German Shepherd service dog?

What could a German Shepherd do for me?

Both my hands are swollen to three times normal size. Fingers don’t bend. Turning blue as blood vessels are vicegripped shut by the swelling. White blood cells can bead up on the surface of the stretched skin. Joints can feel as if they are dislocating. The swelling can get in the feet and stomach and intestines and face and throat as well. The latter case is often deadly. It’s hereditary. Ultra super rare. My mom was a Guinea pig at Bethesda Naval hospitals as my dad was Dept of the Navy, USMC. It can last for days or even a week or two. But it’s always there for a lifetime, ready to make the body explode like this. It can come without much reason like being overtired. You feel an ache or see the tiniest bit of swelling and you know exactly what’s going to happen. It’s so quick you can almost watch yourself literally explode. If it’s in the throat even if you make it to an emergency room you’ll likely die as they won’t know what it is, how quick it is, or what to do, giving you stuff like a blood transfusion or epinefrin. That’s for the acquired not the hereditary version. But you can’t explain that with a swollen throat. There’s carcinogenic medicine I take but that doesn’t stop all incidents by a long shot. I’ve been at death’s door dozens of times. Without the medicine I’d be dead almost immediately.

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Thanksgiving’s Squanto: essential story

squanto thanksgiving

The True Story of Thanksgiving: Squanto, the Pilgrims and the Pope,” tells the story of Squanto whose odyssey left him alienated and homeless. But without him, our Thanksgiving could not have taken place.

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A good Jesuit: Miguel Pro, S.J.

father miguel pro cristero

Today’s his feast day, 23 November. In the picture above he’s making his last prayer before being executed for being a Catholic priest. Just prior to this, he was kneeling in the same way over in Lourdes, France, in the grotto, but for many hours on end, immobile, in ecstasy. He was asking the Immaculate Conception for a cure for some health issues so that his superiors would allow him to make the long and dangerous trip to Mexico. Our Lady, knowing what would soon happen to him in Mexico, granted his desire. Off he went, not only to Mexico, but to heaven. No fear, because love casts out all fear. Wikipedia adds some things:

As Pro walked from his cell to the courtyard and the firing squad, he blessed the soldiers, knelt, and briefly prayed quietly. Declining a blindfold, he faced his executioners with a crucifix in one hand and a rosary in the other and held his arms out in imitation of the crucified Christ and shouted out, “May God have mercy on you! May God bless you! Lord, Thou knowest that I am innocent! With all my heart I forgive my enemies!” Before the firing squad were ordered to shoot, Pro raised his arms in imitation of Christ and shouted the defiant cry of the Cristeros, “Viva Cristo Rey!” – “Long live Christ the King!”. When the initial shots of the firing squad failed to kill him, a soldier shot him at point-blank range.

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Homily 2017 11 22 – “NO FEAR!” Why?

seven sons maccabees

I had nothing to say for this homily as I’m pretty sick and really tired. I was simply going to say that I had no homily. But then, this homily came out. What a fright!

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“I am a DOG with no worms” – Shadow “Maggot, I am, not a man” – GOD

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Since the moment the police arranged for me to get Shadow, a pure-bred German Shepherd, his poops were continuously softer (worms?) and stickier (blood?) until they were like thick water. Enough’s enough. I didn’t want him to bleed out. Off to the veterinarian.

Yep. The entire array of every kind of worm known to dogs were ripping his intestines to shreds. That’s why he was so thin, ribs cutting your hands just about. He was put on a course of two antibiotics for ten days, twice a day, and a large inside the throat “injection” of a good cup-full of white paste one a day for three days.

It would have made for hilarious youtube videos if I were to have filled out antics. I wanted to make sure he was going to get his medicine and not spit it out in the grass. GSDs are too smart for the own good methinks. So I put them manually down his throat. Fun! The wrestling match was on. The rules: he doesn’t bite me, and he never even thought about it, good doggie-puppy that he is. Everything went down so far. His poops became healthy poops, not sticky, not smelly, almost immediately. Father George: Dog Poop Slave.

