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#1 Fabio Lins

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 09:48 PM

I am writing this post to ask your help.

I participate in another forum about the special operations police of Rio de Janeiro.

They are the one who face the paramilitarily organized drug traffic on the hills of Rio.

The drug traffic, like terrorists, hide amongst civil houses in the crowded slums of Rio, employ heavily armed children, count with support of their powerful allies in the politics. Most of them, when captured are eventually released and take revenge on the family of the police agents or their friends.

One must remember that the drug traffic in Rio is allied with the FARCs and thus have access to both paramilitary weapons and training. Not only they have AK-47s, AR-15s, grenades, but even earth-air rockets have been found among them. The drug traffic is also renknown for its cruelty. They have "trials" and some of the condemnations include being burnt alive inside a pile of car tyres, beheading, rape, etc. They also like to have "harems" of sexual slaves, which some girls, unfortunately, dream of participating just be under the wing of the "powerful man" of the slum. Most, though, are forced into it.

I am painting this picture because I want the person who might answer with a clear understanding of what the police in Rio faces. With salaries that are around 500 dollars they put their lifes at risk every day in an actual urban warfare. Truly, the police in Rio is the only police in a country "in peace" that has urban guerrilla training and has to employ war weaponry.

Well, someone in the forum where many of these men participate has boldly accused them of commiting sin for killing and rather disrespectifully stated all those policemen are going to hell.

I would like to reply something about this particular issue. Being from Rio myself, I feel very strongly about this and although I am not unaware of the abuses the police commits, I cannot but see that these abuses are the rule for the criminals, whilst the exception for the police. I don't see how they could *not* kill in an urban guerrilla environment.

The issues related, thus, are:

- Killing in war;
- Killing criminals in action;
- Sometimes killing criminals not in action because they have been repeatdly released and are organizing revenge against the soldiers;

and how a Christian police agent in that context should live as to still be saved and in the Mercy of God. I know that probably none of them is Orthodox, but still, I would like to say something better than 'you are all going to hell for putting yourselves between us and the criminals'.

Fabio

Edited by Fabio Lins, 02 February 2009 - 09:50 PM.
spelling


#2 Paul Cowan

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Posted 03 February 2009 - 02:07 AM

Dear Fabio,

The church understands the occurence of war and though very regrettable, knows it has it's place in society. (poor term to use, I know) but throughout history war has been a constant. She says we are to protect others from harm to the best of our abilities and to look after the orphan and widow. There will always be lawlessness. Therefore there must always be police to enforce the common good.

Those that kill for the sake of revenge or killing just to rid the world of "bad" people, IMO is wrong. There needs to be a justice system. AND, if someone is threatening my family, I will do whatever it takes to protect them. I hope I never have to find out how far I might be pushed.

Are the police going to hell for killing "bad" people? God will judge them. I would like to say, if they do it "in the line of duty" and not out of anger, then they should be ok. But if their motives are less than honorable, well, only God knows the heart. I just hope if I am in need of protection, they are around. (the honorable ones that is)

Paul

#3 Paul Cowan

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 01:53 AM

Something happened today that I would like your input on. I have searched several threads and they all end up on a more global scale of defense and protection. There are numerous scriptural quotes from "turn the other cheek" to "In this sign conquer".

My wife was alone at the house today as she is everyday. A man pulled up to the opposite curb and walked to the house (she was sitting on the front porch) and told her he needed to get into the back yard to check the telephone line. He had no insignia, no clipboard, no markings on his truck, did not say who he worked for and when she told him no, he looked very confused/startled and walked back to his truck and left. She was so shaken by the incident she ran inside locked all the doors and called me. She nor I feel this was a real service call.

We have nothing of value in this house. If someone wants to back up a semi and haul it all off, I'll help. That said, I need to protect my wife as best I can. I want to buy a gun and she said no. She agreed I could ask you all your thoughts on personal (non-religious based) safety (I don't mean religious persecution). I am charged as her husband to protect her. I have no intention of tracking down a man and shooting him post-rape etc...but if he is in my house, do I have the "Orthodox" right to shoot him DEAD? Does she? We don't exactly live in a great neighborhood. And no, the police are not that responsive.

