Guns and spiritual stability in adversity

I’m a peace loving kind of guy. A total neophyte with guns. I scared myself with my Glock 19, again.

The first time I scared myself with a couple of friends, was on Easter Sunday evening last, when, at 20 meters (70 feet with the google conversion), I quickly put four rounds though a single bullet hole. That doesn’t happen with me. It’s not really a déjà vu kind of thing, but is a kind of that just doesn’t happen with me ever experience. And it happened again yesterday during a quiet day at the hermitage on a day off, part of which was practicing with the Glock 19 once again.

Of the 15 rounds, 11 are on the post-it note sized paper with dot, 4 just off the edge on the stump, all within about 1 or 2 inches from the dot at about 27 feet out, this time, for the first time, starting off by being turned away from the target, gun holstered, then turning quickly, assessing, commanding, shooting double taps. I wonder if the tight group on the dot was a first shot while the tight group just above the dot (most in the stump) was the second shot.

Anyway, this scenario based shooting makes adrenaline pump with its narrowing of focus effects, because of which, and this was a total surprise, I did not stand straight up in whatever always controversial “stance” of whoever’s recommendation as I have always otherwise done, but instead I automatically, for the first time, went into a crouched position without planning this, without thinking about it.

  • I’ve always rejected the Isosceles stance as being unstable and useless, unless you want your body armor facing full forward because of fear, in which case, if you’re worried about that, you’re likely to be shot just, you know, just because.
  • I had thought the Weaver stance was better, more stability in every way, even though this would open up your one side to no protection from any body armor you might be wearing, but that is simply not a worry for me at all. Incidents are not duels of olden times. Imagine SWAT teams standing in a duel position with an opponent, preceded by slap with a glove or some such insanity. That’s like a Monty Python skit.
  • And then there is the Combat stance, which, if anyone calls it a stance, they are wrong, at least in my newbe experience, as this should not be a stance, but a severe crouching movement that is “on the ready to run” in any direction with stability (such as toward the attacker, with being on the move being what happens pretty much 100% of the time). This needs adrenaline to be effective. Most people, target practice people, never do this, ever, and that’s just plain wrong.

This brings me back to the story of “The Guy” (literally the best shot among special operators in the world – and, yes, there was a competition here in North Carolina a while back). “The Guy” said that he never shoots at a target. He always shoots to kill, and so, while shooting, is always filled with adrenaline (which helps, not hurts, if you know how to use it). I guarantee that that is not the experience of any mere target shooter (namely, all the other special operators that day, however combative they otherwise are).

Previous to this experience, beginner as I am, I had always been calming standing, calmly aiming, which is never a real life scenario, and is therefore misleading, as I am finding out, in every possible way. If one aims for more than a nano-second, one is going to pull down or try too hard. While the pattern might get smaller (as was indeed happening with me), there’s little muscle memory that is useful in real life scenarios. The only exception to this is shooting from a prone position with arms stretched out with the arms not really resting at all on the ground. Anyway, when calmly aiming I got into the bad habit of drawing down on the target from on high, which again, as I find out, only feeds the pulling down in view of a recoil effect, which is bad altogether.

When, instead, in spinning about to assess, command and shoot, drawing up and shooting as soon as one sees the front post of the iron sights come onto the target, there is no pulling down effect. This is quicker and more accurate also at greater distances as it’s all more natural, that is, not forced. I didn’t get everything 10x, and so, it’s not great at all, but it is good enough for a first time extended session on drawing from the holster while spinning about whereby I had to think: where did that come from, as that just never happens with me. I have to note that indoor shooting ranges would never allow this type of training. I’m thinking that indoor shooting ranges are the worst possible experience for anyone. Move it outside!

Some spiritual notes…

Anyway, during all this mayhem on top of Holy Souls Mountain, amidst all this intense distraction, even to the point of adrenaline forced narrowing of focus on the immediacy of sensory perception, I must say that none of this for a second took me away from realizing that my Guardian Angel, who himself sees the face of God, was with me. Spiritual things are on another non-exclusive level. It was extremely obvious to me that this had nothing to do with me in my otherwise total dullness, but had everything to do with my Guardian Angel reminding me of what is always the most important, of Him who is always to be the treasure of our hearts and souls and minds. It wasn’t a reprimand, but an invitation to rejoice that such a nothing, such a mere earthen vessel as myself could carry such a treasure on the inside even in such seemingly incongruous circumstances. Why should it be otherwise?

Being unflappable inasmuch as that is possible for us is always important. Not that I’m always that way. I’m weak like everyone else. But the solidness of friendship with God given by God, and with one’s angel guardian, even by way of guardian angels smacking us down if necessary, is everything.

The John Hopkins / Loyola College psychology additions to the FBI Course for the training up of civilians (as in chaplains) to assist law enforcement during critical incident scenarios are meant to provide an insistence on appropriate measures to be taken to help responders do what they need to do in keeping focused and unflappable. The coping mechanisms provided aren’t so much helpful as the human encouragement that comes with these, as extremely brief as whatever encounter during a critical incident might be. While first responders will have much more experience in tough situations, and therefore a been there, done that stability (though going spacey, freezing, getting in the way, even running away still happens to some in circumstances new to them such as larger terrorist events), the chaplain, nevertheless, it seems to me, is expected to have, precisely as a chaplain, something that he can provide to the situation, the support that someone is there who at least should be walking with God with utter stability. This is not a clericalist thing, or a holier-than-thou thing, or a gnostic guru thing, not on the part of chaplains or on the part of the others. It is simply someone, a representative of the community, who is surely spiritually supportive before God. That goes a long way. If that person is trusted, the little coping mechanism tricks that he provides will be taken in forthwith and that responder is then immediately good to go back into the fray of whatever critical incident. All this applies to victims of critical incident situations, what they will then be able to relate before going blank, or to bring them back to being focused, or to putting things in perspective for them so that they don’t otherwise get in the way. Seconds count. See: [New Update] Active Shooter: The Coming Storm (FBI: Train now!)

And here is why, I think, chaplains of law enforcement / military need to be up on their weapons training. It’s not that they will necessarily ever be in a position to use such weapons, especially in critical incident situations when there are plenty of responders there for that, but rather that this knowledge is taken as proof positive, as an affirmation of the means to peace (guns, etc.) appropriate to the first responders who count on the chaplain in spiritual ways.

Even more spiritual notes…

Spiritual warfare, as in overcoming temptation and distraction, can truly seem like the mayhem of war. But, this is the point, the mayhem disappears into unflappableness, if you will, be way of accepting being invited by Christ to be drawn to Him while He is lifted up on the Cross, His love and truth and goodness and kindness, His forgiveness of us, His founding of His mercy on His justice, acts as a kind of tractor beam by which we known we are going to Him right through hell on Calvary, but don’t care so much because we are looking to Him in a bond of friendship provided by Him, and therefore true friendship, unflappable. Again, yes, we are sinners. We fail. But, while being sorrowful for that, we shouldn’t make ourselves to be so important as to spend so much time on ourselves, but just get back to accepting that He is drawing us to Himself. There is mayhem. The clarity of the fog of adrenaline might well be there. But that works for us, no? Yes, it does. Praise the Lord at all times in all circumstances.

1 Comment

Filed under Guns, Spiritual life

One response to “Guns and spiritual stability in adversity

  1. sanfelipe007

    It is right, always and everywhere to give Him thanks and praise.

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