More than half-way through the process and still having to do the pills morning and evening, and half getting a heart attack with a GSD that is now rapidly putting on healthy weight, with both of us exhausted, both out of breath, both having to sit to catch our breath, it finally hit me to pray to Saint Anthony, Saint Francis, Saint John Bosco, Saint Roch and my Guardian Angel: “Please let this go smoothly.” It’s now twice I did that. No problems at all. It wasn’t pleasant having Shadow be a mere shadow of his former shadowiness. But now he’s a healthy Shadow once again.

Meanwhile, what to do with a maggot? Kill it! We treated Jesus, God-Man, like a maggot. Psalm 22:6. A maggot nailed to the Cross. And the translation is maggot, not simply worm.

By the way, Jesus stood in our place, the Innocent for the guilty, which means that we’re the actual maggots. Humility provides the opportunity of thanksgiving to Jesus.

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Hope starts in present reality: a totally untoward analogy, but… Hey! It works.

holy souls hermitage ad orientem 3

The chapel at the hermitage has dismantled for a long time as the possible selling of the property is always but always going to happen “tomorrow.” But memories are good.

On the day-off yesterday I spent just a little bit of time putting out a few rounds while on my way to meal down the mountain with friendly conversation with good friends.

Trying out the different stages of the Federal Air Marshall Tactical Pistol Course was the challenge for the day. My timer only goes to 1/10 of a second increments, so I rounded off the time for each part of each stage to a shorter time to make it that much more difficult. Then, with hot barrel (that’s cheating, btw), I raced through the course itself from start to finish, getting a mere 96 out of a possible 150 points. All bullets solidly hit the target, but not all got full points. Those in the outer silhouette of QIT-97 or any line (a very solid hit in its own right) got two points, but for the inner “bottle” (a nervous system dead shot) five points were to be had. I was “in time” with all stages. 96/150=64%. Pitiful. But I love it, knowing I could improve as time goes on. If you are a F.A.M., to be able to fly you have to have 90% (135/150) and be “in-time” on all seven stages before whatever flight (pre-September 11, 2001). There lot’s of room for improvement for me. But there is real feedback on the almost autistically pedantic score sheet by which one is encouraged. I image that I must be on the spectrum somewhere…

Here’s the deal, while hope regards the future (when I’ll get 150/150 cold barrel), that hope depends on present reality, which is that there is some little bit of skill that I can, in fact, depend on, already within my muscle memory. I’m much better than I was a year ago when I first fired a pistol for the first time in my life. I have so very much ground I need to cover. I would like to get 150/150 every time, no matter the circumstances. A LEO told me to never get 100% on any qualification, never putting all bullets into the same bullet hole, because a prosecutor after a critical incident will say that a miss (Hey! It can happen to the best) that hit an innocent bystander was instead on purpose. That’s a malicious argument, but it is in fact made by the unscrupulous. I don’t have to worry about that right now. I’m such a bad shot that that would never come up.

Anyway, do the analogy. The hope we have for heaven is based on knowing by faith the realities of things unseen. We have the love of Christ. We know that is not from us, but from Him. That means everything. He’s alive. He’s with us. He wants us in heaven. And with Him, we can get 150/150 in faithfulness even in the small things while life goes on, which makes for great hope of getting to heaven, not because we are good but because He is so very good and so very kind. If we fail, there is Confession, showing us just how good and kind He is. I go to Confession a lot, as should we all. Jesus has us dead to rights, having us be killed off to ourselves so as to live only for Him, that we might carry about, as Saint Paul says, His dying for us (the glory of that self-sacrificing love) in our mortal bodies that the glory of His resurrection might be manifest (see 2 Cor 4:10).

And Jesus is deadly serious. Look at His being tortured to death to see just how deadly serious He is that we be killed off to ourselves so as to live only for him. And Jesus is a deadly shot, so to speak.

People might think this to be an untoward analogy, but those who know, know this, that the spiritual death to ourselves so as to live only for Christ Jesus is a death incomparably more painful than any other kind of physical death that we can imagine. And yet this is wrought be His love which we know as His love, which is encouraging, which gives us hope.

