Category Archives: Guns

Update: sniper shot in Rome – God’s providence with a message? Jackass!

sniper 2

A “sniper”, in the Autumn of 1999 over in Rome, took a shot at me, a warning shot, I guess. A warning for what I could only guess at the time. I’m guessing it had something to do with a guy who was living there for quite a number of weeks, a bit of a terrorist who had opened up to me, in detail, about his intentions to bomb an island nation near Africa. Of course, as always, I passed such information along. Anyway:

What I wrote in the past: I was up on the top floor of where I was staying, about 85 feet up from street level, a recreation room surrounded by large, panoramic windows. I was standing at a window (top right) with the exit door unto a patio roof on the other side of the building behind me. I loved to stand there and look out over the city of Rome while mulling over a doctoral thesis I was writing at the time on textual criticism of papyri manuscripts. For no discernible reason, I was getting creeped out by a window on the far side of a little valley in the city – a veritable spaghetti bowl of train tracks coming in from every direction – creeped out enough by that window to be distracting, and it was unrelenting. Wanting to think of things more academic, I simply turned to leave out the door onto the roof-patio on the far side of the building where I could pace back and forth to think in peace. But just as I turned out the door to that roof-patio, that nano-second, I heard a sharp make-you-instantly-cringe CRASH-CRACK sound and came back to investigate. I saw a small hole in the window where I had been and some bits of glass round about, but, just glancing at this, not really looking, while my first thought that it was obviously a bullet, I dismissed that thought and figured it was just someone who had thrown a tiny rock up at the building just to do it, and that it was no big deal. It was a small hole. Back I went to the patio and pacing, oblivious to the world, thinking of manuscript symbols and dates and locations and ancient politics and also the “Reformation” and present day Church politics. But the next day and the next I would be back at that window, as was my custom while deep in thought. I let myself be distracted and noticed that a picture on the far wall from the window, just to the side of the door, had been broken by what I didn’t know, perhaps rough-housing while playing ping-pong (there being a ping-pong table on the far side of the room). But then I looked at the window again. It was double-pane. It was then that I realized this had to have been a bullet because of the double panes and the hole being so tiny. I followed the unmistakable trajectory (lining up the hole in the two panes), and it went directly to the hole in the picture inside the room. With that I followed the trajectory the other way, and that led me to a large-windowed room (one window always open) on a roof of a building (quite exactly the height of the one I was in) which, now using google-maps distance measuring tool, I find was 427 feet away. It was the same window that had creeped me out.

sniper 1

The tram and train power wires would not have been in the way. The above picture is from google maps at street level, far below the window where I had been standing.

Left-of-bang advice from those experienced in combat is that you should always take note of those super-creepy feelings. Your senses pick up on things that don’t register in your conscience brain except by way of such warnings as they are things so small you would never pay attention to them even if you did outright notice them. Did I notice but not notice the end of a gun barrel pointed in my direction. At that distance? But your brain registers the information you otherwise can’t.

Anyway, no harm done. That didn’t stop me from hanging out at that window to check out the skyline of Rome before my usual pacing. I won’t be able to go back to that building if I’m ever in Rome to try to find the bullet buried in whatever wall or whatever since the building was sold some years ago.

22 vs 556

UPDATE: Since I wrote the post in which the above was included (about a year ago), I’ve come to know a bit more about guns, including an AR-15 belonging to a parishioner. I remember the holes in the double-paned windows (thick glass in those massive windows, mind you). The holes were tiny. I figured it was just a .22 bullet like for the long rifle we had at home when I was a kid, you know, the kind with the really tiny bullets that will ricochet off anything without doing any damage. That’s what I thought, being amazed that such a bullet at such a distance with such a blunted surface and with no power could ever so very cleanly cut through those windows. But now I realize that one would have better accuracy if that bullet were not a .22, but rather a .223 or 5.56, which have the same bullet width (tiny!), effectively, the same as the normal .22. The .223 or 5.56 is, oh my, ever so very much faster and powerful, as there is so much more gunpowder in a collared cartridge, and the bullets are not blunt, but pointed, apt, then, to cut through those thick panes of glass as if they weren’t even there, with the tip cutting, not pushing through, keeping the holes small. That rather nuances my thoughts about the shooter.

Some additional thoughts about the timing: As mentioned above, at the time of this pot-shot I was trying to wrap my mind around the utter, total betrayal of the Church by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity by way of its documents on ecumenical cooperation on the establishment of a text of Scripture perhaps closer to the original than what we now have. Not that that’s bad at all, but the way they did it was and is still an attempt at a “Reformation” this time from within the Church, going far beyond what the “Reformers” would ever have themselves tolerated in their own wholesale rejection of Revelation as both Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition: Erasmus, Luther, et alii… This was a very dark time for me, or, really, a time so full of light that I was just a bit blinded by the radiance. People think that it was some document on justification which bothered me about ecumenical activities back in the day (and it was criticized even by most Lutherans) – and it did bother me – but instead, I was simply consumed by the darkness of the betrayal of Revelation by those who should know better, a betrayal of openly triumphalistic mockery. I know what was said, publicly or privately and by whom, about all this. I saw just how close the Church was to dropping into hell, and was very much consoled that Saint Robert Bellarmine on exactly this topic and this very point had used this very description of the Church as being about to drop straight into hell. The utter betrayal of the faith – and what I saw the consequences of this would be for untold numbers of the faithful for centuries to come – had caught up with me and was beating me down, down, down, down, down. Call me a damn fool to weep for the Church. Call me a damn fool to be beaten down by this crowd, to take it personally, to feel indignant for the Holy Spirit who provides Revelation (both written and Sacred Tradition), to feel indignant for the Incarnate Word (to whom that Revelation points), to feel indignant for the Father (who wants us to listen to His beloved Son). Call me a damn fool for caring when there were canonized saints at the time (more recently) who didn’t seem to notice or care (though they surely didn’t see the problem in all its clarity, hoodwinked as they were by those clever mockers and manipulators). Call me a damn fool. But it is what it is. This is just a personal note of a part of my personal history. I can’t change what was, what I lived, what I experienced. This was the darkest moment of my life. Seeing the Church so close to hell is not easy.

At precisely that nanosecond, the shot came crashing through the window and into the room. Had I not moved a nanosecond before this, that bullet would have blown my heart right out of my chest.

