Category Archives: Day Off

Gunslinger priest’s day off at the hermitage: winged it four times

img_20180214_040609009~21223650554..jpg

Winchester ammo sometimes doesn’t work at all, is sometimes shredded on the side of the casing, and, for the first time, I find some actual tarmacadam stuck to the cartridge itself. Amazing. Otherwise, it’s cleaner than most el cheapo ammo. I’m guessing that Winchester ammo is simply misfired military ammo, or ammo which has exceeded its shelf life. Dunno.

This is surely the only diocese in the entire world in which the Very Rev. Vicar Forane reprimands one of the pastors of his vicariate because that pastor is not keeping as frosty as possible with his concealed carry. A day off is supposed to be a day off, he says. Spend more time getting even better with your Glock on your day off, he says. I’m good with that.

So, heading off to the hermitage, I did up the pre-2001 Federal Air Marshal Tactical Pistol Course a few times. Adding up the seven stages, there are 30 bullets fired, with 150 points to be made.

  • 5 points for hit entirely within small bottle
  • 2 points if on the line or just outside

The damage:

  • 135 points = 90%
  • 141 points = 94%
  • 147 points = 98%
  • 141 points = 94% (getting tired)

Still not 100%. A challenge even maxing out. Getting these scores hot barrel, that is, with practice drills, is one thing. Coming in cold is quite another. There are ways to make it more difficult, not by shortening the times (which are already terribly brief), nor the distance (7 yards is probably the max of most confrontations), but in other ways:

  • Footing on the forest floor is extremely uneven and slippery because when are conditions ever perfect?
  • There are three trees on either side of the central of three active course targets, requiring greater trigger control
  • The ridge is uneven, so the height of the targets vary, meaning that shooting while spinning also requires moving one’s aim vertically; three aggressors are not going to be the same height, are they? Probably not.

All of this tends to make the grouping smaller, making hits harder to count. The bullets are still scattered about though. This next picture shows just one of three targets used for multiple courses (I’m lazy):

target fbi fam tpc

A marker is used to mark already fired shots to distinguish them from subsequent stages of the course. This is legal sized paper and so represents only part even of the inner bottle. This means that 2 pointers off the sheet but which would otherwise count are not counted at all. That’s good. I have to blame the scattering on something, so I blame the difficulty of the course, such as spinning 180 degrees from concealed holster to hit three targets each three yards apart at seven yards in an extremely short amount of time. And the holster requires pressing a release button, which adds time to the response to the timer.

Spiritual analogy: Keeping frosty with worldly things is one thing, but it’s quite another in the spiritual life, in which we are instead kept frosty by our guardian angels. They are a gazillion times more persnickety with us than I am with target practice. They expect us to be pure of heart and agile of soul to follow up on their instructions. They see the face of God always. They see the One to whom we are to be aimed at all times with accuracy so precise that we are to be killed off to ourselves so as to live only for Jesus. We are to carry such a Treasure as the indwelling of the Most Holy Trinity in these lowly bodies of ours. Yikes!

Leave a comment

Filed under Angels, Day Off, Guns, Spiritual life

When getting wings can invite danger (Jesus & day-off target practicing)

dove pope francis 2

Being a concealed carrier requires one to be frosty and well-practiced on so very very many levels. Longtime readers know that for me, part of this involves using the pre-2001 Federal Air Marshal tactical pistol course. For quite a while I would, once a week, on my “day off,” race through this course a couple of times and then chase off to do other things. I was encouraged by our new Very Rev. Vicar Forane of the Smoky Mountain Vicariate to take this a bit more seriously. Where else in the world would this be the case? I love it. He’s an extremely good shot according to his father, who’s an extremely good shot. So, yesterday, I took a chunk of time to do some drills and then go through the FAM course a bunch of times. My scores, after some drills mind you, are as follows:

  • 79.3% – fail
  • 86.6% – fail
  • 88% – fail
  • 94% – pass
  • 94% – pass (but really fail because I was a bit over-time on one stage)
  • 94% -pass

That 94% is a bit stubborn. But hey! A challenge to get 95 and even 100. I like it.

