Three Things You Need to Know - November 7, 2017

Texas shooter update.

Former Facebook friends described Devin Patrick Kelley as “vocally anti-Christian.”

Here is what we know about Kelley, the 26-year-old who murdered 26 people during a worship service on Sunday at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

Kelley graduated from New Braunfels High School in 2009. In 2010, he joined the Air Force, working as a logistical readiness airman at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico.

He married a woman named Tessa and had an infant stepson. In 2012, he assaulted his wife and stepson, fracturing the boy’s skull. According to the Air Force chief prosecutor, Kelley “pled to intentionally doing it.” Kelley was court-martialed for the assault and spent a year in military prison. His wife filed for divorce in October 2012.

After his one-year prison term, he was discharged from the Air Force for bad conduct.

In April 2014, Kelley married Danielle Lee Shields. They moved to Colorado Springs and lived in an RV park. While living there, Kelley was charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty, but the case was dismissed.

In recent years he lived with Danielle and their two-year-old son in a barn behind his parents’ house on their large property in New Braunfels, Texas. By 2017, however, he was estranged from Danielle.

In June, Kelley was hired to work as an unarmed night security guard at a water park in New Braunfels. He was fired after five and a half weeks.

Danielle sometimes attended First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs with her parents, though they were not there on Sunday when Kelley attacked. Yesterday morning, officials said they are investigating “threatening texts” that Kelley had sent his mother-in-law. They haven’t released details yet, but it appears the church shooting was somehow connected to a domestic dispute.

Several people who knew Kelley from high school unfriended him on Facebook in recent years because he had “grown dark,” and “liked” several atheist groups on his Facebook page. One Facebook friend wrote that “he was always talking about how people who believe in God were stupid and trying to preach his atheism.”

One former friend posted on Facebook Sunday night: “Over the years we all saw him change into something that he wasn’t. To be completely honest, I’m really not surprised this happened, and I don’t think anyone who knew him is very surprised either.”

War drums are beating in the Middle East... again.

The fighting words coming from the Saudis the past 24 hours have been difficult to keep up with. On Monday, Saudi Arabia called a missile attack by an Iranian proxy an “act of war” by Iran. Literally just a few hours later, the Saudis accused Lebanon of declaring war on the Kingdom for supporting Hezbollah. The Saudi Gulf affairs minister said Lebanon would be “dealt with as a government declaring war on Saudi Arabia.”

This morning, the Saudi Crown Prince, who is basically defacto King, accused Iran of “direct military aggression.” The Saudis have used the word “war” twice in 24 hours and now the most powerful man in the country publically points the finger at Iran. The Arab and Persian Cold War has been going on for a long time but they’re very rarely this public and direct about it. What’s going on?

A fundamental transformation of the Middle East is underway. Saudi Arabia, Iran and even Turkey are scrambling to see who can fill the power vacuum left behind as ISIS retreats. Iran has clearly been winning. They have armed militias dominating countries in Yemen, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. They’re on the verge of near complete control. The Saudis are finding themselves late to the party, and they’ve apparently had enough.

A direct confrontation between the Saudis and Iran would have global consequences. Iran would attempt to blockade the Strait of Hormuz causing the price of oil to skyrocket. Gasoline would shoot up over 5 dollars a gallon. Militaries from all over the world would get involved which would increase the chance a mistake might happen between rivals.

President Trump is in Asia this week but he might want to direct all his attention towards the Middle East. The State Department should be in overdrive working to cool all this down. No one will win if this war goes forward, but the war drums are beating.

Stephen Willeford's heroism.

Finally, some sleep. Stephen hadn’t had much of it these days.

Just as he was about to doze off, his daughter frantically ran into his room.

She said she heard gunshots coming from the church nearby.

Stephen calmly walked to his safe and pulled out his rifle.

He counted the shots he heard as he loaded his gun. Time was slipping away. He knew each one of the shots represented someone that could be hurt.

Stephen made his way over to the church and confronted the man with black tactical gear. The attacker pulled his pistol on Stephen.

The moment was so surreal. It almost felt like a video game. Stephen rushed for cover behind a pickup truck, lifted his rifle, and pulled the trigger. He hit him.

