Tuesday, 19 November 2013


I've just been reading about the Royal Marine charged with murdering a wounded Taliban fighter. I think the important word to remember here is 'mitigation', as in there were 'mitigating' circumstances. No one, I'm sure, is going to excuse this act. But before we don the black cap and pronounce sentence, we ought to ask ourselves: "do I understand what it was like? How would I have felt if I had been in his shoes?"
This brought me back to when I was serving in Northern Ireland during the troubles. In 1990 I was on foot patrol on the Falls Road when I was hit square in the chest with a large rock. It had been thrown with some force and really knocked the wind out of me. After I got my senses back I looked at it lying on the pavement at my feet, it was about the size of a rugby ball. It had struck the bullet-proof chest plate under my smock but still winded me and knocked me violently backwards. That experience coupled with months of frustration and the realization of the damage it would have done had it hit me in the face had the effect of enraging me. In a fury I looked behind a high wall and saw three men walking away drinking bottles of wine and laughing at me. My first and immediate impulse was to shoot all three of them dead. I was close to doing it. I had the means. They were the enemy. I hated them. At that moment of time there was nothing I wanted more. I fingered the trigger and began to raise my weapon. I then realised if I shot them that I would be jailed for murder. Common sense prevailed: I lowered my weapon and turned away. That realisation was the only thing which stopped me.
But boy, at that moment, I would have shot these guys with pleasure.
I can empathise with him. If I had seen bits of my friends hanging from trees I know how I would have felt. It's human nature.
At the end of the day, the truth is this: in ordinary civilian court mitigation is always taken into account, often to great effect. In this particular situation, knowing what we know about P.T.S.D, its effects and the nature of the job he was doing, we have a DUTY of leniency. Unless we have tasted something of what he experienced, we have no right to condemn - because we simply do not understand. If mitigation is accepted in ordinary criminal cases, then in this case it ought to be doubly so.

Sunday, 6 October 2013


I went along to a sermon today preached at Trust Housing association flats on Lewis Street in Stornoway. The man preaching was Iver Martin. He happens to be the current minister of the huge Free Church here in Stornoway. During his prayer before sermon he said that God happily accepts our worship. He spoke for all present.
I must challenge that statement.
In psalm 19 we read: "Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression." The important word here is "presumptuous". My understanding of this text is that it is crucial in matters which pertain to God and our salvation that we don't make assumptions. For example, scripture also tells us: "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." (John 3: 3). We know from this text that we are to "make our calling and election sure", (2 Peter 1: 10) and leave nothing to chance.
Nowhere in scripture are we told that God accepts worship from all and sundry. On the contrary, the Bible makes it very clear (text above) that unless we are born again we are hateful to him - he cannot even look upon us. "Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity..." (Habakkuk 1: 13). It is vital we understand this. It is similar to the alcoholic who has to understand he has a problem before he can be cured. Our problem is that we are sinners before God's holiness. We also must know this fact before we can be delivered from our condemnation. Before we can be born again. God alone can do this. Without this miracle of grace we can only take his name in vain - and increase our condemnation.
This doctrine is not popular. Human nature rejects it. "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. (Romans 8:7).
There are two kinds of gospel preached: popular and unpopular. The popular tends to fill churches, the unpopular empties them: because the unpopular is the truth and the truth is a hard pill to swallow. "...Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits." (Isaiah 30: 10).
This is the big, big problem in the churches: lies preached as gospel.
In short, unless we are converted, God does not accept our worship at all.
We can spend our whole lives attending church and still end up in hell.
Many have done so.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013