A Federal Air Marshal (pre-2001) needed to pass the course every time, at any time, cold. That’s the difference, which is important. I’m sure the original FAMs could hit their own bullet holes well within the time limits for each stage every time, cold, thus gaining their wings, that is, permission to get aboard a flight that day. It’s like they could pass the course by shooting it out while walking by without breaking their pace. With me, really trying hard, practicing, doing drills, I barely pass as many times as I fail. And… and… I’m definitely not shooting all bullets through the first bullet hole. No.

If I were to think I’m a good shot, that would be dangerous, as I would be overconfident in a critical incident and that would never be good for anyone. A little humility goes a long way. It’s what really keeps you frosty. Humility, humility, humility.

Let’s do an analogy with the spiritual life. There are two ways:

  • The way of humility, as a child, in humble thanksgiving for our salvation in Christ Jesus, depending on His strength, walking in His friendship, His goodness and kindness.
  • The way of thinking one has come into one’s own, you know, staying away from any serious sin for a long time, being virtuous, even “balanced”, courteous, nice, and that therefore one doesn’t need Jesus, because now one is self-referential, self-congratulatory, self-absorbed, neo-Pelagian, even Promethean. And then, with all that overconfidence, there is the fall as it is already a fall in and of itself. One may as well just have one’s liver eaten out every day:

PROMETHEUS

Humility keeps one frosty. Humility is not one’s gift to oneself. Humility comes from Jesus, whether in regard to the spiritual life or that which is as mundane as target practice. Being without humility in either case can be deadly. In both cases, in the spiritual life and being a concealed carrier, one needs to walk in friendship with Jesus.

If you ask your guardian angel for assistance, he will arrange for the necessary. But just be warned, he will take your request seriously. Trust in Jesus.

Leave a comment

Filed under Angels, Day Off, Guns

Very Rev. Vicar Forâne & my day-off

GEORGE DAVID BYERS CHAINSAW PICTURE

My new Very Rev. Vicar Forâne (not sure of the spelling of that title: forane? or is it perhaps for âne?), always rightly concerned about the welfare of the priests in the vicariate under his ever watchful eye, insists that “days-off” be just that, days-off. For instance, I mentioned that I might get in an hour of shooting on a day off and he immediately complained, reprimanding me that that is hardly enough time for any kind of serious distraction and that I should put in many hours of target practice with the courses that I use. I love that. Lol. So, O.K. I have a bundle of “inside bottle” targets to bring with me to practice up on the pre-2001 FAM course:

img_20180206_0727471895562047.jpg

However, I’m going to do lots of drills first. I always lose points on the first stage, drawing from a concealed holster and firing just one shot in a zillionth of a nanosecond, often getting one in but the second required repeat ending up on the line or just outside. No good, that. But I now know why that’s happening and I’m eager to fix it.

The other drill I really need to work on involves drawing from a concealed holster turned away 180 degrees and firing at three targets 7 yards away and three yards apart in a zillionth of a nanosecond. Two of those will usually be dead on, but the third will be just outside the “nervous system bottle”. I don’t have the arm movements down yet…

The six-in-a-row in a zillionth of a nanosecond also isn’t great compared to the double taps, the latter usually dead on.  I figured that out as well and want to fix that.

At any rate, the only excuse to do supererogatory work on a day-off, our new Vicar Forâne said, was if someone asks for some good Samaritan help. Well, that’s already happened. The neighbor of the hermitage is running out of wood, so I promised I would get my chainsaw in good order and bring my ultrasupercool gizmo sharpener with me. We’ll see how much destruction of the dead wood of the forest we can bring about.

