Michael Kiefer, The Republic | azcentral.com 2:27 p.m. MST August 7, 2014
Johnathon Serna was convicted of misconduct with weapons when police noticed a gun during a consensual conversation. He did 2 1/2 years, but the high court ruled that his Fourth Amendment rights were violated.
On Thursday, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled that they cannot unless they think the person is engaging in criminal behavior and is armed and dangerous. As a result, the court overturned the conviction of a felon caught carrying a gun.
According to court records, in October 2010, police officers saw Johnathon Serna talking to a woman on the street in a “gang neighborhood.” When the woman walked away, they approached Serna, who they described as “very cooperative and polite.”
Then one of the officers noticed a bulge in Serna’s waistband and asked if he had a gun. Serna said he did, and the police told him to put his hands on his head and took the gun. When the police learned that Serna had prior felony convictions, making him a “prohibited possessor,” they arrested him and charged him with misconduct with weapons.
At trial, Serna’s attorneys claimed that Serna’s Fourth Amendment rights against illegal search and seizure had been violated, but the judge rejected the claim, and the Arizona Court of Appeals upheld his conviction.
Serna was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison. According to Arizona Department of Corrections records, he did the time and was released in December 2013.
But on Thursday, the Arizona Supreme Court threw out his sentence and his conviction.
Over the course of the appeals, prosecutors argued that Serna had consented to frisking. The high court wrote that “police interactions with members of the public are inherently fluid, and what begins as a consensual encounter can evolve into a seizure that prompts Fourth Amendment scrutiny.”
According to the ruling, Serna only had to say that he was not going to talk to the police and could have walked away after they told him to put his hands on his head.
The justices did not think it was that easy. “A reasonable person would not have felt free to disregard such a command from a law enforcement officer,” they wrote. And they agreed Serna’s constitutional rights had been violated.
A frisk can only occur under two conditions, they concluded: “officers must reasonably suspect both that criminal activity is afoot and that the suspect is armed and dangerous.”
State v. Serna case
“THE TEN COMMANDMENTS ARE ACTUALLY TEN CATEGORIES!”
“A WAKE UP CALL FOR LAST DAYS CHRISTIAN SAINTS!”
“Understanding the Two Tablets of Stones and their True Meanings!”
• There are 613 Commandments, not 10!
• Ten Commandments are actually 10 categories, not individual commands!
• The 10 are divided into duties to God, and duties to People!
Pls Remember That These Are The 10 Categories of the 613 Commandments! (Mitzvot) All 613 Commandments fall under one of these Ten Categories which is why God memorialized them of Two Tablets of Stone!
1) BELIEF IN GOD;
This category is derived from the declaration in Ex. 20:2 beginning, “I am the Lord, your God…”
2) PROHIBITION OF IMPROPER WORSHIP;
This category is derived from Ex. 20:3-6, beginning, “You shall not have other gods…” It encompasses within it the prohibition against the worship of other gods as well as the prohibition of improper forms of worship of the one true God, such as worshiping God through an idol.
3) PROHIBITION OF MAKING FALSE OATHS;
This category is derived from Ex. 20:7, beginning, “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain” This includes prohibitions against perjury, breaking or delaying the performance of vows or promises, and speaking God’s name or swearing Oaths unnecessarily.
4) OBSERVANCE OF SACRED TIMES;
This category is derived from Ex. 20:8-11, beginning, “Remember the Sabbath day…” It encompasses all mitzvot related to Shabbat, holidays, or other sacred time.
5) RESPECT FOR PARENTS AND TEACHERS;
This category is derived from Ex. 20:12, beginning, “Honor your father and mother…”
6) PROHIBITION OF PHYSICALLY HARMING A PERSON;
This category is derived from Ex. 20:13, saying, “You shall not murder.”
7) PROHIBITION OF SEXUAL IMMORALITY;
This category is derived from Ex. 20:13, saying, “You shall not commit adultery.”
