Archive for December, 2007

Miracles Personally Witnessed On The Winter Solstice

On preserving ancient tradition: The Yule log stayed alight all night long.

On early morning pilgrimages: I neither slid off the road nor got lost on the way to Red Rocks.

On the rock ‘n roll ministry of Cowboy Mouth: At the Fox Theatre, on the stage-right stairs, Fred LeBlanc made the lame to walk (under mild protest).

On everyday magick: The sun rose over Denver. Spring will come again.

One year

One year ago the Storm Of 2006 hit Denver sideways and sent us reeling. The entire city (and metro area) shut down as the snow fell and the plows failed to keep up. I’ve posted about it here a few months back The funny part is that I leave town this weekend and from what I’m seeing on the weather reports, we’re going to get a small anniversary reminder in a storm here today. 9news currently reports,

Today: Snow’s headed our way, along with gusty winds and falling temperatures. As of 10:00 we noticed a drop in temperature from 38 degrees to 31, and clouds have started to gather over the foothills. At this time it looks like snow will develop over the city around 2:15 PM. This snow will be at its heaviest through the evening rush hour and won’t really end until 10:00 PM. By 8:00 PM most metro areas will get from between 1 and 3 inches, while the foothills get around 2 to 5 inches. Remember that there’s a SNOW ADVISORY for the southern foothills, from just north of Colorado Springs to the New Mexico state line. Expect up to 6 inches of snow down there and 30 mph wind gusts. Stay with 9NEWS, 9NEWS.com and 9NEWS Weather Plus for further weather updates..

As far as I can tell, the storm isn’t going to do much on Saturday when I head out but this being Denver, I’m going early to the airport just in case.

No electronic voting for us it looks like

Looks like another blow for E-Voting, Engadget reports that our Secretary of State has decertified 3 out of 4 machines.

points of failure? Accuracy and security… uh, what else is there in an E-Voting machine? If it’s not one let alone both secure and accurate, what would be the point? I can just see a pop up for v1agra popping up in the middle of my voting session.

I’m a fan of E-Voting so I’m hopeful that this type of reception, helps the machine makers go back to the drawing board and release a quality product. This isn’t just a Microsoft OS after all, we expect that type of security holes from Windows, these things need to be as bulletproof as possible. Maybe they should contract Apple to build them :) iVote…

Having just moved to Denver, and having to re-register, or change my registration or whatever, I hope we have e-voting soon. Does Denver do absentee? Douglas county does and that’s mighty convenient.

Hello Denver, glad to finally have a few days to meet you

The weary traveller I be!

12/4 my wife and I moved from highlands ranch (so long, we won’t miss ya!) to downtown never just north of the ball park. Then we promptly (both of us) left town on business.

My wife to Wisconsin, myself to San Jose (CA, not C.R.). We left her dad to fend for himself with our two dogs, and off we went. Her trip was only a week, mine… well I just got home today.

I can’t wait to actually explore our new neighborhood! We’re getting to be regulars at the Walnut Room, and Blake St Tavern, but there’s more to do, see and eat, and now that we’re both home for at least a few weeks, we’ll get that chance… well a few weeks starting new years, we’ll be in Virginia for Christmas.

I’ll always like CA, if for no other reason than In-n-Out and Trader Joe’s, but being away from home sucks.

So if you have any ideas on things to do, see, and or eat in the ballpark(ish) ‘hood, drop a comment. To steal from Frasier, “I’m listening”

hitting the road for christmas?

i’ve never really travelled for christmas before. usually, we just would head a few hours down the coast, most of the time a day or two after christmas to hang with my wife’s family. this year, since we bolted the state in the spring, we’re heading back. yes, we are taking the enormous leap of FLYING IN DECEMBER through DIA. not just that, but we’re tempting fate by bringing our three small children with us. it will be a raging adventure.

so until january– blessings upon you. and if you can throw some prayer and/or good vibes our way for our travel (whichever suits your fancy)– it would be much appreciated.

peace,
–jason.

I’m dreaming…

As we close in on Christmas, we must ask the age old question that has vexed weather men and women alike in Denver for hundreds of years.

Will there be a white Christmas?

Based on the 9news.com Forecast, there may be snow on the ground from the weekend. No word yet on Christmas Eve and Day, but this gives you all hope that we might have it this year! Just maybe!

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Christmas is upon us!

