Tag Archives: Guns

Reasons why this priest carries 24/7/365

“Cruelty of El Chapo’s Sinaloa cartel knows no bounds: Beheadings by chainsaw, body parts strewn in the streets” — by Hollie McKay (Fox News)

If you peruse that story you’ll find out that some of it takes place not far from me. In fact, I drove by one of those places just the other day. My identity has criteria having multiple hits regarding that which would bring the ire of the Sinaloa Cartel down upon one’s head, or headless shoulders as the case may be. The Sinaloa Cartel may be directly responsible for as many as 226,000 demonically brutal murders over the years, that is, since the guy who stole my identity (my “Shadow”) kick started el Chapo’s violence by providing guns firstly to straw purchasers and then directly.

The “Shadow” guy gets really upset while he rationalizes how this is all just fine and dandy. Meanwhile, you’ll recall that Main State and the chief investigator for the FBI of the East Africa embassy bombings back in the day provided me with an alternative identity to make me, a citizen in good standing, disappear even while the “Shadow” guy entrenched all the more under my name.

But now it’s heating up and it’s getting a little too close to home. I’d like to visit Main State once again and discuss some options for the perpetual interdepartmental program they put me on. I don’t trust the algorithms of DARPA COMPASS to help me out in any significant manner outside of tiresome harassment.

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Day-Off: Green Beret Logan Melgar’s assassination. Kryptos stupid analogy.

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Rarely, I’ll put up a detail of the QIT 97-99 targets for the FBI course at 3-5-7-15-25 yards out. Late morning on the Day-Off some weeks ago I did up my usual timed target practice at the hermitage, though this time skipping the SEALs course and instead doing up the FBI and FAM courses, the FAST drill, and then some extra 2+1 drills out 21 feet and down to 1.62″ seconds from my bad-and-evil-to-be-rejected-serpa-blackhawk-locked-slow-you-down-a-lot-holster. This isn’t about merely speed and accuracy after all. This is about practicing with one’s EDC, bad as it is. Right?

The ripped up towel you see at the bottom of the picture is to catch mags during tactical and combat reloads and for dropping to a knee during some stages of some courses.

By the way, we found out that the weird gun we’ve been hearing ripping through the forest back mountain ridges right behind me when I go out practicing is a .270, only very slightly different from a .30-06, well able with a single shot to take down any beast (bear, elk, deer, boar, lions, panthers, wolves, all of which are found here) or… or… the bullets of which .270 can – in my personal experience – rip through, say, a half dozen branches round about one’s head: crack-crack-crack-crack-crack-crack ddzzrrzz, ddzzrrzz, ddzzrrzz… (you know, that weird sound bullets make when they whiz past your head after they’ve hit something first and are tumbling instead of zipping through the air.

That’s just a whiz sound at about the 10 second mark of the 15 second video, as the bullet didn’t hit anything first. But what I remember, even from, say, 42 years ago onward, is the whiz sound on it’s own or combined with a ddzzrrzz kind of a sound, I guess when the bullets were set tumbling for having ricocheted off water right in front of me because the shooter didn’t calculate the drop of the bullet from what I now know to have been exactly 300 yards out on the other side of a small lake. The ones that remained in the air – yeah – they just had more of a whiz sound to them. When they’re next to your ears, well, that’s an experience… that you don’t forget… But I digress, kind of…

Later in the day, in a location far removed even from the hermitage, I mentioned the 2+1 timing of 1.62″ from a locked holster to a CIA friend, the famed “The Guy” (Military but then a teacher of the cream of the crop field spooks that were being suctioned into The Company), and he said that 1.62″ from a locked holster was kinda pretty good, you know, maybe, kinda, but then straightaway mocked all of this [as in: “Ain’t a gonna help you none, buddy!” to which my response is, “I don’t carry or practice for any of that anyway”]. He then instantly launched into a story which was obviously the reason he had called me from his car while traveling half way across the country. It’s all come up in the news yet again and it was bothering him, it seems, in relation to me, as an analogy of sorts. The analogy is with my situation with the State Department along with our intel services on the one side, and a certain Green Beret, Staff Sgt. Logan J. Melgar with four special operators on the other side. I like to think of myself as a patriot, respectful of law and order, of justice and mercy, as one who is thankful to our public servants, our military, our operators, our law enforcement. I’m sure Logan felt the same way about himself, just with a thousand times more reality and actions to back that up. As it is, Logan was strangled to death (by accident?) by two Navy SEALs and two USMC Raiders. I’ve written about his sacrifice previously. He knew what he was signing up for, making him especially a hero.