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Donkey ears strain at salt’s saltiness

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The donkey near the hermitage was feasting on a new salt block yesterday. It’s good to have a bit of the salt of the earth within us, a bit of feistiness, you know, spiritually. If so, that truth and justice and mercy and goodness and kindness, that walking in the presence of Jesus with all friendship would have us do this to protect the flock:

DONKEY FOX

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (not flowers but… edition)

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As a little kid, whenever I would collect any “flowers” – depending on the time of year – so as to give them to my mom, there would have to be some background stuff, which could be simple sticks, or Pussy Willows, Cattails, Milkweed husks… whatever. All of that might even make up the entire “bouquet”, more like a conglomeration of whatever.

Pictured above is the Pear Tree at the entrance to the property on which the hermitage still stands, at least temporarily. So, I picked these Autumn glories for Jesus’ good mom with all the enthusiasm of a little kid. A legitimate joy upon this earth I should think, that is available to any of us, if only we know how to look for the “flowers.”

Jesus’ good mom is very forgiving, and, methinks, very much likes a well placed clump of grass rather than a much too staid presentation. Kind of like our spiritual lives. What think you?

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Society’s opiate: non-identity

mother teresa of calcutta home of the dying

West Bengal is a Communist State of India which has the objective of making the rich richer and the poor poorer in hopes that there will be a clash that can be instigated between the two. The state banks encourage this, begging foreign companies basically to enslave the poor locals. They’re quite frank about it. Meanwhile, the culture is so ingrained with one’s lot in life not changing until one’s next reincarnation that nothing changes except for the state to continue to capitalize on the disparity that they’ve encouraged, feeding the greed being their opiate, their idenity. Meanwhile, in the West, protesters for a communist agenda such as antifa are paid, which means they absolutely don’t otherwise care, feeding the greed being their opiate, their identity.

Then there are those who approach life through love, like Mother T in the picture above, in the home for the dying, Jesus, who is life and truth and love and justice being her identity. No opiate, no escape, just reality, just Jesus, just great joy in His love and truth and goodness and kindness. I worked there in that very room myself, it seems many lifetimes ago, trying to understand the love that was radiating there, a love based on dignity and respect, on integrity and honesty, on seeing Christ Jesus holding out redemption to all. This is no blindfold to the wretched state of humanity, and doesn’t ignore economic and political realities, but it also gives those things no credence on any side of any way of going about things if there is not also room for that Love who is Truth, Christ Jesus, our identity. And that should be part of any analysis by economists and political leaders. Justice and mercy are to be encouraged.

Having said that, I’ve never seen a communist take care of anyone, ever, for that would, by definition, take away the speed of the dialectic that is instead pushed by unjust violence, killing anyone and everyone, rich and poor, to make everyone angry, all in an attempt, in their non-believing believing way, to kill Jesus once again in whomever. Communists only love power, feeding the greed, their opiate, their identity, or lack thereof.

Checks and balances on other ways of going about things, such as respecting the inalienable God-given rights of individuals who without exception have their own dignity and worth, are the way to go. With those other ways, there are, at least, opportunities, sometimes ample, to manifest the love of Christ Jesus in all mercy, in all justice. If it’s not all about Jesus, it’s all about the opiate of violence, the “power” of violence, the violence which is a tool to feed the greed.

This becomes surreal when it is a religious leader who, as a non-believer, bullies others into their dialectic violence, trying to force others to be mirror images of themselves, utopia being themselves, self-absorbed Promethean neo-Pelagians that they are, having lost their identity in having lost Christ.

I think of a seminary rector who had an ex-priest teach a course to seminarians on how to rationalize an abortion in any situation (that was in my home town) so that, in doing so, he told me himself, he could feel better about the suicide-euthanasia of his father who starved himself to death, he going along with this, even though his father was otherwise in perfect health. He said he went along with this because religion didn’t explain the meaning of suffering (such as being bored with life because of being a non-believer), he apparently having never heard of original sin and the just consequences of that sin which we still suffer in all justice in this world even while Christ Jesus has stood in our place, the innocent for the guilty, so that we can do the right thing with His friendship, His grace, His love and truth and goodness and kindness, even while we continue to suffer those consequences of sin freely chosen with the sin (those consequences being removed as we enter heaven). If it’s not about Jesus, it’s about the opiate of self-worship, the opiate of violence, of “power”, of control over others, an identity of vacuousness.

