JesusShowingMaryHow2ShootJesus’ representative in Georgia, the Reverend Jonathan Wilkins of the Baptist Tabernacle of Thomaston, is suing the state to allow his flock to bring guns into church. Currently, in a grave miscarriage of not only justice, but Christian values, guns are not allowed in church.

Jesus would be excited about this law suit. Had guns been invented 2000 years ago, he would have carried one himself and likely would have been a good shot. He was a carpenter, was used to working with his hands and, least we forget, his father was God.

And Jesus certainly knew the dangers inherent in preaching. A good sidearm might have saved him some painful time on that cross. “Duck Mary, there’s a Pharisee!” BLAM BLAM!!!!

Wilkins, fighting like an onward Christian soldier for the rights of his church flock to fend off felons, will surely get an instant pass with St. Peter, who likely isn’t armed. There is nothing Jesus disliked more than some rabble rouser messing up a sermon and a couple of guns in the congregation is a great way to keep things quiet during the choir’s glory hallelujahs.

Jesus always wanted to protect the weakest from persecution and what better way than with a pistol – that collection plate isn’t filled with monopoly money you know and the ushers are sitting ducks!

Martin Luther King, Jr. could have used a gun and Gandhi…well, Gandhi was a Hindu, what would he know about how dangerous church can be?

The Prince of Peace needs emissaries on this earth to bring his message of love and firearms to the world and Rev. Wilkins is just the man to do it, but if you disagree, please, for your own safety, don’t speak up in his church.

As the saying goes, praise the Lord and pass the ammunition please.

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Billy Howard

Billy Howard

Billy Howard is a commercial and documentary photographer with an emphasis on education and global health.

37 Comments
  1. Cliff Green

    Great piece, Billy, but, in the great scheme of things, like you, I despair.

  2. Keith Graham

    Cliff is right. Great piece, Billy. Hard to say which is a scarier phenomenon in our country today: fundamentalism about religion or fundamentalism about the 2nd Amendment. In both cases, too many people misunderstand the documents they rely on for their creeds and totally ignore the spirit behind them. Organized churches, unfortunately, do a poor job of fostering the discussion about what Christianity is really about. Political leaders are even more cowardly about encouraging rational conversation about the Second Amendment and the intent of the “Founding Fathers.” If we lack the will to have those conversations, however, we could just compromise on the guns and agree that everyone in the U.S. should always be allowed to carry the kind of weapons that existed when this amendment was adopted. That would be a flintlock pistol, muzzle-loading Pennsylvania (or Kentucky) rifle or a (wildly inaccurate) musket. None of the weapons currently in use today existed.

  3. Frank Povah

    Now there’s a good point, Keith. But wouldn’t that have to apply to law enforcement as well and National Guards (who seem to me to be the inheritors’ of the title of “Peoples’ Militia”)?

  4. Ah yes, I love a Sunday morning spent in church. “Here you go children, dimes for the collection plate and some hollow points, and don’t spill them like you did last time, Rev.Wilkins has an itchy trigger finger. No, mommy’s carrying a glock, remember? Those big ones are for me. Now, go wake up daddy again and tell him if he misses one more Sunday the choir promises to use him for target practice.”
    I agree Billy, at the second coming, our savior will most certainly be locked and loaded. It would be disrespectful at least not to be open carrying.
    I’m sure the old ladies will be knitting colorful bandoleros to sell at the fund raisers, and can’t you see the joyful “shots in the air” during bingo? How handy for shotgun weddings, no longer just a figure of speech.
    Yep, it’s much easier to bring in those sheaves at the point of gun instead of just a bunch of words abut love, kindness, redemption blah blah blah

    1. Kitty:

      Shotgun wedding is a figure of speech? Now you tell me!

  5. Alex Kearns

    Being a Canadian, I almost turned tail and headed back north when I first drove through Georgia. “Title Pawn and Gun”? “Beer, Bait, Ammo”? Wha????? I have my very own cyber-stalker – a local man who bears a deranged hatred towards me in particular and all other known “eco-weenies” – and he delights in making it well known that he’s “carrying”. Oh yay. Welcome to America!

    “Onward Christian soldiers
    to Title Pawn and Gun!
    Stock up well on ammo –
    we’ve only just begun.”