8) PROHIBITION OF THEFT;
This category is derived from Ex. 20:13, saying, “You shall not steal.” It includes within it both outright robbery as well as various forms of theft by deception and unethical business practices. It also includes kidnapping, which is essentially “stealing” a person.
9) PROHIBITION OF HARMING A PERSON THROUGH SPEECH;
This category is derived from Ex. 20:13, saying, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” It includes all forms of lashon ha-ra (sins relating to speech).
10) PROHIBITION OF COVETING;
This category is derived from Ex. 20:14, starts, “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house…”
If you count the words in the 10 category/commandments you’ll find that there are 613 in total, thus the 10 category/commands, span 613!
Torah – gematria 611 + 2 laws that Moses received directly on Mount Sinai = 613! Moses 611 commandments combined with the first two which were heard directly from God’s own voice on Mount Sinai, adds up to a total of 613!
“The Two Tablets of Stone shadows God’s Two Greatest Commandments” – Man’s Duties to God and Man’s Duties to People!
Judaism teaches that the first stone tablet, containing the first 5 declarations, identifies duties regarding our relationship with God, while the second stone tablet, containing the last 5 declarations, identifies duties regarding relationships with others!
You may have noticed, however, that the fifth category, which is included in the first tablet, is the category to honor father and mother, which would seem to concern relationships between people! The rabbis teach that our parents are our creators and stand in a relationship to us akin to our relationship to the Divine! Throughout Jewish liturgy, the Creator is referred to as Avinu Malkeinu, our Father, our King. Disrespect to our biological creators is not merely an affront to them; it is also an insult to the Creator of the Universe! Accordingly, honor of father and mother is included on the tablet of duties to God the Father!
But, what about the so-called “Ten Commandments,” the words recorded in Exodus 20, the words that the Creator Himself wrote on the two stone tablets that Moses brought down from Mount Sinai (Ex. 31:18), which Moses smashed upon seeing the idolatry of the golden calf (Ex. 32:19)?
“In the Torah, these words are never referred to as the Ten Commandments!”
In the Torah, they are called Aseret ha-D’varim (Ex. 34:28, Deut. 4:13 and Deut. 10:4). In rabbinical texts, they are referred to as Aseret ha-Dibrot. The words d’varim and dibrot come from the Hebrew root Dalet-Beit-Reish, meaning word, speak or thing; thus, the phrase is accurately translated as the Ten Sayings, the Ten Statements, the Ten Declarations, the Ten Words or even the Ten Things, or Ten Utterances, but not as the Ten Commandments, which would be Aseret ha-Mitzvot. In Hebrew, “Mitzvot” means Commandment!
The Aseret ha-Dibrot are not understood as individual mitzvots; rather, they are categories or classifications of mitzvots! Each of the 613 mitzvot can be summed up under one of these ten categories, some in more obvious ways than others! For example, the mitzvah not to work on Shabbat rather obviously falls within the category of remembering the Sabbath day and keeping it holy! The mitzvah to fast on Yom Kippur fits into that category somewhat less obviously: all holidays are in some sense a Sabbath, and the category encompasses any mitzvah related to sacred times!
The precise numbering and division of these precepts into “Ten Commandments” is somewhat uncertain! Scripture never mentions “The Ten Commandments!” Oh, sure, the commandments themselves are in the Bible, true! But the phrase “The Ten Commandments” is never found!
If you have a bit of Bible knowledge or a good Bible search tool, you will quickly find three passages that use the phrase “the Ten Commandments” (capitalized or not): Exodus 34:28, Deuteronomy 4:13, and Deuteronomy 10:4.
Unfortunately, our translators have bowed to a tradition dating to the middle-ages and have not provided an accurate translation in our bibles!
The Hebrew words used in those verses (aseret ha-de’varim) are more accurately translated as “the Ten Words”… not “the Ten Commandments”.
Our English Bibles have completely added those words, “Ten Commandments,” incorrectly! While the Septuagint, (Greek Bible) accurately translates the Hebrew and uses the Greek equivalent of “the Ten Words”, more correctly, “Deka Logous!” Which should be in English, “The Decalogue!”
in actual fact, Scripture never mentions “The Ten Commandments!”