Surprise! I didn’t even say my first, “Merry Christmas!” until this evening and it still felt a little odd at the time. It doesn’t feel like Christmas. I’ve been working the long hours at work (cringe worthy moment of the day when my boss looks at me and says, “Why are you here? You’re supposed to be off today!) and the single life hasn’t been terribly kind to me since I returned to the States back in February.

Needless, this Grinch needed a dose of Christmas tonight and I got a partial dose. Kids at church wishing you a Merry Christmas in their exuberant and energetic smiles does help bring one back from the brink.

It also sometimes helps to stop for a moment and look around at what surrounds you. I’m going to strive to do more of this and share what I see around this great city with you all. The two pictures below are what I found just outside my apartment this evening around 4:30pm. The lone leaf gave me a small smile, reminding me that the snow flies and the wind blows but there’s still a small light at the end of the tunnel. Sometimes all it takes is simple things to remind us life is as great as we make it despite all that we face.

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The other great Christmas reminder was at my church tonight. A giant tree that was ornately decorated from top to bottom. I snapped this picture and then just stood there eyes wide at the glowing lights blinking back at me. Finding beauty in the midst of the rat race can be a challenge but it’s great when Christmas rolls into town because all around you are the bright lights and beautiful decorations.

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As we get closer to Christmas I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas to you and your own. The Christmas season is time to share time with family and friends. Hug those close to you and share the laughter of the moment while you have it. I know as I grow older I treasure seeing my parents and brother during the holidays because I know the moment I’m out the door and on my way to the airport I’m going to have to resist the urge to turn the car around and get one last hug.

Merry Christmas everyone!

The Aftermath

It was a long weekend. A very long weekend. I was not a happy person at work today. I was feeling the pain of my fellow brother and sisters in Christ and can’t even imagine what today has been like. Our prayers, hopes and warm thoughts go to those enduring this maniacal nightmare. This will be my last post on this subject as my emotions have been getting a workout as the rollercoaster of events have spilled out from the television screens and computer monitors. First, the updates that we have so far.

He was on the computer posting about this for several months on a board dedicated to former members of The Church as a whole. When this thing went south early on Sunday, those that had been talking with him suddenly realized what they had in their midst.

I would declare this a PR disaster for said group, but some tried to reach out to him. My emphasis is in bold.

You Christians brought this on yourselves,” Murray wrote on a Web site for people who have left Pentecostal and fundamentalist religious organizations. It was the most recent posting of his on the site, dated Sunday, December 9 at 11:03 a.m.

In the Web writings, which are now being investigated by Colorado Springs Police, Arvada Police and the FBI, Murray warned, “I’m coming for EVERYONE soon and I WILL be armed to the @#%$ teeth and I WILL shoot to kill. …God, I can’t wait till I can kill you people. Feel no remorse, no sense of shame, I don’t care if I live or die in the shoot-out. All I want to do is kill and injure as many of you … as I can especially Christians who are to blame for most of the problems in the world.”

If the time on the posting is accurate, it was posted after the 12:30 a.m. shooting Sunday morning in Arvada and before the 1:10 p.m. Sunday afternoon shooting in Colorado Springs. Murray’s first posting on the day of the shootings is time stamped 10:50 a.m. It begins with a goodbye to those he has corresponded with for the past several months.

“You guys were awesome. It’s time for me to head out and teach these (expletive) a lesson.” Murray continued, “Thanks for listening and all … even though even many of you ex-Pentecostals don’t understand ……(sic) See you all on the other side, we’re leaving this nightmare behind to a better place.”
Then Murray posted the 11:03 writing quoted above. That writing mirrors written statements by Columbine gunman Eric Harris. After that final posting, one of the other Web site users realizes what’s happened and wrote, “Oh no. I just saw this on the news.” Another wrote, “Yes, please don’t do it. You’d only make them into martyrs and yourself into a fanatical, hateful zealot, in the public opinion.” The only other posting that referred to Murray was a user asking everyone to leave the Web site to chat about Murray elsewhere to avoid the media finding out.

I don’t have a link to the said site in question and I really don’t want to have to sort through the crap that probably is posted there to be honest. You have every right to not like a religious group and all…but I wonder what this people on the website really do feel and how far they’ll separate themselves from a homicidal killer who murdered two young women and was intent in destroying more lives in his sick irrational mind.

The story goes on to give this,

Some of the users tried to counsel Murray and one psychologist even offered her services after reading his poem called “Crying all alone in pain in the nightmare of Christianity”. Murray rebuffed her offer. “I’ve already been working with counselors. I have a point to make with all this talk about psychologists and counselors ‘helping people with their pain,'” he wrote.