I will be seeing my priest on this in the morning. Your thoughts?

Paul

#4 Christina M.

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 03:01 AM

Install security cameras. You have no idea how much it helps. If you need advice with this, PM me. I've set them up for churches before. Estimated cost for one house is around $500-$1,000, estimated.

There's a great similar story near the end of the book "Fr Arseny", where a muscular priest is forced to beat up three thugs who were threatening his wife. Later when he confesses it, his spiritual father giggles (he was unable to hide it), then told him to try not to do it again. If I find the page numbers soon I'll post them here.

I hope you end up to be alright. I know what it's like to be afraid in my own house. I lived in a ghetto for most of my life. Frequently people were murdered just blocks away from my house.

In Christ,
Christina

--I forgot to mention: call the utility company and ask them if they sent anyone to your house on that day. The exact same thing happened to me a few years ago, and after calling the utility company I found out that CommEd really did send someone to my house on that day.

Edited by Christina M., 15 February 2011 - 03:05 AM.
Added last paragraph


#5 Paul Cowan

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 03:40 AM

Thanks Christina,

But if the guy was bold enough to walk up on my wife on the porch, cameras are not going to discourage anything. What good does it do to take a picture of the guy while he is hurting my family? I want him stopped then and there. Not IF he is caught and IF he is prosecuted.

I saw a graphic recently that showed a subdivision. Marked on it were 3 areas. 1) here is your house, 2) here is the house of the child molester [just down the street] 3) here is the police station [a mile away]. Then there were 3 choices. 1) a condom, 2) a police man, 3) a gun.

The question was, which of these will protect your 16 year old daughter from the child molester?

I don't want anyone to think I want to actively hurt anyone; even a criminal. I do not want to go on the offensive. I am only concerned with extreme last resort options if it's 3:00am and there is someone in my house and my dog's haven't done their jobs. My dad was a cop my whole life and 95% of his; he actually died 10 years ago yesterday. He taught me how to shoot and I can do so very well. I have always struggled with shooting a burglar in the knee caps so he can't run away or in the head so he can't run away. My father would say aim high.

Paul

#6 Christina M.

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 03:54 AM

I would choose kneecaps 100% of the time. If you shoot him in the head, you take away his chance for repentance. If you shoot him in the kneecaps, he still has much time to contemplate and to repent.

I believe most would say that shooting in the head (i.e. "murder") is a great sin, whereas shooting in the kneecap might not be considered a sin at all - depending on the situation of course.

Many people who commit murder, even very religious people, end up falling into severe depression. I believe this is proof of how serious the sin is, and how much God is displeased with it.

#7 Paul Cowan

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 04:27 AM

Is it though?

Murder is premeditated. I am talking strictly from a defensive position. If someone comes at me with a gun or knife, do I not shoot to stop?

I also have can't fully buy into God being displeased with killing others. He did tell St. Constantine the Great to and He did prosper in war those that called on His name. But I don't want to talk globally. I am strictly talking self defense in the home.

I would choose kneecaps 100% of the time. If you shoot him in the head, you take away his chance for repentance. If you shoot him in the kneecaps, he still has much time to contemplate and to repent.


That's assuming he "sees the light" and errors of his ways. If he is sent to jail, (I mean gangsta University) what are the chances he will? Rather will he not just grow a resentment for the guy that destroyed his knees and sent him there.

We're getting off topic. I know no one will give me "permission" to kill another person. I know that and it is NOT my desire. How far does a husband/homeowner go in protecting his family from harm?

#8 Effie Ganatsios

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 08:14 AM

Here in Greece - a country that is in terrible trouble - criminals have Kalashnikovs. If one of our policemen (most of them in their twenties) kills one of them he is prosecuted and usually found guilty. The law works in favour of criminals. If someone enters your house and tries to rob, rape, beat or kill you, you will be prosecuted if you defend yourself with a gun. If you are a shopowner and beat up a thief he can prosecute you even though his face can clearly be seen on security cameras.