Exodus 31:18 – And He gave to Moses, when he had finished speaking with him on Mount Sinai, “the Two Tablets of the Testimony,” tablets of stone, written with the finger of God.
Some of you with more than a cursory knowledge of Scripture may be quick to point out that the list of the Ten Comma… uh, the Ten Words is given in two places: Exodus 20:1-17 and Deuteronomy 5:4-21.
Run after the most ‘minor’ mitzvah as you would after the most ‘important’ and flee from transgression, because doing one mitzvah draws you into doing another, and doing one transgression draws you into doing another, and because the reward for a mitzvah is a mitzvah and the punishment for a transgression is a transgression! In other words, every mitzvah is important, because even the most seemingly trivial mitzvot draw you into a pattern of leading your life in accordance with the Creator’s wishes, rather than in accordance with your own!
The battle of Marathon has, for millenia now, been firmly planted within the annals of western history. A decisive battle, a clash of cultures, the narrative describes an outnumbered Athenian army staying off the Persian invaders who would see the Greek civilization consumed within their empire. And as we gaze through the looking glass of time, thousands of years into the past, what began as a simple military engagement is now often considered a philosophical war between two cultures. ‘The war for the West’, that is what some believe Marathon to be. And if Greece is the cradle of western culture, could Marathon be the stance to defend it? Or has centuries of war divided us, polarized our understanding of each other? The answers, much like history, can be rather messy.
It all began with the Ionian revolution and Aristagoras, the tyrant of Miletus, who would resign his tyranny and accept a constitutional position in order to dismantle Persian control of the Greek city states in Asia Minor. This was largely done without bloodshed and Aristagoras would attempt to gain support for his endeavor from mainland Greece. After being denied by the Spartan king, Cleomenes, Aristagoras would find support from the Athenian government who viewed the massive Persian empire with suspicion and concern. The Athenians dispatched several naval war vessels to aid the Ionian Greeks in this rebellion.
It would do little good. The rebellion would fail miserably with a decisive naval defeat at the island of Lade, near Miletus. Aristagoras’ city would fall. The women and children of Miletus became slaves and the men that were left alive were expelled from their lands. Early in the campaign, the capital city of western Persia, Sardis, had been burned to the ground. And while the Greeks mourned for the loss of Miletus, the birthplace of the philosopher Thales, King Darius of Persia would not soon forget the destruction of Sardis. It was too late for reconciliation. War was coming.
After a failed invasion through northern Greece in 492 BCE, King Darius made plans to dispatch a large invading force across the Aegean to overthrow Athens and capture mainland Greece. Mindful of the fate of Miletus, many city-states, including Thebes and Argos, submitted to the Persian king. It was only Athens and Sparta who stood firmly in defiance. When the heralds of King Darius appeared at the gates of Athens and Sparta, the messengers were not only denied, but were promptly killed. Legend has it that soldiers of Sparta threw the emissaries into a deep well when the heralds suggested that the Spartans surrender. Did they scream “this is Sparta!” right before they dropped kicked the men into the abyss? We may never know, but I like to think so.
Meanwhile, Athens had a decision to make. The Athenians would be vastly outnumbered if they decided to face the Persians. We do not know the exact numbers, but we do know that Persia possessed a much larger infantry as well as superior cavalry and archers. It was at this time that the Stratego Miltiades, would play a critical role in the salvation of Athens. Miltiades,a man who spent much of his life ruling in a remote military outpost in the Chersonese, would return to Athens in 493 BCE. He was promptly accused of tyranny while ruling in the Chersonese and put on trial. It is difficult to imagine why Athens would concern themselves with one of their own citizens tyrannizing abroad, especially with a massive Persian army at their doorstep. It is not unreasonable to believe Herodotus when he tells us that the persecution of Miltiades originated from the mans political enemies.