That seminary rector sounds pretty bad, right? But there are those who are very pious in their own eyes but who refuse with near dialectic might makes right to see the redemption wrought by Jesus’ death being needed by everyone everywhere all the time, in both Church and State, all of society, all individuals: “We’re all nice always.” And that is also a betrayal of Jesus, to ignore why He came, to congratulate ourselves that we’re doing just fine without Him, to give oneself a licence to participate in an imaginary dialectic that smashes others into the structures of one’s own outlook, one’s own utopia, one’s own opiate of self-worship, one’s own vacuous identity of nothing.

And then there are those who, because abandoned by a preceding generation to an identity of vacuousness, have turned to actual opiates as their very identity. And the usual death follows.

There are those with non-identity in Church and State. And then there are those who find their identity in Christ Jesus, Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception, who will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire. Amen.

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Lord of War: How passé! But what if?

Yep. That would be right. No one will go there to investigate because it’s already way, way, way beyond anyone’s pay grade to do so. And it’s dangerous, that, messing around with national security that mixes with politics. So, no one goes there.

But then – hey! – that’s a carte blanche invitation by those running black programs to expand on their power, getting their own bosses in place and holding government to the ongoing ransom of their own job security and lack of scandal. RICOesque, to be sure, on the part of anything interdepartmental, especially that which is purposely ignored by any OIG, but there it is. People do get hurt and are bound to get hurt. But Tillerson’s response at Main State at the moment is brilliant, though only partial. If he only knew.

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Homily 2017 11 20 – effects of pc culture & self-absorption: stomping on others

christ healing blind man jericho

“Jesus healing blind Bartimaeus” by Johann Heinrich Stöver, 1861. Hesse, Germany.
 – photo credit – Marion Halft

I gotta wonder about the new found conversion of those praising Jesus for this healing right after they had been trying to forbid it, kicking this fellow in the face. The tables are immediately turned when he gets his sight back and they look like total fools. Yet this fellow is not vengeful, but rather praises God. And perhaps this leads them to true conversion. They see the love of Jesus and love he receives back. And they like it. Good.

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Homily 2017 11 10 – Talents multiplied

Pope John Paul II - juggling audience

Juggling act before Saint Pope John Paul II

This past Sunday’s Gospel was on the multiplication of talents. It seems I have no talent for recording. The digital memory card maxed out. Gotta erase the previous sessions. Some points:

  • It absolutely doesn’t matter how many talents we have. Anyone who uses whatever talent he has to multiply it in whatever way will receive the same reward as the one who has many more talents and also multiplies them. The same reward. Heaven.
  • The fellow with the one talent who didn’t multiply his one talent didn’t do so because he couldn’t but because he had hatred and cynicism and bitterness in his heart. He purposely buried his one talent for the reason that he wanted to strike out at his Master who harvests where he did not plant and gathers where he did not scatter. He thought he was entitled to heaven because of his arrogance, which is really evil, a very thorough and very dark arrogance indeed.
  • If we have our Lord’s love we will multiply the talents through that love. The soup kitchen guy working the ladle at the pot, if he does this with love, will inspire others to work in a similar way, multiplying his talents. The same guy, if he does this with self-referential congratulations, will be lucky if he isn’t drowned in the same soup bucket by his clientele.
  • If we are left with no talents at all except our very existence, we can also use that to a good end. For instance, in the news we see that a WWII Vet (who would be in his 90s) who died crying for help while being laughed at and mocked by the Veterans Administration nurses, had but one talent left while that happened, his very existence. If a Vet is being cared for in whatever way by the VA, you have to know that they have already gone through hell in battle, risking laying down their lives for all. I bet that he was a big enough man to take this final insult, and faced going to his judgment with peace and a forgiving heart.
  • Jesus, who had all the talents in the Universe, being the Creator of all, was commanded to throw away even the talents of his life upon earth. He could speak all languages, convert people to the depth of their souls on the spot, teaching with authority, cure the sick, raise the dead. But the one talent His Father wanted Him to use was his very life upon earth, being stripped of all, tortured to death, standing in our place, the innocent for the guilty, to bring us peace and forgiveness, to have us be on our way to heaven.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (berry berry quite contrary edition)

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Holly! Four of them out back of the rectory so as to put down roots so as to protect the bank of the stream after someone removed a number of rosebud trees on the rectory property just in that place while I was away on retreat back in October. Behold the four of them:

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The stream can become a raging torrent during a hard rain.