We have safety lighting all around our block of land. Strong lights come on if someone comes on our property during the night (unfortunately swaying branches and cats etc. also affect these lights). On some windy nights its like being in a discotheque.

We have a hunting rifle and a shotgun and my son has taught me how to use them..................................... laughable when you think about it.

We have been told that the best weapon is a fire extinguisher because if you hit the criminal with it, he can't prosecute you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

When I came to this country one of the things I loved about it was the absolute safety its citizens enjoyed.

We now have over 2.000.000 illegal immigrants in a population of 11.000.000 people.

Last week 4 Albanians were caught in Kastoria by our border patrols. 3 of them were carrying large sacks of narcotics and one was in front with a Kalashnikov. He opened fire on our police. Kastoria is a large city - really beautiful - about 1/2 hour's drive from here. It is near the forests that separate Greece from Albania.

This is what our wonderful Greece is today. Bankrupt and full of criminal elements that prey on the weak. They also spend a lot of time killing each other.

This is a time of spiritual darkness for me because I am full of rage and frustration. I need your prayers and understanding. We have been slandered in newspapers throughout the world. Apparently all Greeks are lazy, retire at 40 and have huge pensions. I was awarded my pension 2 weeks ago after a lifetime of working. It is exactly half of what my mother gets in Australia. Of course, I'm not a public servant.

Sorry for the tirade, but there is darkness all around me. My husband and I have worked very hard and we are now crippled by huge taxes and just watching our life's work slip away. We are paying for the sins of others - not one of our politicians has been imprisoned because they passed laws that fully protect them against prosecution.

Pray for us and pray for Greece.

Effie

#9 Mark Harris

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 08:56 AM

I am writing this post to ask your help.

I participate in another forum about the special operations police of Rio de Janeiro.

They are the one who face the paramilitarily organized drug traffic on the hills of Rio.

The drug traffic, like terrorists, hide amongst civil houses in the crowded slums of Rio, employ heavily armed children, count with support of their powerful allies in the politics. Most of them, when captured are eventually released and take revenge on the family of the police agents or their friends.

One must remember that the drug traffic in Rio is allied with the FARCs and thus have access to both paramilitary weapons and training. Not only they have AK-47s, AR-15s, grenades, but even earth-air rockets have been found among them. The drug traffic is also renknown for its cruelty. They have "trials" and some of the condemnations include being burnt alive inside a pile of car tyres, beheading, rape, etc. They also like to have "harems" of sexual slaves, which some girls, unfortunately, dream of participating just be under the wing of the "powerful man" of the slum. Most, though, are forced into it.

I am painting this picture because I want the person who might answer with a clear understanding of what the police in Rio faces. With salaries that are around 500 dollars they put their lifes at risk every day in an actual urban warfare. Truly, the police in Rio is the only police in a country "in peace" that has urban guerrilla training and has to employ war weaponry.

Well, someone in the forum where many of these men participate has boldly accused them of commiting sin for killing and rather disrespectifully stated all those policemen are going to hell.

I would like to reply something about this particular issue. Being from Rio myself, I feel very strongly about this and although I am not unaware of the abuses the police commits, I cannot but see that these abuses are the rule for the criminals, whilst the exception for the police. I don't see how they could *not* kill in an urban guerrilla environment.

The issues related, thus, are:

- Killing in war;
- Killing criminals in action;
- Sometimes killing criminals not in action because they have been repeatdly released and are organizing revenge against the soldiers;

and how a Christian police agent in that context should live as to still be saved and in the Mercy of God. I know that probably none of them is Orthodox, but still, I would like to say something better than 'you are all going to hell for putting yourselves between us and the criminals'.

Fabio


Fabio, I am saddened by what you say is the situation in Brazil and not just the question you raise about the police. I will pray for your people. Clearly poverty and crime are usual bedfellows in many developed and undeveloped countries of the world but this vicious circle has become a trap with seemingly no hope. The evil that you describe is literally hell on earth and way beyond my comprehension but any honourable man with goodness in his heart that fights it is worthy of our prayers in my opinion.

#10 Effie Ganatsios

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 10:09 AM

Sorry that my last post ended the way it did. Way off topic!

