My Appalachia Gun Sanctuary County: This Priest’s Day-Off

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On the one hand, I’m only here in Andrews, NC, for 5  1/2 years, and I think we’re looking at our fifth chief of police coming up in that time. The Chief just up and quit along with two officers, leaving only two, and there’s a publicized rumor in the paper that another one of them is about to quit as well, leaving… one… Over these few years, now uncountable numbers of officers have up and quit. Just pay? They knew the pay before doing up the BLET course. When hundredths of seconds count in a critical incident, law enforcement is always hours or days away.

On the other hand, my Cherokee County North Carolina Commissioners – and the Sheriff – passed a resolution, the heart of which is as follows:

“The criminal misuse of firearms is due to the fact that criminals do not obey laws and this is not a reason to abrogate or abridge the unalienable, constitutionally-guaranteed rights of law abiding citizens. The last protectors of the US Constitution are We the People of the United States and our ability to fulfill that role successfully rests on our Second Amendment rights.

“Therefore, the Cherokee County Government will not authorize or appropriate government funds, resources, employees, agencies, contractors, buildings, detention centers or offices for the purpose of enforcing or assisting in the enforcement of any element of such acts, laws, orders, mandates, rules or regulations, that infringe on the right by the people to keep and bear arms.”


They were immediately contacted by others from around the state and the country as to how they could follow suit.

I think it’s telling that of all relatively recent mass shootings 97.5% took place in gun-free zones since those gun-free zones are, by definition, purposed soft-targets which purposely invite criminals to kill people just there. Of course, tender snowflake bullies who insist that guns are the problem actually want that to happen. Criminals don’t obey gun-control laws. The tender snowflakes say that laws are written by meanies anyway. Get it?

Does one think that those who are fingerprinted and subject themselves to months and months of extremely thorough State and Federal Bureaus of Investigation background checks (and mental health checks here in NC) are the problem? That’s absurd. Licensed carriers are the ones who either stop the mass shootings from playing out or who are able to limit the killings. Remember the Sutherland Springs church shooting, how the threat of the perp was at least limited by a legal carrier?

This priest, having gone through all the checks, received all permits, obtaining reciprocity, got a Glock 19 a couple years back, and proceeded to do the work to acquire an easy to loose bit of frostiness, and so also practicing as time goes on, practicing on my own, or with my wonderful parishioners, with law enforcement, with military, with neighbors. I live in the best place in the world.

As part of the Day-Off the other day – besides getting the control-arm fixed on the Subaru (the whole car was shaking!), and besides the usual stops here and there throughout Western North Carolina – some time was spent at the hermitage. After the usual prayers for the Bishop and fellow priests, various courses were set up.

Pictured is the FBI Instructor Qualification Course, with the near target being used as the “barricade” and then start line for all the running involved. The far target, also just a detail of the QIT-combo-97-99, is up the steep ridge some 25 yards.

Last week was terribly hectic, so this was an unwind day. Drills and courses gone through were:

  • FBI agent qualification – once
  • FBI instructor qualification – once
  • Navy Seals qualification (partial) – once
  • Federal Air Marshal qualification (pre-2001) – twice
  • Distance drills at 25 yards out – a few magazines worth – an exercise in humility. Our churches are about ten yards long, front to back…
  • Bucket drill – just once. With “A” being the far bucket, it’s A-B-C-B-A ≤ three seconds for all five shots from holster as a standard… Start the video and see if you can “aim” and “pull the trigger” at A-B-C-B-A before the three (actually more like four second) video finishes…

That’s reminiscent of the shoot in half the 1″ x 1″ stick drill:

With FMJ at about ten yards out even a small stick needs multiple hits, making for a good drill:

target stickAs you can see, I have waaaaaaay toooooo much fun. But who says you can’t have fun, even in Lent? And just to say, while setting up or marking shots on targets a zillion prayers continue to be said on that mountainside of the hermitage. Prayer there is something that has to be done.

Anyway, and just to say, improvement in any skill sets – which are definitely not over-the-top at the moment – is not linear. It’s a matter of two steps forward, one step back. This time it was one step waaaaay back. I was fairly accurate but all around slower at all stages. Good thing that adrenaline, which I didn’t purposely encourage this session, while making things happen more quickly on the outside, slows down time on the inside: critical incidents automatically get the adrenaline flowing.

Some might say that this is all bad and evil for a priest, however, in this most gun-toting parish (we’re NOT the definition of a soft-target), even the most frosty of the parish openly point to me saying with some rather strident assertiveness and with the agreement of bystanders that Father Byers “has to be able to do his thing to protect us should the unthinkable happen.” That puts the pressure on.

Now, mind you, I’m not certain about what that quite refers to, but my own first example is a story I’ve told many times, when it happened and then didn’t happen… when, as I do, I was bringing, in this case, a rather severely disabled police officer in my car to a hospital appointment a hundred miles away and we were being subjected to some violent aggression: “This is a car-jacking” the cop exclaimed, ever frosty, but disabled and helpless. With the training I’ve had I knew I had to get out of the car, which I did, and started drawing up. It’s exactly then that a police cruiser came up, and a total of nine cruisers from that direction within seconds (I don’t know how many from the other direction – I’m guessing just as many – as we were no longer needed to help contain the aggressor and we were allowed to go on our way). My LEO passenger would surely have become a hostage and very possibly killed had I not been able to keep the aggressor at bay for that nanosecond when I needed to do just that. Also see:

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Filed under Guns, Terrorism

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