Tag Archives: Guns

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

political assassination

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

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

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

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

Now, let’s do some commentary:

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

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

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

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

 

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

target swinging bottle

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

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

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

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

sunset-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

target 3 taps-

And another magazine with five more draws of three each:

target 3 taps

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

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

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

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

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Filed under Guns, Missionaries of Mercy, Priesthood, Vocations

Main State and me: a development :¬)

dc-ticket

This is another one of those boring, kryptic, for-the-record posts only a couple of people understand. There’s a development since my last post of this kind the other day. For some reason late last night I felt an urgent need to try to find out a bit more about my “call this number if you need help” instruction given to me back in 1992 by Main State concerning the kind of help they would provide me into the future as occasioned back in the day by my ever present “Shadow” (who, by the way, is making overtures of friendliness to me all of a sudden).

In trying to find out more about the phone number the other week, there was nothing to be found even with brutal searches, not in the Department of State, not anywhere else. I decided to wait until more info was available before calling the number once again. I had called it when I had visited Main State some seven months ago at the end of 2016. A recording provided yet another name and number to call, which only provided yet another recording and this time an invitation to leave a message. I never got a call back. But the message wasn’t unnoticed.

During that visit to D.C., later that same day, I then continued my quest of visiting the national memorials, putting many miles on foot traipsing back and forth along the National Mall. It was impossible not to notice something out of place in the last 100 yards before finally arriving back to my car along the Potomac. There was another car parked behind mine with a nice, very professional, middle-aged Asian-looking couple inside, the unusual thing being their raucous laughter, the kind that’s a show, difficult to keep going, almost as if they were trying to be noticed. Indeed, they were making a spectacle of themselves as if oblivious to the world around them even while making it clear that they were noticing my arrival with interest. It was so odd that it was enough to put one into left-of-bang mode even though I was sure of their entirely good intentions, making me feel foolish.

As I wrote when it happened, it was then that I noticed, heart sinking, that I had a $250 parking ticket, it being that the handicapped spots in D.C. are not marked with either painted spaces or signs over the spaces as in North Carolina, but only with a sign down the street with a tiny arrow pointing in whatever direction tickets are to be distributed. In trying to pay the ticket online (possible only after about three weeks), I found that someone had arranged for that ticket to be cancelled. The Asian couple immediately came to mind, along with the State Department. But I couldn’t be sure. Until now.

Last night, when I searched again for more info on that phone number mentioned above, a “hit” came up, not only with an entirely different name and an office at the State Department corresponding precisely to my situation in view of my “Shadow,” but even the home address of this person in North West D.C. (a little dangerous for him, thought I, as he would possibly have plenty of disgruntled “clients”). In searching for that info a looked-at-by-almost-nobody in-house recruiting webinar came up. “That’s the guy who was laughing in the car behind mine along the Potomac seven months earlier; 100 percent,” thought I, with myself being the one who was now laughing out loud, “and he’s obviously the one who paid my parking ticket. Same guy. Exactly. Unmistakable. 100 percent.”

I’m guessing that his laughter was about my actually being a priest who has such a “Shadow.” They didn’t introduce themselves to me only because he was apparently fairly new to heading up his office in Main State at the time and it had been almost a 1/4 century since the last time I had contacted Main State, so that they needed to find out for sure who I was after all this time before speaking with me. Just to say, when the FBI had given me a false passport for my own protection without me asking for it twenty years previously, that agent had also laughed at my situation of being priest who has a “Shadow,” he knowing that this was all just too very perfect in favor of my “Shadow,” and he being amazed that I knew anything about the situation in the first place. Like my Asian guy (totally unflappable in the webinar), this FBI agent was otherwise utterly serious, he having been in charge of the investigation of the U.S. Embassy bombings back in the day. I’m amazed that the actual director of that office at Main State came out, and with his wife.

At any rate, this Asian guy seems to be a wonderfully friendly guy, and ultra-super-competent in what he does for international concerns. I’m tempted to make the request I’ve been wanting to make for a long time now. Indeed, at one point in the webinar, he almost seemed to refer to my situation in view of my “Shadow,” the idea being to keep such a “Shadow” illegal in appearance in a foreign country but entirely legal in our own, kind of, perhaps. It’s a kind of make-laws-around-an-existing-situation-to-make-something-else-possible thing. I remember the FBI wanting to keep the status quo of my having a “Shadow” going while merely giving me a false passport of appeasement instead of stopping my “Shadow” from using my identity. After all, he said that as far as they are concerned, my “Shadow” – precisely as a “Shadow” was now a good guy.

In fact, as I read over the 1992 letter of the State Department, it’s clear that they have zero interest in tracking my “Shadow,” but have all the interest in the world in tracking me, and that they have zero interest in helping me secure bank accounts out of reach of my “Shadow.” In fact, they simply assured me that the situation would continue into the future.

All of this explains an “incident” that happened on my return to the parish, after Vienna/Fairfax GMU on 66 West, and precisely at exit 296 of 81 South, the latter exit being a triumph of my little vehicle back in the day. Heh-heh-heh. Anyway, perhaps another trip to D.C. will soon be in order. I’m happy to know a bit more about who I’m dealing with at Main State. As I say, he seems very friendly.

P.S. As it works out, this guy also has pretty much all say about what goes on at the Hague. And that means that I could possibly ask him about a friend, a priest, who someone had attempted to trash there, though he came out shining.

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My priesthood distracted by Shadows

main-state-department-of-state

Just another boring for-the-record post only a couple of people understand. Sorry.

