CCW priest? To carry or not to carry?

The naysayers ask:

“Why on earth would a priest carry a weapon? What a scandal! Leave that kind of thing to the professionals! There are police for that sort of thing, you know. Only they should have guns.”

They’re the same people who say that Police are evil and bad and shouldn’t be allowed to have guns.

priests wear all blackIn response, I think of Father Kenneth Walker, FSSP – may he rest in peace – who would have used his CCW had he had a chance. By the way, if even he didn’t even get the chance, do you think the police would have been there in time to save him? No? At least his chances were better with a CCW. Sure, if it’s our time to go it’s our time to go, but meanwhile, we can do the act of charity of at least trying to be available for the self-defense of others. That’s not a lesser of two evils. That’s a positive contribution to the virtue of justice, even if the perp should die. And Father Kenneth was trying to save another person who was being beaten just about to death  (another priest) until Father Kenneth intervened. I think that black lives matter, that is, that the lives of priests matter, you know, men in black, whatever race they happen to be. There are plenty of creeps who don’t think so.

dylannIt’s not a matter of a priest asking whether or not churches are left out of the mix or not, as there are plenty of CCW parishioners at church for any given event, at least in my parish. But, as it is, the priest only spends a relatively small percentage of his time in church. He is otherwise with the community one way or another, perhaps much more than the average Joe. It’s not a matter of a priest asking whether he himself is worried for his own safety, as that’s not really the point I wouldn’t think. It’s to be available to help others in difficult circumstances. But having said that, yes, there are a number of times during which I wish I had had a CCW, like the time I ran to stop an arson in progress, recording the whole thing with 911. The pretty much daily repercussions of that are still not over, and that’s well over a year ago.

But it’s not even for that that I ask the question about CCWs and myself. I have to wonder if I’m a bit of a unique case, so much so, as you know, that the FBI once gave me a false passport. Someone needing a clean identity stole mine, and commenced committing all sorts of crimes with all sorts of really, really evil people right around the world, then dropped my identity and took up his own once again, leaving me with the sole responsibility for having done all sorts of really evil things internationally. But if those various crowds he had been dealing with should look me up for more of the same or to shut me up (though I know nothing) I would at least feel a little more prepared for the confrontation with a CCW. And then there’s me dealing with the Islamic terrorist crowd, that is, personally. Having made friends in this country or that, they would only realize later that they had been had. But I just had to understand the terrorist mentality a bit more. And I did get to know it. And I dare say I understand it. But all that wins me no friends on the terrorist side of things. I guess I would feel better with a CCW.

But feeling a little more prepared with a CCW is about what, just feelings? Is there more to it? Is it worth all the effort to train up? That’s a big investment for both time and treasure. To me, a CCW is the kind of thing you use as a tool to make you much more able calmly to diffuse a situation with a confidence perhaps even surpassing that Crocodile Dundee with his knife. And that’s what it’s all about, right? Diffusing situations. Needs level headedness.

This brings me back to what is still one of the most popular posts on this blog with school districts, all sort of government entities, even nuclear sites which want to intensify training for everyone on site:

Active Shooter: The Coming Storm (FBI: Train now!)

Anyway, I’m thinking of a Kel-Tec PMR-30, which can still be a CCW for someone tall and heavy with a loose shirt. That would be me. However, I’m open to suggestions…

And I do have all sorts of people with ineffable military backgrounds who, knowing my history, have basically been begging to teach me how to shoot a pistol. I figured out how to do the sniper thing as a kid all on my own (even slowing my heart-beat), but that was a long-rifle. Pistols are a whole different thing. I’d like to empty the clip into a 25 cent sized target at, say, 25 yards. Is that unrealistic? I’ve always said, don’t start unless you’re the best, otherwise you’ll be nervous and that can only hurt people. Am I wrong?

Out of respect for Father Walker, no smart aleck comments, please.

UPDATE: Someone sent an email to hint that I might be imprudent to say that presently I don’t carry. But the bad guys around here don’t read this blog. When they see me they surely assume that I do carry. In fact, a worker (illegally) frisked me for CCW in Lowes a while back. I guess it’s the loose fitting shirt thing. I’ve been told a thousand times for decades right around the world that I look like law enforcement. Why? It is what it is.


Filed under Guns, Priesthood, Terrorism

12 responses to “CCW priest? To carry or not to carry?

  1. nancyv

    Yes, let someone teach you to shoot a pistol. Then you will maybe recognize whether or not you have the propensity (right word?) to obtain CCW. I don’t know if our pastor carries, but I do know that some of our ushers have CCW and the priest is ok with that. So am I.

  2. There is nothing wrong with weapons, concealed or otherwise. Folks who think gun control will solve problems are ignorant of human nature and bible history. Cain killed Abel and weapons hadn’t been invented yet. There are lots of good reasons to know how to handle a pistol. Go for it.

  3. Well, if you are dealing with a jihadi, or simply a violent criminal with a drug-addled brain, it is NOT about “diffusing a situation.” It is about choosing between being a martyr (in the case of a jihadi) or murder statistic (in the case of the drug addled violent criminal) and possibly killing someone else to prevent yourself or someone else from becoming one of the above prematurely.

    The question is, if you wind up killing someone in defense of self or others, would you be able to handle it?