But the shot didn’t kill the attacker --- far from it. He was able to make it into his car.

The gunfire suddenly turned into a high-speed chase.

"Is this real life?" Stephen thought to himself.

Stephen and another man named Johnny got into the pickup truck and chased him down 539.

They were chasing this maniac down the highway at 95 miles per hour, weaving in and out of traffic.

The whole time, the police were on the phone with Stephen.

When the attacker eventually ran into a ditch, police were seconds behind.

Today, Stephen is being applauded as a hero. But he doesn’t think he is.

“I’m no hero; I am not. I think my God, my Lord, protected me and gave me the skills to do what needed to be done. And I just wish I could have got there faster.”

Thank you, Stephen for being there when you did. It’s Americans like him who make all the difference sometimes. You never know when you’ll be called to do something great.

MORE 3 THINGS

10 lessons on prepping from around the world

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Prepping is a human condition practiced across the globe for thousands of years. Customs are influenced by geography, culture, politics, and threat. Here are ten applicable observations on preparedness from around the world.

1. Argentina: Get hard.

Fernando “Ferfal” Aguirre’s The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse is required reading for preppers, and it’s chock-full of real-life lessons from his experiences during Argentina's 2001 economic crisis. But the very first thing he starts with is preparing your body and your mind so you’re not a soft target. Stop being soft. Do difficult things to develop your body and your mind. Go camping. Hit the gym. Get in shape! It’ll do wonders for your health, survivability, and confidence.

Take home point: here’sa simple weightlifting plan that most able-bodied adults can perform. Learn to stand up straight and act confident. Get your dental and health problems fixed while you can—don’t put it off for after stuff hits the fan.

2. Netherlands: Involve the kids!

The motto of the Boy Scouts of America is “Be Prepared” and the organization has taught boys wilderness and practical skills for over 100 years. The Dutch have their own version of inculcating confidence in their children via a cultural tradition known as Dutch Dropping. Kids, starting around the age of 11-12, are dropped off in the forest alone or in small groups at night with minimal gear and instructed to find their way home or to the campsite with ZERO adult assistance. Some nights are tough and miserable, but overall, the practice instills independence, decision-making skills, and is widely practiced.

Take home point: instill grit and self-confidence in your children early.

3. Israel: Always be prepared.

Entire books could be dedicated to the 10/7 attack, but the key takeaway is this: no one saw it coming. The folks attending the Supernova music festival expected a fun party, and what they got instead was hell. Israel is a bit of a special case, but the reality is you never know when a mass shooter or other disaster will strike. Never get too intoxicated, never let your guard down too much, because you never know when your life will change forever.

Take home point: you don’t have to live on hyper-alert (that is grossly unhealthy) but keep your wits about you and have a plan if things go south.

4.Taiwan: Grassroots communities are the best.

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Post-COVID and especially after the start of the Russia-Ukraine War, prepping has exploded in Taiwan. Fearing an imminent blockade and invasion, the Taiwanese have recognized their precarious position. Prepper groups have sprung up across the island and vary in their focus from all-hazards to gear geeks to weaponized resistance forces training with airsoft guns. Skills taught are varied; examples include building an emergency kit, learning first aid, and basic survival proficiencies.

However, some groups go much further and provide instruction on military simulations. Participants run the political gamut and are highly varied in their professions, reflecting a massive cross-section of the island. One common theme that appears across these groups is the adage that disaster can happen at any moment and can consist of assorted hazards. The April 2024 severe earthquake is proof positive of this understanding.

Take home point: community resilience is vital!

5. Bosnia: Get your ham radio license.

During the Bosnian War of the early 1990s, ham radio operators like Himzo Devedzija helped separated families stay in touch via radio. These days, the ubiquity of the internet and smartphones has made ham radio seem obsolete, but radio has a key advantage over more modern and user-friendly tech: it requires practically no infrastructure. Hook a radio up to a battery connected to a solar panel, throw a wire over a tree, and you’re in business. Master digital modes like Winlink and you can even send email over the air. The downside is the equipment is expensive, and you need to take tests with the FCC to obtain the necessary licenses. Your best bet is to contact yournearest ham radio club, who can help prepare you for the tests and recommend the best equipment for your area. But you can do a lot of interesting things even without a license, like listen to worldwide HF transmissions and learn how to track down radio transmitters through foxhunting.

