Category Archives: Guns

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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Filed under Guns, Spiritual life

Active shooter scenario based training for church preparedness programs

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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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Filed under Guns, Terrorism

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

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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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Filed under Confession, Guns, Priesthood, Terrorism, Vocations

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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Filed under Guns, Law enforcement, Priesthood, Terrorism, Vocations

My Glock failed. Or I failed it. Great!

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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:

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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.

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Filed under Day Off, Guns

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

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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…

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

IRONIC UPDATE: Ready to shoot the tires of… oh my… Really?! HER car?!

wrong way off ramp

The first time I had my gun at the ready, brandished and all, was when I was the victim of a carjacking on highway 40 while bringing a retired cop to his major surgery appointment. Lucky for me, nine cruisers showed up just when I needed them, that very second. Thanks to the cops!

The second time I had my gun at the ready was today. With the neighboring priest sick to death, I was on my way to the hospital in his parish in Bryson City to give one of his parishioners the last rites, priest that I am, and I had Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament with me. I was coming down the off ramp at Exit 67 on Interstate 74, clearly marked on the far side with the proper wrong way signs for any would be knucklehead drivers not paying attention, something like the picture above. It’s not a good thing to get on an interstate highway going the wrong way.

As I slowed up for the intersection, an ultra-sports sports car, the kind with really wide tires pulled up into the off ramp coming right at me, going the wrong way. It wasn’t a Corvette or a Lamborghini, but perhaps, if I remember rightly (looking now at some pictures), a Bugatti Veyron (one or two million for the el-cheapo version). It can go 60 mph in 119 feet, 255 mph maxed out (410 kms per hour for those across the pond).

I pulled right into him, decisively, slamming on the brakes with a bit of attitude. I didn’t hit him but he knew I meant business and he was pretty upset that I had totally blocked his access. The thing is, he thought he was in the right, or had done this on purpose to scare his wife by screaming up the highway in the wrong direction. He wanted an explanation of my behavior and so put his window down halfway even as he continued to go around me in the ditch. In the ditch. He was determined to get on the highway going the wrong way. It wasn’t like he was making a mistake. Another car came down the off ramp behind me and went around this scene of mayhem. It couldn’t be clearer that this was on off-ramp, NOT an on-ramp.

I jumped out of Sassy the Subaru with my hands up, waving him off, so as to stop him. My message was unmistakable. He kept going. I ran right in front of him and told him with calm authority (where did that come from?) that I wasn’t going to let him go any further. I stared him down like I’m sure he’s never been stared down before. He wife was shrieking with her hands to the sides of her head and he was looking at my hip. He was intent on his adrenaline joy ride edging forward absolutely knowing he was in the wrong, but…

Here’s the deal, I wear a black and frumpy 5-11 tactical shirt (with Roman collar!) over my Glock 19 which I carry OWB but unseen on my right hip. But when I’m in the car I pull the shirt back behind the Serpa Blackhawk holster so that the gun is immediately available even with the seat belt fastened. I still remember the carjacking and I refuse to be a victim.

I forgot that the shirt was still tucked behind the holster and so he was seeing what was important to see. But that’s O.K. North Carolina is an open carry state also for those who have concealed carry permits but who may happen to want to open carry on occasion.

I didn’t brandish. I never threatened. I wasn’t terrorizing the public with a weapon. I was formulating a plan to perhaps shoot out his tires if he continued if conditions indicated this was the proper thing to do for the safety and welfare of all concerned. I’m practiced enough now that I could do that with certainty of not hitting the occupants. Easy peasy. It didn’t come to that, thank God. There are plenty of videos on-line demonstrating that personal defense rounds from a 9mm will leave a big enough hole in a reinforced steel-belted extra heavy duty truck tire so as to let the air out in about 15 seconds, so, no worries there.

Anyway, however upset he was (and you can bet he also had a gun, though he didn’t brandish that I could see), I’m sure he just couldn’t believe what he was seeing what with me wearing the Roman collar and all. I actually think that made him all the more angry and upset, though he just couldn’t fathom what was on my hip. His purposely scaring his wife and terrorizing other drivers and risking the lives of so many is one thing. That he would have to deal with that which could stop your car for certain before you even got started is another.

He backed away and turned his car around. Off he went getting an ear full from his wife. I’m guessing this was a corporate exec with his wife – both about 65 years old – on a scenic tour of the mountains here in their new car. Very elegant looking couple. The look of big money. I think he still thinks that he was in the right, and is fuming. But that’s O.K. I’m sure he has a new and better opinion of priests. ;-)

I was elated as I got back in my car. I looked over to the share-ride parking that is there as I came up to the stop sign at the intersection, and some guy in a pickup, looking very much in the part of an undercover cop, gave me a big thumbs up, which I also returned. I’m sure he also had a good view of what was on my hip. He looked terribly amused to see my Roman collar as well. I was amused that he was amused. I’m sure he was happy to see civilians doing their part, even the clergy. I’m quite sure Jesus was amused as well. I think I give Jesus lots to be amused about.