A few weeks ago I had an unexpected day off at the hermitage. In between reading the Scriptures, praying, taking pictures of the incredibly varied eco-system in that doubled-over rain forest, resting a bit, I put out more than just a few rounds from my Glock, just to relax, just to get sharpened up a bit, although adrenaline is exhausting. I had a rather extreme target made up of coffee jug lids, overlapping as you might have with a perp behind and a human-shield in front. As I say, it’s the shot that cannot be taken and a shot the police are pretty much forbidden to take. But it’s the more difficult practice which makes lesser situations easier. Here they are:

target hostage 1

But I was out at nine yards, 27 feet, gun holstered, turned away from the target. All double taps, because, hey, if you miss off to your left looking at this (you don’t want to hit anything on the right, right?) you then take an immediate second shot if the first doesn’t remove the threat. For me, the second shot is always more accurate than the first, perhaps because I’m still not used to the odd Glock trigger). You can see the target in the upper-center of the picture if you’re not distracted by the shadows:

target hostage 2

Unless the perp is wildly shooting at anyone and everyone, there is usually abundant time to say ever so calmly something like, “Just let the (wo)man go.” He thinks you’re going to negotiate, ignoring your predictable brandishing and aiming at his eye that is farthest from the hostage. *tap*tap* I had the whole day, with broken up sessions. Altogether about 350 rounds went out, two by two, with none hitting the “hostage.” But I say, let yourself get sloppy. See if you miss. If you do, hitting the “hostage” (a good practice experience), look to see if your first reaction is to be upset with your bad aim or sorry that you hit the “hostage.” If the former, well, you better pray about that. That’s messed up. Anyway, this surely cleared my mind, a nice break. Anyway…

I’m sure you remember my “Shadow,” who took over my identity in the mid-late 1970s, I only finding out about this some 14 to 16 years later (1992) from those individuals at Main State (primary building of the Dept of State) in Foggy Bottom who, giving themselves totally innocuous titles for my situation, like CA/FPP and OCS/CCS/ARA, instead, in their real life-long jobs for Main State and embassies around the world, actually set up and run foreign non-defensive[!] special “security” ops also involving arms transfers and drug ops, coordinating the best of the best from the Dept of Defense (Seals, Delta, Green Berets…), the Pentagon, and various three letter groups (not your usual office workers for simple identity theft that happens to about 18 million people a year in the USA alone). In 1996 the FBI said that my Shadow was no longer a bad guy, though he was and is still using my identity, so, instead of stopping him[!], they gave me a false passport without me asking for it for my own protection (not that they cared about me other than that my being alive assisted my Shadow). The guy from the FBI (a low-level cover for the CIA in this case, as “The Guy” told me) insisted that the instructions I received about this from Main State were true, that this would be something I would deal with in perpetuity. In other words, there’s no way they are going to interfere with my Shadow doing what he needs to do just because little old me is ever inconvenienced. It now seems to me that my Shadow has been working for them even from the beginning, with them telling him to get a clean identity and I being at hand with a clean identity, all my ID documents likes ducks in a row, and I having his looks and his age (No, I do not have a twin brother). I’m guessing now that they got him when he was still in University, taking international affairs and political science courses. My naive, unwitting availability is the absolute ideal situation for a “Grey” guy, whose otherwise would-be fall-guy (me…) has an absolutely clean record. Well…

Not long after my rather successful target practice session mentioned above my “Shadow” started a texting/phoning campaign with me, attempting to get me to be the owner of a property of his. This wasn’t to give me the property, but to get him out of possible trouble, which may itself be illegal on my part considering his circumstances. While he skips the country for a while, that would put me in prison, which may well be the point. As he said to me once: “Going to prison is just part of it; you just do it; no big deal; get over it.” He once tried to get me to pay someone to do his prison time for him in Mexico. No thanks, and no thanks. Why should I do any of that? I don’t know what he’s up to, even if it is with Main State. He’s intent on this property thing (and not just now as this is something he’s been trying to get me to do for years), using me, playing me all the more. It’s not that the proper authorities don’t know this. He is himself one of the programs of Political-Military Affairs at Main State. Did I say he lives not inordinately far from USSOCOM?

I don’t mean to unmask him – and I haven’t done that so far – but this is getting annoying. I did unmask one CIA guy before, and there was no argument because, really, he shouldn’t have been doing what he was doing. Some of these programs my Shadow has been involved with may well have gotten a lot of people killed (using my name to entrench under). And my Shadow can stop me, at will, from doing what I would otherwise do as a priest. For instance, if it wasn’t for my Shadow, I think I would now have been in the near and middle East for the past 6 1/2 years (another story). I just don’t think that it’s right for Political-Military Affairs to have any influence on the assignments of priests.

What to do?

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Filed under Father Byers Autobiography, Guns, Interreligious dialogue, Military

Casting light on my Shadow’s Shadow

This is just one of those boring, cryptic, unintelligible “for-the-record” posts which, this time, is about my Shadow’s Shadow, a really nice lady. I’ve been terribly baiting her to see who she could possibly be, saying outrageous things, knowing I could be terribly wrong. But, hey, mysteries are mysteries, and this method of madness has always worked for me. She’s just a couple years older than myself, the same age as my own Shadow. She did extraordinarily well at “tough” and “technical” universities and institutes. She is incredibly good with guns, is a super devout Catholic, is a medical doctor while at the same time being a world-class bio researcher who has an eye to international implications of her discoveries. And, besides all that, she’s really, really smart, has almost perfect recall, and is a computer genius. I’m guessing she got picked up by the CIA way back in the day through Main State’s bureau for political/military affairs recruiters (the bureau that’s connected with yours truly), and has worked her way into the “Administration” with high clearances which she already had another way. At this point in her career, I’m guessing she’s a consultor for the really tough cases. My own Shadow is a really tough case. Hey, maybe I am too. And another mutual friend as well. It’s actually not true, but, there’s no convincing some people. Anyway, she definitely has two lives going on, one cover for the other and most of her time spent at her day job is spent on what that’s a cover for. I’m guessing she’s a Patriot of extraordinary measures, who is on the cutting edge, as it were, of information collection, using her talents on subjects who are willing and those who have lost their right to say whether they are willing. There’s a lot of dead times. Anyway, she seems to have liked my comment on irony so much in my last related post that she flew away 2,565.19 miles (to be exact) from where she was near my own Shadow. Maybe there’s a replacement. Time to go see my Shadow, maybe, perhaps. Anyway, I recommend KRYPTOS. ;-)

