Tag Archives: Day Off

The fool says in his heart… [but then…]

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I was having a chat about the ways of God with the neighbor to the hermitage on the day off when of a sudden a critical incident unfolded before us with a battle falling from the tree down to our feet all in a wrestling agonizing roiling heap. “Crunch-crunch.” The jaws of the Great American Hornet could be heard snapping off wings and legs. One recalls the psalmist mocking the arrogant in the midst of times of continuous critical incidents:

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, and their ways are vile;
there is no one who does good.

God looks down from heaven on all mankind
to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God.
Everyone has turned away, all have become corrupt;
there is no one who does good, not even one.

Do all these evildoers know nothing?
They devour my people as though eating bread;
they never call on God.

But there they are, overwhelmed with dread,
where there was nothing to dread.

God scattered the bones of those who attacked you;
you put them to shame, for God despised them.

Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!
When God restores his people, let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad!

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Today sadly nostalgic “Day-Off”

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We tell God our plans. He laughs.

Today’s the Day-Off at the hermitage. We’ll see what happens. I’d like to clean things up a bit. The property is on the market. It ain’t my property. Sigh. But this world isn’t our home. We must look forward to heaven. I do, every second.

There are also ultra super special flowers for the Immaculate Conception which bloom in these days. I hope I can find them.

It’s been quite a long time since I’ve done anything with the Glock, so I’ll try to put out a few rounds as well. Since the hermitage is where my range is, I will soon be bereft of a place to practice the more outrageous of timed military and agency courses that are forbidden at more public venues. One of my baiters just happened to mention in passing recently the exact number of rounds I’ve put out over the past two years, though I never use a credit card for ammo. I would be most pleased if some of my baiters would come with me for some shooting, giving me some lessons. Anyway, a day off puts me into a different world for just a bit.

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Priest’s “Day-Off”: ranting reality

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I think my earliest “Day-Off” began right at midnight. There are prayers and hours of editing Father Gordon’s writings and sending that off. Father Gordon never gets a day off. He’s very happy, by the way, when I’m able to take a day off. He’s really good that way.

Related image

Of course, I’m not the only one around. There are the puppies who need to be watered and fed with all that they need for the day and into the night if need be. I can only hope for their safety when I’m not immediately present. The dog in the GIF is not my dog. My Vicar Forane mentioned the name of the owner of this particular dog, and I repeated that, asking “Who?” demonstrating my ignorance of all things cinematic. This particular dog has quite the story. Anyway…

I try to be out the door by 6:00 AM, but that almost never happens, but I’m mostly away by Noon. Next week I have to out the door by about 5:00 AM for an appointment triple-figure miles away. Depending on who’s still alive and who’s gone where, I may stop in any number of hospitals and nursing homes and rehabs and have a chat about going to heaven and the sacraments, and then stop in to see various and sundry families spread out all over the map. My Vicar Forane instructs me – more of a reprimand – that a day off should really be a day off. Imagine that. Sometimes I may be in quite a number of states all in one day. Sometimes there is an exorcism to do. I did one for another diocese at their abrupt request recently. Another in this diocese is coming up, already with the express permission of the bishop. Not scheduled yet. It get’s a bit involved, but it’s always awesome to see Jesus at work. On next week’s day off, depending, I may also be seeing “The [black-sites] Guy.” He was away on my day off the other day. I always ask – “Hey! You gotta few minutes for a little chat?” – and if he’s Stateside and not previously occupied with the corporal works of mercy, he says: “Sure! Come on over!” That usually lasts for many hours. CT is never straightforward, never totally crystal clear. This time we may have a common “friend” or two or three to talk about, check up on. Sometimes there’s a back-mountain funeral and burial at one of the innumerable private cemeteries dotting the back ridges. Sometimes there’s even quite lengthy conversations about Jesus and His good mom and, I must say, the saints, but especially the angels to have. That’s especially cool with lots of irony and laughter. Angels, mind you, see God in the face. And Jesus is not without a sense of humor.