    Love the article, Billy (even though the whole thing made me queasy).

    1. Frank Povah

      Onward Christian So-hol-diers
      Praise be Jesus’ name
      And those that don’t march with us
      Are legitimate fair game

      Sweet Jesus meek and mi-hi-h-ild
      Who died to wash out sin
      Has delivered us a message
      And urges us to win

      So duck you horrid si-hi-nners
      Your lives are pure disgrace
      We’re about to start a-shootin’
      To put you in your place

      And when we get to hea-he-ven
      Where all the righteous go
      We know that we’ll be sanctified
      In Jesus’ holy glow

      And all you wimpy in-fi-dels
      Who think it otherwise
      Should listen to the preachers
      All knowing and so wise

      It’s written in the Bi-hi-ble
      Bout smitin hip and thigh
      So on your knees you sinners
      And bid this world goodbye

    1. The Moneychangers in the temple or the modern equivalent?

  6. Amen, Billy.

    One thing that religion and guns have in common is the fact that they usually end rational discussion.

  7. Hello Keith,
    I personally have little time for fundamentalism, or organized religion. That said, I think that your comments lack an understanding of the intentions of the founding fathers and the second amendment. When Patrick Henry, Sam Adams and the other American antagonists who fostered the Revolution struggled against the abuses of power the hostile British Government imposed upon the colonists here, they really understood the need for the ordinary people’s right to be armed. When Patrick Henry and others championed the concepts which led to the second amendment they really understood first hand the nature of totalitarianism, and the need for liberty. They gave us the second amendment so that ordinary citizens would have the ability to not only defend themselves against criminals, or hunt, but so that the people might defend themselves against the encroachments of power-hungry despots and hostile governments. They preserved this as a fundamental right, not a privilege to be abridged by law. This was done so that our American people would not suffer the same fate as so many of our global brothers and sisters have in the past and the present. My Grandfather told me something a long time ago that I still believe today. He said something like: if a man tells you his way is the only way never trust him, if he tries to take away you ability to defend your way be very afraid. Now that you understand the basis for the second amendment and its intentions, I am sure that you will support the rights of law abiding citizens to own modern professional equipment, not flintlocks.

    As for Alex,
    A foreign opinion on American citizens rights is always an interesting thing to hear. I have heard the same from almost every Canadian I have ever come across. The Canadian involvement or failure to be involved in the Revolution against British tyranny is reflected in their passive national culture. I have many Canadian friends, we share many things, political views are not one. If my memory of history serves me correctly? I believe at the end of the Revolutionary war, that during the negotiations the Canadian colonies were offered by Britain as part of the settlement and America wanted reparations for abuses against some citizens instead. I think we made a bad choice. The northern colonies would have been better served under the guiding hand of strong people of liberty, people of will like our founding fathers.

    God Bless America, The American People will keep her free!

  8. Billy Howard

    I believe what Keith was trying to say, is that our founding fathers had no way of knowing that we would live in a society where cop killing bullets and automatic weapons would be mass produced and marketed at levels that would make Walt Disney blush. Having reasonable gun laws will not enslave Americans, but it might make some of our communities a little safer and saner. And, I suspect you won’t find any takers north of the border for your theory on Canada being better served if they were under our guiding hand.

  9. “Reasonable gun laws?” Who might be wise enough in our government to determine this level? History has proven time and time again that when one inch is given a mile will soon be in the sights of those that want “reasonable” turned up a notch! By the way, have you noted yet that law abiding citizens are the only ones hurt by this rule of “reasonable” gun laws for the lawless could not care less what gun laws are enacted. On second thought, they (the lawless) most likely would be quite elated to know that their future law abiding victims will be completely defenseless due to “reasonable” gun laws. I hope and pray the good Lord keeps me and mine from harms way, but if he allows the opposite I for one want the legal ability to defend my family and friends with my firearm regardless if it is in my home, on a street downtown, or in church on Sunday. God speed Reverend Wilkins!