I gotta say, I like the brand name of the Holly trees. They’re called “Patriot.” They put out flowers much like the rosebuds, often right on the branches, like the rosebuds. A good development from a bad situation. I like it.

Meanwhile, it being after the November elections, the two gentlemen who were helping out, both heavy into local politics, enlightened me as to what the situation of various volunteer organizations in town was like. I mean, I knew that. It had been told to me before. But every time I hear it my reaction is like hearing it for the first time. It’s outrageous the conditions under which some of our volunteers risk their lives in the service of others. But, maybe, once again, we can make a bad situation better, even at the risk of being perceived as being contrary.

Doing the right thing is often considered to be just being contrary in a fallen world. Our Lady didn’t mind being in solidarity with Him who is Himself a Sign of Contradiction in this fallen world. She knows all about it. She knows her Son, Jesus.

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Active shooter scenario based training for church preparedness programs

gun at low ready

Someone who takes care of such things recently offered me the following scenario, asking if it would be appropriate to draw down on someone with a gun and, indeed, shoot him, that is, with no further information provided and action being immediately necessitated because of what had just happened (this being a trick question):

Say you, the priest, are outside the front entrance of the Church greeting visitors to your tiniest of all tiny parish churches in the middle of absolutely Nowhereville. Say that as you’re chit-chatting two shots and then immediately a third ring out inside the church and you rush into the entrance of the church, being immediately faced only a second later with a fellow whom you’ve never seen before holding a gun in his hands, looking very emotionally overwhelmed, splattered with blood, but himself not being injured that you can see… Can you, should you, must you shoot him?

The answer of course is absolutely not until more information, perhaps all provided in the next nanosecond, is to be had.

In our little church in which so very many are armed and well able to defend themselves or others, whether visitors or not (we get a lot of very very capable visitors btw), my first thought would be that some ne’erdowell had begun to shoot others (the first two shots), and that the third shot was from a good guy who was defending the innocent. Although he had the capacity and opportunity to shoot again, and indeed, his gun was pointed in my direction at low ready, this fellow may have no intent to do any more shooting as he had already ended the threat, merely having acted in the defense of others, but being ready for any other bad actor to enter the scene. But I don’t know yet whether he’s a good guy or a bad guy.

If he raises his gun at me, some action may be necessary. But if, considering me to be no threat, raises it up towards the congregation, well, I still don’t know. That behavior would tell me that there may be more than one perpetrator and he’s seen another raise his gun to shoot non-weaponized parishioners. Assessment is necessary, and in this case would only take another 1/2 second. You don’t want to take out the good guy while he’s stopping mortal threats.

The subsequent information gathering will be important. Meanwhile, even if he’s an apparent good guy, his gun is to be confiscated until the police arrive. Criminals and especially terrorists are particularly scrupulous about leaving no one alive in their own group who might be able to rat out others and/or any connections, the whereabouts of computers, phones, etc. Killing your own and then oneself is often the modus operandi of such people.

Hopefully, it can be seen from this story just how important scenario based training is.

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DHS Active Shooter Preparedness Program for churches

active shooter texas church

From DHS: Active shooter incidents, in many cases, have no pattern or method to the selection of victims, which results in an unpredictable and evolving situation. In the midst of the chaos, anyone can play an integral role in mitigating the impacts of an active shooter incident.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) provides a variety of no-cost resources to the public and private sector to enhance preparedness and response to an active shooter incident. The goal of the Department is to ensure awareness of actions that can be taken before, during, and after an incident.

Active Shooter Preparedness Program

DHS maintains a comprehensive set of resources and in-person and online trainings that focus on behavioral indicators, potential attack methods, how to develop emergency action plans, and the actions that may be taken during an incident.