Take home point: pick up a hobby, even if it’s not ham and make it FUN!

6. Russia: Plant a garden.

While the leadership of Russia is commonly maligned, the Russian people are damn tough. They’ve survived Genghis Khan, famines, a communist revolution, and total government collapse. One secret to Russian resiliency? Dacha gardens, which the Russian people have maintained for over 1,000 years. These small backyard gardens account for 3% of Russia’s land but provide over 50% of the country’s food, including 92% of potatoes, 77% of vegetables, 87% of fruit, 59% of meat, and 49% of milk. You don’t have to grow everything overnight, but simply starting with a single raised bed of lettuce and maybe a handful of chickens will give you invaluable real-world experience you can scale when the chips are down.

Take home point: build your resilience in bite-sized (pun intended) chunks.

7. Cyprus: Diversification saves.

During the 2013 financial crisis in Cyprus, Germany agreed to bail out the island, but with some characteristic German austerity: a tax of 6.75 percent from insured deposits up to €100,000 and a 9.9 percent from uninsured amounts over €100,000. People panicked, and Cyprus had to shut down banks for two weeks to avoid a run. Ultimately, depositors lost nearlyhalf of their savings. The crisis in Cyprussparked Bitcoin’s meteoric rise from obscure nerd money to a financial titan as the savvy rich realized that they couldn’t trust the banks. Of course, there are alternative places to store wealth other than a bank, but as for your liquid capital, it pays to diversify. Keep some in cash, Bitcoin, and precious metals.

Take home point: your mother was right, don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

8.Japan: Government CAN be helpful.

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Japan overall, and Tokyo specifically, take disaster preparedness quite seriously. The 2024 New Years Day earthquake hammered that point home, yet again. At the national level, the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force is habitually prepared to respond to calamity; everything from earthquakes to typhoons to tsunamis.

As a country, September 1st is nationally designated as Disaster Prevention Day, commemorating the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake which claimed 140,000 lives. School children, businesses, theme parks, and members of the national government participate annually. At the municipal level, Tokyo publishes a very thorough and thoughtful pamphlet on preparedness for its residents (English link here:https://www.metro.tokyo.lg.jp/english/guide/bosai/index.html). Tokyo also boasts the massive Rinkai Disaster Prevention Park, near downtown, that is used both as a tourist attraction and an actual disaster response site.

Take home point: remembrance, codified in national action and tribute, contributes to a culture of preparedness.

9. Finland, Switzerland, Israel: Bunkers aren't mainstream, but the concept is widespread.

You would really have to be a tinfoil hat wearing loon to invest in a bunker, right? Wrong. Switzerland mandates either a personal bunker or a tax for a space in a public bunker. In 2023, Finland ascertained it had over 50,000 bunkers, enough to shelter nearly 90% of its population. For these countries, the shelters are due to nuclear fears. Israeli law stipulates residential homes should possess a Merkhav Mugan (translation: protected space) to protect from conventional rocket and mortar attacks. Some countries and some areas are at higher risk for conventional or nuclear attack. It is folly to ignore this.

Take home point: the need for a nuclear bunker at home should not be a top prepping priority, but many areas of the US could greatly benefit from a reinforced room (e.g. panic room, tornado, or hurricane shelter) to mitigate threats.

10. United Kingdom, Canada, Australia: International preparedness is growing.

Although the tide is turning (slowly), one negative export from America on prepping, especially to the Western World, is that prepping is fringe and even anti-social, if not downright dangerous. Fortunately, things are changing for the better. The United Kingdom is, at least anecdotally, seeing an uptick in interest. The reality series Alone Australia, a spin-off of the American show where survivalists test their wits in nature, is a hit. A December 2023 survey of Canadians found 7% considered themselves preppers with British Columbia reporting the highest levels. Given wildfires, home prices, and general angst regarding a host of potential crises, it’s not hard to see why many are changing their views regarding preparedness.

Take home point: prepping has been a human staple for millennia; the world is rediscovering this and taking action.