  10. I never buy the slippery slope way of thinking. You can use that for anything and everything. In life as well as photography, there is never just black and white. The truth always lies in the shades of gray.
    There is an option between keeping true to the 2nd amendment and allowing anyone to buy what ever they want at gun shows and to carry it anywhere they wish. How do cooling off periods, or extensive background checks, not just of criminal but psychiatric histories infringe on your rights of ownership or the spirit of a well armed militia?. And why can’t those of us who wish to find a violence free zone of peace and love in church be allowed that? I believe those are more than reasonable requests and yet any time anyone asks for the slightest bit of protection from an increasingly out armed police force we are presented with that old chestnut of slippery slope.
    You have a right to your gun and I have a right to be protected from your gun. Most people believe in the rights of gun ownership of course, but please be sensitive to those of us who want a little more protection for ourselves and our children. There is a middle ground.

    1. First, the Bible is black and white…no gray areas. A diligent study of such will reveal this to you. Regarding your question: How do cooling off periods, or extensive background checks, not just of criminal but psychiatric histories infringe on your rights of ownership or the spirit of a well armed militia? All three hurdles you pose as “reasonable” do nothing more than put legal law abiding citizens in vulnerable positions until such time as the hurdle is jump or worse case deamed approved by the government, such as in your psychiatric history evaluation senario. Do realize that a lawless individuals will not go through such to aquire their weapons! Just do a little reseach on the internet and your eyes will be opened to this truth.

      Regarding your statement: And why can’t those of us who wish to find a violence free zone of peace and love in church be allowed that? You obviously do not know of the evil world we live in…very odd considering the nightly news tells you of such on almost a nightly case! Have you ever heard of Stalin, Hiltler, or even Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who desires to nuke Isreal of the face of the earth. Bottom line: there is no violence free zone and will not be one until the Lord returns to redeam his kingdom.

  11. Cliff Green

    Michael Nolastname writes: They (the founding fathers) preserved this (the right to bear arms) as a fundamental right, not a privilege to be abridged by law.
    If that is so, why wasn’t it written into the body of the U.S. Constitution? Or, why wasn’t it prefaced with “Congress shall make no law…” in the manner of the First Amendment? By its very nature, an amendent is an afterthought.
    But let’s cut through the legalistic crap. Only two classes of people want to carry guns into houses of worship: crazy-ass motherf***ers with short dicks and manufacturers of guns, i.e., rapacious companies represented by the National Rifle Association.

    1. If you do your reaseach regarding the develpoment of the US Constitution, you will find that the Bill of Rights where not by any such menas a second thought!!! Just a brief investigation on the internet will open your eyes to the fact that the ratification of the Constition by the colonies was COMPLETELY hinged on the immediate ratification of the first ten amendments.

      Regarding your suggestion of cutting through the legalistic crap and other suggestions that I wont mention, you prove yourself ignorant of US history. Virgina and Massachusetts were just two of many states that passed laws mandating all able bodied men to carry firearms in the fields, while traveling, and in church for the purpose being at the ready to confront any evil.

  12. Frank Povah

    As a rule of thumb I keep out of arguments about guns and religion – both subjects already have an abundance of zealots only too willing to jump in boots and all, but Sam Franklin has me a bit confused.
    He claims that “there is no violence free zone and will not be one until the Lord returns to redeam his kingdom”. Why, Sam, does the Lord need to “redeam [sic.] his kingdom”? Did he mortgage it to someone or something and only tell the super-faithful about it? It was my understanding that his followers are of the view that he is boss of everything which, incidentally, is why I’m puzzled as to why he’s let “his” property get into such a state.
    Does the pro-gun argument that tighter controls will lead to only the baddies having guns really stand up? It’s notoriously difficult to find unbiased statistics regarding gun deaths, especially on the internet, but the latest reasonably reliable figures claim that the USA has (rounded figures) 0.028 murders by gun per 1000 people – No 8 in the world – while Australia, which has fairly strict gun controls, has 0.003 – 27th. In Australia, most gun-related deaths involve legally owned firearms.
    Australia is – relatively speaking – a godless country (as many politicians find to their cost), has fairly strict gun controls and is, by some US standards, socialist, yet its unemployment rate is half that of the US, it has fewer gun-related deaths and the health of its citizens seems better. Why does your lord allow this?
    And one last question: Do Virginia and Massachusetts still mandate that “all able-bodied men to carry firearms in the fields, while traveling, and in church”? If so, why not able-bodied women also?
    Western Australia once had a law forbidding housewives to shake dust from their doormats into the streets on a Sunday – it was repealed but there seem to be no repercussions.
    The US Constitution is a wonderful document – as is its Bill of Rights – and I hope that Australia will some day alter its own document to emulate parts of both (at the same time as it gets rid of the English queen). But surely the Founding Fathers assumed that in future arguments over the rule of law and the intent of the Constitution as it was written would allow for some modicum of common sense and not rely on either dogma or sanctimonious zealotry to carry a case. If the world was the same as it was when the Constitution was written, there would be very little need to argue over its content – but it isn’t. Your Constitution’s acceptance came about by compromise; surely there is a need for comprise now.