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Main State’s “Shadow” of mine

money order

This is one of those boring, cryptic, unintelligible “for-the-record” posts, which are as often as not about my “Shadow”. Maybe this is a voluntary offering for a kind of blog subscription, though that’s not requested nor expected in any way on any level from anyone whomsoever. Maybe I shouldn’t be so suspicious and just consider this an offering made in good faith, though, since I’m so evil and bad, I am tempted to think of bribery on his part (for what?) or of my being accused by him of extortion or some sort of blackmail (for what?), all of which would be fictitious on every level, perhaps in order to protect another scenario altogether. Nothing is as it seems in the murky world of shadows. Just for the sake of irony, I think I’ll spend this on ammo to practice up for hostage scenarios. ;-)

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Father Kenneth Walker edition)

father walker fssp

  • Note the smile of joy and peace on face of Father Walker, and that of our Lady.
  • Note the Rosary in the hand of our Lady. I’m guessing he put that there.
  • Note the red rose of martyrs in the hand of our Lady. I’m guessing he put that there.

After writing this post the other day – (USCCA exam results: Master Defender. BUT that’s never good enough) – a reader sent me a link to the very detailed obituary of Father Kenneth Walker, and offered to provide the USCCA package for close-quarters defense training that may have been a help to Father Walker in his effort to save his fellow priest. You’ll remember that Father Walker lost his life in doing just that. Of course, when it’s our time to go there’s no arguing about it with the Lord. Of course, that doesn’t mean that prudence is no longer a cardinal virtue. Just because you train doesn’t mean that you’ll be successful. But that doesn’t mean you don’t train.

murderer of Father Kenneth Walker

  • Note the smirk on the murderer of Father Walker. The perp was only just sentenced to life in prison a few weeks ago (April 2017).

Some things I note from the obit of Father Walker:

  • Lots of significant dates happen on the 13th of the month, Fatima anniversaries.
  • Both my dad and Father Walker died on the same day, June 11.
  • In looking at the locations and dates… if, as a kid, he ever went to confession and I’m guessing he did, and if, as a kid, he ever served Holy Mass and I’m guessing he did, he may well have been a penitent of mine and served Masses for me.

I’m forever praying that those boys who serve Holy Mass for me will, according to the Lord’s will, receive a call from Jesus to become priests. I wonder if I prayed for a youngster called Kenneth. I’m guessing I did.

UPSHOT: Prayer for good, holy, strong vocations to the priesthood, young men who will be priests with the very Heart of our Lord Jesus, who will be good sons of Immaculate Mary. Hail Mary…

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Filed under Flores, Guns, Vocations

USCCA exam results: Master Defender. BUT that’s never good enough.

USCCA Master Defender

I like that: Master Defender. That would be “Alexamenos” in Greek, you know, the donkey boy who worshiped the crucified donkey in that ancient graffito of the Imperial School in Rome. I wrote a novel of some 750 pages about someone named after him. I’ll have to revise that and publish that for real.

Anyway, O.K. So, this is all a brilliant marketing ploy, with the USCCA (of which I’m a platinum member thanks to a wonderful reader) betting that you’re going to fail some of the questions and then they can more convincingly sell you on their training packages which look to be worth the cost regardless. If you fail the questions, you can even retake the exam right away. I didn’t need to. I got all the questions right. Some were a little tricky. BUT, I agree with the BUT. One has to stay sharp. Especially about the “close-quarters” bit. Even though I practice with scenario based events, they are all so far at a distance as distance shooting under pressure is more difficult. But very close quarters training is also necessary. They are right.

And this goes for the spiritual life as well. Things are tough, are they not, when Satan is on the attack and we’re befuddled and cognizant of how much nothing we are, you know, a close quarters fight like that? That’s when training comes in handy, that is, training in God’s love, which cuts through Satan’s mind games as God’s love is on another level altogether and is stronger than our weakness, our befuddlement, stronger than death. Saint Paul speaks of us carrying treasures in ultra-weak earthen vessels, so easily shattered, yet giving us the dignity of being called the very tabernacles of the Holy Spirit, tabernacles that can have the purity of heart and agility of soul to follow the Holy Spirit whithersoever He would bring us. And He does bring us unscathed right through the worst battles with Satan, that is, if we have no fear. Why have fear. Love conquers all fear. The Holy Spirit brings us right across the battle ground of Calvary in close quarters battle with all of hell broken out, right there to Jesus on the Cross, to be with Him in all solidarity as He is in solidarity with us, watching, praying, as He draws others to Himself also with our intercession.

In the spiritual life we can never rest on our laurels (as we have none, as Jesus is our Savior). It’s misleading to give ourselves titles like Master Defender or to guess at what level in the spiritual life we are at such as by saying “I’m in the dark night of the soul now!” That’s all totally self-defeating, as that is giving into pride and emphasizing ourselves and making of ourselves our own saviors. How many want their spiritual directors to say, “Ooooh! You are now at this level!” That makes the spiritual director into a kind of palm reader and puts the directee at risk of going to hell. That would be as bad as the USCCA telling me that I’ve arrived (which they didn’t). I’m very wary of wearing that badge of Master Defender as all I did was answer questions the right way. There’s a difference between sitting in a chair and calmly answering questions on the one hand and then on the other hand being in the heat of battle when you don’t have the luxury of thinking things out. In the spiritual life, with God’s love saving us, we can be solidly before Him even in the dark night of the soul (however dark, however befuddling), and know always and be grateful that He alone is our Savior. Jesus is the one. He is the Master Defender of our souls.

P.S. Of course, our Guardian Angels bear the title of Master Defender.

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Preparing the shot that can’t be taken: “Terrorism” hits my parish territory

juice bottles

Recently I was at the hermitage for a quiet day, part of which was putting out a few rounds from the Glock into my homemade dot targets. The pattern was about the same as it had been previously at 27 feet, all 15 rounds in the space of the palm of a hand. But this time it is the same number North or South, East or West, which isn’t anything to be proud about, as there should be no directions, just 10-X every time, right? But at least the grip is as it should be with no predominance in any direction.