About the authors:

Josh Centers has no masters degrees, but he does own four chickens along with some meat rabbits on his Tennessee compound. He runs unprepared.life, the best-selling Substack newsletter on preparedness, where he discusses subjects like food storage, nuclear war preparations, homeschooling, and the importance of cleaning your dryer vents. His views absolutely do not reflect the views of the Department of Defense or the Army.

Dr. Chris Ellis has four masters degrees and earned his PhD at Cornell University. He is a Colonel in the Army who specializes in a variety of disaster and homeland defense initiatives. His views are from his studies and experience and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Defense, the Army, or his current command. Sadly, Chris does not own any chickens.

5 Christian denominations that have EMBRACED LGBTQ+

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The United Methodist Church (UMC) just lost one million members overnight, and they're on their way to losing another 1.5 million in the coming weeks.

Early this May, the UMC, which has been succumbing to the pressures of the progressive mob for years, made one of its biggest concessions to date. At the UMC's general conference meeting in Charlotte, they voted to allow LGBTQ-practicing clergy and reversed their ban on same-sex marriage. For the leaders of the United Methodist Church of Ivory Coast (EMCUI), this was the straw that broke the camel's back, and they voted to withdraw from the United Methodist Church. This was a massive blow to the Church, which has been losing U.S. congregations over the last few years.

The EMCUI's decision to stand up against pressures from the progressive wing of the Church and defend its core values is being reflected in other churches within the UMC. The 1.5 million-member-strong Korean Methodist Church may soon be on its way out of the UMC before long. The controversy stemming from the general conference meeting provoked the following response from the conservative faction within the Korean Methodist Church: "Homosexuality cannot be accepted until the Lord returns. This is not an emotional issue but a matter of unchangeable truth. Homosexuality is clearly a sin."

But the UMC is not alone. There has been a continuing trend of denominations across America changing their stance on LGBTQ matters and condoning gay clergy and gay marriages.

Here are FIVE examples of Christian denominations that have embraced the pride movement:

United Methodist Church (UMC)

The chargeable offenses for clergy being found to be "self-avowed practicing homosexual" or for presiding at a same-sex marriage or union ceremony are deleted.

Rev. Burton Edwards

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A)

The [Presbyterian Church U.S.A] apologizes for the church’s previous unwelcoming stance on LGBTQ parishioners, celebrates LGBTQ church pioneers, and states the church will welcome, lift up, and fight for the human rights of all people created in the eyes of God.

Overture 11-13: "On Celebrating the Gifts of People of Diverse Sexual Orientations and Gender Identities in the Life of the Church"

The Episcopal Church

Ordination and the offices of bishop, priest, and deacon are open to all without discrimination. Laypeople and clergy cooperate as leaders at all levels of our church. Leadership is a gift from God and can be expressed by all people in our church, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression.

The Episcopal Church's statement on "LGBTQ+ in the Church"

United Church of Christ (UCC)

LGBTQIA+ siblings know intimately the nature of being deemed an outcast. The clarion call for LGBTQIA+ advocacy is reverberating from state capitol rotundas, family dinner tables, city streets, and church pews.

The UCC's Love is Louder Campaign

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)

We give thanks for the gifts, wisdom, leadership and faith of our LGBTQIA+ neighbors and siblings in Christ. We ask the Spirit to embolden us in advocating for social, institutional and legislative change that reflects justice, total inclusion and God’s boundless love for humanity in all its diversity.

The ELCA's prayer ventures; June 4, 2024

Trump's conviction: Press on for the sake of the republic

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Editor's note: This article was originally published on TheBlaze.com.

In today's world, everyone seems to get a trophy, which makes the trophy absolutely worthless. Unless it’s fought for, unless it’s earned and struggled for, the trophy doesn’t belong to you. The same goes for freedom. I’ve never earned the freedom we enjoy in America. I fear I spent too much of my life squandering it. And for what? Ease? Money? Just to go along to get along? A trophy that everybody gets but was never earned?

We must not accept defeat. If we do, we are not worthy of the freedom that is worth fighting for.

I do not accept, nor do I want that trophy. I want one that means something, and that means standing up for something.