    1. Confusion often exists due to a lack of subject knowledge… The old testament in the Bible details the fall of Satan and his authority over the world given to him by God. The new testament identifies Satan as the Prince of this world at least three times and in like manner Satan offers the keys to the world during Jesus’ days of temptation. Note that the offer could not be made without first having ownership. Fortunately, one day soon the Lord will reclaim ownership for he died for ALL including you Mr. Povah. And no this information is not just for the “super-faithful” as you put it, but rather for all who choose to look into the mater. Fortunately, here in American a Bible still can be readily obtained. I encourage you to check it out for yourself.
      Regarding your question at the end of your Australia rant, God allows man a freewill. A freewill is just that, an ability to acknowledge the Lord in your life or not…your choice. However, be ready to pay the Piper when that fretful day comes, e.g. the second coming of the Lord. As for your gun related incident comment on Australia, I do not find it difficult at all to find relevant information regarding such…see http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1736501,00.html just to name one site that offers insight on the topic. By the way, you can always use your freewill to move to Australia if you like it better there…just a thought.
      Regarding your question as to Mass./Va. current laws…well I suspect you have the common knowledge to know the answer without asking it. The unfortunate truth is the right of a law abiding citizen to defend themselves with their firearms is in a constant state of erosion.
      Regarding your question as to why able- bodied women were not include. During the 1700/1800s it was a common understanding that the men were the protectors of the women and not the other way around. I beleive term term is chivalry.
      As for your idea of compromise/changes of our dear Constitution…I could not disagree with you more. The fact that the founders of our nation made it so difficult to amend speaks clearly that they felt only under extreme conditions should changes be made.

      1. Billy Howard

        I suspect when Sam read Frank’s response he said: “Good Lord!” and now reading Sam’s response I say: “Good Lord!” So we agree that the Lord is good, we just disagree as to His position on guns in church. He was the Prince of Peace, after all.

      2. Frank Povah

        I knew this would happen, Sam, which is why I tend to steer clear of these two subjects. This will be my last contribution to what you have turned into a religion-inspired exercise in dogmatic sermonizing.
        You quote the Bible as your authority. Well Sam, it’s just a book, like any other. There are also people who believe the X-Files was a documentary and, like you with your Bible, they are quite entitled to do so but should refrain from using it as justification and/proof of everything. (It is said that the Bible is the world’s most printed book but I suspect this is only because it is compulsory reading for Christians and that millions of copies have been foisted on many a formerly well-adjusted society.) I enjoyed the old Dr Who series – don’t like the latest offering much – but have never thought it bore any relation to fact.
        Sam – or should I also return the chilly formality by calling you Mr? – I didn’t say anything about “relevant information”, your words. I said “It’s notoriously difficult to find unbiased statistics regarding gun deaths, especially on the internet”.
        I looked at the Time article you quote as an authority. Who is the Mr Williams who wrote it? Have you checked? Like so many who have written on this subject, he claims that Martin Bryant, the perpetrator of the horrible event at Port Arthur, was the greatest mass murderer in Australia’s history. He is wrong, so his research must have been flawed to start with.
        He also says that John Winston Howard, the then Prime Minister and great admirer of George W Bush (he was sometimes called Bonsai because, it was said, perhaps unkindly, that he thought he was a little Bush) “implemented mandatory gun licenses and registration of all firearms”. This is not so. These requirements were already compulsory. What Howard did – and one of very few sensible things he did do – was make certain classes of weapons illegal in private hands and tighten regulations on others. So he’s wrong there too. There had been moves to toughen gun laws before, but intense lobbying by interest groups – some of whom received funding, tuition and support from the US’s NRA – had seen them blocked. Bryant galvanized the general public into supporting change.
        Another point. The women whose study he uses as the basis of his piece are members of the International Coalition for Women in Shooting and Hunting – they claim impartiality and that only they had the wisdom to look behind the conclusions of every other study done and look at the bare facts, but that’s a bit like BP funding a study into the impacts of offshore drilling in the Gulf.
        This piece is not so much a discussion on gun laws and their effects, but rather a chance for the pro-gun lobby in Australia to air its views in a “respectable” publication.
        Where is my Australia rant? If indeed I have ranted I will take steps to moderate my language in future. Oh, and a point here. I used my freewill to move to the USA in deference to my beloved Mother-in-law’s need. If at some future time I feel the need to return to Australia, then I shall act on your suggestion. That argument reminds me of an exchange at a political rally I once attended. The hopeful pointed at a heckler in the crowd and said “If you think socialism is so good, why don’t you go and live in Russia?”. The heckler shot back: “If capitalism is so good, why don’t you go and live in America?”.
        Chivalry, Mr Franklin, had very little to do with protecting women. It was more a code of conduct in battle and of relations to one’s fellow knights. Chivalrous knights thought nothing of imprisoning their women at home while spending years away on religious crusades, nor indeed of eating “infidel” children after roasting them alive. A bit of trivia for you. Another party of religious crusaders actually followed a goose around for a fortnight, believing it was a messenger from their god, sent to show them the way to Jerusalem.
        Speaking of Franklin, have you read the speech made by one Benjamin of the same name at the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention during which he says: “…I agree to this Constitution, with all its Faults…I think a General Government necessary for us…that this is likely to be well admistred for a Course of Years, and can only end in Despotism…when the People shall become so corrupted as to need Despotic Government, being incapable of any other.”