I was also quite impressed with this incident that you just don’t know when bad things can happen. It can all go down in mere seconds. I gotta thank my guardian angel for arranging the timing of this and for smacking me down to make sure I did the right thing. I could have let him go. But to what end, to kill themselves and others? That’s not right. I realize that this could have all gone south very, very quickly, but that’s O.K. too, isn’t it? I mean, just because something could go wrong doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do the right thing, right? I’m sure Jesus doesn’t mind if we do the right thing. I’m still elated it all went well… and I’m still thanking my guardian angel.

UPDATE: I’ve added more details to the account above. But here’s the update: The face of the woman in the passenger seat was burned into my mind, as she framed her head with her hands and was shrieking at her husband. All pretty intense. When I was on the phone with Father Gordon MacRae this morning (still only hours after the incident above), we were sending a note to a lady who is perhaps by definition the most anti-Catholic, anti-priest person in these United States. (She’s quite willing to receive the messages, by the way). Her photo came up with her email address. She’s a spitting image of the lady in the car. The face, the age, the exact weird color of hair, the exact exact exact hair-do. Everything. 100%. That’s her. That’s also why she was screaming I’m sure. It was her worst nightmare: to be rescued from malicious death at the hands of her husband by a priest who helps Father Gordon, her biggest nemesis in the universe. Hah hah hah hah hah hah hah! I love it. I just love it. Happy to provide the nightmare. Maybe she will also have, upon reflection of what happened, a better regard for priests. As I say, the angels arrange just this very kind of ironic circumstance. I love it.

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Filed under Guns, Road danger

Fall at the Hermitage on a “day off” but paradise is carried within

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The Hermitage water fall. And then there’s this above another water fall:

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And, of course, content as ever, my friend, close to the river starting not far away at the continental divide:

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I was at the hermitage twice on the “day-off”, the second time to make sure that “grandma” would be getting her diabetes shot since the neighbors were gone to the funeral for her brother, making her the lone survivor of the family.

Both morning and afternoon – I couldn’t but do it – I did up some target practice, this time replacing the QIT-99 with my 7″x9″ targets, not getting 100% anymore with the targets just a 1/3 the regulation, but still passing with 80% and 85%. Grandma, herself a crack shot with both a pistol and a long rifle, said that all that target practice is useless since, if you need to shoot, you just shoot and it’s done. But she’s a natural at it. I need to keep sharp with practice. And… and… for me it’s really fun, and it’s a real distraction, and it gets me outside and in the forest, making me feel at home, though in exile…

WNC is paradise. But, here’s the deal… you carry paradise within you (2 Cor 4:6-18 nab):

For God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to bring to light the knowledge of the glory of God on the face of Jesus Christ. But we hold this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us. We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being given up to death for the sake of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you. Since, then, we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed, therefore I spoke,” we too believe and therefore speak, knowing that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and place us with you in his presence. Everything indeed is for you, so that the grace bestowed in abundance on more and more people may cause the thanksgiving to overflow for the glory of God. Therefore, we are not discouraged; rather, although our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to what is seen but to what is unseen; for what is seen is transitory, but what is unseen is eternal.

donkey blessed sacrament

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Filed under Donkeys, Guns, Nature

G19-G4 targeting. Also: Saying thanks to Law Enforcement. A note on USCCA.

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This is the steep path up to the hermitage where I’ve been shot at (above and around me) on various occasions in recent years, about a dozen rounds each time, with zero reaction from me by the way (the only possible reaction when you’re in someone’s sights but you don’t know where they are. Anyway, for my own practice:

The tree is “cover” for the sake of FBI course requirements. The cut-in-half stick is set swinging, needing to be cut in half again from varying distances with the least amount of rounds. That’s still a challenge and not, of course, part of the FBI course. Just for fun.

The 7″ x 9″ paper target yardage is at 3, 5, 7, 15, 25. Law enforcement in the parish laughs at this, saying I should use regular size post-it notes. Well, that’s for the future. Since I finally got 100% on the FBI qualification course the target size is now downsized by 1/3. I’ll get to the post it notes when I can again do 100% for the FBI course with the midsize targets. The pattern is getting smaller, and so not possible to count out the 60 for the course, unless instead of using one target for all five stages, a separate target is used for each stage as pictured. It gives a better picture then, of how many misses may happen at whatever stage.

Speaking of the USCCA, I would like to thank a wonderful faithful reader for getting me the USCCA insurance, which I jacked up for hardly anything extra to twice the coverage. Thank you!

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There are some other drills of the Seals and the USCCA that I enjoy. Some of those, like one in the FBI course, requires a mag change. For instance…

At seven yards in seven seconds from the holster with only three rounds in the gun, one chambered, and three in the reload mag at the ready, fire one round in a one inch box, two more in two inch circle. As the gun locks open, reload and fire three more into a box that’s, I’m guessing, about 3″x5″. For me, this is challenge, and therefore enjoyable. Of course, when you have a dirt forest floor this isn’t great for the mags or then, the gun. So, I’ve learned to put out a 2’x3′ piece of cardboard on which the mags fall harmlessly.