But I’m bad and evil, so I asked “The Guy” if Logan was a bad actor, and was told that, instead, Logan simply knew too much [It seems some of his fellow operators were taking money earmarked for informants, and he wouldn’t take any when offered, in which case, he’s the most upstanding guy ever. The policy is: never ever take money or gifts or bribes, anything, anywhere, anytime (so to speak)]. I know nothing about all that on the part of the other operators, but I am interested in any motive of any analogy made presently by “The Guy.” As it is, “The Guy” has often told me in these recent years that I’m at risk of being taken off the perpetual interdepartmental program that I’m on if I keep pushing about it so that I can distance myself from the guy who stole my identity, the last thing they want as he works for them. The only way out of that program is… well… you know…

It’s not my analogy. It’s his. It’s a stupid analogy. Firstly, Logan is a hero. As I’ve said elsewhere, I’m just a PoS (sorry for the language). Secondly, I don’t know anything. But to all intents, purposes and reconstructions, it seems like that is similar to the protestations of the druggie in the church parking lot the other week; the first thing he said to the police, volunteering the information straight away, is that he wasn’t selling drugs in the church parking lot. I mean, one recalls the assessment in a rather famous line of the second quarto – also set in iambic pentameter for emphasis – of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, viz., that one “dóth protést too múch, methínks.” To which my response is that stolen identities are annoying. I mean, can you imagine trying to tell interrogators in GTMO or in some basement of an abandoned warehouse, “I don’t know anything!” like they’ve never heard that before, like a hundred million times before, with all that being followed by yet another round of waterboarding and small-box confinement? Good grief. Good thing that my “Shadow” works for State, effectively anyway, right?

Who has conversations like this about your own who turn on you to do you in? I am again reminded of the murder portrayed as suicide as an assignment[!] comments by certain GTMO visitors to my neck of the woods a while back. In any case…

For Logan’s soul and the souls of all the departed: Hail Mary…

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Filed under Day Off, Guns, Military

This priest’s trans-identity “Shadow” theatrically arrested to get deep cover

Shadow

My “Shadow”, who stole my identity already back it seems in the 1970s to do arms transfers to Mexican cartels and is now into Syria, is here being subjected to what appears to be an arrest warrant wrought in the early morning by two low level druggie detectives. He says this was for not appearing in court for what he calls just a bit of “recreational drugs.” Nothing is as it seems. He sent me this picture himself, obviously after he got bailed, I mean, if he was actually arrested. I doubt he was. More on that below. The red arrows are pointing to the guns of the LEOs, I’m guessing Sig 40s. Real LEOs, but the rest is theater. Don’t think my “Shadow” is a criminal…

For those surprised at the stuffed “breasts” and the wig held on by a baseball cap with socks over the cuffs, don’t be. This guy is no trans-anything. He’s just been taking on varieties of false identities all his life, starting with me because I had a clean record. He’s been cultivating a non-existent “identity” called “Linda” in more recent years. He said that this is “Linda” getting arrested in the picture above. He texted me instructions to zoom in on the face. I compared this picture with a picture I myself took of him the other year. It’s my “Shadow”. Such a smirk on his face. He’s having a great time of it. Someone else with him is taking the picture, I suppose with his own phone. “Linda”, by the way, is supposed to be black. This “girl” is white as white can be. Just a bit of a sun tan. Talk about nothing is as it seems.

“Linda”, it seems, is always getting arrested, is always on drugs, is always pimped out, never has any money, lives with him, but is somehow able to maintain a safe-house a thousand miles away in North-East Tennessee, quite the wilderness, and quite the rough area, and quite the safe-house if there ever was one. But “Linda”, as he says, is actually him. He’s been insisting that I get him a house or houses in my name but so that he can use them, you know, in my name. I guess he would drop “Linda” if that were the case. Of course, none of that is gonna happen.

Knowing where the safe-house of this guy is in another part of the United States pictured above, a safe house well placed for doing what he does best in that geographical region of the world, I went to google maps and took a look at the street view of his house. This is, in fact, his driveway in the picture above. All the tiniest cracks in the cement are identical. Everything.