This was all done with what my practice had morphed into, that is, looking away from the target, spinning about at the screams of some imagined altercation while assessing the situation (type of threat, delivery system of the threat, opportunity), unholstering the gun, shouting some commands drawn from that assessment, drawing the gun up (it already being chambered) and pulling the trigger as soon as the front iron post comes into view IF that’s what the assessment still entails, what with circumstances changing even radically every nanosecond, including what’s next to or behind the target. These were all double taps.

target smiley

But then I added something, just to make the adrenaline flow a bit more freely as it would in the time of some always totally unexpected crisis. In the picture at the top, also 27 feet out, you’ll see two juice bottles side by side on the stump. That represents a hostage situation. When the guys train up for such things, as you can imagine, they are totally disqualified for one stray bullet, as that would defeat the purpose. One just has to be better than that. One has to be the best. I’m far from that. Obviously. But one has to start somewhere. So, up the juice bottles went. The idea is that under pressure at the maximum distance one might expect there to be while still being in the dynamic of such a situation, one hits only the one and not the other, and that the one one is hitting is actually hit. To miss both is just about as bad as hitting the hostage, as you’re not likely going to get a second chance unless the first one hits where it needs to hit. In the meantime, it’s all over for the hostage. Things to practice also include closing the distance if this won’t spook the hostage taker, all the while angling to gain a clear shot and a clear backstop.

The reason to train for such an eventuality that will pretty much never ever arise, it that in training for the more difficult one is training for the less difficult by default.

Any classroom training for such an event consists of 99.99% of the instruction being aimed at why never ever to shoot no matter what in such a situation, which is the same thing that is said also to law enforcement, the SWAT team crowd, et al. But then it is mentioned that it might just be the case that in the it-never-happens-anyway situation, you might just “have to take the shot” regardless of the safety of the actual hostage, though taking every precaution that the hostage not be hurt, which also includes putting oneself at risk. The idea, in that case, is that the perp must be neutralized, even if there are innocent bystanders round about the perp along with the hostage and also in back of the perp in the line of fire. In that case, the situation would be, for instance, that the perp is shooting quickly and with success at many people, killing as many as he can. But that’s the moment you wish you had practiced up for the more difficult case as a way to practice up for that which is easier. You don’t want to miss. You don’t want to have to take more than one shot. Anyway, that never happens. Anyway, I’ll practice for it.

As it is, the local Graham Star newspaper just put out a front page story on a possible budding terrorist in these most remote of back ridges of our national forests. It’s a bit of a joke, but at the same time it’s not. Here’s the evidence of a fevered but not lacking in reason mind of a terrorist:

terrorism bomb making

O.K. He’s an amateur, thinking he’s clever. This was at the dumpster site. This could be an attempt at terrorism, but I really doubt that. I think what’s happening is that a prescription druggie guy rooting around inside the many dumpsters at the site in search of discarded but still potent prescription opioids is sick of competition from other druggie guys rooting around the insides of the dumpsters. So, he’s created some sort of booby-trap meant to take out or at least hurt a fellow dumpster diver.

However, that kind of meanness, paranoid about everyone coming into the dumpster site, thinking that any of them could be there to steal “his” opioids in the dumpsters, might just accost those who are there to recycle and dump their trash: “Gimme your meds, or else!” That kind of thing instantly turns into a hostage situation if the wife is taken and he then notices that the husband is there. Dumpster sites are not lonely sites. They are pretty heavily trafficked. This is actually not an unlikely scenario, especially since the perps will be extra nervous what with talk of upping the penalties for dumpster diving (which usually results in all the contents of all the dumpsters being spread out over the lot so as to more easily comb through the rubbish for the drugs.

And we might be thinking, what a bad guy that terrorist druggie bad guy is. But did not our Lord allow himself to be taken hostage by our sins? Did He not lay down His life for us? Thank you, dear Lord. Thank you for saving us bad guys, us really bad guys.

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Buffalo Springfield For What It’s Worth. Surprise Intent of Stills’ Lyrics against tender snowflake paranoid violence.

buffalo springfield

Stephen Arthur Stills of 1960s Buffalo Springfield fame penned “For What Its Worth”. Recall that he’s Canadian and that, in pre-1982 Canada, “justices of the Peace had the authority to impose a six-month jail term on anyone carrying a handgun.” [[I’ve been corrected for that in the comments. Seems he’s American. Which only reinforces my commentary here.]] The song “For What Its Worth” has always been taken as a protest, anti-gun jingo. But it’s not. One might think from a glance of the Wikipedia article that Stills might be on the protest side of things:

“In November 1966, Stills composed his landmark song, “For What It’s Worth”, after police actions against the crowds of young people who had gathered on the Sunset Strip to protest the closing of a nightclub called Pandora’s Box (contrary to later retellings by Stills, he was not present for the riot; rather, Buffalo Springfield was playing an engagement in San Francisco at the time).”

I was born in 1960 and so I was only a little kid when this came out. What did I know about anything? But I met a USMC guy the other day, perhaps 10 years older than me, who was a teenager at the time. He thinks it’s one of the best songs ever. No peacenik, he. Perhaps a fisking of the words is in order, as this will help tender snowflakes see that the ones they hold to be their gurus, such as Stills, weren’t the tender snowflakes people thought they were. Perhaps Stills was a bit adrift at the time, but he still carried some values of reason and civility from earlier baby boomer times.

In brief, it seems this song praises police action against out of control paranoid hippie rioters who cross over the line with violence and gunfire and need rightly to be “taken away” as the song says. Perhaps Stills, still going strong, might even say that he disagrees with my assessment, but he’s the one who wrote the lyrics. Whatever he intended then or now doesn’t matter so much as what the words actually say. I like what he wrote. I like it a lot.