Defeat is not an outcome. Defeat is a choice.

We were given an opportunity on Thursday to stand for something: our republic. The weaponization of our government to snuff out Donald Trump’s campaign represents a greater attack against the foundational freedoms that forged our republic: the right to a fair and impartial trial, the right to free and fair elections, the right to defend yourselves against your accusers. Will you stand for it?

Now is the time to decide, and our decision may very well determine whether our republic is heading toward victory or defeat.

I will never say we are finished. I will never utter the words, “We have lost!” Because defeat is not an outcome. Defeat is a choice. It is the choice of the person who is pushed down and refuses to get back up. It is the choice of the person who backs down when pitted against seemingly insurmountable obstacles. The posture of defeat is the one who backs down when things get hard. Will you take that posture? Or will you stand for freedom and rise to the occasion that our republic demands?

It always sucks before you get to the summit. The question is: As you're driving your wagon train over the Rocky Mountains, do you press on? Do you actually have an unwavering belief in our republic? Do you really even know the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence, or the Constitution? Do you know why we fight? Because if you don't know, you will lose.

Will enough of us call upon that unyielding spirit that has always been inside us? Will you stand for those values that we’ve been told our whole lives are self-evident? Apparently, they are not self-evident any more, according to our ruling elites.

Our country forged the greatest mission statement the world has ever witnessed, that all people are "endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," where justice and freedom can be had by all.

That is the summit of the mountain we now face, and it is a summit worth pressing forward to reach. We are still on the side of the mountain. We have a long way to go, and last Thursday, they tried to knock us back down. We must ask ourselves today: Do we just go back down? Is this as far as we go? Or do we just say, "Press on, America."

We must press on. We must not accept defeat. If we do, we are not worthy of the freedom that is worth fighting for.

FOUR takeaways from Fauci's hearing

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Did Dr. Anthony Fauci answer for the mismanagement of the Covid pandemic?

On Monday, Fauci sat before the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability to answer lingering questions about how the pandemic was handled. Many of us, Glenn included, have serious concerns, such as:

  • Why did he lie about gain-of-function research?
  • Why did he try to cover up all the chatter among scientists that the virus DID come from a lab?
  • Did he know the U.S. government cut a deal with Moderna on vaccines before the pandemic?

While some of these questions were partially answered, Fauci's lack of credibility and Congress's lack of direct questioning left much to be desired. The American people deserve the truth, but it's being kept from us.

That’s why BlazeTV teamed up with Free the People to release The Coverup, a docuseries available NOW for BlazeTV subscribers. You can watch the series now and get $30 off your BlazeTV annual subscription by using the code FAUCILIED.

Here are the top FIVE takeaways from Fauci's hearing:

Social distancing was BUNK

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After a closed-door hearing in January where Fauci admitted that the 6-foot social distancing rule imposed on all Americans allegedly for our safety "wasn’t based on data," Fauci tried to distance himself from the controversial edict. Fauci shifted the blame to the CDC, claiming that he had little to nothing to do with the order.

Fauci is "open" to Covid origin possibilities

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For YEARS we were told COVID-19 originated from bats in China, and anyone who dared to offer any other suggestions—like the theory that COVID-19 leaked from the massive virology lab that worked on Coronaviruses and happened to be in the same city the pandemic originated in—was ridiculed as a conspiracy theorist. Now that the lab leak theory has been all but confirmed, Fauci is singing a different tune. On Monday, Fauci claimed he has always kept an "open mind" about the origin of the virus.

Deleted emails and FOIA evasions

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A series of emails released by the House Oversight Committee indicate that some NIH officials, including Fauci, were attempting to avoid public record laws by deleting emails and sending information to personal email addresses. In one such released email sent to Fauci from Dr. David Morens suggested they use personal emails so “there is no worry about FOIAs” [Freedom of Information Act].

MTG outburst

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The infamous Georgia congresswoman was arguably the star of the hearing, taking the opportunity to make her criticisms of Fauci known. Rep. Greene called for Fauci's medical license to be revoked and to throw him in jail. Throughout her time on the microphone, Greene refused to refer to Fauci as "doctor," instead calling him "Mr. Fauci."