Hover over Romans 1:20-22 for proof of God's existence, and over Matthew 5:27-28 for Judgment Day’s perfect standard. Then hover over John 3:16-18 for what God did, and over Acts 17:30-31 for what to do.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Police Shootout

The police had their guns drawn and aimed at both Kirk and me as we lay in the dirt. I could hardly believe what was happening. Just seconds earlier we had been standing on a sidewalk, when two police cars sped towards us with their sirens blaring. We ran down the sidewalk, threw a bag of money into the trunk of our car, and like two terrified gazelles, ran into an open park. That’s when we heard instructions to hit the dirt and toss our guns.

As I lay on my face, I listened to my loud breathing. The ski mask I was wearing was hindering my intake, and I was gasping for each breath. I wanted to rip the mask off but I didn’t dare move my hands.

Suddenly Kirk cried out in terrible pain. At first I thought, “Now, that’s good acting!” But I realized that he wasn’t acting. I started to turn my head to the right to see if he was okay, and heard an officer scream at me to keep looking to the left. Someone approached me and I was handcuffed. My right cuff was so tight I moaned in pain. As I was turned over I yelled as loud as Kirk did. I felt as though my shoulder was going to break.

A month earlier I had been held by Italian police for over an hour. That was real life. This was fake. But being held by the Italian police was nothing compared to this. As we sat, covered in dirt, handcuffed, and cramped in the squad car, I turned to Kirk and said, “Whose idea was this?” He said, “Yours!”

The rest of the day’s shoot hadn’t been so painful. We had spent most of it in a prison cell, filming a program called, “Caught in a Lie.” The program opens with the police chase, and shows us being handcuffed, thrust into the police car, and brought into custody. Duane Barnhart (our director/producer) told us earlier in the day that we’d been too passive in the first take, while being fingerprinted. He wanted to film it again, this time with a little resistance on our part.

At the beginning of the fingerprint process I began the resistance. I was slow to put my left hand on my head when I was told to. When the officer said to move faster, I cleverly said “Punk!” That got me a firm push against the wall with instructions to shut up and do exactly what I was told to do. I was on a roll. Somehow resistance was coming naturally.

Duane gestured to me that he wanted more. I had another brainwave. As a very large officer moved my thumb in one direction, I cleverly resisted. So, how would he handle that?

Wham! I was suddenly slammed to my knees with my face on the concrete floor. On my violent and speedy way down, my head smashed into Kirk’s knee as he sat handcuffed watching the proceedings. I felt his pain because he was still reeling from the agony of having the same 260 pound officer’s knee in his back so hard that he thought his spine was going to break.

I was on my knees, my face on the floor, my head was hurting, and my wrists were red and burning with pain. The big officer spat out, “Do you like being in this position!” Good sense told me to hold back from saying, “Hey, I’m a Christian. I’m on my knees. Of course I like this position.”

After our mug shots were taken, we were marched, still in handcuffs to a holding room, where we were put against the wall, searched, un-cuffed, and told to empty our pockets. We were then given orange uniforms. Although mine was a little loose, and the top didn’t exactly match the bottom, I felt not to mention it to the nice officer.

We were then put into an 8 x 6 cell. The heavy iron door was slammed shut, and from there we spoke about how multitudes were arrested each year, and how many tried to outwit the long arm of the law.

Kirk then tried to outwit the long arm of a lie detector. We fed his examiner some information that gave Kirk something to lose if he failed. This was because the only way the polygraph machine would work, was for him to have something that would make him sweat if he lost. I knew of something that would make Kirk sweat a lot.

There was a natural tension during the test. We watched a monitor from another room, as we waited the long 25 seconds between ten questions. When the examiner revealed the results, something amazing happened that none of us were expecting, not even the examiner. It was a day that we would never forget.

But something else happened at the conclusion of the shoot that, for me, seemed to solidify the whole experience.

As we were about to leave the station, a man was brought into custody, fingerprinted, and placed in a holding cell. It was the same one that Kirk and I waited in just before we were searched. I could see him with his head in his hands. I couldn’t help but empathize with the man as he sat alone in that room. I had been where he now was.

It reminded me of when Ben Hur escaped as a slave on a galley ship, and was picked up by another ship. As he walked passed the hold, he paused for a moment and listened to the dreadful noise of the condemned slaves as they pulled on the oars. It was a powerful moment, as he empathized with them. Yet, no doubt, he greatly appreciated the fact that he was free from those chains.

That’s how I feel as I walk through this life. Empathy makes me feel the pain of those who still sit in the shadow of death. At the same time I am filled with a joy unspeakable that I am no longer chained to the law of sin and death. I violated an eternal Law, but my fine was paid and the prison door opened by the One who said, “I am he that lives, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” Oh, what a Savior!