BUFFALO SPRINGFIELD: “For What Its Worth”

There’s something happening here. [A violent riot in reaction to the closing of a night club.]

What it is ain’t exactly clear. [Stills is not automatically on the side of the rioters, is he? No. He’s calling for reason, for analysis. Good for him.]

There’s a man with a gun over there, [We don’t know who this is yet, whether a law enforcement officer or someone in the crowd. But for him, the presence of a gun from any source is not something he wants to see, though it may be necessary. The examination of the circumstances for the gun is the point of the song.]

Telling me I got to beware. [This sounds like an encouragement of paranoia from the guy with the gun, who is being annoyed with a reasonable assessment of the situation by Stills. The encouragement of paranoia is ideological manipulation which Stills disagrees with, and says so:]

I think it’s time we stop, children, what’s that sound? [He’s reprimanding the protesters (“the hippie flower tender snowflake children”), telling them to stop, as, apparently, they are O.K. not only with the brandishing of a gun but with the firing of a gun (the “sound”), thus calling them out as actually being violent bullies.]

Everybody look what’s going down. [He can’t believe that what he was expecting to be a peaceful protest almost seems —  could it be? — to be pre-planned violence? He says it frankly:]

There’s battle lines being drawn. [This is a soliloquy falling on deaf ears, but he keeps going, perhaps thinking he will do some good for someone.]
Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong. [He goes for the jugular, attacking Marxist dialectical ideology, whereby everyone is wrong, some less than others, but with violence for all being the only way to force any disparity into a leveled out utopia.]

Young people speaking their minds, [The Marxist Antithesis]

Getting so much resistance from behind. [The Marxist Thesis]

It’s time we stop, “Hey, what’s that sound?
Everybody look what’s going down.” [Stills is frantic. But no one cares. The violence is intended to grow.]

What a field-day for the heat:
A thousand people in the street,
Singing songs and carrying signs,
Mostly saying, “Hooray for our side!” [He’s not saying that the police action is wrong. He is pointing out that the self-congratulatory signs are shallow ideology promoting might makes right on the part of the protesters. Mindless tender snowflakes are with all of their violence from hell.]

It’s s time we stop, “Hey, what’s that sound?
Everybody look what’s going down.” [Then, after trying to get the attention of the protesters once again, he offers this overview of what’s happening:]

Paranoia strikes deep.
Into your life it will creep.
It starts when you’re always afraid. [Stills analysis is that Marxist dialectic violence comes from the frustration of cowardice, fear, with its lockstep reaction.]

You step out of line, they come and take you away. [O.K. This clinches this interpretation. The shooting of the gun is stepping out of line, and that makes for the justified reaction of law enforcement.]

We better stop, “Hey, what’s that sound?
Everybody look what’s going down.
Stop, hey, what’s that sound?
Everybody look what’s going down.
Stop, now, what’s that sound?
Everybody look what’s going down.
Stop, children, what’s that sound?
Everybody look what’s going down. [Stills is stomping his feet now in a tantrum, though well justified. Basically, he’s frustrated with the tender snowflake bullies and continues to attempt to have them use a bit of reason. But, no, they won’t do it as this violence is what they always wanted from the beginning. I agree with the USMC guy I met the other day: great song! Good for Stephen Arthur Stills.]

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Update: Attempted home invasion, again

IMG_20170331_205639

Update: Not that they are related, but just a couple of streets over there was a stabbing within minutes of this attempted home invasion… ///

Jenny the Jeep acts as a guard donkey for the rectory, but only when she’s there. She’s in the shop at the moment, getting some extra attention, leaving the rectory seemingly wide open to home invasion. Sometime around midnight it seems that some guy decided to do just that, guessing I wasn’t there just because Jenny wasn’t sitting out front. The action ended just as quickly as the home-invader guy realized that someone was at home. He was outside making plenty of noise, perhaps to see if anyone was around. I didn’t see who it was as it’s not generally a good idea to be opening the door to an aggressor or even to look out the window, making yourself a target. This is the second attempted home invasion in the short time I’ve been here.

we dont call 911It would be stupid of me to think that I’m somehow ready to take care of anything untoward, but, just like the previous time, I didn’t call 911. No reason to bother the police as it all ended quickly enough. I’m not adverse to calling 911, unlike one fellow I know who has a bumper sticker saying: “We don’t call 911.” He was actually pulled over by the police for that one. All the same, since law enforcement is just minutes away, I try to be at least somewhat prepared. Of course, that includes calling on my guardian angel.

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Assassin Game, suicide, the day I drew my gun for real. Solution to insanity.

the deer hunter

I saw this tv news story today about the game Assassin this time played on a defenseless woman being carjacked with a gun who wasn’t part of the game. The game is being played around the country at the moment in high schools, colleges and universities, also and especially off campus. It’s also called Gotcha, Assassins, Killing As Organized Sport, Juggernaut, Battle Royal, Paranoia, Killer, Guru Girl, Spy vs. Spy, Elimination, and Circle of Death. If you ask me, it seems to be a development of the role-playing “game” called Dungeons and Dragons, and came out just in those years that that dark game became popular among the same age groups.

Since it is also played in public, it quickly becomes not so much about any fake assassination, but about playing Russian Roulette as to whether you are going to be killed for threatening what for all intents, purposes and constructions is a murder/carjacking in progress as we see in the video linked at the top. Wikipedia has more about it here.

Just to say, if someone came up to my car smashing my driver side window and waving a gun at me screaming obscenities and threats, it would take me about a nanosecond to pump 16 bullets into him and any threatening accomplices, that is, whatever it would take to make the threat stop. I mean, how stupid and sad is that? It’s purposed suicide. Russian Roulette. I would really hate that. All of it. Terrible.