  13. Way to stir the hornets nest Billy! : ) Wonderful article….the thing that always amuses me is the surety with which Reverend Wilkins and men and women like him, think they really know what God is thinking! God Himself states that His Ways are above our ways and no one can know His mind….I think that ought to settle it!
    Miss you and hope you all are doing well

  14. I decided to follow our gentleman’s thinking to its logical conclusion which is, law abiding citizens will suffer (I suppose being denied impulse shopping of Uzi’s and the like) by stricter gun laws. Criminals don’t obey those laws anywho right? Let’s get rid of all the laws then, I find the ones against speeding especially peevish. I go the speed limit and everyone else speeds. If only I had the freedom to drive, say fifty mph in a school zone, how exhilarating that would be. Actually, I find the law criminalizing marijuana a stupid one, (no, I dont’ smoke it…..anymore). I wonder what our gentleman friend feels about that one. So many laws, so many lawbreakers. If we could just get rid of them all (the laws), we’d have no criminals and no need for prisons, I hear they are a bit of a downer. Yes, laws will always be broken, lets chuck the whole system.
    PS) I had absolutely no idea how ignorant or naive I was, I am so glad that was pointed out to me so clearly

  15. Look, this is the way it’s gonna go down.
    Someone is gonna refuse to put his cell phone on silent-vibrate because he thinks his world will end if he misses a call.
    Sure enough the phone will ring during the sermon.
    A deacon will have to enforce the rules, and he’ll shoot Mr. Important Cell Phone User.
    Then Mr. ICPU’s golf buddy will shoot the deacon.
    By the end of Sunday, we’ll have two or three fewer idiots on planet Earth. If we’re lucky, some of those will be BP executives.

  16. Very nice piece – of journalism, not ordnance. And excellently expressed point by Keith on the two kinds of fundamentalism. Thanks!

  17. Gita, that was excellent. I wish I knew you personally. You are definitely someone I could hang out with. You made me lol this morning and on a rainy day that’s not nothin’