But the guy waited a nanosecond, perhaps by mistake, perhaps on purpose. Had the door jam behind which I had just slipped in that nanosecond been made of wood and sheet-rock or plaster, instead of brick (which he didn’t know), perhaps I would not be writing this. It was solid brick. I’m sure people will laugh, and say that this was simply Coincidence, blah blah blah. Maybe. Coincidence is a dang good aim, a dang good shot, at a distance, right to the heart. What are the chances? About a trillion to the power of a trillion? But that’s not the point.

It’s now almost twenty years since that happened. It only now strikes me that there’s an analogy in God’s providence to be made. I’m a bit slow with these things. It strikes me that the betrayal of the Church by those who should know better can be a bullet more deadly than any bullet shot by a mere rifle.

Character building and all that? No. What’s needed when it comes to the darkness is the light of Christ. We are just so very much nothing. He is everything. It’s all about Jesus. Only Him. How could it be otherwise?

Perhaps this is why I didn’t go near doing character development for Cardinal Frobin in Jackass for the Hour. I was just too close to all that when I wrote Jackass. See: Jackass for the Hour: Frobin in Ch. 27 & Sister Nice in Ch: 29  Weirdly, my life history, including some dramas and actual stomping grounds (exact the same places, even the same bedroom) have mirrored in detail the life of Cardinal Frobin, except, of course, for being a Cardinal. I knew people who knew him in his younger days and during his time in Rome, who knew him very well. I could and should give him a bit of character development in a future revision of the novel.

What I wanted to express in this post is something rather personal. I know I will be mocked for this walk in the darkness, as it were (know that I don’t publish all the comments that come in), and I know that I am making myself perhaps a bit too vulnerable in this way, kind of like Paul writing about his crying out to the Lord to be delivered from Satan, but, it just is what it is. I think what I’m trying to get across is that our Lord grabbed me at that very moment. Perhaps I should write about that experience. Perhaps that is important. Perhaps there are other readers who could gain some hope in seeing what happened when coming to know the Lord a bit more, that is, an increase in hope during a very dark time indeed.


Filed under Guns, Jackass for the Hour

Situational awareness and adrenaline: competency, fear, doing the necessary


Apologies are in order to readers who don’t like guns, but guns are a part of this priest’s life for the past year and a bit in which I’ve chosen to assist in the defense of self and others in those situations which we hope to God never arise. If one carries, one must practice, a lot, which makes this a lifestyle decision. It’s part of who I am. Not a hobby. It is something for the day-off, a recreation, a distraction, but it is also stop-the-threat serious, and involves, among other things, target practice, situational awareness, prompt readiness, all intertwined.

Target practice:

In the Styrofoam plate (much better than paper or paper plates or cardboard) pictured above, there are sixteen rounds from the Glock 19 9mm from one of the stages of one of the courses that I try to run through at least once on the day-off here in one of the more remote areas of the Appalachian mountains: 4 timed rounds, 4 timed rounds, then 8 timed rounds in the sequence of 4 rounds, reload, 4 rounds. The lines on the plate, marked off on either side of a chunk of a 2×4 (=1.5″x3.5″) represent a smaller version of just a detail of the “inside bottle” of the FBI QIT 97-99 targets also used in the pre-2001 Federal Air Marshal tactical pistol course. Could be a lot better. Especially since this particular stage is only seven yards. With all this I’m much more the turtle than the jackrabbit. It’s important not to give up just because one isn’t immediately perfect.

What I’m noticing with myself as time goes on is less nervousness with the fact of firing a gun. Being a bit nervous is always the butt of jokes for the reason that it’s all too familiar to all involved from the time they took their very first shot and were newbies like me. For me, at this stage, being less nervous means:

  • less pulling down: people do this incorrectly thinking this will solve any muzzle flip
  • smoother trigger pulls: all pistols, not just Glocks, always have a grating, heavy pull, which is good, as it gives you that last nanosecond option not to pull the trigger. I would never get a replacement trigger for a lighter pull
  • feeling less pressure to get in under the time limit of the ever so quick timer, which I’ve finally learned how to regulate for 1/100th of a second: this actually makes for better target acquisition and getting the shot off more quickly and accurately, regardless of, say, drawing from covered holster from 180 degrees at multiple targets.


Being an adrenaline junky is something I did with extreme sports as a kid. A rush of adrenaline would come about because of being in a situation of certain death if it were not for two conditions being present:

  • Being able to use the tools of the trade without thinking, by instinct, with alacrity, regardless of the situation, being relaxed when under pressure
  • Being able to employ adrenaline only for the narrow, immediate circumstances at hand for whatever few seconds of absolute concentration are needed

Adrenaline pumped attention – tunnel vision, time slowed, no sound – is deadly if that attention has to be given to the tools of the trade instead of seconds of exigent emergencies.

I have not forgotten the statement of “The Guy” to his fellow operators when he blew them all out of a competition for only the best of the best operators of all agencies and bureaus and departments and companies and branches of the military some years ago here in North Carolina (other side of the state). It was quite the event with all the top brass and bureaucrats and political appointees watching from bleachers placed for the event. The operators said that he, “The Guy”, must be possessed to shoot that well so quickly, putting ten shots either through the same bullet hole at 10x (8) or at least touching the original bullet hole (2) at 200 yards as fast as he could pull the trigger when participants were instead given a full minute for each shot for that stage of the course. 200 yards, for those who don’t know, is insanity for a pistol. He prefers a version of a Sig .40. His response was that he never participates in mere target practice; for him, every shot (even if it is only a paper target) is a kill shot (what I interpret as a ‘stop the threat’ shot). In other words, for him, every shot is personal to the core of his being. He’s put out more than a million rounds in his life as an operator. To make an understatement: he’s not nervous with guns; he’s perfectly adept using his tools of the trade. The adrenaline only enters in with total involvement in human confrontation in exigent emergencies. Those ten shots at 200 yards were all in utter slow motion, seeing only the target at 10x, hearing nothing else. Adrenaline is then a help, not a hindrance.