I’ve long given up on making any verbal commands like “Show me your hands,” or “Drop the gun,” or “Someone call 911.” It’s a good idea to do that, just not at a public shooting range. The thing is, you only say what you’ve practiced when you’re under pressure and the adrenaline is pumping. In doing this, you let everyone else know what your intentions are. There are plenty of good guys who won’t hesitate to shoot you if you’re waving a gun around in public if they think you are the one who is a danger to public safety. You can’t assume that anyone has seen what you have seen. You’ll also garner for yourself plenty of help. Of course, every occasion is different. Sometimes you have no time for any words or would make yourself a target for any obvious accomplices of the perp, such as a group storming a gas station with ski masks over their faces all pointing their guns at the cash register attendant. Scenario based exercises are best.

I had lunch with a friend at the deli at Ingles Supermarket in Brevard the other day. There was a cop there as well. I offered him thanks for his service which, of course, took him off guard. When I mentioned the other police getting killed around the country and that we really appreciate cops putting themselves at risk in an often thankless job he was really taken aback and visibly deeply moved. Say thanks to a cop today.

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Killing paper saga: from FBI to Seals

As long time readers know, I’m trying to get familiar with handguns as this would have been a major block for me in taking the FBI course that is necessary in certain places in the Charlotte Diocese if a priest wishes to become a chaplain available to serve our Law Enforcement Officers. To me, this is just part of being all things to all men that some might be saved, which is what a priest should be interested in doing, right? See this important post that most every high school, school district, college, university, political and government entity, and manufacturer (including military) has read: Active Shooter: The Coming Storm (FBI: Train now!)

I’ve been getting better with the easiest pistol qualification on the planet, that of the FBI. As it is, they don’t want their best agents disqualified because of faulty target practice, especially when 99.9% of their work has nothing to do with guns. And, mind you, the qualification course is not drill work nor scenario-based training that they get. An FBI instructor needs 90%. My last two run-throughs were 91% and 96%. I suppose I should get a point off of that because I can’t drop to a knee for the last shots because of a new bout of bursitis in the smashed up leg. Just a slight case, but I’m being careful. I’m sure I wouldn’t do well at all in a “kill-house” training exercise with a bum leg…

Anyway, the video above was an eye-opener. I’ve always been told to look at the front sight, but I think pretty much no one who says that either knows what it means or is any good at teaching anyone what that means. That video has opened my eyes. This Navy Seal is a great teacher, repetitious, but that’s fine with me.

The mechanism, I believe, has to do with the brain forcing moving in the arms because of seeing non-essential movement downrange. Actually looking at the front sight (no, really, staring intently at the front sight), eliminates those non-intended movements in one’s arms. And you don’t lose sight of the target at all. You see it better, however fuzzy, because you see it more precisely around the front sight, that is, without looking at it, and you zero in every time.

I didn’t get fantastically better, as I’m still trying to train myself to just look at the front sight, but I did get enormously better than I was, and that improvement was, in fact, instantaneous. Combining this with stance, draw, shoulder and elbow settings, and also dry-fire drills for drawing and changing empty mags with an empty chamber brings it all together, at least for the killing paper bit. Forcing mis-loads with empty cartridges is, of course, something that can’t be done at home within city limits. That’s for the day-off on Tuesdays.

I’m also just starting to work on the Seals pistol qualification course (which, again, does not include their drills and absolutely does not include their handgun training). Getting relatively close to their times with their distances and circumstances and relatively close to their accuracy is a good goal. That will take a while.

As far as classroom stuff goes, I’ve just ordered the USCCA course on how to deal with the new circumstances with active shooter terrorism. This will complement the FBI course, which was prepared some years ago for dealing with similar critical incident situations.

Just some “day-off” stuff.

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Going to Guadalupe? Pay the Mexican Military Cartel cash or die. It’s that bad.

ak 47 ammo

We had a wedding last Saturday in the parish. The couple went to Mexico for their honeymoon. They reported back that there are now military checkpoints everywhere in Mexico. They don’t ask for documents or other useless rubbish. They want money, only. If you refuse, they let you go, but they call ahead to inform the drug cartel in whatever area that you refuse to donate to their cause. The cartel stops you, and simply kills you as an example for others. This makes me upset inasmuch as my identity was used for arms transfers to the Sinaloa Cartel just when Joaquín “El Chapo” Archivaldo Guzmán Loera (now imprisoned along with his “godson”) started to terrorize innocent civilians, the government, the politicians, law enforcement and, finally, the Church.