Miltiades was a gifted general and had served in the Persian army while living in Asia Minor under Persian control. He would be familiar with Persian tactics and was most qualified to lead a defense against the invaders. Perhaps it was the thought of Athens burning to the ground that persuaded the Athenians to acquit Miltiades, it would appear they had bigger fish to fry. Miltiades was allowed to attempt to persuade the polemarch Callimachus to allow him to go to war. Herodotus offers a stirring rendition of this speech.
“…It is up to you right now, to enslave Athens or to make her free, and to leave for all future generations of humanity a memorial to yourself such as not even Harmodius and Aristogiton have left. Right now, Athens is in the most perilous moment of her history. Hippias has already shown her what she will suffer if she bows down to the Medes, but if the city survives, she can become the foremost city in all Greece…” -Herodotus (The Histories)
Athens would accept Miltiades into their army and make plans to confront the Persians. Early one morning in late September of 490 BCE, the Athenian army assembled on a hill overlooking where the Persian forces had landed on the beaches of Marathon. Knowing they were severely outnumbered, Miltiades concentrated his forces in a narrow pass that would block the Persian advance to Athens. Layers of bronze shields overlapped among the Greek soldiers and created a phalanx formation that was capable of repelling waves of enemies.
The Persian army advanced and found themselves crushed against the shields of the better equipped, better prepared Athenian army. With the advantage of longer spears, sturdy shields, and superb tactical placement, the Athenians managed to continuously push back the Persian advance. The Persian army meanwhile was improperly equipped for such warfare. Many infantrymen possessed wooden shields or shields constructed from wicker. With the Athenian army confined in a narrow corridor, the Persian cavalry was ineffective and unable to outflank the Greeks. After several days of battle, the Greeks pushed the invaders back to their ships. The Persian army would suffer heavy casualties and be forced to return home.
Fred Astaire had Ginger Rogers. Gene Kelly had an empty street, gleaming in the rain. But in the abiding and eternal annals of dance, none of their soft-shoed artistry may have the lasting impact that Brian Hickman Jr. had on a lonely public school stage, one heady night last February.
For a day that hinged on footwork, though, things got off to a pretty stumbling start.
Brian’s mother, Adriana, woke up not feeling very well, which isn’t that unusual when you’re seven months pregnant and juggling three lively boys, two rowdy dogs, a hard-working husband, and a job of your own. For moms like that, there’s never really an off day, and this was very much an on day, what with the big school talent show coming up after dinner.
Dinner, though, was pre-empted by their oldest son, Anthony, plowing headlong into a light pole while biking home from school. Soon, his banged-up head and his mom’s prenatal discomforts were sitting in an emergency room, awaiting their turn with the doctor.
Sitting there, Adriana kept one eye on her son’s deep cut and another on the clock … the hours were crawling by, and time was running out. Being a mom, she started managing the schedule – her husband, Brian, would take their younger sons, Brian Jr. and Daniel, home to get changed and ready for the show. She would follow, as soon as Anthony could get stitched up.
After that, there was nothing to do but pray that Anthony’s damage wasn’t permanent, that a doctor would come out now … and that, somehow, they could still get to the talent show on time.
They had to be there, for this one. Not just because Brian, Jr., was in it. But because he was counting on them … because, after everything they’d been through, these last few weeks, it was so very important for this mother to see what it meant to this son to make his dream come true.
At the Hickman house, they’d been hearing about this talent show for months. Brian seemed particularly determined to be in it. The show was an annual event at Superior Street Elementary, where Brian was in fifth grade, and he’d been just as excited about it last year … but, in the end, couldn’t bring himself to try out. “This year,” he told his family, “I’m doing it.”
It was quite a goal, for a boy as shy and physically challenged as Brian. Born three months premature, he faced his first heart surgery when he was just five weeks old. He endured two eye surgeries at about the same time, a double hernia repair a few months later … and a string of other surgeries and treatments in the nine years since.
“He’s gone through a lot,” Adriana says. “From the get-go, it’s been a roller-coaster. We always joke about it, that he’s a very strong-willed child and that if he wasn’t – well, God made him that way, or he wouldn’t have been able to survive.”
