Category Archives: Guns

After retreat: bullets, razored arrows, cops. “Quiet till you got back, Father.”

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This razored hinged hunting arrow was shot into my neighbors yard across corners of two other neighbors’ yards (with little kids about).

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It’s full of identifiers…

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It looks to have been modified, or fixed up with a bit of glue. Just that red bit at the end I think comes in at about $10.00.

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The hinged razors might retail for like $50.00. Let’s see: carbon shaft, special joiners… Maybe just this one arrow is coming in @$75.00. Or am I overpricing that? I’m not into archery at all, though I did shoot arrows round about as a kid with a fiberglass bow.

Anyway, that’s just an arrow. Just as disconcerting for the neighborhood are bullets ricocheting here and there. They’ve whizzed by the neighbor’s dog. I think the target is the neighbor’s propane tank. If I’m guessing who the perp is correctly, he’s not a good shot at all. I’ve never seen him pull a bow back or pull a trigger, so, what do I know? Nothing. It’s usually between, say, 3:23 AM and 3:43 AM. I look at my backlit el-cheapo Casio watch during such events. I bet his favorite TV show ends at 3:00 AM and that’s when he takes out his weapons, perhaps totally plastered.

Various of the neighbors have called in these shenanigans, which, in town, are totally illegal. I haven’t done it up to now, but maybe I should call it in. After all, people’s lives are unnecessarily put at risk by someone mixing alcohol and guns. That never works well. So, fine. I hate to call stuff in because that puts the cops at risk. That’s the very last thing I want to do. And yet…

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Ensuring Low Mass rubrical precision at diocesan priests’ retreat with a Glock

Some practice altars were set up to refresh the exactness of rubrics of the guys for low Mass.

It’s surprising who was assisted on this or that point. It’s always good to have other sets of eyes for that which is important.

When teaching a seminarian the low Mass back in 2010, he was cautioned that should he mess up on this or that rubric he might hear a gun get racked in the congregation as a warning to stay awake. There are those who get apoplectic with an honest mistake. When he made a mistake I would imitate the sound of a gun being racked. There was laughter all around.

He’s now a priest. He was with us sharpening up his rubrical precision. Upon a miniscule mistake I tapped my holster… click… to laughter… bringing things full circle.

One of the vicar foranes of the diocese, himself expert with guns, asked for the Glock and – ensuring it was empty of any possible magazine and any possible chambered round – waited for the next small slip up so as repeatedly to make the tell-tale racking sound with the slide multiple times, again to the laughter of all.

A good time was had by all. Newly scheduled low Masses are being added around the diocese. I love this diocese.

By the way and just to say, I once asked an FSSP priest if any of their members would make a breathless correction if anyone made an honest mistake. He said never. Not in the seminary. Not after ordination. Breathlessness is only for those who don’t know Jesus.

To the point:

  • All things liturgical are NOT about all things liturgical.
  • All things liturgical are about Jesus Christ, King of kings, Lord of lords, He who is the Prince of the Most Profound Peace.

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Day Off: Scoping & best dq to date. Automated course: pulleys, ropes?

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Just prior to my going farther up the mountain – where one finds Holy Souls Hermitage – I put up a target for some vet friends, Army above and Air Force below, so that they might set their scopes a bit more accurately.

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Then it was time for me to throw out a few rounds from the Glock 19 before the retreat begins in another handful of days for all the priests of Charlotte Diocese.

  • Five targets for the FBI course went up at all their various distances. That netted an “instructor” level result.
  • Three targets all seven yards out then went up for the pre-2001 Federal Air Marshal tactical pistol course. This netted my best disqualification yet. 100% accuracy for all seven stages (with my 4.7 times smaller than regulation targets), all under time except stage six. Drat! The two sets to that stage (spinning from 180 degrees with holstered cover to hit three targets three yards apart  in 3.5 seconds. One set was 0.11 hundreds of a second over, and the other 0.32 hundreds of a second over.

Not quite getting it perfect and still not cold barrel keeps the challenge there. That challenge keeps going even when 100% and all under time is achieved every session since it’s a perishable skill. As the neighbor says: only God is perfect.

I wish I could get the description and timings for all stages of the SEALS TPC. Anyone? I won’t publicize it. Surmisings of a few stages are guessed at on the internet but that’s it. If you drop it in the comments box I’ll be able to copy it without letting it through the moderation queue.

Meanwhile, texting back and forth with number two guy above, he’s talking about jacking it up a level by building me an automated course on the cheap, with strings and pulleys and ropes that can be randomized. Timer would be counterproductive. That sounds waaaaaay out of my league, but surely a huge challenge. And that’s why it’s good for the day off, right?

 

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Domestic battery on woman

Situational awareness is nothing without a piece of mind…

Just now, after Saturday evening Confessions, I went outside to the parking lot and heard screaming, like a guy beating a young lady into submission. She came running by the church and I offered her a ride away from the violence. He then started chasing after the both of us. I brought her to the police, who noticed he had been beating on her face. He let her stay with them until the sheriff showed up. She was happy to be safe.

I asked the neighbor lady about it and she said it had been going on all day. “Stop it!” the victim would scream.

You just never know when you’ll be called upon. I was confident to help her because I had a piece of mind. I didn’t need it. But everyone has a piece of mind around here. Do you? Do you practice?

Anyway, time for Confessions and Mass again.

U

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Day-off: Getting professionally baited, you know, on purpose. ;-)

baiting

Waiting for boarding time for the trip to Rome, I’m noticing more old drafts that need sprucing up and publishing.