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Day off 4: FBI QIT-99 drills: Chaplain Qualification

FBI QIT 99 legal size paper

To become a police chaplain in North Carolina (at least in Charlotte) one has to go through the FBI course which includes being acquainted with firearms, including a variety of sidearms, assault and long rifles. That’s a whole different universe for me, so some months ago, on the same day:

  • I got a sidearm purchase permit from the sheriff’s office
  • purchased a Glock 19 gen 4 and a box of ammo
  • shot a few rounds for the first time in my life (from a pistol)
  • qualified 40/40 at a gun range first attempt
  • signed up for a concealed carry course

Soon thereafter:

  • I sat through that very useful concealed carry course
  • applied for a concealed carry permit
  • after many SBI / FBI background checks, got the concealed carry permit

Since then, I’ve been throwing out a few bullets so as to become more accurate more quickly in incrementally difficult circumstances, for my safety and the safety of others. Upon reflection, I think I’ve been having too much fun. I think I should get down to business and put myself through the FBI qualification course, that is, just for practice, on my own. Since the FBI targets are printed on larger paper than can fit in my printer, I’ve just magnified the most important detail of the target in 1 to 1 proportions, which will print out on legal paper (8 1/2 by 14). See the top of this post.

The FBI course requires 48 hits out of 60 for a pass = 80%. Meanwhile, using the same target, Kansas LEO qualification requires 35 hits out of 50 for a pass = 70%. Both courses are fairly demanding. Kansas has more variety. The FBI is perhaps more realistic.

KANSAS

  1. 3 yd line – Beginning on the 1 ½ yard line, shooter will draw and fire 3 rounds as they are stepping backward and moving laterally one step. Shooter will re-holster and repeat this procedure again on command. 2 strings of 3 (6 rounds total) 3 sec. per string.
  2. 5 yd line – Shooter will draw and fire 3 rounds from a two-hand, supported grip. Shooter will reholster and repeat this procedure on command. 2 strings of 3 (6 rounds total) 5 sec. per string
  3. 7 yd line – Shooter will fire 2 rounds from the threat ready position with weapon in strong hand, supported by the weak hand. The weapon is then transitioned to the weak hand and supported by the strong hand for the final two rounds. 1 string of 4 (4 rounds total) 10 seconds
  4. 7 yd line – Shooter will fire 3 rounds from threat ready, strong hand only, one-hand shooting grip. 1 string of 3 (3 rounds total) 4 seconds
  5. 7 yd line – Shooter will fire 3 rounds from threat ready while moving laterally one step, using the two-hand, supported grip. Re-holster and repeat on command. 2 strings of 3 each (6 rounds total) 4 seconds per string
  6. 10 yd line – Shooter will draw and fire 4 rounds using the two-hand, supported grip. Re-holster and repeat on command. 2 strings of 4 each (8 rounds total) 5 seconds per string
  7. 15 yd line – Shooter will draw and fire 4 rounds using a two-hand, supported grip. 1 string of 4 (4 rounds total) 6 seconds per string 
  8. 15 yd line – Shooter will draw and fire 3 rounds using a two-hand, supported grip. 1 string of 3 (3 rounds total) 5 seconds
  9. 25 yd line – Shooter will draw and fire 5 rounds from a two-hand, supported grip around a barricade in a standing position. 1 string of 5 (5 rounds total) 15 seconds
  10. 25 yd line – Shooter will draw and fire 5 rounds from a two-hand, supported grip around a barricade in a kneeling position. 1 string of 5 (5 rounds total) 15 seconds

FBI

From Three Yards (12 rounds fired):

  • 3 shots in 3 seconds, strong hand only
  • repeat above for 3 more rounds in 3 seconds
  • 3 rounds strong hand only, switch hands for 3 rounds weak hand only: 8 seconds

From Five Yards (12 rounds fired) [two hands for rest of course]

  • 3 rounds in 3 seconds
  • repeat 3 more times for a total of 12 rounds fired

From Seven Yards (16 rounds fired):

  • 4 rounds in 4 seconds
  • repeat above for 4 more rounds
  • 4 rounds, reload, then fire 4 more rounds all completed in 8 seconds

From 15 yards (10 rounds fired):

  • 3 rounds in 6 seconds
  • repeat above for 3 more rounds
  • 4 rounds in 8 seconds

From 25 Yards (10 rounds fired from cover)

  • Move up to the cover and fire 2 rounds standing and then 3 rounds kneeling, all under 15 seconds.
  • Repeat above

RESULTS:

  • 86% for Kansas (cold barrel) 
  • 88% for FBI (hot barrel)

Points off at 75 feet out. So I’ll need to practice that. I haven’t done that since Ricky was out from South Dakota. I totally missed when going down on a knee (no knees). No excuse! More practice needed. Anything less than 100% is no good. Mind you, I have no timer but I think I was well within the limits.

    JUST TO BE COMPLETE

    • Do the above courses at dusky-dark to simulate conditions 99% of the time.
    • Use two targets five feet apart. Any string moves from one to the other whether two, three or four rounds are required.
    • Add close quarters shooting (one hand) right up against one of the used targets used for the courses above.

    I didn’t get around to doing any of these things yet.

      JUST FOR FUN

      • Shoot in half a 1″x1″ by however long swinging stick at a marked line:

      I did do that again yesterday:

      That will take some time to own. All that is just for pistols. One has to be familiar with assault and long rifles, etc. More on that in future.