Active Shooter Online Training

This one-hour online course (IS-907 Active Shooter: What You Can Do) provides an introductory lesson on the actions that may be taken when confronted by an active shooter, as well as indicators of workplace violence and how to manage the consequences of an incident. To access this course, please visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Emergency Management Institute online training website at http://www.training.fema.gov/is/crslist.aspx and type Active Shooter in the search bar.

Active Shooter Preparedness Workshop Series

These scenario-based workshops feature facilitated discussions to inform participants on the best practices associated with preparing for and responding to an active shooter incident. Through a dynamic exchange of information, these workshops provide participants an understanding of how to plan and aid in the development of an initial draft of an emergency action plan for their organizations. For more information on these workshops, please contact the Active Shooter Preparedness Program at ASworkshop@hq.dhs.gov.

Active Shooter Online Resources

There are additional resources available online to inform individuals on how to prepare for active shooter incidents. These resources range from booklets and pocket guides, to a 90-minute webinar that explains the importance of developing an emergency action plan and the need to train employees on how to respond to an incident. To access these resources, please visit http://www.dhs.gov/activeshooter.

Contact Information

For general information regarding the Active Shooter Preparedness Program, please email ASworkshop@hq.dhs.gov.

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That’s from the DHS website. I would add here that…

  • I would like to see among first responders to an active shooter critical incident on a church campus my own parishioners who are already on campus, and who are LEOs, military operators, or otherwise highly trained individuals who can instantly respond to and neutralize any threat, that is, those who don’t rest on their laurels, but who are frosty, always and instantly at the ready.
  • I would NOT like to see parishioners participating in this program who have a concealed carry permit but who, other than their first qualification have never fired their stop-the-threat-tool, or have only rarely done so. I can see it now: fumbling around in a purse or ultra-complicated safety holster (with all sorts of unnecessary safeties employed on the gun itself), trying to figure out how to use for the first time red-dot sights or lasers with all their switches or not (depending), with batteries being useful or dead, with zero scenario training, zero indicator awareness, zero situational awareness, and therefore little possibility of recognizing and isolating a target and therefore being caught off guard with a lack of confidence and therefore way too much hesitation and liability to foggy confusion, and therefore with an increased possibility of causing friendly fire casualties.
  • I would like to see the very same parishioners and others help to get those around them out of the building or, if that’s impossible, to the floor, even while getting out their phones and calling 911 and/or (depending on the circumstances and logistics) fighting with anything at hand: hymn books, loose chairs, music stands, instruments… oneself…
  • But here’s where the importance of a plan comes in, when everyone should know their part to play, so that flight or dropping to the floor is important so as to give clear access to defenders who have the proper tools to stop to a threat, therefore reducing the possibility of a friendly fire causality. The placement of defenders in good positions of situational awareness and the possibility of responding is key.
  • Flight-hide-fight.    This is about love.

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For myself, I’ve been trying to keep practiced with my Glock 19 by using the pre-September 11, 2001 Federal Air Marshall Tactical Pistol Course, using just a detail of a combined FBI QIT (97-99) printable on legal size paper. I include that graphic below with another graphic printable on letter size paper which includes a score sheet to track one’s progress in training. Accurate feedback is encouraging and standards can be set.

FBI QIT 99 97 legal

TARGET FAM PTC SCORESHEET

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Defending innocents – Loving enemies – Love overrides fear using it as a tool: stopping active shooters in churches

consecration-

ISIS is threatening terrorist events at Christmas time on specifically Catholic churches. Distinctions are necessary. Priests should be clear-headed about such things. Fear in the face of terrorism isn’t always a bad thing. But there are a number of kinds of fear, some good, some bad. Let’s take just a peek at both, starting with bad fear:

  • Bad fear, arising from our own insecurities, causes misplaced priorities, causing mistakes, causing imprudence bringing about reactions which might well bring about one’s own injury or death, or the same for innocent by-standers, or the same for the perpetrator in an unnecessary and unjustified escalation of force.
  • The insecurities causing bad fear regard any lack of readiness to leave this world considering one’s loved ones or one’s own responsibilities and dreams and plans or regarding any lack of personal spiritual preparedness for entering into eternity: if one isn’t ready to let go, if one hasn’t discussed this with loved ones and advisers, if one isn’t prepared to understand that it is a real possibility that one might not be able to get out of a threat or possibly might not be able to deescalate troubles, well then, bad things are probably going to happen: see above.
  • Bad fear casts out all love. I know a priest who said that he would absolutely for certain abandon his flock to the wolves so that he could come back later and be a priest another day. I attempted to instruct him that with that attitude, he wasn’t even now being a pastor of the flock. Perhaps he despaired of being able to do something about bad fear, and simply gave up.