Target practice, adrenaline, situational awareness:

Less nervousness means less wasted adrenaline. Wasting adrenaline on a tool is terribly counterproductive. It’s the worst thing for a “carrier” and can have deadly consequences: one is so nervous about one’s ability to use the tool and filled with adrenaline about that nervousness for the tool, that the actual situation, possible methods of deescalation and possible solutions go unnoticed. One is, then, simply befuddled and shut down, with a deadly tool for which one can no longer know what is needed or is not needed to be employed in a situation. I think of those who do carry but have never shot a gun outside of their original qualification if needed in their state, never firing again for decades. That is simply dangerous and is a situation that shouldn’t be allowed. If you want a gun control law that helps, make a law demanding more training for those who carry. I would totally welcome that for aspects of using the tool, knowing the law, situational awareness, deescalation…

Adrenaline must be reserved only for paying attention to what is absolutely necessary, an actionable solution to a deadly force encounter that must be reserved as a follow up of one’s situational awareness. To recap:

  • Situational awareness is not possible when adrenaline takes away awareness of one’s situation.
  • One can’t keep one’s situational awareness as a terribly untoward situation unfolds if one is sick to death that one is terribly unpracticed with a tool otherwise apt to the situation.

“But Father George! I thought you were a priest! Why do you know about guns?”

People all have their histories and unrepeatable circumstances. And I’m also a human being living in this untoward world. And self-defense is not an evil thing. And it’s recreation on the day off. And I’ve actually had to brandish during a car-jacking, though in that incident the police then arrived in force: nine cruisers that I counted.

I put up these posts which show my deficiencies in the process of getting to know what firearms are so that people, including fellow priests might say: “Well, if Father George can do it – dang – even I might be able to do it, because, you know, whatever he can do I can do better!” Fine! It worked! Here’s the deal. If we priests want to be chaplains for our law enforcement – who are being killed off with much greater frequency – then familiarity with the world of weaponry is a pre-requisite in many jurisdictions also in this diocese of Western North Carolina.

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Murder just now in my neighborhood Time to be a vigilante? No, just a friend

A 29 year old woman just got murdered up the street from the rectory. A quiet small town and all that. Someone said that this part of town changed about ten years ago, for the worse.

The ex-con, who, it is said, also stabbed a dog to death a while back, is a felon, but he had a gun with which he shot the woman to death. He didn’t get his gun legally. There are already laws about felons not getting guns. Criminals don’t care about laws. That’s why they are criminals. His bail is fully a million dollars. But that doesn’t mean he won’t be out on bail. I think that anyone who treats animals badly is extremely likely to treat human beings in the same way.

We now have a police chief, not yet certified to make an arrest. He lives in another state. We have no officers. We do have a State Troopers office in town now, but there might be only one Trooper assigned for three counties at any given time. And in North Carolina the Troopers are not police. They’re assigned to traffic only. There are deputies in the county, but perhaps only three on duty at any given time of the night anywhere else in our expansive mountain county.

One of my shut-ins who lives just through the back yards of where the murder took place lives alone and is ultra-feeble and has no family in the area. I told her that if someone is breaking into her home that she is firstly to call 911 and then call me and then call 911 again. That doesn’t make me a vigilante, just a capable friend looking out for a friend. Do you have someone who will look after you when law enforcement is only hours away?

Oh. One last thing. Don’t ask for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee, for me. Are you ready? Am I? This guy could have gone after anyone at any time…

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were: any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.

It’s now Friday evening in Lent. Time for a Knights of Columbus Fish Fry, the Adoration with Stations of the Cross. Jesus stepped into this violence so as to bring us heaven. Having the faith is so very important. What would we do without hope. Last Friday evening our little church was jammed with people. We want Jesus!


Filed under Guns, Law enforcement

Update: Creepy “Shadow” is as creepy does. Gunrunning, murder. So what?

parishioner father shot to death

This is the front page of a newspaper down in Mexico. The fellow face down on the sidewalk is the father of a parishioner, shot actually not three but four times in the back of the head.

When this happens I immediately think of my “Shadow” who has always fully admitted to felonious gunrunning guns feloniously purchased and feloniously transferred from these USA to a felonious straw purchaser in Mexico for felonious gangs and cartels with a feloniously obtained ID, that is, mine (which is why I call him my “Shadow”), with Sinoloa being a favorite region. The guns were, for instance, AK-47s, which are not your usual daily “carry” for self-defense.

  • The exclamation “guns kill people” – when the guns are legally obtained for the legal purpose of legitimate self-defense – is not true.
  • The exclamation “guns kill people” – when the guns are illegally obtained for the illegal purpose of the illegitimate murder of others – is true. Supplying a terrorist with the weapons of terrorism makes one a terrorist.

Before I knew that my “Shadow” had stolen my ID, he was writing letters, which, I must say, were a shocking surprise. This guy was sending letters saying that he was buying AK-47s and mountains of ammo and bringing these to Mexico (naming a tiny town in particular near Sinaloa). Just to say, this was in the very early 1990s when my dad was dying, throwing him into deep confusion. I remember how upset this made me with this guy. I would soon find out how connected he was/is to me. Then my “Shadow” wound up in maximum security prison in Mexico. Then my dad died. Then I got the letter from the Ambassador at Main State speaking about what to do about my “Shadow” stealing my identity, that is, nothing except to watch bank accounts, keep the emergency number they gave me, and make copies of the letter for travel as I was to be put on a perpetual program. When does that ever happen instead of just having the perp arrested? Never is the answer, unless there is a program.

My “Shadow” and I have been emailing back and forth pretty ferociously these last few days. He thinks it’s creepy that I have a problem with gunrunning, saying that “There are probably about a hundred million legal guns in the USA”, with that fact making illegal gun running to Mexico just fine and dandy for him, despite how many people are murdered because of putting illegally obtained guns into the hands of criminal gangs and cartels. It’s equating the two – legal and illegal – that is creepy.

He brags about himself: “I havent had any felony convictions ever in the USA.” Of course, that doesn’t say anything about a possible felony warrant with no statue of limitations for having committed the fraud of identity theft so as illegally to purchase AK-47s to illegally bring those guns to Mexico to sell illegally to a straw purchaser so as to support illegal activities. But no convictions. Great! Kind of strange, that, the no convictions thing. But then again, that’s all consonant with Main State not caring about having an international criminal arrested, instead just indicating that I’ll be on a perpetual program. That no-conviction-thing is also consonant with the FBI in conjunction with Main State specifically following up on this years later by giving me a false passport, protecting the perp while wanting me to just disappear. Doesn’t happen every day, does it? The answer is never, except when there’s a program.

I recall that when, in a relatively recent four hour long conversation, I made the baiting comment that it’s too bad for America that so very much money is spent in having me protected while traveling, with him immediately instantaneously interrupting me to say that that is relatively speaking a very minor part of the budget for a very minor part of the progra… cutting off his response when he realized he had said too much. Anyway, back to the recent round of emails:

My “Shadow” says I should just get over it [the gunrunning in my name], not make a big deal of it, like “mexicans” he says. “They pretty much get over all that as time goes by.”