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      Vatican: Handgunners’ Patron Saint is Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows. Sharpening your skills is possible

      target uncountable

      Practiced concealed carriers will laugh with me (if they’re polite, as most CC crowd are) regarding my attempts at defending myself from stationary adhesive dots on stationary paper (that’s a full mag of 15 above), with me standing in a stationary position. I least I start holstered turned away from the target.

      Always taking laughter seriously, I’ve come up with what is now a challenge, cutting a 1 inch by 1 inch by many feet long stick in half (marking the point with florescent orange spray paint) with target ammo using my Glock 19 from 15 to about 25 feet out (at the end of the arc), swinging the stick on a string that was thrown over a branch 35 feet up (this being out in the woods with a ridge as a backdrop). Here’s a three second video I made and just now uploaded to youtube to show you what this looks like in action, thought I’m not shooting while filming. Of course not.

      Hey! It’s got a whole 5 views while I put up this post! I think people don’t watch youtube by principle or simply are afraid of anything to do with guns. I think it’s a cool three second video. But I’m biased ’cause I made it. Anyway, here is the result after what I think are too many attempts (but you gotta start somewhere, right?):

      target stick

      9mm FMJs go right through and won’t break a 1 inch by 1 inch stick in two with one shot. You have to saw across the stick at the same place. Not easy for me anyway when, after some hits, it’s only hanging together with something similar to a toothpick. I’ll be the first to admit that a bunch of shots were not on my spray-painted line. This will be a good play-time distraction on days off for quite a long time. This can always be made more difficult, with me moving either much closer (in which case it seems that the target is moving faster) or further away (in which case it seems that the already small target is smaller). Then you can add walking at the same time, and “running” (a kind of crouched fast-walk). I’m sure that won’t be easy. The more difficult in practice, the more accurate in a hoped-to-be-never-actual-incident.

      saint gabriel possenti patron

      Saint Gabriel Possenti, CSsR – Patron Saint of Hand-gunners as so designated by the Holy See

      In my younger seminarian days I got on a bus and headed out on pilgrimage to the Passionist Monastery where Saint Gabriel had been a seminarian. The account given by all is that he saved a young lady from being raped by soldiers who were pillaging the town by demonstrating his marksmanship in killing a tiny lizard. Some people may feel sorry for the lizard, but I feel sorry for the young lady who was about to be brutalized and raped. Self defense for self or others is a positive contribution to the virtue of justice.

      Those lizard loving people might want to ask what the ladies think about it, you know, those who have been raped by, say, al-Shabaab, al-Qaeda or ISIS or whatever and are then gunned down in some backwater alley because they complained about it. I’d rather take out the lizard. Saint Gabriel rocks!

      See the Saint Gabriel Possenti Society…

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      My “day off”: Bishop, Holy Spirit, guns, priests, potato soup[!], ice cream

      target can

      First things first: Holy Communion brought to well over a hundred miles away, here and there in the backsides of the beyond in these mountain ridges (I love bringing Jesus around through his creation to His loved ones).

      Meanwhile, target practice. I thought this tin can filled with dirt and swinging from a string from a branch 35 feet up (giving a long quick arc) would be good. See above. Nope. Too easy to smash apart. The neighbor gave me a good suggestion. Tie up a thin but heavy stick and get that moving. I could spray paint a line around it and shoot it in half at the line. That should makes things a bit more difficult. I’ll have to remember that.

      Meanwhile, on one of my stops I was taught how to make potato soup. This is significant for me, since I have a total mental block about cooking anything more difficult than toast and cereal, though I have been known to make a hamburger with bacon and, of course, pasta. But this soup thing is a big step for me.

      potato soup

      And then it was off to Sylva where the bishop did the Confirmation and installed a new pastor of the parish. Father is a friend. I didn’t ask him if he is Jewish. I am. He was wearing a yarmulke with a Star of David on it (not during Mass). The previous pastor had a shofar…

      pastor sylva

      Other priests from the diocese were there, friends, also my neighbors from the hermitage. We had gone out for ice cream before Mass.

      After the festivities, the bishop and I had a long chat, very productive, very helpful, far reaching. We have the best bishop in the world. I got home about midnight.

      Today was follow up with the meeting with the bishop, and now, Communion calls, then Mass. Away I go. I love being a priest.

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      “Go ahead and blue light me!”

      Just now I was having a chat with our true blue about a particularly aggressive Andrews-ite and a call came in with an aggressive challenge to the police. 

      I watched the arrest unfold. He was evading, then reaching in his pockets (don’t do that!), not following lawful orders, being belligerent, placing the public and our LEOs in danger, wasting our already stretched resources. For our LEOs, “tools” we’re drawn. They were totally respectul to the knucklehead. 

      My thought was: what’s going on elsewhere whereby this guy is creating a diversion. Sorry, but I’m evil and bad. That’s the kind of thing that comes to my mind. He had like six cruisers of multiple angencies wasting their time on him. This is also the perfect baiting situation for an ambush. And they were scanning for this. Good for them. Good training.