Just to say, I’ve already been subjected to one carjacking just down the road from my parish while taking a retired cop to the hospital for a surgery appointment. We came to a screeching stop right on the highway (lots of traffic in both directions) and, while the cop yelled at me to say the obvious, that this was a carjacking, I already had my gun drawn and racked when, as otherwise never ever happens, the police came screeching up at that very nanosecond, increasing in number to a total of nine cruisers. As you might imagine, this overwhelming force of the police distracted the perp. Game over. To warrant that kind of manhunt I have to think he was a pretty serious criminal. He’s one lucky perp. But, I mean, when does that ever happen? When are the police there at the very nanosecond you need them? Literally, just one second later could have been life changing for all involved. One. Second.

carjacking-

Carjacking of yours truly attempted right at the “X”. Note the guardrails on both sides. We swerved to the left, slamming on the brakes. Traffic was pretty heavy. Carjackers don’t care.

Anyway, this “game” has been going on in different forms since the early 1980s, but it’s catching steam apparently at this time, and the weapons are not only fake guns, but also bombs which waste the time of law enforcement, the FBI and BATFE. With all the real terrorism and violence on law enforcement that we have, this is all a really bad idea, and it can, in fact, be malicious. It’s a felony to purposely waste the resources of the Feds on idiocy like this. I’m all for people being given time in jail for this kind of stupidity, even pursuing felony charges if the circumstances warrant it, such as with a “fake” car-jacking or a “fake” bomb threat at a public institution. A felony would mean these people would not be allowed to possess a real weapon. Good.

Also, just to say, there are apparently “safe spaces” in this game where assassinations are not allowed. Have we ever heard of “safe spaces” for tender snowflakes before? The tender snowflakes are getting to be accomplished assassins. This kind of game quickly becomes practice for the real thing. It took only days for the tender snowflakes to go from giving a can of Pepsi to someone to throwing full cans of Pepsi at first responders. Right? This is no longer the dreamy 1980s. This is the age of total idiots. I really feel for the woman who was attacked in the video above.

Mass Lourdes Pius X BasilicaThis mentality has come about because people have no identity. For those with no identity, death is as good as life, death is better than life. An Opus Dei bishop was once asked what is to be done with youngsters like this, for those who don’t know where their parish church is, for those who are unchurched. His response was immediate: Celebrate Mass better. Yes, the sacredness, the mysterious otherness of God, the radical profundity of the creature worshiping his Creator, with serious, charitable, joyful people being the ones one meets at Mass. Yes, that will be a draw. Young people who are adrift, anyone adrift for that matter, without an identity, is so very thirsty to find their identity in Christ, to be found by Him. And here’s the deal: Jesus is already working on them. All we have to do is offer a little invitation here and there. What say you?

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Guns and spiritual stability in adversity

I’m a peace loving kind of guy. A total neophyte with guns. I scared myself with my Glock 19, again.

The first time I scared myself with a couple of friends, was on Easter Sunday evening last, when, at 20 meters (70 feet with the google conversion), I quickly put four rounds though a single bullet hole. That doesn’t happen with me. It’s not really a déjà vu kind of thing, but is a kind of that just doesn’t happen with me ever experience. And it happened again yesterday during a quiet day at the hermitage on a day off, part of which was practicing with the Glock 19 once again.

Of the 15 rounds, 11 are on the post-it note sized paper with dot, 4 just off the edge on the stump, all within about 1 or 2 inches from the dot at about 27 feet out, this time, for the first time, starting off by being turned away from the target, gun holstered, then turning quickly, assessing, commanding, shooting double taps. I wonder if the tight group on the dot was a first shot while the tight group just above the dot (most in the stump) was the second shot.

Anyway, this scenario based shooting makes adrenaline pump with its narrowing of focus effects, because of which, and this was a total surprise, I did not stand straight up in whatever always controversial “stance” of whoever’s recommendation as I have always otherwise done, but instead I automatically, for the first time, went into a crouched position without planning this, without thinking about it.

  • I’ve always rejected the Isosceles stance as being unstable and useless, unless you want your body armor facing full forward because of fear, in which case, if you’re worried about that, you’re likely to be shot just, you know, just because.
  • I had thought the Weaver stance was better, more stability in every way, even though this would open up your one side to no protection from any body armor you might be wearing, but that is simply not a worry for me at all. Incidents are not duels of olden times. Imagine SWAT teams standing in a duel position with an opponent, preceded by slap with a glove or some such insanity. That’s like a Monty Python skit.
  • And then there is the Combat stance, which, if anyone calls it a stance, they are wrong, at least in my newbe experience, as this should not be a stance, but a severe crouching movement that is “on the ready to run” in any direction with stability (such as toward the attacker, with being on the move being what happens pretty much 100% of the time). This needs adrenaline to be effective. Most people, target practice people, never do this, ever, and that’s just plain wrong.

This brings me back to the story of “The Guy” (literally the best shot among special operators in the world – and, yes, there was a competition here in North Carolina a while back). “The Guy” said that he never shoots at a target. He always shoots to kill, and so, while shooting, is always filled with adrenaline (which helps, not hurts, if you know how to use it). I guarantee that that is not the experience of any mere target shooter (namely, all the other special operators that day, however combative they otherwise are).

Previous to this experience, beginner as I am, I had always been calming standing, calmly aiming, which is never a real life scenario, and is therefore misleading, as I am finding out, in every possible way. If one aims for more than a nano-second, one is going to pull down or try too hard. While the pattern might get smaller (as was indeed happening with me), there’s little muscle memory that is useful in real life scenarios. The only exception to this is shooting from a prone position with arms stretched out with the arms not really resting at all on the ground. Anyway, when calmly aiming I got into the bad habit of drawing down on the target from on high, which again, as I find out, only feeds the pulling down in view of a recoil effect, which is bad altogether.

When, instead, in spinning about to assess, command and shoot, drawing up and shooting as soon as one sees the front post of the iron sights come onto the target, there is no pulling down effect. This is quicker and more accurate also at greater distances as it’s all more natural, that is, not forced. I didn’t get everything 10x, and so, it’s not great at all, but it is good enough for a first time extended session on drawing from the holster while spinning about whereby I had to think: where did that come from, as that just never happens with me. I have to note that indoor shooting ranges would never allow this type of training. I’m thinking that indoor shooting ranges are the worst possible experience for anyone. Move it outside!