The question is now who was he seeing, what he told them and how much guilt this person will now be living with if he really was seeing someone for help, which I doubt. Do not forget this fact. This twenty four year old man (I’m 25 and it gave me chills when I heard how old he was) made a conscious decision to plan the murder of the innocents in Arvada and then made his move to Colorado Springs to destroy further in the name of his heartless mission, whatever the hell that was.

I know the family of the murderer has been reeling and I understand where that comes from. Harris and Klebold’s parents were in the same boat when Columbine happened. They’ve taken the right steps in seeking forgiveness and working with Police and the law enforcement community. I cannot imagine the shock and sadness they are experiencing right now.

I pray and hope that people will not praise this man for his horrifying deeds. I pray that the security guard that ended his short reign of terror will continue to be praised for her heroic efforts to save the lives of those in and around the church that day. I hope that people will not seek to further denigrate The Church because of this event and how it has unfolded.

Slapstick Politics has some late breaking stuff about the killer hearing voices. Yes, I kid you not. It’s getting interesting and worse at the same time.

Matthew Murray was kicked out of a missionary training program five years ago for strange behavior, and talked about hearing voices, according to a man who served at the center with him.

Werner, of Balneario Camborius, Brazil, said he had a bunk near Murray’s and that Murray would roll around in bed and make noises. “He would say, ‘Don’t worry, I’m just talking to the voices,’ ” Werner said. “He’d say, ‘Don’t worry, Richard. You’re a nice guy. The voices like you.'”

You can read updates at the following websites, but I’m going to ask (they don’t have to do it) that as a group of Authors here at Denver Metroblogs that unless we suffer another attack that we look forward towards hope at the end of the tunnel and simply end rehashing this story here over and over. You can disagree and post away.

Slapstick Politics
9news

This song has been playing on my ITunes several times a day.

BREAKING: The Latest on The Church Attacks

update 12/10/2007 @ 8:58am

Waking up to not much more detail. I don’t expect much until the late afternoon/evening hours. 850KOA is reporting the dead at Colorado Springs were both family. A 16 year old and a 18 year old, both sisters. Their father was one of the injured, according to KOA. The names I heard on the radio are Stephanie Works and Rachel Works. The church site is still an active crime scene. Don’t expect to see much here as I’ve got to work all day today. Best sources on this story will be 9news.com and The Gazette.

12:48am: I’m headed to bed and hope that tomorrow brings a new day. Good night Denver…and may God Bless and comfort those who have lost loved ones. Amen.

Updated 12:12am. Colorado Springs Gazette is reporting 2 parishioners dead. Unsure, but going to post it due to its a news source.

About 7,000 New Life Church members were spilling into the parking lot after Sunday services when a gunman fired into the crowd, killing two and wounding three, in a crime that police linked to an attack on a missionary dormitory near Denver.

11:35 Mountain: Updated with react links.
Michelle Malkin

updated 11:38pm
Slapstick Politics has a solid rundown with new details.

By Sunday evening, investigators in the two cities believed they might be linked. “There is a reason to believe that,” Arvada Police Chief Don Wick said, but he would not elaborate. “Those are leads we’re following up,” he said.

Ladies and gentlemen…our city, our state is hurting.

I don’t say this to jump the shark or blow things out of proportion. I say this honestly and with a heavy heart. Today things changed for The Church in Colorado. Be you small, medium or mega. Today we found out just how quick the world can change on us. The latest is as follows. With thanks to 9News, YahooNews and countless blogs.

COLORADO SPRINGS – Authorities say six people, including the gunman, were shot Sunday in the second shooting of the day at a Colorado religious center. The gunfire erupted inside the 10,000-plus member mega-church, New Life Church, just after 1 p.m., according to authorities.

KOAA says the gunman opened fire in the foyer of New Life Church, located at 11025 Voyager Parkway in Colorado Springs, as the 11 a.m. service was getting out. Authorities say the shooting occurred outside of the church. Colorado Springs Police Chief Richard Myers confirmed at a 5:40 p.m. press briefing that a church security guard shot and killed the gunman. Myers says one other person died at the scene. 9NEWS has confirmed the victim was a teenage girl.

Of the four additional shooting victims, one was treated and released at the scene and three were taken to a local hospital, Myers said. At a 10 p.m. briefing, Myers said two of the victims were still hospitalized. One was listed in fair condition and one was in critical condition.