The greatest challenge for Brian and his family, though, has been his cerebral palsy.
“It’s mainly physical,” his mother says. “We have been very blessed. He doesn’t walk very well, but it has never been anything where we’ve had to worry about a speech impediment or any kind of mental delay.” Brian is in a standard classroom, likes playing basketball, and enjoys movie nights and Wii games with his family.
And: church. Brian really, really likes church. He attends Shepherd of the Hills near his home in the Los Angeles area, and “It’s just a blast,” he says. “Worshiping God and praising and learning stories and having group time and talking about God and learning more stuff.”
“Brian is a different person when he’s at church,” Adriana says. “It’s funny, because Brian has a really strong will. He knows what he wants and doesn’t want, and he is very verbal. We’ll be at church and everybody is, ‘Oh, Brian is such a sweetheart,'” and my husband and I are like, “Yeah.” And it’s not that he’s not – he’s a good kid – but because of what he has dealt with, his disposition is definitely different at home.”
Brian’s joy at Shepherd is particularly evident when he’s performing with the children’s praise band.
“He is up on stage,” Adriana says, “and they have them sing with movements and use sign language. Being able to worship and praise where he could dance and do that for the Lord – it was a newfound joy for him. He is just all smiles. It has to do with his faith and his understanding, feeling the joy of worshiping and praising God, and his love for his Savior.”
Cerebral palsy complicates his steps – it’s not easy for a boy with two bad legs and hips to dance. But, “I have never been one to handicap him,” says his mother. “He just has to do it and figure it out. When he was little and would fall a lot, it was one of those things where ‘I’m not going to be there to catch you when you get older, so you have to get back up on your own.’
That’s a hard thing to tell your son, on days when he’s struggling just to get out of the car and make his way up the school sidewalk, while his classmates watch. “I’m sitting parked on the street and watching how long it’s taking him,” Adriana says, “and it’s hard.”
So when Brian announced that he was really going to try out for the talent show this year, the family encouraged him to do so. He had a song, he said, that he wanted to dance to: “We Shine,” by Steve Fee. Adriana recognized it as one of the songs Brian sang with the praise team at church. Was he sure that’s the one he wanted to perform?
He was sure. In fact, that was the only song he would even consider dancing to.
He went to auditions, and seemed to feel good about his tryout. A day or two later, the phone rang. Someone from the PTA, which was sponsoring the talent show, wanted to let Adriana know that everybody loved Brian’s audition, and wanted him to perform.
One thing: he would need to do a different song.
“I kind of automatically knew where that was leading,” Adriana says, so she immediately placed a call to the principal. The principal, too, knew what was coming. The song was too religious, she said – inappropriate for a school setting. Brian would have to dance to something else.
“I think he has the right to perform this song,” Adriana replied, trying to sound more certain than she was. “I know the teachers are sanctioned from being able to voice their religion, but I’m pretty sure Brian has rights.” The principal was just as sure that he didn’t.
“This song says ‘Jesus’ too many times,” she said. “Doesn’t he have another he can dance to?”
“I’ll hand you his iPod,” Adriana said. “It has all worship music, so if he needs to pick another song it’s still going to be a faith-based song. That’s Brian.”
Still, the principal was adamant: without a non-Christian song, Brian wouldn’t take part in the show. Adriana hung up and started doing her homework.
“I thought, I don’t want to be sitting here, fighting with her, and then all of a sudden, he really doesn’t have the right and I look like an idiot.” She called a local Christian radio station, KKLA, and asked a producer if he knew what Brian’s rights were. He didn’t. But he’d heard of a legal group, the Alliance Defense Fund, that handled these kinds of cases. He looked up the number.
* * * * *
Brian came home from school, and Adriana explained the principal’s ultimatum.
“I said, ‘Honey, they called and this is what’s going on,’ and he started crying. That’s what, as a parent, got my blood boiling – now you’ve upset my child, and I need to do something about it. What broke my heart most was that he couldn’t grasp why they wanted him to change the song.”