Problem neighbours. Ever had them? Pain in the neck. Don't get me wrong, this ain't the old 'noisy' or 'nuisance' thing. No, this is personal - it's me they've got it in for. I was wicked enough to tell them to their faces that I objected to drunken abuse and wilful damage to my property. Then Evil of evils - I told the police. That really escalated the hatred. The latest barrage of verbal abuse came after I asked the younger boy if he could stop kicking his football against the front of my house very close to windows. This was no harmless bouncing by the way, we are talking full force penalty kicks. He did this on two occasions. The first time he did it he could clearly see me looking out of the window at him while he did it, but this made no difference, he was even jumping over my wall into the garden to retrieve the ball. I was initially shocked by his behaviour. It looked to me as if he was deliberately trying to provoke me.
Now I'm sure most people would object to anyone doing this, but when it's a member of a family with a grudge, then it takes a whole different perspective. Anyway, I was looking out at him wondering what the best course of action would be, but as I considered my options he stopped and went into his house. So I was content enough to leave it there, but it did make me feel uneasy as I had already had major trouble with his older brother. Was this now the younger one deciding to join in? Sadly, it looks very much like it. My concern is what he might do if he takes after his brother whom alcohol turns into a raging moron.
The second time he did it, just a few days later - exactly the same rigmarole as before - it was enough to really annoy me and I went outside and challenged him. I asked him if he could stop kicking the ball at the front of my house as it was rather close to the windows. What I got in response could only be described as cheek. He stalked off muttering as he went. I walked after him saying "hey wait a minute I want to talk to you for a few seconds." He ignored me and carried on. Then his mother appeared and started to hurl accusations at me. Accusing me of causing her trouble and so on. Well I have to say that to me it sounded pretty rich, considering that I am convinced that her son slashed all four of my car tires just because I complained to him about the fact that he had deliberately broken the window of my van in a drunken rage. Something he has never denied and is currently paying me compensation for through the court in dribs and drabs.
It was difficult for me to keep a cool head while she spoke. Especially when I reminded her of her son having slashed my tyres. Her response was to tell me that it had been "proved" that he had not done it. As if the cops being unable to nail him is proof of innocence. That's when I lost my cool and raised my voice. I felt I had to go back over afterwards and apologize to her for that. But the latest one was one of her daughters shouting over at me earlier this evening words to the effect of: "Hey you, don't you have a go at my mother again..."
Again, it was hard to keep a cool head. I didn't. These days perhaps it's less easy with one thing and another. I had to endure her verbal abuse and lies flung in my face.
God's word tells us: "Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath." (Ephesians 4: 26).
Yep, I get angry all right. I have to admit, stupid people do sometimes make me angry. But if the Lord is with me I can get angry (the Lord knows I don't want to) and still be his.
God's word also tells us: "For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth." (Hebrews 12: 6). So if we belong to God he will send us trouble. He does this in love - it is good for us and necessary. We must rejoice in it and be thankful.
"...we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." (Romans 5: 3-5).

Friday, 28 June 2013


The very sad case of the murder of teenager Liam Aitchison has been brought before us again by the sentencing today of the pair convicted of his killing.
But a question mark has been placed above the process which led to the conviction.
Local journalist Iain X. Maciver points out in the article below some areas which concern him.
Now don't get me wrong, all things considered I have to say that it really does look like the convicted pair are indeed guilty. But is that enough to convict? That is the question.
Iain makes a valid point.
Now in my view (this view is based on my reading of the Bible. In days gone by, all UK laws were fundamentally based on the Bible - what else would you base it on?) all justice must be seen to be done before it can possibly be called justice. The only way we can do this is to make it completely public. In the olden days before modern technology existed, we had the area in courtrooms reserved for the general public so that we could say that justice had been witnessed by the people and therefore had been 'seen to be done'. A crucial point. As soon as something is done in so-called 'private' we have crossed the line. When used in this context the word 'private' is just a euphemism for 'secret'. We have the same problem in churches. Self-important and self-righteous people assuming they know best and imposing their will.
So what's my point?
Well it's this. That all courtroom proceedings should be open to every means of facilitating public scrutiny. We still have the public gallery of course, but nowadays we have something more. We have the god of the age - Television. We have the technology - let's use it. They've been televising court cases in America for years. Remember O.J. Simpson? This is not for entertainment. Just because some people get a thrill out of the wrong things doesn't alter what's right.
Public scrutiny - the only process which can protect us from the abuse or misuse of power.
Link to Iain X. Maciver's article.

Thursday, 13 June 2013


I have misplaced my car registration document so I've had to fill out a form for a replacement and send it to DVLA Inverness. In the same envelope I sent them an application for a new tax disc. Today, I received the whole lot back in the post with an accompanying letter regretting to inform me that I had failed to write my vehicle chassis number on the log book application form. That sounds reasonable enough, until you realize that along with my application for the replacement log book I was also required to include my MOT and insurance certificates because I was applying for road tax. Recorded very clearly on the MOT certificate is my vehicle chassis number. Were they unaware that my MOT certificate includes my chassis number? Could they not have done it the easy way and just copied the number from the MOT form? Perhaps they have rules which say I have to write it myself.
I wouldn't be surprised.

Thursday, 6 June 2013


With our politicians guilty of this kind of blindness they are certainly the problem rather than the cure. How do they expect to be able to tackle Islam-inspired murder and mayhem when they wilfully reject the truth. And the truth is that every bit of this problem has been caused by what is written in the Koran. I repeat:


Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Question: Which would win a drag race, Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade or home made Harley chopper?

Thanks to Colin Macalpine for link.