On my “day-off” the other week… month.. I returned the Sig Sauer P226 variant to “The Guy” (a label which can refer to any guy or number of people or group or groups of people in any number of places in any number of countries, right?). He lent his Sig to me to that I could see what a Sig is all about. He’s had it since the mid-1980s. I actually in the end didn’t like the grip, a bit like a revolver, almost the opposite grip-system as is found on a “normal” pistol, at least compared to my Glock 19 Gen4.

This time, our chat wasn’t a mere two or four hours. We went six hours non-stop.

suicide bomber land day 2001

Before I could say anything at all – no, really, nothing – he gave me further lessons in shooting. Non stop talking. Like he was on assignment. Great, thought I, as I need all the help I can get. I didn’t say anything, just took it all in. Strange, though, as this time he was mentioning targets, as if they were assignments. Instructions were about how to kill as many people (all head shots) as possible as fast as one could pull the trigger, that is, how it is, counterintuitively, that one moves from one target to the next as fast as one can aim even while not quite aiming, if that makes sense. To real shooters it will. Imagine a row of small steel targets on springs but unevenly spaced and of uneven heights and all moving on horizontal bars in different directions but you able to get a “kill” each trigger pull as fast as you can pull the trigger. Its where your eyes are looking. Not where you think. This was scaring me, needless to say. I decided to let him just keep going to see where this was going to go. He was clearly baiting. Field guys aren’t always the best counterintel guys.

Before I could say anything at all – no, really, nothing – he gave me lessons in bomb making for all situations, for cars, for entire buildings, for suicide bombing – yep- or for events from which you could walk away before it happened, always looking for a reaction from me, a question from me, a request for clarification from me. I said nothing. I just watched the show of baiting. He described usage of Composition-C (C-4) and of other otherwise easily obtainable materials. On and on he went. And that’s not the first time he said he could actually obtain such things. I’m sure he must have been leaving out details – or perhaps all the details were entirely fictional – as I’m guessing that such lessons would otherwise be rather illegal. He knows I write this blog. I have to wonder what he’s up to. He didn’t mind that all-hearing-cell-phones were present… So…

terrorist suicide bomber

This is like the third time he’s shared bomb making, so I suppose he’s just venting about his life up to now in the military and The Company. But this was different with the detail, even named targets such as an elevator toward the top of the […!]. Was he looking for another partner in a group no one would suspect, you know, like, a priest? He spoke to that point rather incisively. I’m guessing these are not conversations priests casually have now and again. But, then again, this was a monologue. So, coming at that from a different angle, is he trying to frame me for some future event, or perhaps frame the guy who stole my identity, you know, if I took an interest in all this? It’s all too easy, isn’t it? But, whatever, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. For myself, I didn’t show any interest, ask any questions, or take any notes, or set any appointments to see some demonstrations. Nor did he push any of that. Probably just venting. Yep. That‘s what he’s doing. PTSD and all that. Fine. A bit weird all the talk on suicide bombs though.

Attempting to move on to a conversation instead me just watching a monologue for the longest time – as the hands of the clock were now spinning around – I recounted to him more of the baiting to which I’ve been subjected a few weeks ago by the GTMO guys with the bit about murder as “suicide” as an “assignment”. He said it was all perfectly familiar to him, that that’s how it’s done, how assignments are given out. Bingo, thought I. I asked: How’s that? He said it was all so familiar – expressly exclaiming this many times – but also signaling his recognition of details of what I was saying with his body language, point after point, nodding his head, smiling for just a nanosecond at this or that, pointing with a finger at any important detail… because, he said, this is all exactly the kind of thing he himself did, in detail, when he was stationed in France, baiting people, manipulating people, having people carry things out without their even knowing they were doing it at his bidding, expert, he thought anyway, at counterintelligence in a field-counterterrorism way. Why do things yourself if you can get your enemy to do them against himself for you? It’s all a rather murky world.

It gets so screwed up that in the end you don’t know who’s who and what’s what, whether the deep state is the real government or whether there are string pullers who make nations and governments a fiction and anything said to be deep into self-delusionary self-protectionist dramas lacking importance and influence on the world stage whatever individual players think of themselves. “The Guy” supported the view of just a few string pullers, while actual nations, including our own USA, are entirely irrelevant, unimportant, almost fictional. He himself, for instance, laughing at the upper echelon of The Company, in particular at Pompeo, then Director now Secretary, and Haspel, then someone providing enhanced interrogation now Director. Um…

Catching him off guard, I mentioned a possible connection down in the far western Florida panhandle. “So what?” he challenged, glaring me down.

Catching him off guard, I mentioned KSM singing after enhanced interrogation. This put him into controlled anger mode. He did well, but he was upset. To be clear, he was angry at the fact of enhanced interrogation being used, and his doubts that anything whatsoever actionable had been obtained in such fashion and where exactly did I get my information that KSM actually gave up anything actionable.

Mind you, it wasn’t all like this. We spoke of the faith. He also went on an on with social justice issues that he immersed himself into coming off of his ops. But in speaking of the faith there were a couple of topics which he himself brought up, as he always does, which put him into barely controlled anger mode, specifically anger against the Successor of Saint Peter, speaking not just of Pope Francis, but all of the Popes these past decades, none of them caving in on two topics, not caving in because of the truth of the matter (that being irrelevant), but because, he said, with white hot, momentarily shaking anger, because of power. They won’t give up on their power, he insisted again and again, with a crazy look in his eyes when he said ‘power’. The two topics making him so angry?