Yeah, well, a lot of them are dead. Maybe that’s why they “get over all that.”

He says: “There are millions of illegal aliens using fake ID’s every day.”

Yeah, well, not all those millions in his reckoning are buying AK-47s to transfer to Mexico to have people get murdered.

I’m a Missionary of Mercy and I’m all for forgiveness, but if someone make excuses for behavior which assists in the murder of untold numbers of people, that doesn’t lend itself to thinking that there is appropriate appreciation of what is called repentance and contrition and amendment of life. Bitter rationalization is, in this case, a licence to kill.

He goes on to say how he bought his own properties, but fails to mention how he wanted my name on those properties in recent years, and wants me to get him a property up here in Western North Carolina right now. Pretty brave, given his history, you ask?

He then goes on about his conspiracy theories, speaking of…

“all politicians who are all masons who make blood pacts of loyalty secrecy and obedience to the talmudic bosses of masonry.The old timey catholic church opposed talmudic jews and fremasons. Not any more. Father George the big bad jesuit who is into talmudic deception.”

I guess he doesn’t know that I’m not a Jesuit. Then again, he uses a small “j”, making this a pejorative adjective for the Brits. When he went off like this in the recent past (not infrequent) – he being for some time (still now?) a close follower of David Duke, wanting to be one of his academic advisers at one time – I sent him the official full title of a certain institute in Israel in Hebrew – you know, the other “Company” whose motto from the Scriptures is written out in blood red letters in modern script in the header of this blog – so as to test his knowledge of Hebrew. None. So he goes on:

“what does that hebrew s[***] you texted me mean? I texted you that you should go to a foreign country and advise them about how to avoid being taken advantage of by the israelites and you texted me a hebrew sentance in reply. My guess is the hebrew would english translate to mean  “I am a loyal talmudic deciever who hates Jesus Christ and all christians”. Or probably just “I am a loyal talmudic deciever”,Or maybe “God demands the israelites decieve the nations to usurp all wealth and political power.”

This “Shadow” guy knew me as a kid. We had a common friend in a Jewish kid of the same age. The Jewish kid, Neil, didn’t want to be manipulated concerning a far-away project. Neil made a good choice. But that might have have been what turned my “Shadow” off regarding Jews. Neil died very many years ago.

I remember all the times (with multiple bullets each time) when I was 300 yards across a pond and he shot at me with a .22 rifle, the bullets ricocheting off the water exactly where, because of the drop, the bullet would hit had he aimed right at me. And other times come to mind. Anyway, I digress.

If anyone is thinking that I’m just an entitled brat and should just get over it, I respond to say that dead people in Mexico don’t just get over it. In what manner is the Church a field hospital in a spiritual sense if it is not a field hospital in a physical sense. Should I not fight for the least of our brothers among us? It’s much too graphic to put up here, but if you want to know what I’m talking about, look up sinaloa cartel victims on a google image search. Or don’t. It’s all dismembered, decapitated bodies that you can’t un-see. I just don’t like it that guns have been supplied to them in my name.

Conversely, if anyone is thinking that they should go to bat for me, instead, really instead, have a read of Jason Chaffetz’ report which he handed in just before he resigned from Congress. It recites a long list of obfuscation, non-cooperation: 2017-FINAL-REPORT. Think you’ll get anywhere with OCEDETF, BATFE, DEA, DHS, ICE, FBI, DOJ, DOS…? Not a chance. An act of Congress won’t do it. Moreover, this all predates Fast and Furious, with two to three dozen programs taking place at any given time then as now, with untold numbers of physical levels of deniability for anyone and everyone. It never happened. An operator such as my “Shadow” can be on the take from two, three, four or more programs, none of them knowing about each other, agencies competing with each other. Not easy. My “Shadow” spoke to me about others like him that he would see on his forays. It’s something pretty much anyone can do, even me, at least in his eyes. He was trying to convince me just a while back at how I could make money doing this. That should tell you something.

So, you’ll not get anywhere, especially because you have no dog in the fight. I do. Me. Sorry, but don’t speak on my behalf. That does not at all make things easier. Again, there are so very many levels of physical deniability beyond which you just cannot go. This is how things are set up. No proof. But, there it is.

Finally, know this: as I’m told by one of leading operators of all operators, guns are just a tiny, tiny, tiny part of what is always a much larger strategy to destabilize a foreign country’s law enforcement, military, government, politicians and economy (and in this case also the Church with the assassination of the outspoken Cardinal Ocampo), meaning that such a country is no longer able to compete, which is held to be success for us. That’s the world for you.

I know, let’s concentrate on Jesus. I remind my “Shadow” about Jesus. I’m not sure I’m getting very far, but I’ll keep trying. Jesus was another Jew. Like me. But prayer is powerful.

I wish I could talk to the FBI (my “Shadow” is in the USA) about the profile of this “Shadow” guy, but after I turned down the false passport offer of the FBI and State Department, they just don’t want to hear anything.

I wonder if this is the next thing to be moved. Imagine what this would do to border guards and politicians around the world. Imagine the extortion. But that’s the point, right? I don’t know what he’s up to right now or how much wherewithal he has. He seems fed up with what he’s doing right now on the up and up side of things. I do know he’s wanting to make a major move soon.

UPDATE: The entire response of my “Shadow” to this post is that he doesn’t personally right now own a personal gun and he doesn’t personally bother to shoot any guns.


Filed under Bullying, Guns, Intelligence Community, Law enforcement, Politics, Terrorism

See it? Say it? Now you’re the target. Gunrunners, killing and FBI laughing.

The first time the FBI laughed with glee, in my face, was when they found out that I knew about their program of gunrunning using my identity (yes, you read that right), immediately supplying me with a false passport without me asking for it, protecting their gray-man who was using my name and wanting me, the squeaky clean U.S. Citizen in good standing, to disappear from the face of the earth, giving up being a priest, giving up being in contact with siblings and friends. Leaving all projects of a lifetime behind. I’ll say it’s their program since they cooperated with the State Department with the passport thing and they seemed to know everything there is to know about the program.

Every time since then that I had a “See something say something” event going on, they did the creepy thing:

“If you see something, say something.”

“No no no!” “See something, say something” thing is a total lie. No one cares.

Like the Florida school shooting.

In fact, you become a target for knowing too much. So what if people die?