Lots of people condemn priests for having a day off and come up with all sort of mocking things to say about how priests betray their very priesthood, throwing their priesthood away by taking some hours away. Will they condemn Jesus at the Judgment for Jesus having said outrageous things like: “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while” (Mark 6:31)? Or how about John 6:15, where we read that Jesus “departed again to a mountain, Himself, alone.” Will the haters breathlessly exclaim: “Damn you, Jesus, for setting such a bad example! Damn you! You had no right!” Sigh… Actually, they will be silent and have nothing to say when they see His wounds still upon Him, hands and feet, His side, His heart.

“But you’re a liar, ‘Father’ Byers. You just shoot guns on your day off. I bet you’re not even a priest. Who are you, anyway?”

Well, yes. I do admit to doing shooting my Glock. I may be getting a little better. It’s not quite two years since I shot a pistol for the first time in my life. By now, I think I actually pretty much wore out my Glock. I’m thinking of getting a Sig instead. We’ll see. I do lots of timed raucous courses, FBI (Agent and/or Instructor levels), Federal Air Marshal (pre-Sept. 11, 2001), some stages of DEVGRU, etc. Look, it’s just for fun. It’s the timing that’s fun, you know, shaving off a hundredth of a second here or there. For me, it’s certainly different from what I normally do, especially when people shoot back. There’s been a growing number of occasions when uncountable bullets smash right through branches of trees right around me from a hidden location just up the ridge behind me. The shooter was back at it this past week. I should go look for cartridges and bring them in to the Sheriff. But, no harm as there was no harm to me. So, whatever. Actually, I just never give such things a second thought. Gun stuff simply doesn’t frighten me. It’s just a slight, momentary distraction, like a gnat successfully swatted. Obviously, it’s not meant to hurt me, just perhaps scare me, or scare me away. Of course, any bullet, even from, say, a high powered hunting rifle, might, while slowing down as it smashes through this or that number of branches, hit a tree in just such a way as to make the bullet ricochet in my direction. That’s the danger. But, whatever. It’s happened all my life. What do I care?

And anyway, some might think I should be distracted as I shouldn’t be filling my head with, say, two to the body (center mass: more or less 6″ wide by 10″ high) and one to the head (eye shot: more or less 2″ high by 4″ wide”) all three shots at marked-mere-paper at or in less than two seconds at seven yards from a locked holster with a bit of adrenaline pumping (I think stage four or five of the DEVGRU course off the top of my head).

Meanwhile, the reality of the “filling my head” thing is perhaps somewhat different for a priest who carries. Shooting, for me, on a “day off”, is mind clearing in the way that Cardinal Ratzinger spoke of the Sacred Liturgy as being a time of “play” before the Lord. Not mindless, but a mind and soul and heart dedicated to being like a little kid before the Lord. What’s the main thing my mind is occupied with while shooting? Killing people? Heavens, NO! What I do is pray, a lot, for my good bishop and my fellow priests. I pray to Jesus’ good mom, the Immaculate Conception, a lot, really a lot. No, really, a lot. And if it’s not that, I’m reminiscing with my guardian angel, not that he always talks back. It’s about reverence before Jesus in heaven and on earth, the abnormality of the normality of that, if you will. Lots of irony. It just is what it is. For me, it’s all pretty light hearted.

I have to wonder if all those people who get so bitter and really angry with priests for taking a “day-off” ever pray for their bishop and priests, if they ever pray for Pope Francis or just condemn him and them. I wonder if they ever pray for vocations. I wonder if, while those who criticize are taking a day-off, I wonder if they ever encourage vocations to the priesthood.

Finally, does a priest ever have the intention of taking time off from the priesthood, you know, for a day? I should hope not, not ever, no. Why? Why would anyone think that? Let’s take a look at what a canonized saint of workers has to say:

Whoever really wants to achieve sanctity, takes no breaks or holidays (Furrow, 129). I have always seen rest as time set aside from daily tasks, never as days of idleness. Rest means recuperation: to gain strength, form ideals and make plans. In other words it means a change of occupation, so that you can come back later with a new impetus to your daily job. (Furrow, 514) Josemaria Escriva

Should we talk about Pope Benedict XVI? How about a canonized Pope like Saint John Paul II? Anyway, I’ll keep up with my “day off” as long as the Lord provides and permits.