  • He supports divorce and remarriage (he’s happily married) because, after all, what difference does it make? This goes along with marriage for any reason, like LGBTQ “marriage”. I recall the Eritrean operative (Front of House for Pope Francis) who was murdered with the child in her womb as a shot over the bow when there was a referendum on “Gay Marriage” in Italy and there was huge pressure that the Catholic Church would make no intervention.
  • But the topic that made him really angry was that the Catholic Church teaches that women’s ordination is impossible regardless of any rite that anyone pretends to accomplish. It was like the Popes are interested not in truth, but just in ‘power’ because they follow the example of Christ.

Surreal, you say? No. Not at all. Actions against the Catholic Church are all about getting the Successor of Peter to cave in on but one matter of faith or morals, because after that, the Catholic Church is simply no more, because then Christ is a liar, the Church is as wishy-washy as anyone else, merely politically correct, a nothing, to be dismissed, which allows us, then, to congratulate ourselves, cursing God and feeling the power. Oooo! Power! He’s repeated very many times that these USA maintains a two-hour window in which we can assassinate any world leader. Some very few, one or two, might take just a bit longer, but it will happen very quickly. Think about that for a moment. The changing logistics needs massive teams just to be readied to do this in any given two-hour window.

Here’s the deal: Pope Francis wants his Missionaries of Mercy to go into and even beyond the peripheries, right out into the darkest of existential suffering, not necessarily to be successful, mind you, but to be a presence of mercy – at least the offering of it – for those who want it. In this case, it is to witness to the light of Christ regardless of the rage of the world.

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Day Off: church shootings, advice from diocese, best DQ with my Glock 19

priest glock

[Humor alert: no need to be triggered!] That’s not me in the staged joke-picture above that I gleaned from another priest’s site who took the opportunity a while back to make sure priests follow the directions of their respective (arch)dioceses in regard to firearms. Yay!

Anyway, the total amount of direction we got the other week from the Vicar General of the Diocese is that firearms shall play no officially mandated part of any plan for parish preparations for a critical incident of an active shooter on the church campus, a mass shooter during Mass, so to speak. And all the parishes are heavily encouraged to have a plan, the first part of which is always situational awareness.

Someone once asked the bishop about what he has surely said to the priests about priests having guns. His response was spectacularly that of a good American citizen, something like: Oh! I guess I’ve never had a discussion with priests about their rights as citizens in good standing as guaranteed by the Second Amendment of the Constitution. I love that response. A just and appropriate defense of self and others is a good thing.

Anyway, back to that staged joke-picture above: just to say, in case you were wondering: I do not have a holster like that as I do not have a light or laser on my Glock. I have not used a Hogue grip for a long time. I do not open-carry.  I do not carry on the side of the hip. Just not any of that, at all. Nothing. Zilch. Zippo. No. I don’t even have a set of green Roman Mass vestments. Get a life. Having said that, protesteth-ing way too much:

  • that’s not to say I don’t have a concealed carry handgun permit with its gazillion extremely thorough FBI criminal background checks;
  • that’s not to say I don’t have a Glock 19 Gen 4 that the factory down in Smyrna worked on a bit, they being very good to me;
  • that’s not to say I don’t keep my familiarity with my Glock somewhat sharp.

In fact, on the day off the other day at the hermitage I celebrated a minor victory with my Glock 19. Finally, a better disqualification, a better DQ, my best so far. I take what I can get. I was shooting the pre-Sept 11 2001 Federal Air Marshal course, which was ditched after the attacks for being too difficult. 5000 Air Marshals were wanted after the attacks. Only 50 could do this course. It was a fast, timed course used before flights. If you did it up right, you could fly. If you were 1/100th of a second over time on just one stage you were disqualified from the course and from flying, meaning you might just lose your job. The targets are small: just the “inside bottle” of the FBI QIT. But I use 7″ Styrofoam plates as an equivalent as they’re easy to set up with “pigtail” wires. Aim small, shoot small.

Finally, 100% and (even way) under time on the first five of seven stages. But then the sixth stage was overtime by some hundredths of a second, as was the seventh which I usually do in about half the time. But any overtime is a disqualification, a DQ. Rats. But, hey! That’s all progress for me. 100% accuracy but not as lightning quick as humanly possible is O.K., and leaves something to shoot for, so to speak. I enjoy it. I’d like to be able to do it cold barrel, and every time, with ease. Shaving off those milliseconds is important, right? Sorry, I’m being silly. I know some people have no sense of humor, especially with this topic.

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FBI Citizens’ Academy vs. Out of State Straw Purchaser at Walmart

straw

Doing some grocery shopping at Walmart today, there was an opportunity to stop at the ammo desk. There was a rough looking “family” (the “family” bit being doubtful) from a few states away. The “father”, looking every bit the mafia hit man, was now on his second day in a row harassing the retired law enforcement officers who were working at the ammo desk. There’s usually only one, but this mafia guy was clearly a threat.

The “father” was insisting on buying a concealable handgun for his underage kid by having the kid himself buy it, that is, with the kids own details on the purchase. The problem was that the kid wasn’t legally eligible to buy a concealable handgun. The kid had a super-apologetic look to him, as if he was sorry that he was being used by this “father.” They had another “family” member there, but he had incorrect details on his (false) ID. The “father” didn’t dare put his own information on the purchase.

