Wednesday, September 13, 2006

One more reason why guns and God don't mix well

Special thanks to Tom for sending me this story, from the AP:

ATHENS, Ala. - A woman and two roommates are accused of holding her brother at gunpoint as she prayed for his repentance, even firing a shot into the ceiling to keep his attention.

Randy Doss, 46, of Athens said he fled the house when his captors got distracted and later went to police, who were skeptical at first because his story was so bizarre. But police said it checked out, including the bullet hole in the ceiling.

"We found where they patched the hole with caulk," said Sgt. Trevor Harris.

Police said the sister, Tammie Lee Doss, 43, Donna Leigh Bianca, 37, and Ronald David Richie, 45, who live at the Athens house, were charged with unlawful imprisonment, a misdemeanor. The two women were also charged with menacing, a misdemeanor. All were released on bond.

Harris said Randy Doss went to the house about 7 p.m. on Labor Day and at some point got in an argument with the two women about religion. When they prayed for him, he laughed.

"They both got upset and pointed pistols at him," Harris said. "They wouldn't let him leave. Bianca fired one round in the ceiling in the hallway a few feet from the victim's head."

Harris said the women tried to get Doss to admit things he did as a child.

"She claims the brother wronged her years ago when they were kids and she just got the truth out of him and apparently wanted revenge," said Harris. "He says they would not let him go. The sister says she was just trying to scare her brother."

The three suspects denied they held Doss against his will.

"The door was never locked and he could have walked out that door any time he wanted to," the sister told the News-Courier of Athens. "We never held him against his will."

Harris said Richie did not have a weapon but is accused of blocking the door to keep Doss from fleeing.

Doss said he escaped the house about 1 a.m. Tuesday.

"We don't know if they were just playing games, but it is ridiculous for men and women in their 40s to be playing games like this," Harris said.


Brian said...

I think you're title is, how would you put it... 'lacking intellectual honesty'

Sandalstraps said...

Care to propose an alternative title? Perhaps:

Militant Evangelism,


Guns don't kill, but gun wielding evangelists might,

or perhaps

Turn that other cheek at me one more time, and I might blow it off!

Seriously, whether you think my witty title is funny or not, surely you agree that we can't use guns in the service of the Lord. Whatever you believe about gun control, you must agree that guns are not evangelical tools. That's the only point on the table today.

Brian Cubbage said...

Assuming that Mr. Doss's factual allegations are true, what I find intellectually dishonest is Ms. Doss's assertion that "The door was never locked and [Mr. Doss] could have walked out that door any time he wanted to." Unless the Doss family has the strangest family dynamics in the lower 48, I think most people would assume that when a person, family member or not, points a gun at you and asks you to do things, they mean it. If what she means is that Mr. Doss had the physical ability to stand up and walk towards the door, her statement is true, but utterly beside the point. The point is that Mr. Doss had reason to believe that had he walked towards the door, he wouldn't have made it out without taking a bullet to some part of his body.

I find Ms. Doss' remarks about her brother's capacities interesting because they go to show just how ambiguous our way of talking and thinking about agency really is. When we say that someone can, or could have, done something, what are we really saying? Under what conditions do we say that Ms. Doss' assertion is true or false?

Oh, and I thought the title was apt, Sandman. Regardless of puzzles about agency, I don't think that prayers of repentance obtained at gunpoint should count as genuine repentance unless other conditions are fulfilled. (In other words, having a gun pointed at you as you pray for forgiveness is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for repentance.)

Brian Beech said...

How about 'Alabama Family Dynamics - involving guns and Religion' or 'How not to witness to others' or 'Psychos rage with guns and God'?

Saying you can't use guns in the service of the Lord is a bit short sighted. There are many people who have quite an affinity for guns and I think you can use that in service to the Lord. Let me explain... If I have an exotic gun or an antique gun that interests people, that may be a good way to start a conversation and may give me a way to share my faith. Other than a way such as that, I agree, guns aren't normally 'evangelical tools'. Your title insinuated that if I am around guns, I am unable to share my faith or be a good witness for the Lord. That's why I think your title could use some revising. The implications were much more broad than the message that I got from the article. I think its obvious to everyone that read the article that those people have more problems than their love for guns and God.

Mr. Cubbage, I agree, Ms. Doss was out of line to say the door was not locked and that he could have walked out at any time. It seems that she helps my argument that she has more problems than her love for guns and God. Holding someone at gunpoint and telling them to repent probably wouldn't put their heart in the right place to repent.

Sandalstraps said...

Brian Beech,

I'm not sure that the example you cite is a case of the gun itself serving God. Rather, I see it as a case of one's cultural awareness serving God. If it were not for a cultural obsession with firearms, the firearm would have not aided evangelism at all.

Aside from that, I don't think that we disagree, though I do think that your interpretation of the title shows the oversensitivity and lack of humor that you often (rightly) accuse us liberals of having!

I like your second title proposal. This is, indeed, how not to witness to others! And, of course the issues here go far beyond the guns involved, though that doesn't mean that the gun isn't one of the issues.