Love casts out bad fear by having us depend on the Lord’s good love, not our own. Just to say, there is good fear and love can put that good fear to good use. Let’s take a peek:

  • Good fear regards the God-given good instinct for self-preservation. We can’t simply explain quite stupidly — “NO FEAR!” — thinking that that will bear out to be true in a critical incident situation. Good fear is a necessity and can be used to provide oneself with a good education in understanding and noting indicators of danger, to obtain good training, to keep oneself on edge with ever changing drills but also basic mechanics. Good fear puts an immediacy on prudently evaluating whatever situation. Good fear opens oneself up to having before oneself any number of possible avenues of recourse while choosing quite instantaneously the right course of action.
  • Good fear is the beginning of wisdom. Good fear is a gift of the Holy Spirit. Good fear places one before all eternity with all the prerequisite changes in one’s priorities, with all the security one has in one’s participation in God’s self-sacrificing love, looking forward to entering into all eternity if that becomes a necessity that one risks, as it were, in taking up such a life and life-style.
  • Good fear respects God’s justice, that is, with all piety, rendering honor to whom honor is due in justice.

Now, such analysis doesn’t mean that one doesn’t love one’s enemy, the active shooter, who is injuring or killing innocents. Our dear Lord can well sort out the results of one’s intervention in which one has put oneself at risk to stop the perpetrator. Recall what our Lord said just before being tortured to death, laying down His own life, the Innocent for the guilty: “Father, forgive them! They don’t even know what they are doing.” Defending the innocent doesn’t mean anything about the judgment of the perpetrator. Defending the innocent doesn’t mean that one is cruel or mean. One can retain one’s love of God and neighbor even when pulling the trigger on a perpetrator who is actively injuring and/or killing others or oneself.

Being a priest myself, I was asked whether or not, after myself hypothetically pulling the trigger and neutralizing any immediate and mortal threat, I would then proceed to absolve the sin of the criminal involved, if, for instance, the same fellow, being Catholic, did not refuse the sacrament as he might be actively dying, or was, in the same state, also unconscious. I would, of course, offer such an absolution. For instance, present insanity, in which case he is not guilty of any malice, does not exclude the forgiveness of any past sin at the possible moment of death. There is no sin too great that God’s mercy cannot provide forgiveness. But unrepented presumption of mercy is a sin against the Holy Spirit, for which there is no forgiveness, but that’s on the perp, not me. God’s the Judge.

“Defending innocents and loving enemies” — They’re not subject to the law of non-contradiction. Jesus is just that good and just that kind. Amazing, huh?

P.S. The flip-side of this last scenario would be whether or not a defender, having neutralized a threat against innocent, should be absolved from sin. I would never absolve such a person for doing such a violent thing because it is not sinful but rather virtuous and indeed heroic to defend the innocent from catastrophic injury and death. People wrongfully feel guilt for any number of things, including merely having happened to see a violent incident. Wrongfully forgiving that which was always innocent only seals people in wrong-headed guilt, which action on the part of the wrongful “forgiver” is IMHO a sin. It’s that kind of puritanesque being-above-the-fray judgment on good defenders which throws good people into the hell of PTSD, making them victims of holier-than-thou bullying instead of helping them to be one with everyone, which they were to begin with, and certainly much more so than any self-appraised do-gooders.

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Homily 2017 11 17 – Apocalyptic love

turkey vultures buzzards

Part of a kettle of vultures in my parish in Western North Carolina.

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Guardian angel assigned to me, or not!

guardian angel

I’m such an idiot. Even though I say the Guardian Angel prayer all the time, I’ve always payed attention to the last parts but not the introduction:

Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom God’s love commits me here, ever this day, be at my side, to light and guard, rule and guide. Amen.