It puts most people off. But a few, perhaps very few, get somewhat entrenched and insist on saying something about what they saw. Do that and you end up like the naive investigator guy in Lord of War, disillusioned:

That five minute scene sums up the last 40 some years of my life. Truly. You would think that after 40 years I would be delivered from this. But no. As Main State told me in 1992 and as the FBI told me in 1996, the program is perpetual. No way out. Not alive anyway. As THE black-site guy told me once, “No one gets out of life alive anyway.”

What pushes me is that people are dying in my name. And it continues. And it was all just ramped up hugely just the other day. I don’t know what to do about this.

I would tell the FBI about it and I will if asked, but, like, it’s their program. So…

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making cheap and handy targets


Pictured is a detail of my own printed (legal size paper) of the important detail of the inside bottle of the FBI QIT 97-99 combo target useful for the FAM TPC (pre-2001). Too complicated to set up. That means, eventually, unusable because too hard means unused.

So, compromising, it’s time to work through a pack of el-cheapo 9″ paper plates with a central ribbon representing a detail of the inside bottle, though that’s smaller too. Instead of measuring it all out, I’m just tracing a 3.5″ wide so-called “two by four” over the plate to be held up easily by just one loop of the loopy wire sign holders available from Lowes for pennies. Interestingly, the wire absorbs a 9mm FMJ with a mere dent, which is easy to fix with your hands alone. Because of being 1/4″ smaller to the sides, hitting the line still brings 5 points instead of 2. Here are Laudie-dog and Shadow-dog showing off the new el-cheapo super easy to make, super easy to set up targets:


You would think they’re cats.

  • Copy-Paper targets make ripped holes and make counting difficult.
  • Cardboard targets explode holes and make counting difficult.
  • Paper-plate targets are just right and can be super-easily changed out every course so you don’t have to make due with used targets for a new course.


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Road assault: when 911 not in service. Priest happy to have gun at the ready.

road danger fist fight

It was my day off yesterday. First I went about 80 miles one way to a rehab to give sacraments to a parishioner. Then on my way back to highway 74/40 just off parallel 19/23 East of Canton (coming from the far road next to the Exxon), I stopped to the side of the entrance to the eastward on-ramp to see if this damsel in distress needed some timely assistance. I had seen him wildly slugging at her as I came around the corner. She had her hands up in a defensive position. I think he did make contact with her forearms.

In the picture above from the rear-window digital recorder, you can see him rolling up his sleeve to get in some better slugging with his arm and fist ready for action, walking toward her. You can see her quickly backing away again with hands up in a defensive position. The white truck to your left had stopped. He kept honking his air horns at the aggressor and just let traffic pile up behind him. Another car had stopped on the ramp just ahead of me as well. It was quite the wild scene.

I tried to call 911 dispatch. The phone got the signal but 911 was not to be had:

” ♮ ♪ beep ♮ ♪ Beep ♮ ♪ BEEP: This number has been disconnected or is no longer in service. If you think you have received this recording in error, please try your number again.”

I tried again. Once again, the same recording played. Perhaps that happens when a number is overwhelmed with calls. I’m guessing that’s the case here. But I didn’t know that. As far as I knew, I was on my own unless the trucker and the other guy would come to my assistance if need be. They were watching inside their vehicles to see what would happen next.

Here she is bawling her eyes out walking away from him. Or is she cradling facial injuries? Or both? He hesitated, but is now chasing after her.

road danger fist fight run

In just another moment a couple of firemen in a red pickup with roof lights showed up and firstly, smartly, did a perimeter check. “You O.K.?” they asked me, seeing if they could find out if I had any connection with these two. I told them I  was trying to call 911 but couldn’t get through. They said they had been watching this scene unfold as well. I think they then used their radio to get another fireman in a more official vehicle with an array of white and red lights flashing to come. They then ran away, well, perhaps they were going to another call. The other vehicle did come all lit up. Then two law enforcement cruisers with lights flashing and sirens blaring showed up. So, O.K.

For myself, I had been standing next to my car, making it obvious that I was a witness and was getting pictures on my phone. He was not impressed. He was only three lanes away (just over ten yards or so) and I’m sure deciding whether he should rush me or not, just a few second sprint. Staring me down, he then turned to his car and looked like he was madly searching for something in his car, rifling through a mountain of rubbish. A gun? Dunno.

But this was my way of attempting deescalation. And it did work.

After this, he just argued with her, really ferociously, and chased her repeatedly, but I didn’t see any more wild swinging with fists that would have made any connection. You have to know that not all people taking pictures are simply letting bad stuff happen, or getting pictures for social media. Sometimes they are. But sometimes this is done as an indirect threat with the aim of deescalation. I mean, pictures can be used to help throw this guy into prison for years, right? Criminals know that and sometimes back down. Sometimes not, but it’s worth a try. Deescalation is important, necessary when possible. It was possible in this instance.

For the record, I never brandished. I never open-carried. But – I will be honest about this – I was happy to have my Glock 19 with me. And – I will be honest about this – if he had smacked her to the ground and started smashing the life out of her, or started to rape her in front of God and everyone (some people are just that arrogant), I would have done something about it, not hesitating to save her life by stopping the threat against her, he being much, much stronger than her. Bullies like this, by the way, are always cowards. They will almost always back down from someone at least as capable as them.

Some are saying, I’m sure: “Priests should just be nice! Don’t be such a meanie!”

No. Not nice. Priests should act in God’s own charity. Deus caritas est.

Meanwhile, I recommend to women in an abusive relationship, ditch the cosmetic cover-up of wounds and black-eyes. Just get out. Do it. And don’t go back. You will die if you go back. That’s how it works. It’s a progression. Get out and stay out.


Filed under Guns, Road danger

Pundits: “See guy with gun in trailer park? Call FBI!” (poor = terrorist)


“If you see something, say something. Do you see a guy with a gun in a trailer park? Call the FBI!”

The reasoning behind this is: If you are poor, you are a terrorist.

I’ve heard this now four times already after the Florida school shooting on syndicated news programs.

Let me tell you a story:

One of our local deputies, a drug-detective, in arresting the parents of girl about ten years old, adopted that girl. He and his wife already had a raft of kids, and then adopted her. Law enforcement officers get paid just about nothing. They live in a trailer because they can’t afford anything else, because they are generous, loving, decent, wonderful human beings. Oh yes… if you’re wondering… he also has a gun…

Pundits who say that all people who live in trailer parks are terrorists in potentia and if they have guns are actually terrorists are pundits who are themselves dangerous to society. Such comments cause a rift so severe in society that you get terrorist incidents as a result. Just. Wow. All for sensationalism.