One of the retired LEOs tried his best to explain that doing a straw purchase will end up with multiple people going to jail. The idea is that, for instance, the “father” is a felon who wants a gun but can’t get one himself. He uses some stooge to do the purchase for him and then acquires the gun from the stooge. That’s a straw purchase. The “father” just couldn’t understand. It was getting pretty tense as the “father” was obviously pretty desperate to get his hands on a gun. Of course, anything can happen. It was explained to him multiple times that he was on camera right then, right there. That didn’t work. I consider the ammo guys to be friends and didn’t want to abandon them. I tried to give the “father” a simple explanation of a straw purchaser and why he couldn’t do what he was attempting to do. He still couldn’t get it. I suppose I knew that would be the result, but by now the explanation wasn’t the point of giving an explanation. This intervention was a way of letting the “father” know that he would be outnumbered should he try anything stupid. Wow. The look he gave me then was very telling. But it was enough to get that storm somehow moving away from the desk and down the aisle and out of the store. Whew! Methinks that deescalation skills are becoming more important by the day.

I had a good chat with the retired officers after that. They were very relieved that it all resolved peacefully. Some people say that rule number one with disputes is not to intervene. Generally, that’s true, but every incident is unique and has to be appraised on the spot. This guy, with his little cohort of helpers, could easily have grabbed some guns and ammo followed by the unspeakable. But the intervention equaled the odds a bit. If you can nip it in the bud, it’s much better for all.

For those who are interested in being available for critical incidents, I recommend checking into the FBI Citizens’ Academy Community Outreach program which creates relationships through dialogue, as they say:

FBI CITIZENS ACADEMY

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Angels and dangers of complacency

angel face palm

I confess. This is my horrid sin: complacency.

Complacency is so horrid because it stops one from growing. It makes one overconfident, which is when mistakes are made. It’s a manifestation of pride, arrogance, self-absorbed, self-referential, self-congratulatory, Promethean, Pelagian. Yuck.

It all started when I was a kid, with escaping kidnappers and winning at fights otherwise to the death, and then with death-defying extreme sports. I figured I was indestructible because of thinking I was clever enough to get out of anything perhaps too happy to depend on guardian angels when I should not be testing them in the first place. So, how stupid was I? Answer: well, I think only my guardian angel could answer that adequately.

And then, even worse, complacency manifested itself with vehicles. In mid-teenage years, getting my first “cars”. The first I think was $50. A standard shift that was jump-started, meaning I had to park it on the downward side of a hill so that, in starting it again, I would run alongside the open door and jump in, throwing it into gear. Anyway, it took about a nano-second to go from (1) pushing the car around with the accelerator to (2) being one thing with the car so that it was like an extension of one’s body. That has one go to the limit with the car being just as immortal as I thought I was (at least acting that way much of the time).

I’m older now. I try to be somewhat self-aware. I try to be honest with complacency. This is not easy as by definition complacency militates against that honesty. Only God’s love, God’s truth can break through complacency. It’s a sign of complacency to think that we can successfully try to be somewhat self-aware, to be honest. But only God’s love and God’s truth can break through complacency. Well…

Yesterday, this “being at one” thing came up again. Not for any particular reason except my own deep-seated pride. But it just hit me that this is what just happened, a paradigmatic shift psychologically speaking. Here I am, complacent, once again.

This time, it occurred on the “day-off” at the end of shooting some courses  (FBI, Federal Air Marshal, DEVGRU, etc.). “Being at one” with one’s firearm, a step beyond “having” a gun (women, apparently, “wear” guns). The temptation with this is to be overconfident, which is when mistakes are made, such as thinking one doesn’t need to keep on edge by shooting courses (how many people do that?), keeping up on best-practices for deescalation, etc. (how many people do that?).

Mind you – and this is the stupid thing about complacency – it’s not that I had a spectacular day with shooting courses, like getting 100% on each course. Far from it. I sometimes go overtime. I sometimes miss.

An appropriate analogy might be getting the first level of a black belt, which is equivalent to what we call sophomore, a “wise-fool,” who is a know-it-all who is therefore unteachable. A first level black belt often looks for trouble. The top level guy, instead, will do everything he can to hide his skill, and then use it as little as possible so that he can just quietly walk away. A big difference, that.

Fortunately, recognizing the dangers of complacency was simultaneous to the temptation to be complacent. Credit for that goes, of course, to my guardian angel.

It would be good not to be complacent about recognizing the temptation of complacency. Psychologically, that’s basically impossible to our fallen human nature. So, I’ll ask my guardian angel about that. I’m sure he will be happy to smack me down in all charity.

When’s the last time you asked your guardian angel to smack you down with God’s love regarding otherwise unrecognizable complacency in any area of your life?

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Crackheads scoping home invasion

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The dogs are just playing. Note the no-teeth thing of Shadow-dog.

Home invasions usually take place during the day, not at night. The low-lifes wait until no one is home, usually during the day. And everyone else is gone, so no one is looking while they break in.

I was away at the supermarket and, I’m told by someone in the neighborhood who happened to be home, that a couple of crackheads were standing about 15 feet in from the road on the lawn scoping out the side of the house. He would know. He deals with the druggie “community” all the time. And it’s always the same people all the time.

Shadow-dog and Laudie-dog were letting them have it with barking. The dogs know who’s who right away. They absolutely didn’t care. And that’s what the firemen up at the hall told me, that professional robbers don’t care about dogs, as, without breaking their pace, they’ll just kill the dogs (using suppressors) and then smash through the doors or windows.

Anyway, that certain someone in the neighborhood told me he made sure that he had some wherewithal with him (though he could handle himself bare-handed) and then made it very obvious that he was noticing the presence of the crackheads. They then left. That’s when I came back.

I notice crackhead “gate-keepers” hanging out at the top of the street a couple of hundred yards away, especially recently, watching who’s home and who’s not I suppose, noticing when people do stuff or are away. Others “gate-keep” the opposite way, also a couple of hundred yards away, on some steps for our veterans memorial.