But let’s bring it up another level: this kind of theatrical stupidity is done all the time by law enforcement agencies of all kinds to make someone seem like they have street cred, law enforcement assisting their own of whatever agency to be thought of as criminals so that they have an in with criminal organizations. So, let’s rephrase that: Nothing is at is seems with nothing is as it seems.

Just to say, having been there, on that driveway, and knowing where his safe house is in relation to the house itself (as it’s not the house itself)… well… let’s just say that I think it’s pretty much absolutely impossible for this picture to have taken place like this if it were a true arrest and not just theater. Logistically, the arrest would have had to have happened somewhere in the back yard.

So, what’s the point of sending me all this? I mean, he’s really acting the idiot for cover for whatever he’s up to, but why send this to me? I guess he’s trying to portray also to anyone following my stuff (that’s what he thinks) that he’s such a total idiot that he couldn’t possibly be the one who committed accomplished the crimes assignments which he bragged about already in the early 1990s in my name (for which he’s always been protected by the State Department and the FBI).

All very clever. I’m sure the local deputies were just doing their job and know nothing of his other life – just that he helps them on a local level with their ops – and would be horrified to find out that he’s like Cage in this final interrogation scene of Lord of War:

Nothing is as it seems. My “Shadow” treats me just as Cage treats his interrogator in this scene, with the latter being utterly naive, like me I guess.

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Leaving the ER: Bwoop! Bwoop!

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So, there I was, two days without sleep after two days in the Emergency Room with a parishioner, carrying my Glock while driving away from Emery University Hospital in northeast Atlanta, GA, three hours away and out-of-state from my residence and way out of state for the licence plate of the car I was driving, which was that of the new parishioner. So, of course:

“Bwoop! Bwoop!” Bluelighted right outside the Emergency Room while pulling away.

  • LEO: “Hello, sir.”
  • Me: “Hello, Officer. I have to advise you that I’m practicing carrying my carry.”
  • LEO: -smirk, smirk- (because I’m dressed, of course, as a priest with collar).
  • Me: “We’re just leaving the Emergency Room after two days there.”
  • LEO: “Yeah. I figured you weren’t up to any trouble here. Just wanted to let you know that you didn’t have your headlights on. I assume that you didn’t notice because the street in front of the hospital is so well lit up.” (It was just before sunrise).
  • Me: “Oh! Thanks Officer. I guess I’m not used to driving this car. [You can leave the lights on in a Subaru as they shut off automatically and come on the same way.] It belongs to my parishioner here. We came down from WNC.” I flick on the lights.
  • LEO: “Well, the lights work. Is your license up-to-date?”
  • As I struggle to remove the license from my wallet I answer “Yes sir,” and he doesn’t bother to have me even take it out.
  • LEO: As he walks away he says with a smirk, I suppose because I’m a priest carrying, he says: “You guys be safe out there.”
  • Me: “Thanks, Officer. You too.”

And that was the exchange. Professional. Polite. Pleasant. Humorous. I’m thankful. It was helpful to our safety. That’s how all interactions with the police should go. Great guys. It might be thought that my being a “white” “Jew-boy” and a Catholic priest to boot, and out-of-state, and in the South, might make for a different outcome when he saw all that. But, no. My experience with the police was fantastic.

It’s not always that way, of course. Some feel entitled to break the law and mortally endanger lives. It’s that which makes for a bad outcome. Not profiling. Not police misbehaving. That can happen, but, just as a for instance, here’s an instructive incident where none of that happened and the Officer was as polite as he could be. He had to do what he had to in calling for backup, but none of this was on him. This is how NOT to interact with the police:

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Shot at on “day-off” .30-06 M2AP or 7.62 x 51 M80 ball or… 81mm mortar?

Knowing nothing much about rifles I was guessing someone’s just been shooting in my direction with some version of the ever popular Armalite 15 over the last few years on the day-off. Not hitting me. So, what do I care? But what do I know about rifles? Zilch.