Fabio, I have heard that little children are killed for their organs in Rio de Janeiro. Shouldn't their murderers be punished? I'm sorry but I believe that it is time that we became more concerned about the rights of victims rather than the rights of criminals.

Fabio you wrote : " Truly, the police in Rio is the only police in a country "in peace" that has urban guerrilla training and has to employ war weaponry. "

This is incorrect. Our army is being trained to combat demonstrators. Apparently the IMF know what is going to happen in the future and the EU and the UN
are training these men now before the riots start. Our soldiers will be sent to other countries and soldiers from other countries will come here. How's that for a democracy which no longer exists here.

I have been re-reading Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. I first read it in the early 70's and thought it had some good ideas but that most of it was fantasy. Couldn't happen in real life! We are now living her fantasy and are now in about the middle of her catastrophe scenario.

Effie

#11 Kosta

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 11:44 AM

Many christians today have been conditioned to believe in absolute pacifism. St Paul said the authorities do not bear the sword in vain if its to punish evildoers. Many in europe where the death pebnalty is illegal have never even heard of this passage. The byzantine authorities were very harsh against thiefs even cutting off their limbs. Even emperors that are saints beared the sword against their adversaries.

Preserving your life is part of human nature instilled by God. St Maximos the Confessor said something to the effect that preserving your life ()and those of your loved ones) is natural will, what is unnatural is an irrational fear of dying which is a product of the gnomic will.

#12 Kosta

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 11:52 AM

Something happened today that I would like your input on. I have searched several threads and they all end up on a more global scale of defense and protection. There are numerous scriptural quotes from "turn the other cheek" to "In this sign conquer".

My wife was alone at the house today as she is everyday. A man pulled up to the opposite curb and walked to the house (she was sitting on the front porch) and told her he needed to get into the back yard to check the telephone line. He had no insignia, no clipboard, no markings on his truck, did not say who he worked for and when she told him no, he looked very confused/startled and walked back to his truck and left. She was so shaken by the incident she ran inside locked all the doors and called me. She nor I feel this was a real service call.

We have nothing of value in this house. If someone wants to back up a semi and haul it all off, I'll help. That said, I need to protect my wife as best I can. I want to buy a gun and she said no. She agreed I could ask you all your thoughts on personal (non-religious based) safety (I don't mean religious persecution). I am charged as her husband to protect her. I have no intention of tracking down a man and shooting him post-rape etc...but if he is in my house, do I have the "Orthodox" right to shoot him DEAD? Does she? We don't exactly live in a great neighborhood. And no, the police are not that responsive.

I will be seeing my priest on this in the morning. Your thoughts?

Paul


Theres other weapons you can use which are not lethal. A high powered BB gun is good. Theres also stun guns and tasers, some are disguised as flashlights and cell phones nowadays. Other tasers originally meant as animal repellants can be used from a distance.

#13 Evan

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 04:09 PM

If the Byzantine Empire had been pacifist, it would have disappeared long before 1453. That's not to say that there weren't Christians who professed a pacifist ethic between 312 and 1453. However, they enjoyed the freedom to do so because other Christians laid down their lives for their fellow citizens on the battlefield.

Arguably the highest praise in any of the Gospels is reserved for a centurion, a man of war with soldiers under him who nonethless recognizes a higher authority. The most explicit teaching on soldiering in the Gospels comes from St. John the Baptist, who tells a soldier to be content with his pay-- not to take spoils, not to oppress those under his authority. He does not however tell that soldier that he should no longer be a soldier.

Yes, Tertullian and Hippolytus held contrary views. Nonetheless, I think it is fair to say that the Church has for the most part roundly rejected such readings of Our Lord's mandate to turn the other cheek as would preclude national self-defense. The obligations of the state to its citizens have not been understood as identical to those which bind Christians in their conduct amongst one another.

Thus St. Ambrose, in one of many letters exhorting various emperors (here, Gratian) to take up the sword:

"I must no further detain your Majesty, in this season of preparation for war, and the achievement of victory over the Barbarians. Go forth, sheltered, indeed, under the shield of faith, and girt with the sword of the Spirit; go forth to the victory... we, who have undertaken the contest with alien unbelief, shall enjoy the aid of the Catholic Faith that is strong in you."