SWAT officers searching the New Life campus found several suspicious devices. Myers said they were conducting a second search Sunday evening. Police are not releasing any information about what kind of weapon was used in the attack. 9NEWS has learned the gunman was dressed with a tactical helmet and body armor.

Just now, this broke across the wires,

ARAPAHOE COUNTY – Between 15 and 20 investigators were inside a home in unincorporated Arapahoe County Sunday night, after the Arvada Police Department obtained a search warrant. The Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office is assisting. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the FBI are on the scene. The Arapahoe County Bomb Squad arrived shortly before 10 p.m. As of 10 p.m. Sunday, investigators were taking boxes out of the house. The Colorado Springs Police Department is taking over the investigation.

Two people who are believed to be the homeowners left with sheriff’s deputies around 9 p.m. Because police have not confirmed that the warrant is related to Sunday’s shootings in Colorado Springs and Arvada, 9NEWS is not identifying the owners or address of the house. 9Wants to Know did call a business owned by one of the homeowners. A voicemail recording said the business would be closed for a week because of a “family emergency.”

Earlier today, a first attack occurred in the story you’ve already heard. The following lost their lives.

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Paul Filidis of YWAM Colorado Springs says Tiffany Johnson and 24-year-old Philip Crouse of Alaska, were killed. He says their families have been notified and are on their way to Colorado.

Injured are the following,

According to Filidis and Warren, the third victim, 24-year-old Dan Griebenow of South Dakota, has a bullet in his neck and is listed in critical but stable condition. Griebenow joined the staff in the winter of 2007, according to YWAM’s Web site. Filidis says the fourth victim, 22-year-old Charlie Blanch, suffered gunshot wounds to his leg. Blanch has been a staff member of YWAM since the fall of 2006, according to their Web site.

My prayers, thoughts and hopes go out the families of those affected. Today represents a terrible day that has played out from nightmare to nightmare in just 12 short hours. I know that Sunday at my church in Longmont will be different. I’ve reached out to my Children’s Pastor and requested that we have at the ready on Sunday Fathers to act as “Security Dads” to ensure everyone is where they are supposed to be. We’ve actually been planning this idea for some time but now today’s events require us to quickly take action.

It only takes once to change the way we are. And today has shown us this in a terrifying, horrible and dark way.

I’ll do my best to update, but I work a lot this week. Please update in the comments if you have anything new and I (or another Denver author) will bring the information forward.

BREAKING: Missionary Center Attack

BIG UPDATE:

Shooting at New Life Church
COLORADO SPRINGS – Gunfire erupted in the 10,000-plus member New Life Church on Sunday at around 1:20 p.m. El Paso County Sheriff’s office says there are two to three victims, possibly including the shooter. It was the second shooting of the day at a religious organization. 9NEWS and 9NEWS.com will update this story as more information becomes available.

You’ve probably heard about it already, but here it is.

ARVADA – A lone gunman opened fire on a missionary training campus early Sunday morning, shooting four people, two of whom have died and one who is in critical condition. Arvada Police investigators say the gunman walked into a dorm-like residence hall on the Faith Bible Chapel Campus at the Youth with a Mission facility near 64th & Ward Road just after midnight and began shooting. “He entered the facility, opened fire and four of the youth inside that facility were injured,” said Arvada Police Spokeswoman Susan Medina.

All four people were rushed to area hospitals. The Regional Director of the program, Peter Iliyn, says two of the victims have died from their injuries and a third is in critical condition. The condition of the fourth victim is unknown at this time. Their identities have not been released at this time.

“That suspect then fled the scene on foot and we conducted an extensive canine track. We had many, many patrol officers in the area. We had assistance from Wheat Ridge Police Department as well as Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office,” said Medina. “Unfortunately, he remains at large at this moment.”

The suspect, who is still on the loose, is described as a white male, about 20 years old, who was wearing a dark coat. He may have been wearing a dark beanie, may have had a beard, and may have been wearing glasses. If you have any information, please contact the Arvada Police Dept. at 303-431-4060 or check their Web site

I’m up in Longmont for the morning and just read this story. Standard rules apply. We only know what we know. If anyone has any details or further information, feel free to comment with updates. I’ll update as I can.

updated 8:30am: From 9news.com:
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updated 8:45am: From YahooNews (the AP story here) :
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A police car blocks the roadway leading to a youth ministry dormitory on the campus of Faith Bible Church in Arvada, Colo., early on Sunday, Dec. 9, 2007. A gunman entered the dormitory and opened fire, wounding at least four people.
(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

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