Oh, and about the spelling of that title. I guess it’s reminiscent of the Vicar being the guy with the Blessed Sacrament, and the donkey being one of the subjects under his ever watchful eye:

donkey blessed sacrament

8 Comments

Filed under Day Off, Guns, Missionaries of Mercy

Day off kind of on target

Met up with lots of friends. That’s always heartening. Saw the doctor again. We went over results and plotted a course to health. There’s one med that helps the liver to make an enzyme I’m hereditarily lacking, which itself wipes out other things I need. So, we’re trying something that might replace the other and help with skeletal strength. That’s one of the most important things I’ve done for my health in a long time. We’ll see. The diet is going well. Lost quite a few pounds already. Exercise is going well. I’m immediately able to do more in half the time.

It seems like it’s been a month and half with no target practice. At the hermitage for just a short time, I was able, with numb hands, to do just two quick courses:

  • FAM-TPC (pre-September 11, 2001): just 74% cold barrel
  • FBI qualification: 93.3 %

Getting healthier means more energy. That, I think, will translate into working on things to publish after some reviewing and revision. I look forward to that. But now, off to the hospital with a parishioner in the midst of an immediate post-blizzard state of the roads. In Minnesota, this would be nothing. But this is North Carolina, in the mountains…

Leave a comment

Filed under Day Off

Day off: Jesus, baiting baiters, guns, FBI

FBI Hogans Alley
JESUS. The day started like any day anyone might have trying to convince someone that Jesus is the One, the only One. The seeds of that conversation have yet to take hold. Saint Luke recounts Jesus Himself saying in a parable using the voice of Abraham that for those who do not believe, nothing will change their minds including someone rising from the dead.

Some people, like the Roman soldier on Calvary, will not see their cynicism melt away until they have done their absolute worst. For the soldier that was mashing his sword around in the Heart of Jesus, you know, to make sure He was dead, it was only after that, having realized he had done his absolute worst even while Jesus the whole time had been forgiving, that the soldier finally said, “Truly this was the Son of God.”

I gotta say though, the internet bully guy that I’ve been dealing with recently was really good at his attempts at baiting, perhaps not realizing, however, that he was being baited to show him what he was doing. He finally declared that he might give up, tired of baiting while being baited and revealing waaaaayyy toooo much about himself unwittingly. Baiting baiters can be fun. It throws people off course and turns the tables and makes them react in ways that, hey, you could build a profile of them. If that sounds mean or counterproductive or mean, you have to know that Jesus did this all the time with those attempting to bait Him, even baiting them to bait Him so that He could show them how incredibly stupid their baiting was. Monday’s Gospel is a great example of this. Listen to that homily: Homily 2017 12 18 – No need to ask. Of course, doing that kind of thing with certain people can easily bring out violence. You know what happened to our Lord Jesus. But, but… Maybe He would win their souls like that of the Roman soldier mentioned above. That’s the point. It’s not nice. But it is charitable.

A weird thing about the internet bully guy is that the one and only thing he was happy with in my entire life as a priest was the fact that I have a CC permit. He also wanted me to get a pilot’s licence, I guess in honor of my dad. But if he could arrange a ride for me in a checkerboard squadron jet down at Merritt, that would suffice. ;-) Other than that, his (make-pretend) cynicism reminded me of a show an air marshal put on for me a while back on a trip from Paris to JFK. The internet bully guy admitted he had spent a great deal of time researching me to see what he thought would press my buttons so as to get a reaction. That’s not a troll. That’s a study. And that’s something else altogether. I hope he learned something about baiting and about Jesus. Probably not much about me. Really interesting about the CC permit though.

GUNS. Speaking of guns, at the hermitage, given time contraints, I was able to shoot just once through the old FAM-TPC (pre-2001). I haven’t practiced for weeks and so, yikes, I only got 70% and possibly went over the time on two stages. I say possibly because the el-cheapo shot timer I have doesn’t get more precise than 10ths of seconds instead of 100ths of seconds. Rounding the time limit down was the thing to do. The old FAM-TPC (pre-2001) is hilariously fun for me and, therefore, good for a day off.