These’s guys aren’t always too aware of who they’re scoping out. Recently, one home-invader broke and entered into the home of USMC Sniper with a long list of confirmed kills, stealing most of his guns and huge collection of knives. That’s the guy you don’t ever want to do that to.

What a world. Heaven, instead, will be heaven.

Anyway, I’m happy to have Laudie-dog and Shadow-dog around.

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Guns and cripplely shooting (day-off)

glock 19 9mm gen 4

Above, when I started out a year and some ago. Below, the present state of affairs:

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Different phone-camera. But, other than that, and other than a bit of wear and tear, other than the backstrap being removed, there have been logistical changes. Those happened within a couple of months of getting the CCH permit. If you know what you’re looking at you know what you’re looking at. If I say “Yikes!”, it doesn’t refer to the lower picture, but rather to the one up top. BTW, in North Carolina, a CCW (concealed carry weapon) permit does not exist. The permit is abbreviated with CCH as a concealed carry handgun is the only weapon allowed in law. All others being carried concealed do carry a felony with them.

Since the last time I was out to practice the pre-2001 Federal Air Marshal Tactical Pistol Course the leg went bad, again. I was wearing the metal brace, which is really nice, very helpful. But I was wondering how that would have an affect on scores, cripplely shooting targets like that. I wasn’t able to do the spin-from-180-degrees from cover stage, but – Hey! – you do what you can, doing that stage with its three targets just minus the spin. If I don’t take off points for that defect of course integrity, I did pretty well, getting 100% a couple of times. Well, not really. While I was way under time for some stages, I was also overtime on some parts of some stages, a disqualification. But I’m happier with greater accuracy than shaving off that hundredth of a second or so. But that’s the continuing challenge, crippley or not.

Other cripplely situations, like wheelchairs (with which I’m also very familiar), also draw unwanted attention. Those with nefarious intentions are also cowards, and so they look for those they think are vulnerable. Those who are vulnerable should be all the more prepared.

True story: an old guy in a wheelchair was in the parking lot of our one big supermarket in Robbinsville, trying to make his way to the store. But a young man with a knife came up to him demanding his money. The old guy in the wheelchair said that he had a question for the young man: “Why is it that you bring a knife to a gun fight?” And by that time the old guy in the wheelchair was already pointing his pistol at the young man, who then ran away. Hah! For those who think that is overkill, it’s not. A knife is a deadly weapon. Delivery of that deadly force is probable (demonstrated as a threat which inherently includes more than a threat) and imminent (right in front of you). The old guy wisely just let el creepo run away. I’m sure he had a good laugh. Stories like this can be multiplied.

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“Stop the spin, Father George.” “Genuflecting at Mass is forbidden.”

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A newly damaged again meniscus it seems.

  • I’m supposed to give up on the second to the last stage of the Federal Air Marshall Tactical Pistol Course during which one spins about from 180 degrees toward three targets seven yards away and each three yards apart from each other (I use a foam dessert plate 4.7 times smaller than the normal QIT target). The spinning bit, I’m told, is hard on the knees, which the knee doesn’t need for the foreseeable and perhaps unforeseeable future.
  • Also forbidden is genuflecting. I’ve been doing a half-genuflection (also difficult) or just bowing. I did full genuflections after the consecrations at Mass on Corpus Christi and both times the knee went CRACK! while attempting to stand up again.

[~break into cold sweat, pretending nothing happened, bewildered~]

And to think that I was able to genuflect perfectly just hours before. Perhaps some will understand why I defended ancient of days Pope Francis for not genuflecting when pretty much everyone was condemning him to hell for not believing in transubstantiation. Knees come and go even in the same person especially as one gets older. I’ll be over this soon enough. So, it’s almost like you can turn it on or off, but it’s not you who decide when you can go down on your knees or not; the decision is made by your knees. It is what it is. I have to say that I was impressed in celebrating Mass with Pope Francis recently, impressed that he held the Host and then Chalice up at the consecration for a long time – no, let me rephrase that – for a really long time, obviously personally entranced with the Most Blessed Sacrament.

I’m sure there will be some who will also condemn me to hell for not genuflecting. I remember when, while teaching in the seminary, the knee went awry for a while and I decided that it would be best to bow. Wow. The barking from some priests and seminarians was unbelievable. I went from being thought of as a believer to being categorized as a heretic in one second. Zero solidarity for suffering. Absolutely zero. Dismissed. Marginalized. Out in the darkest of existential peripheries. Why? Well, whatever. I guess I was already there. It just took that event to let me know how fickle people can be.

Anyway, while some are already busy writing posts on their blogs about how demonic I am for not genuflecting – just like Pope Francis – let it be known that I have had some trouble not only as a kid with my leg, but more recently, in Rome, in an accident, on which occasion the tibia turned front to back while the femur remained where it should, rubbishing the meniscus at the time. Two other accidents[!] saw the lower leg smashed to little bits and pieces, 25 in all, the first one requiring the cage pictured below (Piazza Farnese in Rome) with something like 5 screws from the cage into the tibia (as big as pencils) and 12 heavy wires going from one side of the cage to the other – that is, from the cage and into the leg, through the pre-drilled bone, out the other side of the leg to the other side of the cage – stabilizing everything, an invention created originally with some bicycle rims and spokes deep in a sulfur mine in Siberia. It’s better than months of perhaps useless traction and body casts but dangerous for infections. The other accident had to have an operation which removed the patella so as to drill into the top of the tibia so as to hammer[!] a tibial nail (as thick as a carriage bolt) right through bits and pieces and deep into the ankle. Hey! Why worry about any meniscus!

just me 07

So, the “Stop the Spin!” bit doesn’t refer to my writing. I don’t spin, though admittedly I do bait some few individuals when needed, when most appropriate, from time to time, even in this very post. :-)

The contraption on the left knee in the picture at the top of this post was just now lent to me from one of our retired Air Force parishioners who had worn it for years and now hasn’t had to wear it for a couple of years. The V.A. prescribed it for him, refusing to ever do any operation on any damaged meniscus, telling him that any rough edges just wear away over time. I don’t know if that was simply save-a-buck policy of the time and it’s different today or not. Some of you readers may know.