    I have two CCW permits, and am planning to obtain, at some point, a 5-shot “hand-cannon” (0.454 or 0.50) revolver to bring along when back-packing in bear country (in case the pepper spray does not work, or the charging bear is upwind, or tearing into my tent while I or someone is in it). That would not be a good choice for home defense, though, or protection against rabid dogs or violent people one might meet in the street (or a nightclub, or in a classroom, or in church, etc…).

    If you buy a pistol, I would be curious as to your selection, and your estimation of your answer to the semi-rhetorical question I pose.

    • Father George David Byers

      Thanks bonomo. Zero recoil. That’s important for me because of a medical condition. Also, little reloading when shooting paper to death. Of course, you never know what your reaction will be until you experience it. It’s something I would surely carry with me the rest of my life every day. It is a life changer not just for the person who is put under.

      Being clear on the morality is important for avoiding PTSD. I tend to be able to think under stress. That’s important. Knowing that I already killed Someone with my sins and now offer His Sacrifice daily on the altar is essential. Diffusing is always the attitude. I actively dislike confrontation with the reaction being diffusion, diffusion, diffusion. But if it has to be it has to be. But there would be no regrets. It would be sad, yes, but there would be no regrets.

      And, maybe I’m mistaken, but in my experience everyone is different. There are terrorists like the Boston marathon killers and the Orlando killer, but there are also others who simply don’t want to do what they are pushed into. Talk to any Israeli check point guard who will verify that for you, at least back in the day when suicide vests could be taken off by the usually all too young petrified boy, so that he could be talked through divesting at a distance from the guard. I remember talking down a terrorist, but only to the point where he committed suicide the first chance he got but without killing anyone else. When you disobey your terrorist overlords, your fate can be too frightening to think about. Terrorists are often themselves victims of terror. Not always, but often enough.

      Also, druggies are wildly different. Even if someone is on PCP, when you’re talking to invulnerable and pain free dissociation (dangerous!), there’s a chance of disabling them. They have no brain to use at that moment. Cocaine users are just the opposite, ultra alert, violent, determined. But if you can wait out their “high”, they crash so far so quickly so violently that they can’t think straight anymore.

      Example: one of our cops in a neighboring city was chasing on foot a druggie on perhaps cocaine. The guy was shooting wildly. The cop kept his cool. The druggie ran into a river a few feet deep, still shooting. The cop followed him and tackled him and dragged him out and cuffed him, never firing a shot. You just have to know how to read situations. The guy later thanked the cop, as he now repented of his… wait for it… wanting suicide by cop. His whole life is turned around now. He would never have actually shot the cop and the cop just knew it.

      I realize that when you draw a gun on someone you have to have the wherewithal to pull the trigger and that the circumstances totally warrant such a use of the gun… but… just sayin’…

  4. Nan

    It’s good to have priests who are armed and dangerous. This would just add tools to your arsenal.

    • Father George David Byers

      A parishioner just now told me that her cousin priest was shot in the back of the head execution style…

  5. I tend to go back and forth with myself on the self-defense business. On the one hand, one of may ambitions in life is to get through life with without every hurting anyone, at least deliberately. On the other hand, even though I do not have any formal dependents, my early departure at the hands of a drug-crazed or just plain evil individual would certainly be disturbing (not to mention inconvenient) for a number of people. I remind myself that Jesus, prior to his Passion, counseled his apostles to carry lethal weapons. Even so, the idea of me hurting someone else gives me pause, especially if it involves killing someone, however righteously, before he has a chance to repent. I am not sure what that would do to me.

    I hope I never have to find out.

  6. Nan

    How horrible. What country did that take place in and how recently? Was the perp brought to justice?

  7. sanfelipe007

    I have no problem with a Priest packing heat. After all, Peter packed the heat of his day.

  8. One more point to keep in mind Father. Make sure the pistol you select is easy to take apart, clean and reassemble as well as having low recoil. Some are really beauties but not so user friendly off the firing range. (advice from some real gun aficionados I know)

  9. elizdelphi

    I see a few problems with the “priests being armed” theme promoted so much by Fr Z (which I have long objected to as imprudent for his public blog).

    1. More than a few people are unsettled, alarmed, unnerved or react in an emotional and vehement way to armed citizens and it is therefore a potential problem for evangelization if priests are associated in people’s minds with being armed. Especially where gun control is a social and political issue there will be many who feel strongly against carry of handguns and actually do not want to associate with handgun carriers.
    2. Although it doesn’t mean we should be reckless, or that self defense and defense of the innocent is wrong, part of our witness to our fundamental Christian beliefs should be that people can see we do not fear death.
    3. It is very seriously problematic when Catholicism is associated with actual armed movements ie militia or paramilitary or guerrilla movements, or armed cults. Even the impression of this should be very carefully avoided.
    4. Not all violent deaths of Christians are true martyrdom, but true Christian martyrdom is a great grace and not something to be avoided.
    5. Jesus is not thought to have carried or used a weapon and although he advised the necessity of weapons (“sell your cloak and buy a sword”), apparently this didn’t mean that all the Apostles or all Christians were to arm themselves (when one had a sword Jesus said “it is enough”).

  10. elizdelphi

    By the way, since people like to bring up Jesus using a whip on the moneychangers, this is clearly a different and special case, it is more a message, not a case of defense, not endangering anyone’s life nor limb.

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