  18. I grew up in inner city Philadelphia. I spent five years working as a police officer there, the majority of that time in the worst part of the city. In my childhood and in my time as a police officer I saw a lot of people who saved themselves and or their families with legaly owned firearms. I saw many more who suffered because they were unable to. I was always glad to see a citizen legally armed. It made me feel like there was another friend out there. I think that most street cops felt the same way, not the way that the “Police Chiefs” organizations portray, but that is just my opinion. As for Cop killer bullets, thats mostly controlled media hype. Every bullet has the potential to be a cop killer or a criminal killer. As for automatic weapons being available every where, this is a complete lie. Possesion of automatic weapons has been illegal for decades. Only collectors who surrender many civil liberties along with severe other criteria may posses them. As for statistics of crimes and guns. You can doctor data any way you like, but here are a few examples. Swiss citizens are I believe require to keep a military rifle and around 1000 rounds of ammunition in there home upon becoming an adult, additionally they are required to qualify with that weapon. I can’t remeber the last time Switzerland was invaded, additional they have one of the lowest violent crime rates in the world. Florida’s violent crime rate dropped radically when they began the practice of issueing carry permits on demand to law abiding citizens. If you look at major cities across America, the cities with the harshest gun laws have the harshest violent crime you can go through the list NY, Camden NJ, Chicago, LA etc etc, (you may find a few exceptions on our SW border). As for the intentions of the founding fathers, when evaluating the Decleration of Independence, the Constitution and Bill of Rights, Common Sense, and much of the writings of our people during this period, the intentions are crystal clear. If you don’t like guns just say it go out on a corner and scream it, I hope you do it on a street corner in urban America, you’ll be the next victim. When I first became a cop an old timer told me liberal anti gun people just haven’t been victimized yet. A year later I made an arrest where a married couple who were both attornies where robbed point of gun and ruffed up by a group of young criminals. When I spent time with the victims in court, I couldn’t help remembering what he said. You, as all people are intitled to an opinion, just be open about what you are trying to do, that is rewrite our history and transform our nation into an America our founding fathers would cringe at.

  19. Billy Howard

    And where are most of the guns causing havoc in New York coming from? Georgia! That’s right, most of the guns finding there way onto the streets of New York come from Georgia! Hooray for us. The responses to my post have gone far afield from my post, which was merely meant to reflect on the irony, or hypocrisy if you will, of “Christians” fighting to bring weapons of death and destruction into a church meant to worship a man of peace.

  20. Cliff Green

    With all due respect Michael Nolastname, I believe the discussion was about crazies who need pecker extenders carrying guns into church.

  21. Just who is this Ghandi guy??? I think Gandhi said something to the effect that he liked the teachings of Christ but not Christians, and maybe he had precisely “Christians” like Wilkins in mind! [I must confess that I really have been glad that I haven’t been carrying a gun to church, classroom, or theater at times when people have neglected to turn off their cell phones, but having said that, I suppose it will finally happen to me next!) :-)

    1. I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ.
      – Gandhi

      Amen.

  22. Alex Kearns

    “The northern colonies would have been better served under the guiding hand of strong people of liberty, people of will like our founding fathers.”
    Thus speaks Michael (suggesting that Canada would be better off if it were just another US state).

    Bwahahhahhhahaaaa….snort…guffaw…cough…(coffee through my nose). Okay, I’m under control now…I just…BWAHAHHHAAAAA. Nope, can’t do it. Must fall over….

    Some time later:
    Thank you for that Michael. I needed a good laugh.

  23. Alex Kearns

    I learned very quickly that while gun-control, religion and politics are often discussed at length in Canada, (and elsewhere in the US I assume) it is inadvisable to do so here in the Deepest South. People, for the most part, seem incapable of moderate discourse when it comes to these topics for even the most innocuous question is viewed as being a direct challenge.
    Shortly after arriving here four years ago, I made the mistaken of asking what a “Title Pawn and Gun” shop was (I had, of course, never even heard of such a thing). For some reason unknown to me this mild question (one that was born of mere curiosity) engendered the verbal equivalent of flag-waving, marching bands and vehement defences of the right to bear arms. Sheesh….I was just asking what it was.
    A woman then asked me what church I attended and I replied that I didn’t. She responded with “What are you – one of them atheistical (sic) types?” and another chimed in with “Probably social too!” (which I assume meant “socialist”). I learned there and then that God, Guns and Politics are no-fly zones.

    Apparently, for many people, a question is an attack – which pretty much precludes any discussion that would further mutual understanding and respect.

  24. Billy Howard

    And yesterday the Mayor of a Texas city outside Dallas killed her 19 year old daughter and herself with, of course, a LEGAL handgun. But let’s not have any mental health evaluations please, we need our guns to protect us….from whatever demons we may have, including, but not limited to, our own families.

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