The brace itself is made of unbendable aluminum (which I would spell and pronounce differently as a kid (aluminium ail-lou-mini-um) since I guess we preferred the more scientific usage since 1812 (no prejudice to other periodic table elements like platinum intended).

forrest gump braces

Such a relatively smallish brace reminds me of the Forrest Gump scaffolding I was supposed to wear as a kid but didn’t, with my mom letting me get away with wearing orthopedic boots for some years just like in the picture immediately above. Perhaps I’m paying today for my negligence back in the day. The much smaller Breg X2K I’m now using would be super-expensive to purchase. Frighteningly so. Especially since I immediately see the benefit of the extensive scaffolding Forrest was wearing. The under-the-heal-of-the-boot framing keeps the bars where they should be.

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Last time you were at the gun range?

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Stage 3 of the FBI course (4, 4, 4 speed reload 4 – timed from cover, 16 rnd total at 21 feet). These would all be inside the inside bottle on more specialized QIT targets. Putting little foam dessert plates on political sign pig-tail wires is just easier. It takes zero time to change out targets or are easy to mark up with ultra-fat markers. Anyway, these should have a tighter group at the center of aim as this stage has no spinning from 180 degrees, or dropping to a knee, nothing. So, plenty of work to do.

I don’t go to ranges as you can’t do anything. No drawing from a holster, from cover, no spinning from 180 degrees, no rapid fire series. I go out in the middle of a private back ridge in the forests of WNC. But, that’s more recreation than anything. Going to a controlled range is important if you carry so as to do the drills you can, regularly. Forget the single shots. Do double taps, or drills involving two to the torso one to the head on the big targets you’ll have. There’s plenty you can do. Anything you do will help with readiness. That’s also a mindset. It’ll assist you also in keeping sharp with situational awareness (the opposite of paranoia: it’s about seeing ways to diffuse / deescalate situations). If you carry, or have firearms at home, when’s the last time you practiced with them? Is your carry permit up do date?

Carrying is a service. It does come with a price of initial layout, of training, or practice, and also of life and limb. Ironically, self defense comes at the price of being within the statistics that a carrier is something like four times more likely to be killed by gunfire than anyone else. Those stats are from ferociously anti-2nd-amendment crowd, so I don’t know about the accuracy, such as whether all those carriers were law-abiding. At any rate, I don’t think that such stats point to foolhardiness, but rather willingness to be of assistance even in dangerous situations. That’s not an evil way of life. Rather, it is just one more thing one can do for the common good.

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Unwinding old Glock grip for good

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Lots of stuff going on. I was very happy to have a day off the other day to unwind a bit, have a bit of recreation with the carry, doing up the FBI and FAM courses.

I really had to unwind my old Glock 19 grip in favor of another, and was surprised to see it all unwind and then come together quite immediately with the new grip as pictured in the foam dessert plate target above. This is pumping out a full magazine (15 rounds) fairly quickly at the maximum distance for NC State Qualification.

All the problems with the slide not locking back were, in fact, my “straight thumbs” grip (so that I was touching, even if just barely, the slide-lock), which I changed for a right over left thumbs grip. Wow. That was much quicker for aim, much more solid of a grip, and, because of not touching the slide-lock, the slide-lock locked the slide back when the magazine was empty. Finally. Surprising how habits can lock you into being entrenched in the wrong thing while you think you’re doing the right thing. It’s good to take the advice of others.

Putting up the FBI course, I was getting 100% until out at 75 feet. Then, as usual, some rounds went a bit wide for my reduced targets. So, only 90%. But that’s still a pass. I really should practice at that distance, but I don’t. It’s just so extremely rare than anyone would ever ever shoot at that distance. If someone is that far away, the question is whether you can’t just remove yourself from danger, though, of course, circumstances vary wildly as to why someone would ever do that (mass shooter, etc.).

Putting up the pre-2001 Federal Air Marshall course, I finally got 100%. However, it’s all invalid, I think, because I may have gone over some hundredths of a second on some parts of some stages (part one longer than the average, part two shorter, not bothering to do the average). More stages were way under the clock. What surprised me is that the thumb over thumb grip causes one to use more muscles in one’s forearms, so that there is actually noticeably much more control when doing, say, the one stage of the FAM course that had always been an extra challenge for me to do under the clock: at 21 feet out, one round in each of three targets each three yards apart (18 foot spread), starting by spinning about from 180 degrees (looking away from the targets) and from covered holster, spinning in one direction and then another (six rounds total) with 3.5 seconds for each sub-stage. [Disallowed in multiple ways on all non-private ranges.] This time all six rounds found the little foam dessert plates. But, there’s nothing smooth about it, confident about it, consistent about it. A good course is an anomaly. Unless this new grip really did do me some good.

I took a look at the FOIA provided MCOLES Firearm Standards for annual qualification (lots of great studies and advice) since it was mentioned by Mike the Cop. I wasn’t going to bother with it as it can offer stages that can be something like 1/3 the distance with a much larger target with two or three times the timing. But it does offer some some differences and those are always good. We’ll see.