I was describing my experience to a law enforcement guy who shoots all the time with all sorts of weapons just yesterday and he scoffed at my mention of an AR 15. He said that what was happening could not be done with an AR 15, but is much more likely something shooting out a .30-06 M2AP or 7.62 x 51 M80 Ball. That would make sense. After an inordinately loud bang, the bullets would come smashing through a good half dozen branches before slowing down a bit, meanwhile having the tell tale “Whizzzzoooooosh!” sound round about again and again. It’s a sound next to your head that you don’t easily forget. The 7.62 is a good guess as the magazine holds some 40 rounds. But the shots were spaced out enough that individually chambering the .30-06 rounds would certainly have been possible. My dad had a .30-06 which I shot a few times as a kid. Anyway, I’ve never been hit, so, whatever.

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Pretty much everyone around WNC goes hunting with that which will take down their prey, whether that be a big buck, or an elk, or a huge wild boar or a bear, namely, a .30-06. To protect against that would require Level IV Armor, which weighs a ton, and it the little plate doesn’t stop you from getting hit elsewhere. So, I don’t get too excited about this kind of thing. If someone really wants to take you out, they can.

As I say, one time when I was particularly vulnerable, out in the open, and pretty far from my car (no big help there either) and couldn’t have escaped with the bullets whizzing about, I simply sat down and, in the otherwise dead quiet of the forest, between shots, I played Handel’s Messiah on the tiny speakers of my phone. I couldn’t see him on the close-by forest ridge just opposite me (say 200 yards), but he could see me. He had a rifle. I had a mere Glock. That ploy of mine, playing Handel’s Messiah, actually audible in the dead of the forest on that day, was a ploy of feigned insanity I learned in freshman year of high school in a special critical incident class for “special” students. That ploy shut the guy down better than any other reaction possibly could have. Great psychology, that. It worked. Some smart business owners play classical music, successfully moving the riffraff right along and away. It’s like an exorcism.

Anyway, that conversation with the law enforcement guy mentioned above started because this past Tuesday this was shooting thing was repeated now for the umpteenth time. But I wasn’t there for it. I was only shooting very briefly, just once through the pre-2001 Federal Air Marshal tactical pistol course (a mere 30 rounds and my best DQ ever) and some 2+1 drills (again, best ever so that was that). And then I was gone for a half dozen errands down the mountain in super quiet Sassy the Subaru. Zip zip zip.

But maybe whoever it is just thought I was reloading magazines. He didn’t see me, as I wasn’t there by the time he got there. But he probably figured I would hear what he was up to. I’m told that this time the rounds were much bigger than a .50 BMG, common in the area. Much bigger. The guess of the one neighbor (he achieved “Expert” with one shot in the USArmy) was that this might be some sort of small rocket. From his lengthy descriptions I’m guessing the guy was practicing with 81mm mortar training rounds. I don’t know how legal or not those are. People can buy tanks without firing mechanisms, so… I don’t know.

One of these days I’m guessing this guy will put out a round which ricochets and hits me. Whatever. The thought of “could happen” isn’t a thought that phases me in the least. Terrorism doesn’t terrorize me.

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Day-Off: 2 to the body – 1 to the head. Cruel drill in church security training?

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People forget the reality. These are just a few pictures of victims in recent church shootings all around these USA, East and West and South. Lest we forget that we’re dealing with real people who didn’t have to die in such numbers.

My 82nd Airborne neighbor was speaking to me about going out shooting with yet another of our CIA friends now contracting for Main State, um, right locally, with the local part not being so weird since there are untold numbers of special people on both sides who come here. Some of the pilot-terrorists of September 11, 2001 infamy trained here and so many from our intelligence agencies and bureaus and branches of the military come here. We’re out of the way, but it’s not. It is what it is. Before going out to a private range with them, he said I should hone some skills with with the drill of two to the body and one to the head, he demonstrating how quick this should be: BaDa-BAM! Just that quick. And on target. And from the holster. Intriguing, thought I, not having practiced anything like this in a long time. I had to look up how it should be done.

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Typical “A” boxes are used, so I print these out on a 11″ x 8.5″ sheets of paper, which are then taped to a piece of cardboard, and held up seven yards out by “pigtail” wires (see above) which one can get at Lowes (see below). The vertical box represents the most stop-the-threat-ish part of the “body” (probably exaggeratedly a bit wide as it should be only about 3″ wide) while the little horizontal box at the top represents the size of the most vulnerable part of the “head” (the whole right-between-the-eyes thing: about 2″ x 4″). The SEALs allow themselves less than or equal to 2 seconds to get off all shots with accuracy, at least that’s what a SEAL guy said. Somehow I doubt that length of time as being purposely overlong. You can’t give all your secrets away, right?