It’s good to get at least some positive feedback with this kind of tool familiarity, so the FBI qualification was set up and, as expected, the score went up to 95%. My knees are better so the last stage was done the right way. However, 25 yards dropping to one knee from cover is still a challenge. The only reason one would use a pistol at such distances is because a rifle is not immediately available in an urgent critical incident.

Speaking of rifles, a friend’s AR-15 was then loaded up and aim was taken at a three inch square at 30 yards using only the iron sights. I’ll have to get some instruction somewhere on how to use those the right way for whatever distances so that I would know how to dial those in and get 10-X first time every time. Saying that you know just how much of a novice I am with rifles. But now I know the difference between a pistol and a rifle. Getting a result of a tiny group is kinda nice. I only shot like 15 bullets (5.56×45). That was enough to let me know what to research before the next attempt. I was surprised that the hole of the bullet was incredibly tiny compared to the 9mm. What makes the AR round so much more powerful (especially the M855A1) is that it goes so very much faster. I never expect to actually own a rifle or even shotgun, but that’s what I said about the Glock. At any rate, what do have to do with law enforcement anyway?

FBI. Speaking of law enforcement, and having driven into town way down the mountain to do some errands and have a wonderful home-cooked dinner with friends, I called a yet another friend about a certain FBI guy before heading inside. I was wondering why I hadn’t heard back from the FBI guy for some weeks about a certain matter. I was told that before doing anything about anything, thorough checks were made with multiple and disparate investigations regarding yours truly, and that I had passed with flying colors, and was free to go ahead and get in touch with the FBI guy again. I gotta wonder about the internet bully guy. Nothing is as it seems, ever. ;-)

I told my friend that I found my passing with flying colors to be quite revealing, seeing that I had another and different case in with the FBI involving a bureau of Main State of the Department of State and, connected with that, Counterterrorism over at Tysons (Corner) / (West) McLean. He said the case hadn’t been tossed. He said that it was delayed a bit by all of hell broken out with the FBI in D.C. Hah! If they only knew. What happened at Main State, told directly to me, is a 1000 times more far reaching than anything going on with the FBI in D.C. right now.

At any rate, in talking with the FBI guy for what seemed like well over an hour for the third time and getting much good advice, there was an offer made that he would contact another FBI guy half way across the country on my behalf. That’s happening now. Knowing who that guy is and what he headed up nationwide for the Bureau, I said, “Oh! Drop this name to him: […]. He’ll know who that is and will wonder why I came up with that name.” That could go places about another matter altogether which is terribly important for the Church. We’ll see. The angels arrange this kind of thing.

/// All this made for a great day off. And then there was a great meal with friends. And then a very enjoyable drive back to the parish.

Leave a comment

Filed under Day Off

This priest’s “day off” having fun with NATO ammo for the Glock & an AR 15

img_20171219_094855264403120.jpg

Ain’t mine. It’ll be fun I’m sure. When I’m convinced I can use it with some effectiveness I’ll move on to a shotgun and see what can be done with various types of ammo, ball, birdshot, whatever.

Meanwhile, I’m doing a bit of research. I like the M4 Carbine with NATO 5.56 rounds (M855A1). For the shotgun, this one looks promising:

standard manufacturing 12 guage shotgun dp-12

That’s just to make you smile because of the seeming incongruity.

Right? Be nice!

I think I have too much fun.

1 Comment

Filed under Day Off, Guns, Missionaries of Mercy

My Glock failed. Or I failed it. Great!

wp-image-1284800938

It was the day off. So, here’s a picture of hermitage waterfall tumbling down Holy Souls Mountain just for nice. There are no “haints” here that I know about, only some wisps of fog with often 100% humidity, as with the neighbor’s gloriously autumn colored pear tree:

wp-image-1117896770

Part of the day off is the beautiful creation of our dear Heavenly Father. Anyway…

  • The Glock 19 successfully put out one round, but the trigger got stuck in its connections inside the striker mechanism.
  • I smacked the side of the gun and the trigger heavily popped out after a few seconds.
  • A few more repetitions of the same thing. Stuck. Hesitantly popping out.

