If this is what you are calling Christianity, then there definitely is (and should be) some condemnation of Christianity in the feminist community. But it seems to me these people are not representative of most church-going Christian folks. In fact, I think it is likely that if we interviewed women Marquette students who claim to be religious, they would for the most part find this sort of message of male dominance over women fairly repugnant. (Of course, the men might find it less repugnant. Hmmm…I wonder why?)

"I really don't have time to find a survey that asks people whether they are feminists, and show that feminists are more secular than non-feminists.

But you don't doubt that, do you?"

Actually, I think there is a lot more room for doubt about this claim than the claim I think you meant to make, which is: More feminists are secular than non-secular. I think that may be right. But it does not follow from this that there is an ideological bias against religious people or religion itself.

Look, the bottom line is that there is no conceptual connection between faith in Jesus Christ (or anyone else) and acceptance of oppressively patriarchal values. So, if feminists have some issue with Christianity it is more likely to be with the aspects of the faith that are patriarchal or oppressive in some way—not with the very idea of faith in Christ itself. And again, if there are good reasons, it does not count as a bias.

"By the way, if you really want to refute me, post a few links from feminist sources lauding this female security guard."

So the fact that you don’t find discussion on feminist blogs about this case is supposed to provide some evidence that feminists are conflicted about what this guard did, or that they are biased against religion? Even you have to see that this is a very weak response to my comments. It seems I could just as well ask: Why don’t you refute me by posting some feminist sources expressing their feelings of conflict about the fact that she used a gun, or saved Christians? Better yet, why don’t you talk to the “feminist source” you mentioned in a previous post? Ask her (or him) if she feels conflicted about whether this person is a hero because there was a gun involved, and the guard is a Christian, and Christians were saved. My guess is that she would stare at you blankly wondering where in the world you are coming from. And rightly so.

Oh, and by the way, do you think the right-wing blogs would be talking about this event if it didn’t provide fodder for their view that everyone should be carrying a gun?

In the end, this is not a story about a Christian woman saving a bunch of Christians; it is a story about a woman acting quite heroically to save other human beings. Yet many people are using it to forward some ideological agenda--except the feminists, I guess.

1:23 AM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

Sparky,

I find it odd that you don't believe my student, who was Jess Cushion, President of the Gay/Straight alliance at Marquette, and fully sympathetic to the message she was getting.

(I had her permission to use her name, by the way, and did in the original post on that.)

But one thing that is interesting is that you, after saying in effect "feminists don't have a beef with religion," you turn around and say "the feminist beef with religion is justified."

As for Promise Keepers, I attended one of their rallies once.

Their definition of manliness is that men should be good husbands and fathers. The notion they preach that men should be the "leaders" in their families is that men should be spiritual leaders. Like, go to church with the wife and kids. Like, lead Bible study in the home.

That's what they preach at their rallies. The fact that feminists react instinctively and intolerantly to that is terribly revealing.

Why don't you talk to some wives of men who have been to the events, rather than feminists who are hostile to Christianity in the first place?

There are a fair number of such wives at my church, and they have nary a bad word to say about the organization.

Then there is this:

In fact, I think it is likely that if we interviewed women Marquette students who claim to be religious, they would for the most part find this sort of message of male dominance over women fairly repugnant. (Of course, the men might find it less repugnant. Hmmm…I wonder why?)

You can't restrain yourself, can you?

You say that feminists don't hate men, and then you make a comment like this.

The majority of Marquette students, male and female, would agree with the actual message of Promise Keepers, which is different from the way your portray it.

The fact that feminists view Promise Keepers this way shows bias. And quite a lot of bias.

But thanks for making my point about feminist hostility to Christians.

10:16 AM  
Anonymous Sparky said...

"But one thing that is interesting is that you, after saying in effect "feminists don't have a beef with religion," you turn around and say "the feminist beef with religion is justified.""

If you actually read my comments you will see that I draw a distinction between having an issue with religion per se, and having an issue with aspects of religion that are oppressively patriarchal. It’s really not that difficult a distinction to grasp.

"Why don't you talk to some wives of men who have been to the events, rather than feminists who are hostile to Christianity in the first place?"

This is called “begging the question.” As I just said, you are blurring a distinction between religion and oppressive aspects of religious institutions.

"The fact that feminists view Promise Keepers this way shows bias. And quite a lot of bias."

The fact that you think feminists might having conflicted feelings about the security guard case because a gun was used and Christians were saved shows bias. And quite a lot of bias.

You see, there is a difference between bias and having reasons for holding a belief (as I tried to make clear in my last comment). I’ve read your stuff on the death penalty and I would not say that you are biased towards the death penalty. Why? Because you actually have reasons for holding your views. In the case of feminism, you have views about what feminists think that are divorced from any real reasons (or at least plausible ones), and that’s why you think that feminists might be conflicted about someone saving the lives of Christians.