I never bothered, but I should just go ahead and count all the trailers with a law enforcement take-home-cruiser parked next to them.

Pundits say: “Stop the slaughter.” Some pundits should stop being such arrogant idiots.


Filed under Guns, Law enforcement

Stopping school shootings: cowardly & practical ways? There’s only one way…

nikolas cruz school shooting florida

  • Cowardly ways: Just insist that it’s all about gun control. This is screamingly stupid. People will just get knives and baseball bats, machetes and power tools or just beat people to death with their fists. Do we outlaw hands? Gun control is cowardly because the perpetrators of gun control don’t want to deal with dealing with the actual problem, which regards what goes on inside individuals.
  • Practical ways: O.K. These things are good because we’ll never have everyone be saints before our Lord returns. So, fine: metal detectors in schools, better control of points of ingress, egress, windows, having school resource officers in uniform who are extremely adept with guns and have practiced lock downs understood by students and teachers and staff and administration and responding agencies. I’ve written about this a lot on this blog, with those articles being visiting by innumerable grade schools, middle schools, junior high schools, colleges, universities, especially the ivy league schools, major businesses with something to protect, especially military manufacturers, pretty much all types and levels of law enforcement agencies on all levels, from local to federal, on and on. This is all good. But this shouldn’t be the be-all, end-all response. After all, while practical ways to deal with violence are supposed to be preventative, they are actually only and merely reactive. It doesn’t go to the cause. Get it? This important. People are dying because people don’t understand this point. It’s all about “What ifs” – What if so and so brings a gun? What do we do? What is our policy? If this is the only approach, it is also cowardly. You might as well buy stock in coffin manufacturing companies.
  • The Only Way: True prevention of such things must go to who we are before God and neighbor. This demands honesty, integrity, fortitude. It demands individuals coming to know their true identity as creatures before their Creator, indeed, as fallen, weak, tempted to be evil and bad creatures before God and neighbor, as those who can, nevertheless, find forgiveness and wholesomeness and worth in Him who stood in our place, unto death, unto death on the Cross, having the right, then, in His own justice to have mercy on us. There are the wounds! They mean that He loves us! This is the Way, the only Way. There is no other way.

Cowardly ways? Give me a break. Practical ways? O.K. But not enough. The only Way is the Only Way.


Filed under Guns, Terrorism

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


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!

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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:


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.

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Very Rev. Vicar Forâne & my day-off


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:


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


Filed under Day Off, Guns, Missionaries of Mercy

FAM-TPC pre-2001. Wings! Gun ranges vs courses. LEOs vs FAMs. Grouping is “Before picture” for Proactive

Ha ha ha. That video with this comedian about shooting at a range with white dudes was sent in by a reader. What I was shocked about is the dollar cost for time in a lane at an indoor gun range anywhere but here (he mentions 15 bucks an hour). More than that, you cannot shoot any actual courses at an indoor range (spinning about from holstered cover and shooting at multiple targets, nano-second mag changes, etc. Even timers can be disallowed as they mess up other shooters. In the year I’ve had a carry I’ve been to an actual gun range only four times:

  1. To qualify before signing up for my first “purchase permit” with the Sheriff at Bear Arms indoor range in Brevard. I didn’t pay for that qualifier. Nice place. Friendly people. Helpful. 40/40
  2. With a bunch of priests getting some tips on zeroing in long guns from an Army Ranger sniper. That cost us $3.00 for an all day pass at Dirty John’s, a National Forest outdoor range only about 35 minutes from the rectory. One priest continued wearing his cassock. Don’t ask me how he didn’t get it full of mud. I’m Mud Incorporated. Poor Sassy the Subaru. Anyway, that was a lot of fun.
  3. During the retreat for the priests of the diocese at I think it was a State Game range. That one was for free. Two or three employees. Pretty heavily trafficked. Nice.
  4. With my neighbor across from the rectory at Dirty John’s once again. He’s an EMT, firefighter, heavy machine operator, ex-82 Airborne. Really fun. Good conversation back and forth. We saw five bears, a mama and four cubs.

The guy in the video above comicsplained to me that white guys like me gotta have nick names for their guns. I have a Glock 19 only, but with no name. So, let’s see, how about Splainer? ;-) Anyway…

One score for the pre-2001 Federal Air Marshal Tactical Pistol Course came in at 92.4%, just squeaking by the 90% mark which permits a FAM to get on a plane, well, back in the day anyway. Now it’s heaps easier. Anyway, of course, 92.4% is bragging about a fluke. I ran through it a few times. One other score was 70%. The rest were throughout the 80s range. The FAMs of the day had to nail it every time. That’s why they could only get 50 in the world to qualify. My groupings for stages for the course in extreme short time frames look like – to cite Colion Noir – “my groupings look like the before picture of a Proactive commercial.” ;-) So, this total neophyte has a lot of work to do. But the work is good times.

The scores received for each stage of the course in the few times I did the course are pretty consistent, with instant double-taps each time being more accurate than six quick shots, or a shot, slide-lock-back, reload, shoot combination being more accurate than a quick single shot from cover. Go figure! But I can. It’s all psychological. That’s a real learning experience. It makes sense that these discrepancies would be what they are. There are reasons, now understood, which can be corrected.

It’s interesting that the received understanding of the terminology is different for LEOs and FAMs IF I understand what is said correctly. Correct me if I’m wrong.

  • For qualification courses for LEOs, “cover” refers to being mostly behind something that will likely stop a bullet such as a brick wall, as opposed to “concealment”, which refers to being mostly behind something that will not at all stop a bullet, such as drywall, a door, etc.
  • For qualification courses for Federal Air Marshals, vulnerability is simply not part of the equation, so that “concealment” and “cover” are the same, and refer instead to a pistol which is holstered, which holster is itself hidden by, say, a suit coat. Nothing in a plane will stop a bullet except a “target.”

The difference, mind you, is not one of bravado, but of situation.

  • For instance, LEOs have a much more varying and unpredictable set of circumstances, often with much greater distances and often little consequence for misses and a much, much greater likelihood of being shot at.
  • For FAMs, you will likely have only one shot, which, if you don’t neutralize your target the first time you will most probably kill others or blow out the side of the plane, depressurizing the cabin, all of this happening literally within fractions of second or two. There’s simply no time or sense in being concealed or being behind cover. Nothing in a plane is going to stop a bullet and the passengers eyes will always betray your exact location no matter how concealed or covered you think you are.