Some spiritual notes…

Anyway, during all this mayhem on top of Holy Souls Mountain, amidst all this intense distraction, even to the point of adrenaline forced narrowing of focus on the immediacy of sensory perception, I must say that none of this for a second took me away from realizing that my Guardian Angel, who himself sees the face of God, was with me. Spiritual things are on another non-exclusive level. It was extremely obvious to me that this had nothing to do with me in my otherwise total dullness, but had everything to do with my Guardian Angel reminding me of what is always the most important, of Him who is always to be the treasure of our hearts and souls and minds. It wasn’t a reprimand, but an invitation to rejoice that such a nothing, such a mere earthen vessel as myself could carry such a treasure on the inside even in such seemingly incongruous circumstances. Why should it be otherwise?

Being unflappable inasmuch as that is possible for us is always important. Not that I’m always that way. I’m weak like everyone else. But the solidness of friendship with God given by God, and with one’s angel guardian, even by way of guardian angels smacking us down if necessary, is everything.

The John Hopkins / Loyola College psychology additions to the FBI Course for the training up of civilians (as in chaplains) to assist law enforcement during critical incident scenarios are meant to provide an insistence on appropriate measures to be taken to help responders do what they need to do in keeping focused and unflappable. The coping mechanisms provided aren’t so much helpful as the human encouragement that comes with these, as extremely brief as whatever encounter during a critical incident might be. While first responders will have much more experience in tough situations, and therefore a been there, done that stability (though going spacey, freezing, getting in the way, even running away still happens to some in circumstances new to them such as larger terrorist events), the chaplain, nevertheless, it seems to me, is expected to have, precisely as a chaplain, something that he can provide to the situation, the support that someone is there who at least should be walking with God with utter stability. This is not a clericalist thing, or a holier-than-thou thing, or a gnostic guru thing, not on the part of chaplains or on the part of the others. It is simply someone, a representative of the community, who is surely spiritually supportive before God. That goes a long way. If that person is trusted, the little coping mechanism tricks that he provides will be taken in forthwith and that responder is then immediately good to go back into the fray of whatever critical incident. All this applies to victims of critical incident situations, what they will then be able to relate before going blank, or to bring them back to being focused, or to putting things in perspective for them so that they don’t otherwise get in the way. Seconds count. See: [New Update] Active Shooter: The Coming Storm (FBI: Train now!)

And here is why, I think, chaplains of law enforcement / military need to be up on their weapons training. It’s not that they will necessarily ever be in a position to use such weapons, especially in critical incident situations when there are plenty of responders there for that, but rather that this knowledge is taken as proof positive, as an affirmation of the means to peace (guns, etc.) appropriate to the first responders who count on the chaplain in spiritual ways.

Even more spiritual notes…

Spiritual warfare, as in overcoming temptation and distraction, can truly seem like the mayhem of war. But, this is the point, the mayhem disappears into unflappableness, if you will, be way of accepting being invited by Christ to be drawn to Him while He is lifted up on the Cross, His love and truth and goodness and kindness, His forgiveness of us, His founding of His mercy on His justice, acts as a kind of tractor beam by which we known we are going to Him right through hell on Calvary, but don’t care so much because we are looking to Him in a bond of friendship provided by Him, and therefore true friendship, unflappable. Again, yes, we are sinners. We fail. But, while being sorrowful for that, we shouldn’t make ourselves to be so important as to spend so much time on ourselves, but just get back to accepting that He is drawing us to Himself. There is mayhem. The clarity of the fog of adrenaline might well be there. But that works for us, no? Yes, it does. Praise the Lord at all times in all circumstances.

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Humiliating training just like the angels

target political

This is not a political statement, just a junked post-election political sign that is apparently being used as a target at an undisclosed location in Western North Carolina.

Anyway, ignoring that, I continued on my way to a parishioner’s house. He had set up a typical law enforcement qualification renewal course, which is wonderfully humiliating, showing me how much I don’t know. That’s the only way to learn. I love it. So, with three tiny targets vertically placed on a wooden stake, with preferably timed stations drawing on a suddenly provided scenario with the necessity of barking commands depending on the situation, providing one’s own perception to onlookers, e.g.: “Drop the gun!” “Drop the knife!” “Show me your hands!” but never “Drop to the ground!” as the first command (obviously) and never using untoward language which will come back to bite you. Such exercises may seem silly to some, surreal even, but here’s the deal, in a real scenario, you have only muscle memory the mechanics and your mouth is only going to say what you’ve previously practiced. Period.

  • At 10 feet — 2 hits 2 hits 2 hits with a gun scenario
  • At 20 feet — 1 hit 1 hit 1 hit with a knife scenario
  • At 25 feet — 1 hit 1 hit 1 hit with a hands/knife scenario
  • At 35 feet — 2 hits 2 hits 2 hits 2 hits with a gun scenario with available cover going low and high and low and high on either side with mag change and purposed jams placed arbitrarily in the replacement mag.

We did this cycle three times, he once, me twice, with me getting 100% better the second time through (lots of room for improvement). Now I know what to work on, which is great. The hit/miss ratio is very high on the hit side, so that, in preparing for this, one had better get 100% a hundred percent of the time if one hopes to re-qualify when under pressure. The reason for this level of perfection is that, in an actual scenario, the hit/miss ratio can again be very high, but this time in favor of the miss side.

Homework is holster work and mirror work (no bullets in the gun!). I’ve heard this many times before including at the North Carolina CCW course (CCH in North Carolina). Again, people can think this is silly and surreal. But, here’s the deal, you either do it right or you don’t do it at all. As I say, I would like to prepare for the FBI training course for those who assist LEOs such as chaplains, the only way to assist as a chaplain in some parts of the Diocese.

