The killing of Amis Amri in Milan today is raising a question in media:
Counterterrorism law does not allow arrests without sufficient cause in fact, but the folks who are being caught and killed or arrested after a terror act are almost always people on counterterrorism watch lists. Is there a way to bridge the gap from watching to preventing?
The unavoidable answer is "yes, but." Yes, but it will require a relaxation of probable cause. Mere suspicion, not necessarily even well articulated suspicion, is the only remaining choice outside of a plain admission of arbitrary, capricious selection of who to detain, how and for how long.
As it is now probable cause is, at least in name, still the standard in America for arrest and detention.
My gut is that probable cause will be drastically redefined and reapplied, but probably not abandoned as a phrase. It is, after all, a valuable idea to let people think they still have rights. This is where I urge caution.
Whatever else we all might believe about our government and who is and will run it, the nature of government never changes. Ever. No matter who or what party runs it. The nature of government is always to increase power for itself. Always. Its nature is always to increase government power at the expense of the power of individuals. Please, Christians, never forget it. Never err in your thinking on the side of government.
There are no heroes for Christians in Washington, in our state capitals, in our city halls or courts. The hostility toward God is stronger than ever and our guard of our hearts may be, itself, relaxed. The serpent is subtle. The great inertia of the age is that the sweep of humanity is to be deceived, and the swell of that tide reaches through the church indiscreetly.
A picture is forever stamped in my mind's eye of a large church in Gulfport, MS after Katrina in 2005. A pastor buddy and I loaded a truck with donated supplies and drove down to deliver them to a couple of congregations there and in Pass Christian, MS. We were taken to the site of this large church. It sat on the beachfront, a majestic structure. The swell of the surge had ignored the boundary of the land and reached into that building through the front and gripped its monstrous hand throughout, within and without, and yanked hard back toward the gulf. The shell of that building remained intact, and from some angles it looked almost as if nothing had happened.
This is the American church. The surge is coming. We can, and a few will, take shelter in the Spirit, in the Word and truth, in prayer, WITH one another. That does not guarantee anything. We may be overwhelmed, too.