FAMs train up for an extremely narrow set of circumstances. Because of the extremely quick timings and the much tinier size of the targets for all stages of the course, it helps me for more generalized courses such as the FBI qualification. Anyway, it’s all fun. And just to say, a LEO friend uses a tinier target than the FAMs, just a Post-It note. He’s a really good shot, perhaps better than most FAMs today.

I’m sure I have the profile of a terrorist:

  • I have a gun and I do carry, because this is what a responsible citizen can do in a spirit of service in defense of self and others.
  • I practice, because this is what a responsible concealed carrier does.
  • I have plenty of ammo, because, um, I practice.

If that sounds too normal, well then, here are the really scary parts:

  • I’ve researched guns on the internet, because, um, this is my hobby.
  • I’ve researched ammo on the internet, because, um, this is my hobby.
  • I’ve researched long guns and shot guns on the internet to decide, in the end, that I’m not just going there. Just a pistol is, I think, good enough for me, if I’m really quick and accurate with it. But, just to say, I have researched those other guns.
  • I’ve researched other pistols on the internet, because, um, like the Geico Gecko might say, it’s just what you do when you start to get more into the hobby you’ve taken up.
  • I’ve researched – ooooh! – graphene on the internet. Not available yet.

That last one was done because a very long time LEO, upon hearing that I’ve been purposely* shot at on a few occasions when I go out to practice at the hermitage (hey… it’s a rough area), suggested, on a number of occasions actually, that I get a ballistic vest. I’m gonna wait for the graphene. The usual is just too heavy, too bulky, too restrictive, and I’m thinking that most vests are throw-away out of date repackaged rubbish from China.

* Each occasion involved maybe a half-dozen or dozen bullets above or to the side of me, maybe 3 seconds between shots with me being irremediably out in the open: not a mistake, just to scare me, though redirected bullets, ripping through numerous trees and branches, could have done some serious harm.


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Peripheries are beautiful. Where are backsides of the beyonds? Violence?


Gorgeous! Stecoah Gap, just one of the places where the Appalachian Trail crosses a major, that is, actual two lane road[!] somewhere in the backsides of the beyonds in one of the three counties of my parish. Within living memory, what is today a two hour trip here, say, from the greater metropolitan Asheville, would take, back in the day, many days or even a week or two of grueling travel on a one lane, merely oil sprayed gravel road everywhere destroyed by tree roots bringing it up and pot holes and total washouts bringing it down. Even in my tenure at this parish in our own time I learned the advantages of carrying a chainsaw with me, having used it on seven different occasions to remove trees from the roads in the middle of nowhere with no cellphone signal available. Three different roads I travel regularly have been totally taken out with multiple landslides or have been buried with landslides. One of them, still closed, needs the entire mountainside to be secured. That’ll take a good year or so.

Visiting priests tell me that they appreciate the beauty. They also tell me that, in their opinion, almost no priest would ever want to be here, that is, in the imagined opinion of those straw men, about as far away as is physically possible from everything and everyone. Maybe “big” parishes have a draw, I don’t know, as in power or ladder climbing, or money, being someone. Of course, I wouldn’t want to put that judgment on my fellow priests. Those are, again, all straw men. I’m guessing that what they would really be saying is about greater opportunities for service. But what someone actually does is, of course, arbitrary, regardless of where they are. I can’t imagine not loving everything about the mystical body of Christ wherever our Lord is to be found.

At any rate, having grown up in the backsides of the beyonds in the North Woods of Minnesota I feel right at home. Here’s a google map image of my stomping grounds. Long time readers might guess that it is across this body of water that I was the target of incoming rifle fire on multiple occasions with perhaps a dozen shots or so on each occasion (all 300 yards), not far from where our entire family was shot at a half dozen times with I’m guessing just bird-shot bbs of shotguns, the distances starting at just 200 feet and ending at 350 feet, firstly in the trees above us, then right at us. The spray was then hitting us, but we were far enough away that there was no penetration. But you could feel it hit through Winter coats. My mom was hit in the head a couple of times. “Ow! Ouch!” she exclaimed. But she did have a polyester hat on, typical of that time. My dad said, “Don’t run, just keep walking really quickly.” A psychological ploy. For my part, I turned and faced our attackers, saying that I was going to go and deal with them right then and there, with no weapon. I was only twelve years old. My dad insisted that that was a really bad idea.


Hey! Just like big cities! So, where are the peripheries, in the country or in the city? Cities can be glimmering, shining. The country can be stunningly entrancing. Pope Francis speaks of the darkest of existential peripheries. Where are those?

Here’s the deal: People are the same at any time, in any place, in any culture. All need the goodness and kindness and truth of the Lord Jesus. Just like me.


Filed under Guns, Missionaries of Mercy, Priesthood, Spiritual life, Vocations

FAMTP-PPC pre-2001: grounded or not

twa flight 800

The Federal Air Marshal Training Program, the FAMTP, includes an FTP, a Firearms Training Program, which includes the Practice Pistol Course (PPC).

  • The pre-September 11, 2001 pre-flight qualification course demanded agents get a score of at least 90% or they were grounded. They could only get 50 agents to do it. In the world. After 2001, it was decided to get some thousands of agents. Pretty much none of them could do the course before flights, so they ditched it.
  • The post-September 11, 2001 training program has a 60 round exercise that sounds exactly like the comparatively very easy FBI qualification course. They also have some double-tap drills in specialized flight cabin or air tower situations.

The pre-2001 version of the course is fun to practice with because it’s so difficult. What’s difficult is not the individual drills, whether double-taps, rhythm, multiple targets starting from cover turned away at 180◦, speed-reloads, slide-lock-back reloads while dropping to a knee, and so on, or the tiny size of the targets (all nervous system [the inside QIT] bottle [can’t touch any part of the line]) or the distance (all just 7 yards as one might expect inside a plane at 35,000 feet).

What’s difficult in the pre-2001 version of the course is the very short time allowed for each drill (a timer is utilized). If you go overtime, just .01 seconds with even just one bullet with even just one drill you fail the entire course and you are grounded from flying, and that consequence is, of course, a big deal for both your job and the passengers if there are special risk factors with whatever flight. If you wanted to be a FAM back in the day, you needed to be at ease in getting close to or right at 100% cold barrel, any time, any where, under any circumstances.

