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Does it seem to you that criminality, mass shootings, and threats against persons in public spaces are increasing? Whatever happened to crime and punishment?

Hi, I’m Rex Rogers and this is episode #82 of Discerning What Is Best, a podcast applying unchanging biblical principles in a rapidly changing world, and a Christian worldview to current issues and everyday life.

Recently in downtown Chicago, an event occurred that media called “Teen Takeover.” It was a social media fueled mob of youth, apparently from throughout the metropolitan area, who simply decided to run amok under the Loop and on Michigan Avenue.

Numerous videos are available online showing hordes of young people breaking windows, jumping on cars, trashing whatever was in their path, firing guns in the streets, even assaulting innocent bystanders and tourists.

In videos, “teens can be seen jumping on top of a bus while others start a massive brawl. A Tesla, said to be worth $120,000, was vandalized.” Two teens were shot during the incident. Fifteen teens were arrested.

Teen takeovers have happened before in Chicago. It’s a deadly hobby. So is violence in general in Chicago, and in other major American cities where law and order is on life support.

The weekly shootings and murders in Chicago have become so routine that it rarely makes national news. Newsweek noted: ‘The number of homicides in Chicago hit a 25-year high in 2021 with more than 800, according to the Chicago Police Department. That number decreased to 695 last year but is still far higher than when (outgoing Mayor Lori) Lightfoot took office in 2019. Crimes including carjackings and robberies have also increased in recent years.’"

Meanwhile, two elected officials’ response to the teen takeover is telling:

Robert Peters, an Illinois State Senator who represents part of Chicago, tweeted, “Since I’m a glutton for punishment and I’m sure I’m gonna get the most unhinged, crime weirdo replies but: I would look at the behavior of young people as a political act and statement. It’s a mass protest against poverty and segregation. Rest in peace to my mentions.”

In other words, this violence against property and persons is a protest about poverty. One problem with that argument is that the U.S. has a large body of law dating to the 1960s that clearly delineates how social protests can take place, how freedom of speech can be exercised and is encouraged under the First Amendment, as long as property, people, and the public’s right to free thoroughfares is not violated. Point is, the minute violence ensues, the action is no longer a legal protest but an illegal riot.

Chicago Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson, the progressive who will succeed ineffective Mayor Lori Lightfoot, said, "In no way do I condone the destructive activity we saw in the Loop and lakefront this weekend. It is unacceptable and has no place in our city. However, it is not constructive to demonize youth who have otherwise been starved of opportunities in their own communities."

In other words, to hold youths accountable for destruction of property, assaults, and breaking other laws is somehow to “demonize” them. Mayor-elect Johnson’s solution, by the way, is not to employ more trained police officers. No, he said, “Our city must work together to create spaces for youth to gather safely and responsibly, under adult guidance and supervision, to ensure that every part of our city remains welcome for both residents and visitors.”

What spaces is he talking about? Does he really believe youth would go to some controlled space under adult guidance and supervision?

How can these political leaders think this way? Sadly, they are not alone. Many so-called “woke” individuals have been elected in recent years, or those in office have jumped on this bandwagon in the name of race relations, only to make race relations worse.

“State and city district attorneys, and county prosecutors seek either to release violent criminals without bail or reduce their felonies to misdemeanors. Critical legal and race theories are their creeds. So, they argue that crimes have little to do with individual free will. Criminals are not deterred by tough enforcement of the laws. Instead, ‘crime’ reflects arbitrary constructs of a racially oppressive hierarchy.”

But, “rhe cure to lawlessness is not to indulge the lawbreakers by justifying or seeking to explain their behavior. It is to enforce the law. Doing so serves to tell others there are consequences for illegal behavior and justice will be swift and certain. Without law enforcement there is no glue that can hold a city or a society together. Hundreds of Chicago police officers have left the force and the city is having trouble recruiting replacements. Is it any wonder with the ‘defund the police’ movement and growing disrespect for those who feel called to protect and serve?”

When lawless behavior is tolerated and leaders who are supposed to keep neighborhoods safe effectively see lawbreakers as depraved because they are deprived, to quote lyrics from ‘West Side Story,’ it is a virtual guarantee that some will run wild. As the Proverb says: "Where there is no vision the people cast off restraint" (Proverbs 29:18).

What is happening?

