The Character of the Toolmark:

For the past year, I've have been studying the discipline of forensic firearms and toolmarks analysis for the purpose of identifying or eliminating a suspected tool that may or may not have produced a given set of toolmarks (of which the forensic study of firearms is a subset of toolmarks).  While my training is technically a 2-year apprenticeship-type program, the discipline itself is a lifelong learning process.

The Bible tells us that God has revealed His truth and has made it evident to Mankind. (Romans 1:19).  I used to understand that pertaining primarily to the cosmos and creation.  However, the more I study firearms and tools, the more I see His truth evident at the microscopic level.

Below are a couple statements pertaining to the study of toolmarks from a published scientific journal, and following them I've included a couple references from Scripture and some thoughts about the two for its application to the Christian life:

TOOLMARKS -  "Once test toolmarks are generated, they should be compared to each other to observe the characteristics and reproducibility of the toolmarks, and then compared with the evidence toolmark."

You see, in this discipline, when we receive a tool for examination (including firearms), we obtain test samples of the tool and first compare them against each other for the purposes briefly detailed above.  Once we observe those microscopic identifying characteristics, we proceed to compare the evidence against the test sample.  We KNOW the tested tool produced the test sample, but we don't know yet if that same tool produced the evidence submitted for examination.  Simply comparing two test samples together doesn't tell us anything about the evidence; it only tells us about the test samples and their origin.  That's why we need to compare the evidence to the test.


2Corinthians 10:12 -  "...they are only comparing themselves with each other, using themselves as the standard of measurement.  How foolish!"

As followers of Jesus Christ, we are foolish to compare ourselves to each other -- i.e., "I'm better than that guy because I don't fall to such-and-such a temptation like he does..." etc.  No, you just don't sin the same way he does!  But when I compare myself against Jesus Christ -- the standard -- I see my sin for what it truly is!  SIN!

TOOLMARKS -  "...the examiner is evaluating the character of the toolmark...If significant differences are present then an elimination could be justified."

I won't get into the theological debates surrounding those who are truly "saved" or not, if the person could lose her salvation, or if she is eternally secure.  That's not the point here.  Instead -- and I recognize it's not a direct one-to-one correlation -- I want to bring out the truth of God evident everywhere we look...if we just look for it.


Ephesians 5:1 -  "Imitate God in everything you do..."  
Matthew 7:16 - "You will know a tree by its fruit."

As a follower of Jesus Christ, the character of my identifiers ought to reflect the image of Jesus Christ Himself. If they do not, where does that leave me?  (Again, I'm setting theological debates aside.)  Do my thoughts, my words, my actions -- everything about me -- reflect Jesus Christ?  I am being made daily in the likeness of my Savior, and none of us will be complete until we are finally and completely transformed in Glory.  But do I reflect him -- even if dimly -- while I sojourn this earth?

Jesus used fruit imagery; I like this toolmark imagery.  It's not "better"; just a different approach.  It speaks my language: I'm not a gardener, but I am an investigator.  And I see His truth evident it the grand, as well as the microscopic.

Source:  "An Introduction to the Forensic Examination of Toolmarks", by Jerry Miller, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; published in the Association of Firearms and Toolmarks Examiners Journal, 2001.

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