“Do you want to change the song?” she asked.
“No, that’s the song I picked. What’s wrong with it? It’s a good song. It’s positive. It’s about Christ. What did I do wrong? I don’t get it.”
“You didn’t do anything wrong,” his mother told him. “It’s not you. It’s them.”
“Well, if I can’t do that song, then I don’t want to participate.”
“Okay,” Adriana said. “Then you practice your song, and I’ll work on getting you to participate.”
* * * * *
Adriana felt almost as unsure of herself, calling ADF, as she had confronting the principal.
“I called with the idea of just having my question answered,” she says, “not actually going through with anything.” But ADF attorneys saw the possibility that a lawsuit could impact millions of children like Brian all over the country. Because Brian was far from the only student being told he couldn’t talk or sing or dance to a song about Jesus.
“Unfortunately, it is all too common,” says David Cortman, ADF Senior Counsel, who encouraged the Hickmans to file the lawsuit. “Not only do you get the same situation – where the school denies [students' right to perform Christian songs] based on flat-out hostility or the so-called separation of church and state – but students are being censored from sharing their faith, wearing a religious T-shirt, starting Bible or pro-life clubs.”
Even worse, Cortman says, “As Christian parents, we like to raise our kids as best we can in what the Bible has to say and how to live their lives. But imagine when a young boy or girl goes to school and – if they are like my kids – anything the teacher says is gospel, with a small ‘g.’
“Now they are told by their teacher, their principal, and their administrators that sharing your faith or merely mentioning Jesus, as in this case, is illegal, that you cannot do it in the public school.”
“You have just shut down that child and taught him at a very young age that there is something wrong with his faith, his faith is illegal, it is not appropriate to share with other people. That’s a terrible message to send our young children.”
The solution, Cortman says, is that “The school district needs to understand that this is private student speech – not ‘school’ speech. When it becomes a student’s private speech, the so-called ‘separation of church and state’ does not even come into play. And they should also honor that other First Amendment clause that people forget about: the free speech clause. To honor that and respect that in the Constitution, they have to allow a student like Brian to sing or dance to his song.”
To the Hickmans, a lawsuit still seemed too big a deal to make about a talent show. Even if it wasn’t, they couldn’t afford to hire lawyers. But they thought of Brian’s sister, still in the womb, facing this same challenge someday, and of all the other children as frustrated as their son. When Cortman assured them that, as a ministry, ADF would cover the legal costs, they agreed to take action.
“It really began, not out of me trying to be this Jesus freak, but just being a mother and defending my son and having his rights be respected,” Adriana says. “Our main goal, initially, was that Brian would get to participate. It wasn’t an attempt to make a statement … but it was something that was going to further our faith.”
It would further their lawyers’ faith, too. The talent show was just over a week away, and Cortman and his team knew the Hickmans and ADF were “taking on the second-largest public school district in the country” – one with a $7 billion budget from which to hire its own attorneys.
“Look,” Cortman told the family, “I don’t know if I’m going to be able to get Brian to be able to perform in a week’s time. But even if he doesn’t, we will continue to fight the lawsuit anyway, to make sure the policy is changed.” Then he glanced over at Brian, whose shyness doesn’t usually prompt him to say much around strangers.
“He just kind of looked up,” Cortman remembers, “and said, ‘I really would like to perform at the talent show.'” It was like the boy in the hospital asking Babe Ruth to put one over the left field wall. Cortman, like Ruth, couldn’t say no. “We’ll do whatever we can,” he promised.
He and his team immediately set about personally serving the principal, the superintendent, and every member of the school board with a copy of the lawsuit. Days passed, with no response.
Adriana says she wasn’t worried.
“It was one of those things. We had prayed about it, and felt like God’s hands were definitely on this. There was obviously an intent and purpose for the way things were playing out. I just kept saying to Brian, ‘You don’t worry about anything. Practice your song, and I’ll worry about making sure you get up there to perform it.’ I just had faith that he would be able to participate.”