  1. As I’ve noted before, America is engaged in an unnamed Second Civil War, pitting those who do not believe in God or at least one who to whom they are accountable, and who reject the idea of objectively determined right and wrong, individual responsibility, and law and order 

against those who still believe in God, absolute truth, morality, and righteous justice for all.

  1. The practice and rule of law and order, blind justice, and accountability are under attack.

Take illegal immigration. Nearly 6 million people have poured across our borders illegally since President Joe Biden took office…In blue state cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, New York and Chicago, laws protecting private property, public safety and public health are routinely flouted; the consequences are felt only by law-abiding citizens…Retail theft is no longer prosecuted, so bands of thieves walk into stores and steal with impunity. Small businesses are forced to close or move. Even large corporations like Walgreens, Walmart, Target, Macy's, BestBuy and REI are…leaving, citing theft and crime that is undeterred and unpunished. In 2020, under then-Mayor Lori Lightfoot's tenure, mobs of vandals did millions of dollars in damage and theft to the upscale stores on Chicago's Magnificent Mile.”

This crime wave evident across our country and culture is not pure happenstance. It is the result of a society reaping what it sows in discarding time tested, moral standards, mores, and values. 

I’ve heard it said that “Nowhere is safe today,” or “We’re experiencing diminished personal safety like never before.” I know what they mean, because there was a time in my lifetime that if you exercised good judgment and avoided places you knew were prone to “bad things happening,” you could move about relatively safe and secure. This time seems to have passed.

There has always been crime and there always will be. What we have now in American culture is ignored or approved crime.

Now, you cannot be sure if you go to an athletic stadium, music concert, mall, campus, even church, that you will be safe. We are retrogressing to a time when individuals and families did indeed care for their own safety. In frontier times and later in the Old West, everyone carried a gun or was with someone who did.

In days gone by, the place where you did not carry a gun or worry about protecting yourself was what they called “civilization,” meaning localities back East that had established right and wrong law and order.

What’s now disappearing in America is just that, “civilization,” an advanced state of human society based upon moral standards, mores, and values that respects and protects life.

The principles that undergird the United States of America -- indeed, what we think of as "Western civilization" generally are being dismantled.

Our living assignment remains the same:

To know truth and to make it known.

To speak the truth in love.

To be ready always to give an answer of the hope we have within us.

To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

In so doing, you also need to become more aware, more conscious of your surroundings, more capable of protecting your family and friends if you are called upon to do so.


Well, we’ll see you again soon. This podcast is about Discerning What Is Best. If you find this thought-provoking and helpful, follow us on your favorite podcast platform. Download an episode for your friends. For more Christian commentary, check my website, r-e-x-m as in Martin, that’s 

And remember, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2023   

*This podcast blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at, or connect with me at  

Have you been thinking about the children lost at Uvalde? How can such senseless violence occur?

Hi, I’m Rex Rogers and this is episode #26 of Discerning What Is Best, a podcast applying unchanging biblical principles in a rapidly changing world, and a Christian worldview to current issues and everyday life.

Robb Elementary School, Uvalde, TX.

Columbine high school (CO), Red Lake high school (MN), West Nickel Mines Amish school (PA), Sandy Hook elementary (CT), Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school (FL), Santa Fe high school (TX).

This somber list records the deadliest school shootings in the United States. It is horrendous. And worse, this list does not even include university shootings or innumerable other gun violence events in which injuries occurred but fewer or no fatalities.

Killing is always gut-wrenching, the killing of innocent children even more so.

Uvalde strikes us like Sandy Hook or West Nickel Mines. Children 6–10 years old. Who could do this? Who can understand this?

When it happens, we wonder how our Christian faith speaks to these kinds of events? What understanding does it provide?

In part, I believe we are living in the last days. I believe that as Jesus tarries his coming, we will witness an ever-greater impact of sin in this fallen world. In the last days, the Scripture tells us there will be (Rom 1, 2 Tim 3, 2 Peter 3, Jude 1):

• people who suppress the truth in their wickedness • terrible times • brutality • evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived • scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires • every kind of wickedness, evil, greed, depravity, envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice • people who invent ways of doing evil • people who are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless • false teachers who introduce destructive heresies.

Things are indeed waxing worse and worse, and mass shootings are now a part of our lived experience.

This podcast is about Discerning What Is Best. If you find this thought-provoking and helpful, follow us on your favorite podcast platform. Download an episode for your friends.