      As I watched this unfold I witnessed the perfect calm and yet tinge of fear, just enough to be useful for safety, being alert. Just enough adrenaline. Perfect choreography.

      Analogies in my life as a priest come flooding into my mind.

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      Basic coping mechanisms in societal and geo-political breakdown: Go to…

      tactics 2

      Whatever one thinks about anything 2nd amendment (gun rights), there are some tactics which are essential to everyone’s life regardless of whether or not one carries, tactics which, knowing them well and putting them into practice, is a huge service to oneself, to one’s neighbor, to society.

      • The Crucial Advantage: Preventing violent attacks before they happen [I thought this might just be a short pamphlet with some throw away lines, but, no, 266 pages of tightly scripted text book; I’m impressed.]
      • How to Control Conflict and De-escalate Threats (DVD & guide) [So, if you can’t prevent violence, is there a way to control the conflict and deescalate? Much excellent advice here, also that which requires study. Excellent.]
      • Advanced Gunfighting and Survival Tactics [In the heat of an uncontrollable situation, are there nevertheless useful tactics that benefit you, others, society? This is multiple DVD course which needs ongoing training, bringing much together. Great!]
      • The Gift of Fear [Throwing a spotlight on a balanced approach to situational awareness, not paranoid, not naive, entering deep into the human psyche in a fallen world.
      • On Killing [Analysis of what goes on in the fallen human psyche when faced with the mere possibility of killing, for instance, in self-defense, whether in war or in society; a balanced outlook that makes the difference between being mowed down or having no conscience whatsoever.]
      • Defeating Jihad [Trying to wrap your mind around confronting violence for the sake of violence? Meet Sebastian Gorka. He makes an extraordinary analogy between the ideology of the USSR and that of ISIS. Perfect.]
      • Left of Bang [Superb presentation of situational awareness.]

      tactics 1

      But I’ll tell you this, none of this can be brought to perfection without first being good with God. For instance, if one is already being dead and on one’s way to heaven, that is, as far as one knows having nothing on one’s conscience, that means everything as far as one’s engagement is concerned, as far as one’s prudence and emotions and fear and reason can be properly utilized in whatever situation. Rule number one: Go to confession.

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      This Catholic priest’s Glock 19 target practice: Rope swinging video

      Before heading off to lunch with some good friends on my “day off”, I stopped by the hermitage to set up a new target, a half-gallon cranberry juice bottle filled with water swinging from a branch from about 35 feet up. If you watch the 3 second video you’ll get the idea.

      I set the bottle in motion and stepped back some 33 feet. The very first shot from the Glock 19 was a direct hit, middle-middle. It was, in fact, a bit too easy, though I did miss some as I replaced magazines and replaced bottles, four of them. After lunch I came back for more. Maybe standing so far away is too easy because you have to move your arms less. The closer you are the quicker you have to move. I’ll have to remember that. Advice welcome.

      I’ll also have to come up with better things to swing. The juice bottles are made with hard plastic to avoid mold growth inside the bottle. Hard plastic means shattering and all the water gushes out straight away. I thought I’d have a bit more time with it, but:

      target swinging juice bottle

      So, perhaps a soft plastic Folger’s Breakfast Blend coffee bucket filled with dirt with the lid tied on. I’ll have to remember that.

      The point of all this is just a bit of play time while out at the hermitage. Recreation is important in anyone’s life. And, guaranteed, there’s no indoor or outdoor shooting range around this area that would permit such contraptions to be set up. If you do carry, it’s important to be well practiced, a good shot, which protects innocent people, and that’s what it’s all about. Getting trained up in situational awareness so as to get out of bad situations before they can occur, and getting trained up in deescalation to cool down incidents that are inescapable is all essential. These are just basic life skills that are always useful even if one does not carry.

      And, praying for the bishop and priests of the diocese is always a necessity just at this point exactly in the trail up to the hermitage. The Angelus. Don’t ask me why but I remember this very strongly every time I’m here, without fail. Always. Strong.

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      I’m hunting the next assassin of GOP members of Congress. Join me.

      political assassination

      To me, it’s obvious. And I bet he’s already been nailed. Field agents just haven’t collected him, you know, so as to find out more about him and any associates while he thinks he’s free, but ready to move whenever things start to get dangerous, the typical m.o. for dealing with terrorists.

      Note that investigators insisted that instantly-killed-Hodgkinson was working alone even after more threats came in. Good obfuscation. He worked alone, but that doesn’t mean he never discussed it with like minded individuals of which there are plenty. Anyway, he was a political hack working for a hack political party.

      After Hodgkinson’s death, the prank threats can largely be dismissed, except, in my opinion, for one, in an “email” of all things to Rep. Claudia Tenney, R-N.Y., which proclaimed “one down, 216 to go,” and asked with an incredulous tone: “Did you NOT expect this?” Take note of the rest:

      “When you take away ordinary peoples very lives in order to pay off the wealthiest among us, your own lives are forfeit. Certainly, your souls and mortality were lost long before.”