Now it could be that feminists have their facts wrong about the Promise Keepers (though I am not granting they do). But even if they do, this does not show they are biased against religion. Rather it shows that they hold their views on the basis of inaccurate beliefs they have. But if you look at some of the things Tony Evans says, it is not surprising that (i.e., it doesn’t take anti-religious bias to see why) feminists might think the movement is pushing an oppressively patriarchal agenda. For example, Evans says this: “If a woman were receiving the right kind of love and attention and leadership, she would not want to be liberated from that.” It is simply implausible to think that Evans is restricting his comment about leadership to spiritual leadership. That, after all, is not what women want when they say they want to be liberated. And then there’s this: “. . . I'm not suggesting you ask for your role back, I'm urging you to take it back . . . there can be no compromise here. If you're going to lead, you must lead . . . Treat the lady gently and lovingly. But lead!” Is it surprising feminists might find this quote worrisome? It’s not exactly the expression of egalitarian views about women and family. What if women don’t want to be led, spiritually or otherwise? It looks like Evans is saying that you should force women to be lead in this way, that “there should be no compromise here,” even if it is not what a woman wants. And if his remark was about leading spiritually, would he really have to point out that men should make sure they treat their wives “gently and lovingly” as they lead? My point here is simply that right or wrong, given what the leaders of the movement say it is no wonder feminists might find the teachings of the group alarming. Now if you look at the NOW website, you might notice that you do not find an attack on Christianity more generally; what you find is condemnation of what at least appears to be offensively non-egalitarian religious institutions.

“But thanks for making my point about feminist hostility to Christians.”

Did you actually read my comments? The fact that you think I made your point simply reveals your bias.
Here is the crux of what for some reason you simply fail to grasp: First, there is a distinction between hostility to Christians and hostility to aspects of organized religions that are oppressively patriarchal. And when I say there is a distinction I mean THEY ARE NOT THE SAME. Second, there is a distinction between a bias and belief held on the basis of plausible reasons. So far you have presented absolutely no evidence that feminists are biased against Christians or Christianity. At most you have simply reaffirmed what is not in dispute, namely, that feminists have an issue with aspects of religious institutions that are oppressively patriarchal. And this is different from being anti-Christian.

Okay, that’s it for me on this post. I've really got to get a life.

2:46 PM  
Anonymous evil_olive said...

"Their definition of manliness is that men should be good husbands and fathers. The notion they preach that men should be the "leaders" in their families is that men should be spiritual leaders. Like, go to church with the wife and kids. Like, lead Bible study in the home."

So women should not be "spiritual leaders?" That is what is implicit in this statement. Women and men are not socially equal in this respect then.

I think the problem here is that McAdams doesn't believe in women's equality in the first place. Valiant effort though, sparky, at engaging in some reflective dialogue with Dr. M here. I applaud your patience. It just seems as such that the foundation of the debate--the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes just can't be agreed upon. All the more reason the feminist movement needs to remain alive--now more than ever--because of people like Mcadams.

6:45 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

Evil Olive and Sparky,

You two insist in viewing everything through feminist lenses, which holds that everything between men and women is a zero sum power struggle.

And of course, one must side with women against the evil male oppressors.

As for Evans, I haven't studied what he thinks, but I do know what is preached at their rallies, and no woman should have a problem with any of it.

It appears to me you are simply misinterpreting Evans, however. You seem to believe that he's assuming equality between men and women in marriage and arguing for the man to dominate. It's clear to me that he's starting with the notion that a lot of men simply aren't being the fathers and husbands they should be, and they need to improve.

The simple fact, which neither of your will deal with, is that the wives of the Christian men who attend the Promise Keepers events not only have no objection to it, they approve of it!

Who knows better, they or you?

(And I hope you aren't going to roll out the standard feminist response when it's pointed out that women out in the real world often disagree with feminists. "They were brain washed!")

As for not being against Christianity, but only "oppressively patriarchal" religion, this is a bit like finding somebody who says "I have nothing against black people, only against black criminals." And then you find that they think most blacks are criminals.

No doubt you like the Unitarians fine, but this was a conservative maga church what was protected by the devout (and doubtless conservative) woman security guard.

Frankly, your responses make it clear that my original post was spot on. You don't like guns, and you don't like conservative Christians.

Which is what I suggested in my original post.

I'm bowing out of this discussion now.

3:47 PM  
Anonymous Sparky said...

Wow. I know I said I was done, but I simply have to respond to that.

"You two insist in viewing everything through feminist lenses, which holds that everything between men and women is a zero sum power struggle."

This just further confirms you are clueless about feminism and feminists, and that you really have difficulty understanding the writing of people with whom you disagree. There is absolutely nothing in what either of us said that suggests we think everything is a zero sum game. This seems like evidence of some sort of distorting lens on your part.

"As for Evans, I haven't studied what he thinks, but I do know what is preached at their rallies, and no woman should have a problem with any of it."

I am sure women appreciate you telling them what they should and should not have a problem with. And maybe if you had looked at what Evans said you'd realize why some feminists might find it offensive.

"No doubt you like the Unitarians fine, but this was a conservative maga church what was protected by the devout (and doubtless conservative) woman security guard."

This is unbelievable. You are still standing by your suggestion that feminists would be conflicted about the lives of Christian people being saved by an armed security guard? This is just absolute nonsense. Really, ask your "feminist source" whether there is a part of her that wishes more conservative Christians had died. This is just stunningly ridiculous.

"Frankly, your responses make it clear that my original post was spot on. You don't like guns, and you don't like conservative Christians."

This just shows that you could open up the phone book and find someone saying they don't like guns or conservative Christians. There is not one piece of evidence from anything I have said to suggest that I do not like guns. And you accuse US of seeing things through a lens. Your inability to comprehend writing by someone with whom you disagree is nothing short of staggering.

I think I should probably take my desire to have some rational discussion elsewhere.

Later.

9:25 PM  

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