Life is cheap in these last days in multiple and various ways, e.g., abortion, death-dealing wars including what’s happening with Russia and the Ukraine, random killings, systematic criminal killings like those occurring every weekend in Chicago, school shootings, church shootings, mall shootings.

What makes a young man want to kill children? Is he mentally ill as media often claim? Perhaps he is. I’m not negating the potential of some psychological programs to help troubled young men, if they can be identified and if they will seek help.

But perhaps more often he is not mentally ill. I find it difficult to accept the diagnosis “mental illness” when this shooter and so many others leave evidence that in days or even weeks running up to the event, they scoped out the location, purchased weaponry and ammo, planned what to wear and when to enter the facility, and sometimes planned to die in the process.

This kind of preparation speaks to intelligent if warped intention to me, not mental illness. In most of these cases, the issue at bottom is not psychological or social but moral. The shooter is simply given over to sin. The root of this sin could be his own heart, the individuals around him, the absence of individuals around him, particularly no father in his life, or a declining, morally decrepit American culture. Or it is all the above.

Whatever the source, sin works out as an uncontrollable rage making the young man not only to want to die (mass shooters are often suicidal) but to take as many people with him when he goes as he can.

Rage, an evil emotion-then-behavior rooted in twisted feelings of rejection, inadequacy, loneliness, alienation, and a hopelessness that leads him to believe the lie that the only way his life can have meaning is to end it by seeking revenge upon others in some sensational fashion. The shooter is ready to die and ready to kill in order to create some resentful, bitter, “I’ll-show-you,” meaning to his life.

This kind of evil can develop in the lone gunman or radical terrorists. It is Satan’s fake triumph, conquering the soul of a person created in the image of God who comes to believe God is not there or does not care and all that’s left is nihilism.

So, the primary challenge in the U.S. today is this: though we are “religious” with functioning dominant religions, yet our culture and millions within it are disconnected from profound spiritual moorings. We’ve rejected moral parameters in the mistaken belief our fate is in our own hands, or rather in our own feelings. We think we are social creatures of our own making. We control our own destiny.

Except this doesn’t work, and ironically, it is the disillusioned young gunman who discovers this create-yourself approach to life is found wanting, when what he sees around him and within him offers no hope.

We live in a fallen world where sin is real, and the Devil is the Prince of the power of the air. So evil events will happen. This is not fatalism. It is realism.

We do not know why God allows tragic events like Uvalde. We do know that he knows why and is engaged day by day. This, too, is realism, the truth.

This is where our Christian belief and our testimony should speak to the moment. We know the God of the Bible is present, loves, and provides a path to healing and hope. So, our response to heinous events in which innocent children are gunned down in the U.S. should be multi-layered:

1. Weep with those who weep. Mourn with those who mourn. Pray for the families involved. This means more than bland comments like “our thoughts and prayers are with you.”

2. We don’t blame God, and we help others understand that in the face of evil our God is still sovereign, holy, and just. We must speak and live out this truth in love.

4. We do not live in fear but trust the Lord with our own safety. We know, “The Lord will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore,” (Ps 121:7-8).

The best remedy for hopelessness is hope. Christians of all people should understand this.

Our culture, many troubled souls living near us, and these confused and damaged young men need God’s message of reconciliation, of love, of hope. And it is our time, our moment as believers to share this message.

“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,” (1 Pet 3:15).

Well, we’ll see you again soon. For more Christian commentary, be sure to subscribe to this podcast, Discerning What Is Best, or check my website, r-e-x-m as in Martin, that’s And remember, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2022

*This podcast blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at, or connect with me at

What is it going to take? Or bluntly, who is going to have to die before American political leaders develop the moral courage to distinguish between peaceful protestors and violent agitators bent on destruction of property, systems, and life?
When a "gunman" walks up to a sheriff's vehicle and shoot a 31-year old female a mother, and a 24-year-old male deputy without provocation, then individuals variously called "protestors," "Black Lives Matter protestors," a "crowd" block the emergency entrance to the hospital and chant "We hope they die," and other F-word descriptions of the police, and it gets scant coverage in certain major media, our culture is in deep trouble.
Wantonly shooting anyone, black or white, is not about ending racism, nor is it about anything other than evil.
When the Portland, Minneapolis Mayors all but sang “Kum ba yah” with rioters, only to have them turn on them; when major media tap dance around nightly violence, calling it “mostly peaceful,” when crime becomes a partisan matter, this has nothing to do with genuine interest in improving civil rights and race relations. Such anarchy hurts everyone, including minority-owned businesses.
I for one am concerned about the future of the USA, no matter who wins the presidential election, and I’m especially concerned about what happens Nov 3-4, particularly if the election is close.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2020    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at, or connect with me at    

Defund the Police” has become a rallying cry in cities across the country, one fueled more by emotion than evidence. 