      Now, let’s do some commentary:

      “When you take away ordinary peoples very lives…” — This “very lives” phraseology is unusual, only showing up in literary communication. Here, “very lives” quantifies and defines the existential meaning of the group one sets apart and identifies with, namely, ordinary people who are oppressed by those who have power to remove that existential meaning. That meaning is not something profound, but rather merely equated with possessed property which can be physically removed “in order to pay off the wealthiest among us,” namely, those who are in cahoots with the person who has such power. This is perhaps the most succinct expression of the foundation for violent dialectical materialism ever penned.

      The sentence continues directly to state the violence to come to those in power: “your own lives are forfeit.” The double genitive sets up a contrasting parallel with the lives of the oppressed, whose “very lives” are therefore judged to have been brought to be forfeit by the oppressors. The oppressed are as good as dead in the opinion of the writer, and so have nothing to lose. Any violence from them, particularly him, is to be expected: “Did you NOT expect this?” This is either a professor or an extremely well read life-long student. What brings this home for me is ultra-literary usage of “forfeit.” Examples of common usage are “He forfeited his property,” or “He forfeited his life.” But you just never see the correct usage of someone’s life being forfeit. Never. This is highly refined usage of language. This screams a profile. But we’re only warming up:

      “Certainly, your souls and mortality were lost long before.” The usage of “certainly” admits that, in the view of the oppressor, none of what was stated above is at all certain, but that what follows is certain, and to such an extent, that all that which may have been uncertain is no longer so, at least in effect, for their following deaths will prove the point that dialectical materialism (always involving violent death) is equated with might makes right. Violence makes one right. The usage of the phrase “your souls” is purely, oddly in this context, religious. But not so oddly. Those who fancy themselves to be refiners and appliers of ideology struggle more than others with religious realities, their very struggle being a scintillating irony that is impishly recognized and admitted with a gleeful edge of purposed evil. “Your souls” cannot be used by anyone Muslim, by anyone growing up with zero religious affiliation from the beginning. It’s simply very unlikely that this person has ever belonged to a Christian sect as, by and large, none of them have spoken with such language for a good 50 years. I would say that there is some chance that this person was perhaps brought up as an Orthodox Jew, but he is most probably a conservative Catholic in upbringing, but someone who is bitterly rejecting that religious upbringing and, I would say, in favor of an entitlements mentality concerned, however, not with any lust for wealth (as he explicitly states), but rather other lusts which hide behind that facade, you know, those issues which also by and large divide Democrats and Republicans as much as they divide conservative and liberal Catholics. The contrast between “souls and mortality” is poignantly doubly anguished. “Souls” are immortal, while our now mortal coil is not. But he’s already rejected the immortality of the soul by his existential limitation of the meaning of human life in his opening statement. This is a projection of his religious frustration onto the Representative. He wants to kill his frustration and I have no doubt that he will attempt to kill the Representative in order to kill off what he doesn’t like in himself. The irretrievably intended violence of his unrelenting ideology comes through with the incredibly nihilistic statement of “mortality” being “lost”, for “mortality” is already dead, and entitlement to non-dead mortality for whatever number of years before turning to dust is the only thing at stake, though “only” means everything to him. The shallowness of life reduced to intellectual prowess at the service of violence is stunning, frightening. As Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn put it in his Gulag Archipelago, the frightening thing is not the pain of any torture and death, but rather looking into the eyes of one’s torturer and seeing no conscience there. The last bit about being “lost long before” refers to all this being unalterable, set in stone. The assassination will happen. There’s nothing that can be done about it.

      No one who writes this well, this succinctly, this sharply, this intensely, this singlemindedly, with such self-congratulations, such self-importance, such a Messiah complex can be imitated by anyone else. This is not the author of books so much as articles or political analysis for the far left. He’s surely written articles for publication, either internally as policy for a political party or for academic journals or agitator newsletters/websites. He’s simply too well practiced, too good at it to have never published before. The “email” to the political office of the Representative is, I assume, not an email, but rather a contact form. Nevertheless, everything about the computer including the location is instantly known. It’s probably a computer at a university that is open for use to all students (such as in various libraries or department student areas), or an internet cafe near a university or college. But that’s a clue too, right? Easy peasy. Tracking down this guy takes, what, a morning? I wouldn’t let the thing go too long. Such a person can suddenly slip from sight and carry out their purpose. Some might object that this guy is just blowing off steam after the Hodkinson terrorism, his thunder having been stolen by Hodkinson, he wanting to ride the wake of Hodkinson “fame.” But, instead, this guy actually means what he says. So, there’s a pretty complete profile.

       

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      Targets for a “day-off” with “The Guy”

      target swinging bottle

      One of these days I’ll be going shooting with “The Guy”, literally the best shot in the world, who hates shooting at stationary targets. He’s been collecting junk targets, tin cans and such, thinking that they will pop up in the air so as to provide a second shot at something that is moving. I tried this a few weeks back, but it didn’t work, with the 9mm going through any such things so quickly that they didn’t move in the slightest. So, I’m sure he’s never done that before, but is just humoring me. Perhaps people of yore did this with a 45, as the bullet is more like throwing a golf ball at something. But he shoots a 40, a Sig. I’m sure that’s about the same as a 9mm in this application. What to do? Cheap versions of moving targets are way too expensive (like around $500, which is pure insanity).