I don’t know at all about the new police in my town, but the previous group, great guys, were all firearms experts with a wide variety of weapons, which is really good. Unprovoked aggression against police such as ambushes and assassinations is on the uptick, and more exposure to firearms practice, scenario training, and especially in situational awareness is essential.

 

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Lipstick for Glock slide-lock? Um. No.

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Just below the lower-right of the green flash-drive you see the slide-lock which keeps it all opened up when the magazine is emptied out. It’s never worked since I got this, my first and only pistol a year and some ago. A local Glock fanatic indicated that although the spring on the mechanism really is very loose, it may well be my fault anyway:

“Chamber a round. Then make sure the mag is empty. Put some lipstick[!] on the outside of the tab of the slide-lock, and shoot. You can wipe it off from the gun easy. The point is that if there is any lipstick on your right thumb after you shoot [with me being right-handed and having a ‘straight-thumbs’ style of grip], then you know that your grip placement is the problem, not necessarily the slide-lock. For all their fail-safe toughness, Glocks are super sensitive to anything touching the slide or slide-lock. Good luck.”

Smart, all that. But, no. It’s just not a possibility. So, instead, all I had to do was look at where my thumbs were when gripping the grip as if to shoot. Yep. The thumb was resting right on the slide-lock.

All this time. Live and learn.

But that means I’ll have to unlearn this grip of a year and some and adjust it or change it to a thumb over thumb grip, but this will be against all muscle memory.

All this time. Live and learn.

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Steve offers guns and ammo advice

law enforcement bullet chart 2

With the above, I’m a looking at number 7. How about you? But it’s one in a zillion that you shoot into a barrel of water. With the more realistic chart below, I’m still looking at the same round in row 2, staying with the 9mm. But here, row 3, the last of the 9mm, an overpressure round (+P) in the chart, seems to hold up a bit better. But there are pros and cons.

law enforcement bullet chart

Steve is from California and he somehow, despite that, knows about guns and ammo in extreme detail. I’m guessing he’s a LEO instructor of some kind. He hails from […]. I’d love to get some practical range tips from him. In lieu of that, he offers some advice. Let’s take a look:

  • “With respect to your G19, check your slide stop lever (the spring can get damaged if not installed correctly).”

I’m not an armorer, so, this will have to go back to Smyna. But that’s O.K., I didn’t do that 10th floor thing at the State Department in Atlanta the last time I was down. This comment gives me hope. I thought it was something with the slide itself. The slide stop does, in fact, seem weirdly loose. But what do I know. The Glock guy should’ve caught it. But we’ll see what he says.

  • “Also, while we must never be in fear…”

I agree with that. No paranoia. Situational awareness is all about deescalation. Paranoia is about escalation on purpose, ironically. But, when it comes down to it, we are to use the fear we cannot deny; we use that fear with the adrenaline rush with all its wanted consequences for effective action. Please see (when I used bigger targets):

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

  • “[…] consider Federal HST (147 or 124+P) or Speer GD 124+P for any terror by night or for the arrow that flies by day.”

I love the biblical citation from the psalms also found in compline, night prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours. Is Steve a chaplain?

For these types of ammo, see the charts above. Steve is exactly right. I’ll have to cycle out my personal defense rounds (mere Winchester 115 grain hollow point that are very roughly made, with all sorts of manufacturing defects, of wildly varying lengths for instance). Having used them for target practice, I’ll have to find where I can get my hands on these LEO rounds. Not the usual Walmart stock. But the Speer GD 124+P scares me a bit.

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This priest’s EDC (every day carry)

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Underneath my clericalized 5-11 tactical shirt (which is super-useful for hospital visits and Communion calls with it’s large cargo pockets), all this stuff is carried on my belt:

  • Glock 19 Gen 4 new 12 July 2016 and just refurbished in Smyrna last week, in a Serpa Blackhawk holster, which is hated by operators for slowing down the draw, but whose security catch, costing about 0.25 seconds (that is a lot, btw) is worth it for EDC for civilian defensive carry as it stops dead any attempt to take the carry from behind in an altercation. It’s chambered with 15 in the mag, all defensive bullets that will stop but not pass through a target, for the safety of others.
  • On the far side are two mags full of FMJ, because (1) if the 15 didn’t work it’s most likely because ballistic vests are being used and now’s the time for FMJ; (2) this way I’m already well on my way for being ready for some target practice.
  • Two key-chains so full of keys for the two campuses of the parish, which I use all the time, that one parishioner calls me “the janitor.” That nickname is also used for something else among LEOs, but I’m not going there.
  • A 2.5″ straight knife, holstered upside down and sideways for a quick grab that has the blade facing where it should. This is used for utility purposes all day long. Knives are now illegal in the U.K. I have to wonder how that is going to help along their cuisine.
  • Pretty much all military and LEOs and operators of all kinds right around the world will recognize the tourniquet (the pouch including some bandages). I carry this also for emotional reasons. These are made in my parish at IOI, which was created for a parishioner. This one was given to me by a board member. This is a smart item to carry, as anyone who carries (legally) is well over four times as likely to be injured by gunfire than anyone else in the population.