With the show now just two days away, ADF attorneys resorted to Plan B: filing an emergency motion for a temporary restraining order to allow Brian to perform. Again, Cortman’s team personally served all the major defendants. This time, they capitulated. Cortman admits even he was surprised. “To get a school district of that size to do anything in a week’s worth of time is nothing short of a miracle,” he says, “and that’s exactly what happened.”
He called Adriana with the news, then asked if he could speak with Brian, who “was very happy, very excited. I don’t think he was quite expecting it – nor was I, to be honest. But it was really a joy to be able to share that news and see how thrilled not only he, but the whole family was.”
* * * * *
Local media learned about the lawsuit, and Adriana opened the front door one morning in her pajamas to find a television crew standing outside. She declined to comment, per Cortman’s instructions, but soon the story was airing on the evening news and at network blogsites. Friends and family were phoning to confirm that the boy wanting to dance was Brian.
Now the big day was here, and Adriana was sitting in an ER. But a doctor finally came, Anthony was repaired, and she raced home to change and get to the school. She made it for the show with two minutes to spare. The room was packed. Police officers stood around, ready “just in case,” one unnecessarily guarding the nervous principal.
Brian suddenly popped up beside his parents. He asked them to pray with him, as they had every night since he’d first tried out for the show. They did, and then he headed backstage.
Minutes later, an emcee called his name. Brian limped out onto the stage, to loud applause. He had been at Superior Street for a number of years; he had a lot of friends in that crowd. He tried not to think about them, staring at him, while he waited for someone to start the music.
Someone did, and the audience started clapping to the beat. The next thing Brian knew, he was dancing. And the whole room came alive.
“I was very scared,” he says. “But I just did the song anyway. I kind of, like, conquered my fear of big crowds.” All he could think about, he says, was “just going up there and doing my song and praising God
and letting everyone know that He’s our Savior.”
“We were obviously very proud, and it was just a very ‘feel-good’ moment,” Adriana says. “We felt like, ‘What a great victory for him.’ Not one person was visibly bothered.” But many were moved to tears and cheers. Still, the evening was bittersweet for the Hickmans. In two weeks, their dancing boy would have hip surgery. He wouldn’t dance again for a long, long time.
But he certainly opened the stage to a lot of other Christian young people. In the wake of the talent show, ADF continued to press the Hickman’s lawsuit, and not long after, the school district agreed to change its policy regarding talent shows, to allow students to include religious songs in their performances. Because of the sheer size of the Los Angeles school district, that policy change has the potential to impact every other public school in the country.
“From beginning to end, our experience with the ADF was very positive,” Adriana says. “The whole process was just really painless, really easy. They were very supportive, and gave me the courage to follow through, and to understand that it was the right thing. They were great.” In the wake of the case and all the news coverage it received, the Hickmans marveled at how many people – particularly non-Christians – came out in support of Brian’s stand. The day after the show, a co-worker who was not a Christian came up to Brian Sr., marveling at a story he’d heard the night before. “Can you believe this kid was going to do this song?” the man asked.
“That was my son,” Brian told him, with a grin.
“That’s when you think about how God uses things,” Adriana says. “God has a way of using everything to His glory.” If Brian had relented and gone with another song, she says, no one would have thought anything of it. But he didn’t – and the spotlight of media attention made people aware not just of a dancing boy, but of what he was dancing for.
“I’m very glad and excited that I was able to do it,” Brian says. “I just really want to spread the word that He’s our Savior and He’s the one who died on the cross for all of our sins.”
The word was spread. Because, dancing to “We Shine,” Brian was Light on his feet.
Adriana’s former boss – a Jewish man she hadn’t heard from in years – called to talk business, then commented on Brian’s dance. “That was so good,” he said, “and I’m very happy for you guys.”
JOHN BAD ELK, Plff. in Err.,
Submitted February 26, 1900.
Decided April 30, 1900.