I’m not at all a FAM wannabe. No. But, again, the challenge of the pre-2001 course makes it fun on a day-off. My own score is edging up. 87% yesterday, just off by 3%. But that was a fluke. It wasn’t cold barrel. And I did go overtime just a tad with one bullet on one of the drills. So, a long way to go. And that’s not even including contorting oneself into impossible positions in specialized circumstances as they do also today.

At any rate, keeping frosty in what ways one can is good if one carries. Along with good situational awareness. Otherwise, this is just some fun for me on the day-off.


Hey! Wait just one nanosecond! I just saw this video of an example of the old FAM course being shot by some guy. He’s really pretty good. Better than me. But I think he’s cheating:

Let’s take a close-up of the results on that target:

FAM course video

He’s using the body-bottle, not the nervous-system bottle. For the latter, see the inside bottle for this QIT-97-99 combo:


If I’m not mistaken, it’s the inside bottle that counts (5 points each clean hit). Any line or outside the small bottle but inside the larger is just 2 points. Get a bunch of two pointers and you’re out. He’s definitely out. I’ve been using only the small bottle. I think that’s right.

Here’s an example of the targets I put up (just the small bottle) held up with a couple of wire sign-holders available at Lowes:


No, I don’t fire my gun with Shadow-dog in back of the target. And I don’t fire my gun in the back yard of the rectory inside city limits. Anyway, you can see from this that if a bullet was stray from the small bottle more than an inch or two, I wouldn’t even count the 2 points I would otherwise get as it would miss this smaller target altogether. Better to practice with the more difficult target so that the easier target really is easier.


There is an ulterior motive to putting up these posts on gun stuff on this personal blog of mine. It is recommended by the USCCA, of which I am a member, that one keeps a log of one’s practice, one’s reading, one’s training. So far I’ve done little in posting about the reading and training, but I have burdened readers with these target practice posts. ;-)


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This gunslinger priest: It is to laugh! More updates on the ironies. Ha ha!

wrong way off ramp

October 27, 2017: 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! I’m guessing he was an escapee on the run and they had just gotten a tip he was in the area. The timing was perfect.

The second time I had my gun kind of 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.

Because I was going to a hospital in North Carolina (with the law prohibiting entrance with any gun, concealed or otherwise), and since the trip was almost over, being now only a couple of miles away, I took the gun out of the Serpa Blackhawk holster and secured it otherwise in the vehicle. This is really stupid. You just never know when a critical incident is going to occur.

As I slowed up for the intersection, an ultra-sports sports car, the kind with really wide tires pulled up into the one-lane 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 my perception was that he fully intended to do what he was doing and he was pretty upset that I had totally blocked his access. It was a man driving with a woman in the passenger seat, both about 65 years old. Were they on a scenic tour of the mountains here in his new car? This was a very elegant looking man and woman. The look of big money. Was he trying to show off to her, racing up the highway the wrong way just until the next exit, perhaps running circles around cars (easy to do in a Bugatti)? My perception was that 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. I was fully aware that he could have put his window down a bit so as to shoot me. He did seem to be messing around with something in his lap. In fact, he didn’t say anything. But he was determined to get on the highway going the wrong way. He was still edging forward. It was my perception that it would almost be impossible for him to be making a mistake. Another car came down the off ramp behind me and laboriously 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 moving forward slowly, but it seemed with determination, as he was ignoring my indication to stop. 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. His companion looked scared to death with her hands to the sides of her head while he was looking at my hip. It was my perception that he was intent on going on an adrenaline joy ride. He was still edging forward with the low front of the car getting obnoxiously close to my shins. This is reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon. Did I put myself in danger? Sure. But for every possible reason he could and should stop. And I had every reason in the world to make an attempt to stop him from mortally endangering his life, the life of his companion, and the lives of those on the highway behind me.

It happens that 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 even though the gun was itself secured in the car. He saw the holster and couldn’t be sure that there was no gun in it as the shirt flopped over the top opening of the holster in it’s baggy fashion, though without concealing the rest of the holster itself. 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.

So, 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 to run into me, perhaps over me, that is, if conditions indicated this was the proper thing to do for the safety and welfare of all concerned, including the general public on the roads. I’m practiced enough now that I could shoot out tires that with the certainty of not hitting the occupants. I’ve been run over with extreme violence before, with plenty of shattered bones, so I know what that’s like. I know I can be totally calm in a storm. I know what adrenaline is. So, easy peasy, however intense. 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. The bullets only go through one wall and generally get stuck coming out the far side.

Anyway, however upset he was, 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. If he was looking to show off with dangerous driving, risking the lives of others, he finally figured out that killing a priest, especially considering what he was doing with his life, would be counterproductive in every way imaginable. He stopped, backed up, and turned his car around. Off he went getting an ear full from his friend.

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.

October 28, 2017 (early the next morning): The face of the woman in the passenger seat was burned into my mind, as she framed her head with her hands while reprimanding the driver, who I just assumed was her husband, seeming to be about the same age and all that. When I was on the phone with Father Gordon MacRae this morning (the 28th, 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 woman in these United States. (She’s quite willing to receive the messages, by the way). Her photo came up as I started to type in her gmail 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. Exact amount of lower-chin-fat. Everything. 100%. That’s her. This, I’m sure, was her worst nightmare: to be rescued from malicious death at the hands of her companion 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.

December 26, 2017: While doing some editorial work for Father Gordon MacRae, it struck me that I should google-image someone for whom I never had occasion to see an updated picture. Hah hah hah hah hah hah hah! I love it. I just love it. The driver of the Bugati was not her husband, but rather, someone who is, perhaps by definition the most anti-Catholic, anti-priest man in these United States. I didn’t recognize him earlier because, in fact, he’s lost some weight what with all pressure he’s suffering from all the hypocrisy and corruption being uncovered about him, and… and… he’s grown himself a goatee. It was this thinner, goateed guy that I saw. The ironies are so rife it’s hard for me to write this update. Hah hah hah hah hah hah hah! O.K., I’m happy to have saved him from himself as well. I’m not laughing at him with some sort of schadenfreude. I do hope he lives long enough to repent and be on his way to heaven. The angels are more amazing than we can possibly imagine, setting up the timing of such encounters more than we know, perhaps more than we care to know.


Filed under Abuse, Angels, Guns, Priesthood, Road danger

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


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.

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Filed under Day Off, Guns, Missionaries of Mercy

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

gun at low ready

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


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