Crimes of passion are acts committed against someone because of sudden strong impulse such as sudden rage. 

Defund the Police is like this, a sudden, anger-driven, “acceptable prevailing narrative” that brooks no disagreement among its proponents, yet when turned into policy will wreak havoc and harm upon communities. 

With the senseless killing of George Floyd while in police custody May 25, 2020, two years of “Defund the Police” agitation exploded into a nationwide and to some extent global movement, first on street protest placards, then in outright riots, then city councils and mayors working overtime to embrace the idea.

 “To address concerns about how police treat minorities, the Minneapolis City Council has announced a year-long program to disband the Minneapolis police department. San Leandro, California voted to defund their 93 member police force. Los Angeles is redirecting $250 million from the police to social programs. New York City is debating cutting the police budget by $1 billion. The Austin, Texas police department is eliminating 100 officers and delaying a police cadet class that was scheduled to start in July.”

  • “Baltimore City Council approved a $22.4 millionbudget cut for the police department. 
  • Portland City Councilcut $15 million from its police budget earlier this month. $5 million of that would be put toward a new program that sends unarmed first responders to answer homelessness calls.
  • Philadelphia cancelled a planned $19 million increase for the police department and shifted $14 million of the police budget elsewhere — including affordable housing.
  • The city council in Hartford, Connecticut voted tocut or reallocate $2 million of its police budget.
  • In Seattle, every department budget is being trimmed by around 10%. 
  • Other cities where officials are calling for changes, include San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, Oakland, Milwaukee, Denver, Durham, Winston-Salem, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.”

Why? Why are cities defunding police? Ostensibly it is because proponents believe: 

  • police are killing Black Americans regularly and ruthlessly, 
  • police are “hunting” Blacks, and 
  • police are responsible for most of Black America’s problems. 

Somehow police departments have become the point of the spear in the Black Lives Matter movement, vigorously promoted primarily by the Black Lives Matter organization.

The problem is, these points of view do not square with the facts of what is actually happening in Black communities and do not explain why Blacks are being killed every week in cities like Chicago. 

Defund the Police and its rationale do not explain racism in America nor is it any kind of solution to the newly propagated “systemic racism” being preached by Leftist leaders, Big Media, or other cultural elites and corporations who’ve signed on for the ride, partly to virtue signal and partly in hopes of not being the next victim of woke cancel culture that undergirds Defund the Police and the Black Lives Matter organization.

Every year, approximately 6,000 blacks are murdered. This is a number greater than white and Hispanic homicide victims combined, even though blacks are only 13 percent of the national population. Blacks are killed at six times the rate of whites and Hispanics combined. In Los Angeles, blacks between the ages of 20 and 24 die at a rate 20 to 30 times the national mean. Who is killing them? Not the police, and not white civilians, but other blacks. The astronomical black death-by-homicide rate is a function of the black crime rate. Black males between the ages of 14 and 17 commit homicide at ten times the rate of white and Hispanic male teens combined. Blacks of all ages commit homicide at eight times the rate of whites and Hispanics combined, and at eleven times the rate of whites alone.

The police could end all lethal uses of force tomorrow and it would have at most a trivial effect on the black death-by-homicide rate. The nation’s police killed 987 civilians in 2015, according to a database compiled by The Washington Post. Whites were 50 percent—or 493—of those victims, and blacks were 26 percent—or 258. Most of those victims of police shootings, white and black, were armed or otherwise threatening the officer with potentially lethal force.