So, up to now, I’ve always stayed with the common understanding always expressed with hesitancy (because it’s wrong) that Guardian Angels are assigned to us. Um… No!

We, instead, are assigned to Guardian Angels. When’s the last time you thanked your Guardian Angels for tolerating (with love of course) that we are assigned to them?

This paradigm shift in understanding sheds light on what I always knew, that it would be wrong and reckless and arrogant if we were to name our guardian angels like we might name a dog, something cute and fluffy to be sure, and also wrong to depict them as that which is all chiffon and wispy and cut and fluffy.

saint michael police officer down

By the way, they want to do whatever it takes to get us to heaven, which doesn’t necessarily include saving us from some earthly mortal danger. Just so you know.

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Homily 2017 11 16 – End of the world

end of the world

  • Fear casts out all love. So, how stupid is that?
  • Love casts out all fear. So, how great is that?

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priest gunslingers vs active shooters

saint gabriel possenti patron

The Saint Gabriel Possenti Society recalls the time when the now canonized saint saved a young lady from being raped by employing the tools he had at hand.

The need for using tools to ward off untoward violence even in Saint Podunk parish church that seats 25 people isn’t a thing of the past. Active shooter critical incidents and terrorist attacks are happening as frequently in these USA as they are anywhere in the world, whether in the podunk church or the mega-church. It’s time to harden the softest of all soft targets. ISIS is promising hits on Catholics on Christmas.

Choosing to familiarize oneself with the proper tools so as to be of service to one’s neighbor is a life decision, a life-style decision. Getting class-room training and being legal with any permits isn’t enough. One has to do drills and hopefully also scenario training with some frequency.

As I myself begin to become familiarized with my G19 (it’s only been a year and some since I fired my first shot out of a pistol), I’ve practiced with any number of target sizes and distances, moving and stationary, but have never seen anything like the pre-9-11 Air Marshal qualification put together by Tom Bullins. It was severely dumbed down after 9-11 since almost no one was able to pass even once. Few instructors in the nation were able to make the grade. So it was dumped. But the original course can still be pieced together and put into practice on a private range using the QIT-97 (the QIT-99 if you want to show off). This is the best explanation I’ve seen for the “old” Federal Air Marshall TPC Course.

On the day off the other day I tried to pass all seven stages 100% twice. But that, mind you, was just to get used to the times and what needed to be done. This wasn’t coming in cold before a flight or set of flights as was otherwise the case back in the day when Air Marshals were Air Marshals. Mind you, I bet today’s Air Marshals most likely practice on this old course on their own. For myself, there were many failures of time and accuracy in between getting familiarized with the seven stages. 1/10 second overtime failure on even one of the seven stages would disqualify an Air Marshall from flying. Wow. That’s jaw dropping. Trying out each stage was truly hilarious, what with spinning about and dropping down while changing out mags and shooting, etc. All stages are insanely difficult, but because of that, a challenge and therefore enjoyable.

A Navy vet in the parish recommended that I trade in my Glock for a Sig p320 (with the voluntary military upgrade). I’m considering that. There are many versions of the p320. I hate the idea of safeties. I really like the Glock “safe-action.” But, as I say, there are different versions. That needs investigation.

Meanwhile, there is much discussion about churches having “plans” which also include those who carry. I would like to approach this with some preparation and common sense with input from law enforcement. I understand that some law enforcement has been encouraged to provide programs for churches by the FBI. I’d like to look into that.

What I would like to see among parishioners who carry with permit is that they are well practiced, are level headed, and know what they are doing.

Or should Saint Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows just said a Hail Mary while the girl was getting raped, you know, in case his actions with tools might otherwise escalate the situation? It is instead virtuous to contribute to the virtue of justice with the defense of the innocent when this is appropriate and prudent and possible to accomplish in appropriate and prudent and possible ways. While use of guns is a last resort, it is sometimes the only possibility.

People who deny this want to use Jesus and the Church to deny reality, and smash down anyone who gets in their way. Whatever. Jesus was and is a realist. And Saint Gabriel is still a canonized saint.

 

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