In Christ,
Evan

#14 Father David Moser

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 05:14 PM

Paul,

There are many non-lethal means of defense against such intrusions. Loud noises and bright (especially flashing) lights come to mind. Chemical and shock weapons (pepper spray and tazers) can also be quite effective repellents. I'm sure you know all of this and have considered these options - therefore let me propose something different.

Have your priest come and bless the house inside and then go outside and do a cross procession around the house blessing it from all four sides. Set an obvious icon of the Mother of God and perhaps the Archangel Michael or one of the warrior saints (George or Demetrios for example) on the outside of each doorway. Every day ask for the protection of the heavenly host upon your dwelling and family. Then trust God (put not your hope in princes and in the sons of men in whom there is no salvation - my help cometh from the Lord who hath made heaven and earth).

Certainly to take up arms to defend your household is not against our faith - even monastics who are forbidden to carry arms or to cause harm at times have at times, with the blessing of the Church, taken up arms to defend their monasteries. Do what seems needful to you, but whatever you do, do it with the blessing of the Church.

Fr David Moser

#15 Paul Cowan

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 10:32 PM

Thank you Fr. David. Wise advice as always. I have just the icons in mind.
Paul

#16 Christina M.

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 12:21 AM

There was some excellent advice here, which has prompted me to buy some pepper spray, and hang more icons! :)

If I may mention one last thing which hasn't been mentioned: for about $30 you could get a "fake" security camera (they look completely real) with blinking LEDs, which have been clearly shown to reduce crime rates wherever they are installed.

#17 Mark Harris

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 08:58 AM

and simple things like random timer switches for your downstairs lights, leaving radio on but on a channel that has talking rather than music, and behavioural things like not leaving door keys in the hall (or car keys for that matter). Many houses openend here by burglars (or worse) hooking door keys off hall tables, and internal bolt (s) on front door (bottom and or top) - don't rely on the latch.

#18 John Konstantin

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 11:25 AM

......or a blunderbuss.

#19 Guillermo M.L.

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Posted 17 February 2011 - 05:15 AM

Arguably the highest praise in any of the Gospels is reserved for a centurion, a man of war with soldiers under him who nonethless recognizes a higher authority. The most explicit teaching on soldiering in the Gospels comes from St. John the Baptist, who tells a soldier to be content with his pay-- not to take spoils, not to oppress those under his authority. He does not however tell that soldier that he should no longer be a soldier.

Yes, Tertullian and Hippolytus held contrary views. Nonetheless, I think it is fair to say that the Church has for the most part roundly rejected such readings of Our Lord's mandate to turn the other cheek as would preclude national self-defense. The obligations of the state to its citizens have not been understood as identical to those which bind Christians in their conduct amongst one another.


It has always intrigued me why, before Constantine's Edict of Milan, the early Christians systematically refused to join the Roman army (refused to take up the sword), while after the legalization of Christianity, they joined with no moral issues.

Thus St. Ambrose, in one of many letters exhorting various emperors (here, Gratian) to take up the sword:

"I must no further detain your Majesty, in this season of preparation for war, and the achievement of victory over the Barbarians. Go forth, sheltered, indeed, under the shield of faith, and girt with the sword of the Spirit; go forth to the victory... we, who have undertaken the contest with alien unbelief, shall enjoy the aid of the Catholic Faith that is strong in you."


Can we assume from the words of St. Ambrose that war was OK to wage in this case, because the Barbarians were non-Christian peoples? What about the case of two Orthodox countries waging war between themselves?

#20 Kosta

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Posted 17 February 2011 - 06:00 AM

There were christians who were soldiers from the very beginning. In fact the earliest christian prayer hall ever discovered in Palestine was for christian soldiers. Its one of the earliest churches ever discovered, way before the edict of milan. A wealthy centurion paid for its construction as witnessed by the inscription on the mosaics. see article:

http://www.bib-arch....t-church-02.asp

There was no need to fight and kill in battle before the empire became christian, the early latin christians refered to this as the pax romana.




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