“Ye Are My Witnesses”: Arkansas Man Arrested For Firing Shots At Jehovah’s Witnesses Who Approached Him On His Lawn

johnbaldwinJehovah’s Witnesses in Arkansas will soon be called to be witnesses of a different kind for John Baldwin, 35. Baldwin is charged with aggravated assault after firing 13 times at the Jehovah’s Witnesses who approached him in his front yard. After Baldwin told Laura Goforth, 47, and Rachel Boshears, 55, to get off his lawn, the Jehovah’s Witnesses were leaving when one of them heard Baldwin tell his wife “Get me my 9.” (A referenced to his Springfield XDM-9). While Isaiah 43:10 may proclaim “Ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and my servant whom I have chosen,” these pious folk will soon be called by a more earthly authority to bear witness.

Baldwin only moved into the neighborhood a month ago. The victims were from Kingdom Hall Jehovah’s Witnesses Church in Bentonville. They noted that they have a no contact list but that Baldwin was not on it. He appears to find it easier to express such preferences more directly. They say that Baldwin told them to “Get your fucking ass off my property. I moved out here to get away from people like you.” He reportedly told police that the women did not immediately leave but instead were “Lolly Gaggin” around their car. So how Baldwin then concluded that the best way to stop the “Lolly Gaggin” was with a hail of 9 mm slugs.

The women could also sue for assault in torts. This would seem a pretty clear case of acting “to cause a harmful or offensive contact with the person of the other or a third person, or an imminent apprehension of such a contact.” Then they might end up owning not just the lawn but his house as well.

He could now face jail time after being released on a $50,000 bond. It is not clear if Jehovah’s Witnesses are allowed to visit prisoners in Arkansas, but one can always hope.


127 thoughts on ““Ye Are My Witnesses”: Arkansas Man Arrested For Firing Shots At Jehovah’s Witnesses Who Approached Him On His Lawn”

  1. I stole the joke from Huston Smith — I may be of low morals, but I know quailty

    Thanks your post at 7:47 — it is very helpful.

  2. You know, Oro, one of the things I really like about science is also one of the things I really like about Buddhism: the non-mystical method of dealing with uncertainty. It’s a mystery and an adventure rolled into one. To me, to fear uncertainty is an understandable human reflex, but to let that fear drive you to bad decisions and bad behavior by using a made up subjective measure instead of an objective rational measure seems a sad thing to me and a way to only increase suffering in the world (both intentionally and incidentally). The world is a much less scary place when you accept that uncertainty is simply built into the very fabric of reality. It is a terrible thing to live in fear but practically Shakespeare tragic when that fear is self-imposed.

  3. Oro,

    You’re on a roll.

    And I loved the Confucianism joke. Don’t hear many of those.

  4. BTW, two taxi drivers in Bejing were in a collision. How do we know they Confucians?

    They kept apologizing to each other.

  5. Of course I supposedly have opened myself to the charge of scientism, a secular religion [an idea that is itself a paradox]. Science is a tool box. Scientists no more “believe” in scientific tools than in a hammer. I have an automotive toolbox – I use the tools to work on vehicles.

    Scientists use their tools to work on those things which can be measured and tested in four dimensional space to prove “facts” – units of information which can be trusted as accurately describing physical phenomena and thus acted upon. Of course there are limitations – insufficient information, experience, and ability to accurately measure; however, when a scientific “fact” is debunked it is usually by a scientist.

    The ability to debunk previous scientific concepts makes our knowledge a little squishy – which is expected and why facts are continually tested. It lacks the security of the belief system – an inerrant book of scripture, a literal translation, immutable moral precepts.

    Every year science reduces the God of the gaps to a more plebian status. But equating science to a religion and thereby somehow equating belief in the proven with belief in the unproven does nothing more than open science to the same criticisms as religion. Scientism doesn’t establish that religion can be trusted, only that neither can. Maybe it’s just me, but an argument that science could be just as wrong as religion doesn’t instill much confidence in religion.

    Science is the work of discovery; religion, that of escapism. Science is full of doubt, its stock in trade. Religion traffics blessed assurance. The voice of the Christian will join with those of the angels’ choir in heaven. The heart of the scientist, being made of star-stuff, already rings in harmony with the music of the spheres. Which of these, really, is the world of wonder?

  6. “Where shall you find your precious ethics, indeed your objective standards, AND logic, AND reason if there is no God to assure you you have the ability to do so?”

    Dunno, where did the Chinese get theirs? Oh yeah, Confucianism. No gods there. Kant’s moral imperative? The list goes on.

    The question asked involves a priori reasoning — if that much. Since God is a prerequisite for yada yada, and since yada yada exists [the veracity of both assumptions being highly questionable], God therefore exists.