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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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The Day-Off [Update]

/// Rewritten, revised… What a hoot… With for me, a stunning conversation at the end of the day. ///

Yesterday ended about 10:00 PM. Today [Tuesday 24 April 2018] started at Midnight, this time not editing but instead writing the weekly post for These Stone Walls [now published: Fr. Gordon MacRae and Pornchai Moontri: Captives of Catholic Tradition]. I really shouldn’t procrastinate so much. It was written as fast as I could type. But people seem to like it.

That was sent off to TSW‘s publisher and I turned my attention to Laudie-dog and Shadow-dog, getting them ready for the day. Dearest Charlene Duline of State Department fame helps me to keep them utterly spoiled. In Appalachia we say “ruent” as in “ruined.” Then it was time to jump in Sassy the Subaru and head down the mountain to Atlanta.

I’m now sitting in Glock’s armorer waiting room typing this out on my phone. This is the loneliest room in the world since Glocks never break down, well, almost never. I’m always the exception. It seems I wore out my Glock 19 Gen 4 (bought brand new on July 12, 2016, so just a year and some old). But it’s fixable. I was late by 30 minutes due to construction. As I find out, this isn’t the kind of place you want to leave while they work on your gun, as I had planned if necessary. It’s quite the security process to enter the property. Guns have to have a cable put through them. No rounds allowed inside. Special visitor badge with electrical permissions chipped in, or not.

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Oddly, just after I got there, some detectives showed up with loaded guns and plenty of full mags. Apparently they had had a chat at the security station at the perimeter and got in with loaded weapons on private property. But Gate Security hadn’t informed the guys in customer service. The Glock guys that came out to the waiting room objected to the officers, saying that unsecured weapons and loaded mags were not allowed. The officers apologized but didn’t comply. They instead just made small talk about a course they were setting up at their own range and wondering if they could borrow – ooooh – eight Glock mags for the day. Think about that. One of the largest police departments in the world is begging to have a lend of a few mags from a private business, as if they didn’t have literally many thousands of mags on hand already. I mean, that’s like Pope Francis asking for a lend of one cobblestone from the city of Rome for a few hours for Saint Peter’s square. Seriously. This went on the entire time I was there, you know, because asking for a lend of eight mags takes more than 40 minutes and is super complicated. Mind you, they were not having their guns looked at. Mind you, they never got the mags while I was there. Nothing. Sigh.

All this made meeting someone like the LMFBR guy rather difficult. So, that’s put off yet again the “conversations” he wants to have with me, though I’m sure not at all about LMFBRs.

As time was dragging while waiting for my own Glock to be dealt with, I went again (and then again) to the hit list in my email involving my “Shadow” about Setraco Group, a multinational construction conglomerate out of Beirut which had suffered a number of assassinations from ISIS. Doing a bit of research on that email it seems that this was sent out by another construction company on the other side of the world. Sectraco is in 30 some countries. My “Shadow” does “construction.” Anyway, enough of that. My Glock armorer just came out…

The armorer asked what kind of ammo I use. He rolled his eyes when I told him, and said that that brand was most likely the source of all the problems. But, just to be sure, he changed out the guide rod with its double spring, added night sights, put on an extended mag release and spruced up trigger stuff to make sure the rounds actually fire when struck. He was pretty surprised at the wear on the slide. Great service. Very friendly.

Outside, no LMFBR guy. So, back home….

Just as I pull into the parish back in North Carolina, I got a call inviting me for the usual day-off meal in Brevard, meaning I would put on a total of about 500 miles for the day. O.K., said I, as it is my day-off.

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

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

dove pope francis 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PROMETHEUS

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

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

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Very Rev. Vicar Forâne & my day-off

GEORGE DAVID BYERS CHAINSAW PICTURE

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

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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

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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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Day off kind of on target

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

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

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

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

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Day off: Jesus, baiting baiters, guns, FBI

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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My Glock failed. Or I failed it. Great!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

target focus training

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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