Moreover, 40 percent of all cop killers have been black over the last decade. And a larger proportion of white and Hispanic homicide deaths are a result of police killings than black homicide deaths…Twelve percent of all white and Hispanic homicide victims are killed by police officers, compared to four percent of all black homicide victims…

Blacks make up 23 percent of New York City’s population, but they commit 75 percent of all shootings, 70 percent of all robberies, and 66 percent of all violent crime, according to victims and witnesses. Add Hispanic shootings and you account for 98 percent of all illegal gunfire in the city. Whites are 33 percent of the city’s population, but they commit fewer than two percent of all shootings, four percent of all robberies, and five percent of all violent crime. These disparities mean that virtually every time the police in New York are called out on a gun run—meaning that someone has just been shot—they are being summoned to minority neighborhoods looking for minority suspects.”

Black Americans do not even want fewer police. “Monmouth University surveys over the last five years reveal that black Americans nationwide have become more satisfied with their local police departments. The percentage satisfied reached 72 percent in June — a rate that is now identical to that for whites.”

So if this is the evidence, why is Defund the Police being promoted so vigorously and why are city councils buying-into this narrative so quickly? 

It’s about chaos and power. The more of the former that can be generated, the more of the latter shifts to Left-leaning or Leftist organizations and people bent upon disrupting the social order. This is a stated goal of Black Lives Matter the organization, and it is a goal for groups like Antifa. The fact that a lot of American citizens are being duped by this is all the more threatening.

There are other ways to improve criminal justice systems and policing. There is always room for improvement as the saying goes. I am not against reform. There are other ways to reform. Semper reformanda is not, after all, a bad idea. But reform and improvement are much different than wholesale rejection of law and order and an outright embrace of idealistic romanticism about the goodness of humankind.

Defund the Police and its rationale flow from a lack of understanding of human nature. To argue that crime will go away and social utopia will set in if cities simply do away with the police force is the height of fantasy.

"Once it’s determined that every man, woman, and child can do what is right in their own eyes (Judges 17:6), there is no end to what’s left of the old order to be destroyed. Once they sow the wind, they will reap the whirlwind (Hosea 8:7)."

Defund the Police is ill-conceived, emotion-driven, irrational, and ultimately ineffective. Defund the Police is a crime a passion, and insofar as it is adopted, communities will pay a serious price dealing with the social disorder that will follow. 


© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2020    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at, or connect with me at    


Periodically, we look evil in the face. The Boston Marathon bombings are the latest sickening evidence evil exists and is all too alive and well.

No matter who we are, or what kind of character with which we live, evil intrudes, either from within our own hearts or from the hearts of others. It crashes in without regard for life or limb, without sensitivity or restraint, and without conscience or compassion. It’s just evil. It maims and kills and destroys. Its end is death.

President Obama said, “Make no mistake. We will get to the bottom of this and we will find out who did this and we will find out why they did this. Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups, will feel the full weight of justice.”

In times like this partisanship shouldn’t matter. I’m rooting for the President, the FBI, the Massachusetts Governor, Boston officials, and everyone else involved in the justice, security, and military system. I hope we discover who did this and that they feel the “full weight of justice.”

But we already know “why they did this.” It’s called “sin,” or to stick with our theme, “evil” (Genesis 3:14-24; Romans 5:12).

I’m not in a position to assist professional responders. So how do we respond to this? You can send funds, donate blood, pray, but beyond this there’s not a lot we can do.

We can, though, work to restore our soul and the souls of those around us. Tragedy is disheartening. It generates fear, anxiety, discouragement or disillusionment. It creates a need, whether recognized or understood, for theological perspective and spiritual refreshment. Toward that end, here are a few thoughts from Scripture:

--God is sovereign. No matter what happens, no matter what evil occurs, no matter the fragility and brevity of our lives, God is still God, still in charge, still loves us, still able to bring hope and peace (Psalm 103:15-19).

--“Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation” (Isaiah 12:2-3).

--“The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1).

 --“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God, I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).

--“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (Romans 12:12).

--“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

--“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).

Evil ascends for a time, but in the end it will not win. We must combat it within (ourselves) and without (in the world), availing ourselves of the power of the Holy Spirit of God. But we’re not responsible for victory. God is. In fact, he’s already finished his work (Romans 8:37; 1 Corinthians 15:57).

Evil like what we see in the Boston Marathon bombings is gut wrenching and sad. But it’s not whistling in the dark to say, “We will trust in God. We will have hope.”


© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2013

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow him at

Think with me about the difference between what's immoral and what's illegal.

Here's more on the subject:

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2012

This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow him at