      Hey! Why not take a bit of string, tie it to a piece of junk metal, throw that over a branch with an embankment behind it, lower the metal down and nail it to the tree, then tie the other side of the string to an old juice bottle filled with water (about chest/head high), having an old roll of duct tape on hand to mend the hits (or simply other pre-filled bottles if people are really accurate, destroying the bottle). Then set the bottle swinging. Like a pendulum, it will swing for a quite a long time, certainly longer than two or three people would take to each empty a few magazines into the bottle, which, spouting geysers, and wildly moving about all the more with any hit, would be quite a spectacle and make for quite a bit of laughter and good times.

      Total cost: a few cents. The bullets are the cost for the day. They would at most be less than the price of a movie ticket, whatever those go for these days (I have no idea). One of my shut-ins has the hope of coming with me for the day. But I’ll have to prepare at least enough to have some foundation for the advice that I’ll surely get from “The Guy.” I have the idea that, right now, not ever having shot at a moving target, I wouldn’t be able to hit it even once and so not be able to absorb any advice at all. I don’t want to waste “The Guy’s” time. So, I know one more thing I’ll be doing on my “days off” until I can at least hit a moving target once in a while. We’ll see.

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      Jesus & triple-taps on a priest’s day off

      sunset-

      The magnificent sunset nearing home after a super happy day-off yesterday. About 95% of the day was spent with the sick and shut-ins in the twilight of their lives, many of them living in far-flung places, with Sassy the Subaru putting on hundreds of miles. I love a “day-off” like this, sooooooo happy to be a priest.

      There are plenty of people, however, who have a bitter reaction to priests getting a “day-off”. They may wish to read Mark 6:31-32:

      “[Jesus] said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.'” People were coming and going in great numbers, and they had no opportunity even to eat. So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place.”

      That’s called a “day-off”. Jesus recommends it. Having said that, we move on to the next verse (Mark 6:33), because text without context is pretext. So, let’s see what a “day-off” is actually like:

      “People saw them leaving and many came to know about it. They hastened there on foot from all the towns and arrived at the place before them.”

      Yep. That’s what happens. I love it. Jesus is so very good and kind. He directs all through his beloved flock, who say things like: “Did you hear that so and so is terribly sick today as well?” This is when the “breaking of the bread” means that the Eucharistic Host is broken to be smaller and smaller. They love that Jesus would come to them riding along with a donkey-priest. As Saint Augustine said: “Asinus es, sed Christum portas.” (You are a donkey, but you carry Christ.)

      But then I had a few minutes to spare at the hermitage, so, sorry, but, of course, I just had to relax a little as well. A donkey has to be a donkey once in a while. Triple taps drawing from the holster, trying to draw, point and shoot all three within three seconds. I don’t have a timer, so I assume I’m slow, perhaps 2 1/2 seconds. That’s an eternity in combat. Any suggestions for a timer? Here’s a magazine’s worth, which means five draws with three shots each:

      target 3 taps-

      And another magazine with five more draws of three each:

      target 3 taps

      Real shooters would just laugh at that, but, hey, you gotta start somewhere, right? And I’ll be the first to admit: this was fairly close range But for me it’s pretty good. It seems that the less aim is taken in favor of muscle-memory pointing, as it is said, the greater the accuracy and certainly the less anticipatory over-compensation for any muzzle-flip. Still, if there’s any risk of a bystander being hit, I’m thinking I would like to combine the point with the aim a little bit. Again, real shooters would just laugh at that, but, hey, you gotta start somewhere, right? The best shot in the world humbly says that his ultra-perfect aim is nothing special, as anyone would be as good as him if they also threw out a million rounds. Um… I haven’t done that…

      Anyway, I just have fun doing this. And it’s not like I wasn’t also answering the phone pretty much constantly. Three shots out, another call. Three shots out, another call. But it’s all good. Shepherds love to hear the bleating of the sheep. As it is, I also bleat quite a bit, and The Shepherd always hears my voice, and, at least sometimes, I hear His.

      Oh, and, by the way, don’t think that guns and shooting wasn’t part of the conversation with all the sick and shut-ins that I visited with Jesus. You have to know that Western North Carolina is armed to the teeth. People can move seamlessly from talk of armed combat to the arms of spiritual combat without blinking. I am humbled to walk frequently among the saints of God.

      By the way, I make my own targets with poster-board and 3/4 inch sticky dots, mapping out the dots at 4″ intervals so that there are 35 dots per poster-board. Once one board is mapped out, another can be marked on the edges using the same measurements. Easy. Only takes about two minutes for the whole thing. It’s a lot of shooting for one target. The problem is that the targets are not moving, and there is no mayhem. But I have a solution…

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