Knowing next to nothing about guns, and certainly nothing about gun-smithing or being an “armorer,” it was best to bring this straight to a co-owner of the indoor range in town who took a two day course in Smyrna just for what needed to be done. Given that it’s that complicated, I don’t feel so bad. He said it’s also a problem of the super high humidity in the area.

As the guts behind the striker were being ripped out in front of me, his brother, the other co-owner, seeing how incredibly dirty, caked up it was inside the striker mechanism, asked how many rounds have gone through the barrel in the year that I’ve had it, offering a rather high number. “At least that many,” I agreed (not admitting to the reality being about 50% more than he guessed. “Don’t you ever clean it?” “Every time I use it, but never in there. I don’t know how to rip all that apart.” “You might also have to get some things replaced pretty soon at that rate, like the springs and such.” “Yeah. O.K.” “That’s the Glock for you,” he added, “It’ll shoot under any conditions.”

It’s great that I didn’t get a malfunction at the wrong time. After running some errands the seriously cleaned Glock was put to the test. Perfect. Not that I’m a great shot yet. I only got 83% and again 83% on the FBI course, using 7″x9″ targets instead of the too big QIT-99. My record, not to be oft repeated, for sawing a stick in half is eleven shots:

Right now I’m enjoying trying to get good with a drill recommended by the USCCA. It’s printed out on an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper:

target focus training

Some people surround themselves with a zillion guns, but I figure that I’d rather have just one which I know how to shoot well. Isn’t that better? Of course, some people will say:

“No, that’s not better, not better at all. What would be better is to not get into any situation ever, and, if that happens, to just bite the bullet and get shot, because otherwise it was surely my fault for having a gun in the first place.”

O.K., so, I’ll have to address some of these critical incident reactions that bystanders can have, as they can unwittingly assist perpetrators.

Leave a comment

Filed under Day Off, Guns

Days-off preparing for *The Day Off* Remembrance of USSOCOM *David* Suicide and Thanksgiving

wp-image-1076473502

This massive cross is at the entrance to the property on which the hermitage is to be found. The neighbor is a welder and created this from the downspouts that were being replaced at the parish church which is to be found way down the mountain.

This is where I often come for my day off, during which I often get in some target practice. As it is, I’m practicing quite a bit, as, at Thanksgiving, I may well be here once again, and an old friend will be attendance with some other extended family. The old friend may well have some special effects, if you will, to try out while doing a bit more target practice, or scenario based training and drills.

For those who are a bit cynical of all this “violence”, please know that all this can be quite healing, the get-togethers and the special effects and conversation about old times and hopes of heaven and the present trouble-making we all get into happily. We’re just trying to deal with the mistake of this old friend’s top-tier buddy who took too many pain killers the other week, leaving a small child of whom he had custody, the wife having abandoned them long ago. I wonder if the military provides for dependents in such circumstances. Anyone?

If you know what “top-tier” means, then you know that that buddy, *David*, had seen a hell of a lot of hell already in his short 39 years. These USSOCOM operators are made up of the 75th Ranger Regiment, the Green Berets, Delta and the Navy SEALs DEVGRU.

Hey! An idea! Soup kitchens at thanksgiving are often busy places. Whatever you might do there, how about one other thing… Do you know any Vets who are stuck in V.A. hospitals who would enjoy a family thanksgiving even if their own families have abandoned them? Don’t know anyone? But the hospital might be able to tell you if there is anyone who is eligible for a day trip. Just a thought. I mean, after all, the way to celebrate thanksgiving is to say Thank You in an effective way, right? Yes. We say thanks to God, but the second commandment, love of neighbor as oneself, is like the first commandment, love of God, right? Yes. Just a thought…

2 Comments

Filed under Day Off, Guns, Military, PTSD, Suicide, Thanks