    Overweening thinking. Hubris of the intentionally ignorant.

    Since God cannot and has not been scientifically proven [for a Christian’s edification, that’s the way God supposedly wants it– see Habakkuk 2:4; Hebrews 11:6], no one can be certain that there is a God. There are no facts, no proof; just faith, just belief instead of knowledge. I know of no finer conditions necessitating humility.

    Mark Twain wrote that it was the schoolboy that first noted faith is believing in something you know ain’t true. I wouldn’t go that far — I think faith is believing in that for which there is no scientific proof. The opposite of faith, therefore, is not doubt — without doubt wherefore faith? — but certitude.

    Micah 6:8 summarizes the lifestyle of the believer: act justly, love mercy, walk humbly. Galatians 5:22-23 identifies the behavioral characteristics of a Christian: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

    This is my litmus test — one I often fail — is this person humble or overweening. If the latter, the question is immediately begged, “Do they really believe?”

  7. Well this sure is a sad thing that happened. I feel sorry for the home owner he seems like an unhappy man. As far as the witnesses well, what ‘s new for centuries christians have been beaten, imprisoned, and killed for doing what Jesus commisioned them to do. Paul for example commited his life to witnessing about God every chance he had.
    He even went house to house. He endured alot of persecution ..

  8. I heard the great illusionist, The Amazing Randi one afternoon on NPR. He was responding to calls, and several callers claimed he could not have morals or ethics unless he was religious, preferably Christian. I give the man credit. He was patient, explaining that neither ethics or morals depended on some outside force or higher power. Randi reminded me of the radio hosts taking the call from a lady who thought deer crossing signs ought not be put on heavily traveled roads. You want to laugh, but realize the person on the phone is most sincere. That is moral behavior.

    What people have trouble wrapping their heads around is that morals are more or less constant, but ethics are typically situational. Business ethics, professional ethics, ethical play in sporting events, and so on.

    How about the judge who cannot and will not let a defendant’s past history be brought into evidence so the jury can hear it. Yet, the same judge would not think of letting a friend go out with someone without informing the friend of the potential date’s history as a bad actor.

  9. “Where shall you find your precious ethics, indeed your objective standards, AND logic, AND reason if there is no God to assure you you have the ability to do so?”

    Cogito ergo sum, quod erat demonstratum.

    I don’t rely on magic to explain the universe, Tootie.

  10. OS, A Philly jury had A LOT TO SAY on a murderer abortion doc and those women’s abortions. Inconvenient truth. I don’t like abortion, but I’ll never have one. I am opposed to the death penalty, but I’ll never have to sentence someone to that cruel and unusual punishment. And, how did we get to “Our precious bodily fluids.” Is Mandrake here??

  11. No, Tootie. Laws are based on ethics in this country. In Saudi Arabia and Iran, they’re based on morals. We don’t have a theocracy as much as you’d enjoy that.

    The rest of what you say is nonsensical evasion and you know it.

    Except for rape.

    Do you think it’s just that a woman be forced to carry to term a child that was inflicted upon her (yes, inflicted) by a crime of violence? Just set aside whether or not she should be forced to care for it. Should she be forced to term a child that was completely not her choice? To propagate the genes of the violent thug who attacked her?

    The only ethical answer is no.

    Moral answers may vary.

  12. Oh, and they are based on values, customs, and traditions as well even if we don’t know the underlying philosophy, ethics, or moral reasonings thereto.

  13. Gene, birth defects of the woman? Illness of he woman? If she waits nine months won’t she be just fine?

    You mentioned rape. I specifically left that out. But now that you brought it up, why does the victim need an abortion?

  14. You’ll have to ask them, but there are certainly good reasons to not want a child. High risk of birth defects or congenital illness. A bad father. Otherwise unable to support and/or care for a child. Rape. That’s all irrelevant though. Ultimately, the reason is theirs, and it isn’t yours or mine to approve of or disapprove of beyond saying “Well I wouldn’t have made that choice.” I’ve known the full spectrum of choices though; women who chose abortion and women who chose adoption and what struck me (and admittedly this is anecdotal evidence) was that it was a mixed bag of happiness and regret all the way around no matter what choice was made. It’s a matter of individual conscience. Their individual conscience. And it’s not ethical to deprive them of that choice.

  15. Women have abortions for lots of reasons. And not a single one of them is any of your, or my, business.

  16. Gene. Why does a woman have an abortion (except in cases where the life of the mother is at stake–which is exceedingly rare)?


  17. And, consequently as illustrated above, they need not come to the same conclusions.

  18. No, Tootie. Laws in a country like ours are based in ethics, not morals.

    There is a difference.

    Morals and ethics are related subjects, but they are not the same thing.

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