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My first attempt clocked in at something like 3.5 seconds. After a few magazines, with accuracy, the last two attempts for my first session clocked in at 1.84 seconds and 1.81 seconds hot barrel. I’d like to get that down to 1.5 seconds cold barrel, but to do that, practicing relatively little, I’d probably have to get a speed holster, in which case I might be able to get it down to below one second. I saw one guy to this in 0.96 seconds with a speed holster and from only six feet away, meaning his target wasn’t reality between lower and higher hits. I ain’t goin’ there. You gotta practice with what you use for everyday carry, right? And not at just six feet, but at the normal statistical average for dealing with such aggression, which is 21 feet out, which is just about what would be the case anywhere in our tiny church. Otherwise, it’s all foolish. For me, this is about self defense and for the common good with what is basically 24/7 carry. I would never walk around with anything but a locked holster as it’s virtually impossible for a bad-actor to unlock and is still relatively easy for the carrier to use. After writing all this I did go out again for a few minutes on the day off and got it all down to 1.7 secs. So far.

Full disclosure: “accuracy” for me means I hit the “body” twice and the “head” once each time, but the hits are, since I’m a beginner, wildly spread out haphazardly within the allowed limits. That’s still effective. But for our CIA friend, one would see one bullet hole in the center-center of the “body” with both bullets hitting in the same place, while the one to the “head” would hit the center-center of the “head” box. And he’d still be quicker. Competition is always a hilarious thing to me. But in this case I would be the total student.

No matter what, if I ever had to deal with such a situation as an active shooter killing off my parishioners, men, women and little kids, one after the other, non-stop, and I went ahead and did the 2+1 for real, stopping the threat, stopping the grave wounding and maiming and killing, an unscrupulous prosecutor will undoubtedly put a post such as this before a jury saying that I didn’t want to just stop the threat, but that I had actually intended to kill the terrorist outright, making myself the judge and jury and executioner (if the perp dies), bringing America to the brink of tossing out the judicial system so as to promote vigilantism, thus putting me on death row.

So, let me just say this: I would never ever intend to kill anyone. No. I would, however, surely intend to stop an imminent, active threat: the active shooter. Two to the body for a guy who might well be wearing body armor is going to do nothing. Even if he’s not, and even if my two to the body take his heart right out of his chest, he’ll still have a good four seconds to pump bullets into my parish family, possibly taking out half my little congregation. The shot to the head immediately turns out the lights, so to speak, not necessarily killing him, but shocking the nervous system enough whereby he can’t pull the trigger anymore, that is, from that very instant. That’s stopping the threat with the immediacy called for by the particular circumstances.

We all surely feel sorry for the guy pulling the trigger, knowing that surely he had a difficult upbringing (not everyone with a difficult upbringing is a terrorist), that he surely had been going through rough spots in his life (not everyone going through rough spots is a terrorist), that he’s a coward (indicating all sorts of psychological problems) and that he deserves another chance: Dum spiro spero as the South Carolina motto says on behalf of the hope one can have if one is still breathing. Yes, to all of that. There is no sin we can commit that is greater than the forgiveness Jesus can provide to us if we want it. I would terribly regret if such a terrorist would die with no chance to repent of his actions.

  • On the one hand, with me being a priest, I would surely give him an absolution while running toward him, and then give the emergency anointing (taking mere seconds) while others called 911, and while I then administered first aid if one of our medical team wasn’t already doing that.
  • On the other hand, I would also terribly regret not assisting him, so to speak, in stopping his rampage of gravely wounding, maiming and killing my parishioners.

Here’s a post with links to various initiatives of the Department of Homeland Security specifically for churches. I’ve included in that post some other useful comments and graphics.

DHS Active Shooter Preparedness Program for Churches

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Church Shootings: Into the Fray 241

Two rules:

Rule One: When a shooter appears, everyone in church, if they cannot immediately escape, hits the deck. The shooter will remain standing, but now he’s the obvious target for those tasked with security; he is “acquired” and “isolated” with no one to hide behind. Those tasked with neutralizing the threat will know what to do depending on the policies of the church, either rushing him until he is immobilized (with possibly lots of people needlessly being killed in this scenario) or by – on their own authority in this diocese – using the proper tools to deal with him (with possibly much fewer people being gravely wounded, maimed or killed).