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That’s all covered by the frumpy clerical shirt. Meanwhile, besides the purple stole and emergency rites liturgical books carried in Sassy the Subaru, I have other personal carry not carried on the belt:

  • You gotta have a phone if you’re a priest (plenty of emergency calls) and if you carry. I’m “that guy” who calls 911 when there is a crash on the road or whatever.
  • The wallet always has enough money to get out of a situation. There’s Federal I.D., the “carry permit” required in N.C., USCCA (the best anywhere in the world; I’m very happy to have this) and health insurance cards, etc.
  • The rosary is carried in a quick access pocket. No crucifix that only gets tangled, and just knotted with nylon as anything else for me breaks. This is a working rosary.
  • The rosary pouch from the Holy Father doesn’t contain anything religious. Sorry. Just medicine I need during the day and possibly overnight, without which not.
  • The oil of the infirm, for emergency anointing. I’ve used this oh say about a million times. An absolute necessity. I have water in the car for emergency baptisms.

I’m open to suggestions.

Update: More car carry:

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Blame it on Pope Francis & my Glock

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  • The FBI QIT target is 285 square inches.
  • The 3.5 inch radius foam dessert plates above are 38.5 square inches.
  • The foam dessert plates are fully 7.4 times smaller than the FBI targets.

Distances are 3, 5, 7, 15, 25 yards for the FBI course.

At 7 yards there are three targets 3 yards apart each for the pre-2001 FAM TPC.

After the trip to Rome my percentages dropped to the 70s for both courses. I blame it on Pope Francis for making me go to Rome for so long and get out of practice. ;-)

Or I could blame it on the targets 7.4 times smaller than regulation.

Or I could blame it on the Glock, which needs to get some work done on it down in Smyrna. I’m due for a wee chat at the State Department in Atlanta, just a stone’s throw from Sacred Heart church downtown. Maybe I can get both done at the same time.

The Glock doesn’t load, doesn’t eject, doesn’t fire, is all “grindy, just a mess altogether. Yeah, forget Pope Francis; those low scores are the Glock’s fault.

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“Never go to war especially with yourself.” My “Shadow” is at it again.

For those who know, this is another one of those “for the record” posts. My “Shadow” is back to the monetary bribe / extortion thing. Coincidentally, he mentioned that he’s been robbed of the computer on which he does all his analysis of Syria. Interesting, that. His missive came in after stepping off the plane. But I digress. The plane thing is for another post.

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Italian military *carry* for the Major Basilicas of Rome

There are plenty of versions, one being replaced by another. With full auto were talking about 20 of those magazines of 556 (30 each) per minute depending on the aptness of the user and the endurance of the target.

I’ve only heard the highest praise and humble appreciation from pilgrims right around the world. Not even the slightest hint of a critique such as “That’s overkill.” This includes people from gun confiscation countries. All are happy with the presence of guns at places of worship. And don’t think they’re not inside. And don’t think our Lord is against defense of the innocent.

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Holy Saturday with “Jerry Miculek” of our parish. Un-holy-ing this Saturday?

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Here he is, setting up some targets for a variety of OLD shotguns that I was supposed to shoot, full bottles of Coke, upside down.  I learned a lot about the benefits of a shotgun with buck shot. I had no idea. I know nothing about shotguns. He wanted me to shoot all six bottles within four seconds. You have to pump it to reload it. I got all six, but not within four seconds. He then told me what that would mean in a competition. That really put me in my place. Now I know.

The other targets down the way, some smaller than others, were for rifles and pistols of all kinds. One included a rifle from the 1880s, way back in the day. That one had a “safety” that put your trigger finger on the trigger as you swung it down into the trigger guard, you know, because that’s safe.

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One of the pistols was a S&W 357, which is a 9mm with a heck of a lot more gunpowder as it has been called. Actually, the rifle from the 1880s shot black gunpowder, quite the rarity these days. The 357 was as smooth as ever, as revolvers are, especially compared to pistols. He got that one from a State Trooper, who had had the trigger fixed. A glock has about 5 pounds of trigger pull. This 357 had two ounces. You could hardly look at it without it going off. I hear that that State Trooper was the one to beat at the range. I wouldn’t ever want to fix a trigger. The heavier the pull the better if you ask me.

There have been some difficulties with my Glock. I shot it a bit and he noted that it would regularly mis-load, mis-fire, and jam up on the ejection of the cartridge. He tried it. Same thing. He put the mis-fires into the 357. They fired just fine in that gun. I thought it was me the whole time. He said that that wasn’t the case. The super famous gun wasn’t as good as I thought it was. He suggested that I either fix it, which might cost the amount I could sell it for at this stage, if fixing was possible, or get something else. He’s no Glock fan. I guess I’m not either now. I’m looking at Sig. I’m open to suggestions.

Back to Holy Saturday. The walk through a history of guns by firing the guns brought a history of violence of our fallen human race to mind, the conflicts, the rancor… but not only that, also the heroism and self-sacrifice of those who serve in law enforcement and the military. People step into this violence also with good and holy intentions. Guns are just tools. I’m quite sure that some of those guns saw a lot of death. Lots of bad stuff, but surely lots of good stuff too. But what is good suffers no matter what when there is bad. It’s all hell. That hell has to be faced.

Jesus stepped into hell for us… for us who are guilty, bad, the worst. And then He breathed His last. Holy Saturday.

Jesus fought against the entire history of hell in our wold and against our sin. If we are available for the defense of the innocent against unjust aggression putting ourselves at risk, well, I should hope we do that not only with the best of intentions but also with the love of God within us. I think of the guy down in the Florida school shooting who simply threw himself in front of the bullets so that others might live. Awesome. I wish he had had a gun available to him. Sometimes people feel dirty just at the mentions of guns. I wonder what they would feel like to be next to Jesus on the cross, watching Him draw ungrateful sinners to Himself, the whole lot of sinful humanity. Jesus didn’t mind being dirty, in the battle, in the midst of all that is bad and evil. Neither should we as we sit beside His tomb…

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