Resisting unlawful arrest — while considered an actual crime, and prosecuted as such — is an ancient, venerable, and indispensable right of free people. Under the still-valid Supreme Court precedent John Black Elk v. U.S. (1900), a citizen has a legally recognized right to use lethal force to prevent the consummation of an unlawful arrest.
August 9, 2014
“We’ve heard a lot in the last number of weeks about what police officers can’t do, and what police officers shouldn’t do,” groused Patrick Lynch, designated spokesliar for the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, New York’s largest police union. “No one’s telling us what we are able to do, and what we should do, when we’re faced with a situation where the person being placed under arrest says, `I’m not going. I’m not being placed under arrest.’”
“What is it we should do?” continued Lynch, his voice colored by theatrical incredulity. “Walk away?”
If the would-be arrestee isn’t involved in an actual crime — that is, an act of aggression against another person — the only morally suitable answer is: Yes. The cop should shut up, go away, and refrain from molesting one of his betters. The experience might encourage him to find honest work.
“We don’t have that option,” Lynch insisted. “Nor would the public that called and complained about these crimes want us to. If they called, it’s important to them.”
In this fashion Lynch attempted to shift the blame for the killing of Eric Garner on merchants in the Staten Island neighborhood where the harmless man was killed through an act of criminal homicide by NYPD officers enforcing a demented “zero tolerance” policy regarding the sale of untaxed cigarettes. Lynch, who has spent his entire adult life as a member of the coercive caste, tried to depict Garner — a micro-entrepreneur — as a menace to the public, and a threat to commerce. Lynch appears to believe that the spectacle of police killing a harmless and unarmed man is less damaging to the local economy than allowing that man to sell loose cigarettes to willing customers.
Lynch resurrected the unproven claim that plainclothes officers had seen Garner commit an act of unsanctioned petty commerce, and that he resisted their efforts to abduct him on behalf of the state’s tax-consuming class. He carefully avoided mention of the fact that Garner, according to eyewitnesses, had broken up a fight while the officers, ever vigilant for economic “crimes,” refused to intervene.
“There is an attitude on our streets today that it is acceptable to resist arrest,” lamented Lynch. “That attitude is a direct result of a lack of respect for law enforcement.”
While it is the moral duty of every decent person to cultivate disrespect for law enforcement, that attitude is not to blame (if that’s the appropriate word) for the growing resistance to officially sanctioned abduction. That inclination is a direct reaction to the impudence, arrogance, and aggressiveness of police officers, their palpable contempt for the public they supposedly serve, their sense of tribal solidarity with officers who commit crimes against innocent people, and the institutional immunity they enjoy.
“The charge of resisting arrest is a very serious and dangerous one,” insisted Lynch. “The charge exists to encourage those being arrested to comply with the lawful orders of police officers so that those officers do not have to use necessary force to make that arrest.”
In other words: If you submit with proper docility to the commands issued by the slave patrol, they won’t have to beat or kill you.
Like most exponents of that view, Lynch assumes that any gust of verbal halitosis that escapes the wet hole at the bottom of a police officer’s face is a “lawful order.” For this reason he insists that resisting arrest “is a serious crime, and must be treated that way by all.”
In fact, resisting unlawful arrest — while considered an actual crime, and prosecuted as such — is an ancient, venerable, and indispensable right of free people. Under the still-valid Supreme Court precedent John Black Elk v. U.S. (1900), a citizen has a legally recognized right to use lethal force to prevent the consummation of an unlawful arrest. See also, JOHN BAD ELK v. U S, 177 U.S. 529 (1900) 177 U.S. 529 and the associated write-up on this blog.
Perhaps, somewhere in the reptilian recesses of what passes for Lynch’s mind, there is an awareness of that fact, and a rapidly coalescing fear of the prospect that the public will come to understand it, as well. This may be why he admonished PBA members to use “all the resources of the NYPD” when they are dealing with a member of the productive class who isn’t willing to endure the indignity and injury of a state-licensed abduction. In other words: Use any means necessary — including lethal force — to insure that resistance is futile.