Rule Two: When a shooter appears, everyone in church, if they cannot immediately escape, hits the deck.

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“Day Off” Best DQ Best 2+1

  • I had about ten minutes today for the Glock. 100% accuracy for the pre-2001 Federal Air Marshall tactical pistol course but DQ’d for being overtime by 0.12 seconds for both parts of stage six.
  • For the two to the body one to the head drill, I was able to bring it down with accuracy to 1.7 seconds from a locked holster.

Btw, that’s not bragging. That’s me hoping that everyone who carries is able to throw out a few bullets each week to be frosty. That’s important. And competition is hilarious and encouraging.

Does your parish have a church security team?

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Day Off: Guns and Fiery Ecumenism (Russian Orthodox), and then… Yikes!

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The “Day-Off” started off at 2:00 AM editing this Wednesday’s post for Father Gordon’s These Stone Walls. What a fright! Then, after feeding the dogs, it was off with Sassy the Subaru to be checked out some 100 miles away from the rectory, a two hour trip with the appointment being for after 7:00 AM sometime. Sassy’s fine, but I’m thinking of trading her in for something… else…

Then the “Day-Off” brought me to Mission Hospital in Asheville to visit an elderly friend who was bleeding out for an unknown reason for days on end, getting lots of bags of blood being pumped into her. They figure she’s going to get better and will be home in a few days.

After some sacramental work, it was then off to the pharmacy, the “mail-box”, then lunch with some gun slingers, which brings me to some time at the hermitage…

The old ripped towel on the ground you see at the bottom of the picture above is for protecting click-dropped magazines from being clogged with forest floor stuff while doing timed tactical and combat changes, while in the action of falling to a knee after firing a shot and before another. I’m not sure why, but these are exercises I can do way under time with good accuracy (better than all the other stages of courses). Targets are 7″ pie plates all at seven yards out (three yards apart), typical of the average furthest distance in a critical defensive shootout with accuracy you want to have if at a gas station in an imminently life-threatening situation (as set up with the violent rhetoric of Maxine Waters).

Aiming for perfect scores with my little targets did see some progress, particularly with strings, in this case six pumped out as fast as one can pull the trigger. The grouping got smaller even as the timing shortened more than 1.5 seconds (from a few weeks ago), all under the time permitted for the Federal Air Marshall Tactical Pistol Course (pre-2001).

And yet, I got nothing near my best scores to date (always DQs for whatever reason, of course). I was terribly preoccupied with mulling over doing up a communication with the Holy See on recent dramas in Holy Mother Church. I should learn to not let myself be so lackadaisical during practice since one cannot and will not be otherwise preoccupied during a critical incident.

Anyway, I gave up in favor of doing up some practical ecumenism with the Russian Orthodox Church (sorry my Greek friends!). Another neighbor is Greek Orthodox well on his way to priestly ordination, with a beautiful family. He already has the famous moonshine wood stove I used in the hermitage. I marched up the ridge a couple of times to get the stainless steel stove pipe I used with bits and pieces of caps and clean outs, but about 15 feet of pipe all told. Winter is upon us!

And then, while talking with my other neighbor to the hermitage about all sort of topics, I suddenly and quite simply sent off an extremely brief email to a certain someone in the Holy See, asking a question I had been mulling for days, oppressively so, as mentioned above. Immediately I got back a response, very nuanced, offering new information and direction and encouragement. It was almost as if he had been waiting for my request and was ready to drop me that response since the time I had gone to Rome to give those two packages to the Holy Father. But I digress.

Still at the neighbors we talked about Jesus, as we always do. We spent some time on meditations involving the horrors of going to hell for eternity and how easy that is to avoid, and also about the joys of heaven and the desire to go there. It was as if a great, great weight had been lifted from me, even though what had transpired in those brief quick emails entails a huge amount of work.

So, of course, cherry ice cream with huge chunks of chocolate had to be devoured. Then “Day-Off” ended back at the rectory before midnight. Having been up since 2:00 AM, and it being waaaay past my bedtime, I had to stop along the highway and take a nap in the car. Sooo tired.

Meanwhile, the day-after, today, will be filled with sewerage up at the church, the second day for the plumbers to come by and see what in the world might be done so as to open up the parish again…

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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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