Analogy with the spiritual life: our guardian angels surely inspire us to turn positively to the Lord, yes, but it seems to me that they also want to be trained up in difficult situations of distraction in whatever way that that comes about. We can either get nervous and frustrated and upset and then sigh and sigh and sigh again, or we can be enthusiastic and thank our guardian angels for the super cool training that they put us through all the time with the scenario and that.

Saint Teresa of Avila says that she would be scared to death not to have such scenarios as she can’t imagine how we could possibly grow without being trained in this way. Saint Thomas Aquinas says that someone without this opportunity of being trained up is either an angel or a beast. Yikes!

The important this is not to think we’re so important that we waste time getting depressed over our failures while we are being trained, but instead always turn to the Lord who is the only One who is important. Our angels see God in the face, and they want more than anything that we walk with God.

The difference in the training is that one is planned and the other, with the angels, cannot be planned, as they want to take us where we cannot begin to imagine where we will be when we arrive, as the love of God is infinitely beyond our poor imaginations. Our training consists in learning to assent to this love with the lead of the angels.

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Flores for the Immaculate Conception (Militant Mother Mary edition)

This trillium appears to be a hawk just a nanosecond before snatching some prey on the forest floor at the hermitage. But how could something so delicate, for our Lady, in honor of the Most Holy Trinity by name, be militant? Just ask these lady slippers at the hermitage, now about a thousand strong and on the march (this being just one view of a massive patch on top of the ridge, the flowers not yet in bloom at this elevation):

flores lady slippers

The Song of Songs puts the question this way: “Who is she that cometh forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in array?”

In Genesis 3:15 we read that the Mother of the Redeemer is in a battle all set off from all others against the ancient dragon, Satan.

But that’s all just a spiritual battle you say? Put your sword back in your scabbard, Peter! Yes, Mary stood under the cross and Jesus stayed there until he died. Yes. I know. There was a reason for that.

And defense of the innocent is still a positive contribution to the virtue of justice. And the military and law enforcement are still necessary. John the Baptist offered advice to the military and Jesus worked miracles for those in the military, even speaking about no greater faith in Israel.

Could a soldier offer a flower to the Immaculate Conception? Could a police officer? Could a Federal agent, say, in the FBI? No? Really?

I’m still thinking of doing the FBI course for chaplains who assist law enforcement and who would make themselves available in emergency situations which are becoming more common. As I’ve mentioned before, training up in firearms of all sorts is part of that training, a sine qua non. That’s why I’ve been training up in firearms on my own, well, one of the many reasons. So far, I’ve been killing off some adhesive dots (with 15 rounds from the Glock 19 for each dot):

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Of course, I know that standing and aiming doesn’t count. No adverse conditions. Being able to aim. When does that ever happen? But I was pulling the trigger about as fast as I could go, standing, both hands. Still to the left just a bit. I had tried shooting over the car, resting my wrists on the vehicle. Total failure, that. That’s only for rifles. The same for sitting down on the ground and resting my wrists on my knees. Total failure, that. That’s only for rifles. What that resting bit does is to change everything in the muscle groups in the arms. Not good. What doesn’t do this at all is lying prone. That works best for pistols. Glad to know. So, it’s either standing or lying down for me.

I wonder how many enemies John the Baptist and Jesus made in doing good for the military of the occupation. Lots of people thought they were from hell, I bet, possessed by Satan, the ancient dragon. I wonder if Mary can still be my mother…

I think so.

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Orthodox Easter: Guns and Emmaus (scaring myself)

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Easter evening (for both East and West this year) was spent with some parishioners and a young Greek Orthodox couple. The Orthodox fellow (from Wisconsin but now in Georgia) is to be deployed any day now for a tour on the mountainous Iraqi-Syrian border. The father-in-law parishioner just retired out of law enforcement. They set up a half-dozen green post-it note targets some 23 meters out (the Mountain U.S. Army guy already speaking U.N.-speak).

We were practicing standing, using two hands, either hand singly, and then prone, with different pistols and an AR-15.

I did real well with the AR-15. That’s a totally new experience for me, moving from target to target quickly, with double hits on all but one with a single hit. They wanted me to then pepper the larger target as fast as I could go and I got most of them right on but that needs a bit of practice. No, I don’t own an AR-15!

I didn’t do so well with the single-handed pistol shooting. It’s good to get caught out in this way, so that you realize what you need to practice. The LEO also arranged a mag with a mix of spent cartridges so that I could see hidden problems, such as trying too hard. This works well. And I was trying too hard, as the gun popped an inch or so without a live bullet. It also forces you to work quickly to clear jams. The Army guy had a lot of good advice for the both of us. No matter how many years you’ve got in, more advice is always welcome.

Uh-oh: I scared myself a bit when I shot my own Glock 19 from a prone position. I’ve never tried to shoot laying down before. Aiming at a green post-it note with one AR-15 round through it from the Army guy, I quickly put four more rounds in a row through that one hit with my little pistol, so pretty much 10-X with all of them. I am reminded of this scene of the beginnings of recovery from amnesia:

But, no. I don’t think I’ve been suffering from amnesia. I mean, after all, I’m not great at one-handed whatever-hand shooting, good, but not great without practice (which I never really do in that way). So, therefore, no amnesia. I mean, I did do the 10-X multiple times in a row with one hand, if I remember, with a .45, last Autumn. But that had a smooth trigger pull, not like a Glock. No, no. No amnesia. Unless it’s like a mental block… ;¬)

Anyway: that was all after the breaking of bread together at the evening meal on a glorious Easter Sunday. The discussion at table was intensely religious as you might imagine with an American Greek-Orthodox soldier who has a Masters Degree in theological studies under his belt.

We spoke of the cultural differences (complementary) between East and West, the whole breathing with two lungs thing, the excommunications and the wiping out of the excommunications (leaving us with communion), the divine liturgy and the singing and being brought up into the Sacred Mysteries, Jesus fulfilling the prophesies in the Old Testament by being the acceptable sacrifice, His standing in our stead, having the right in His own justice to have mercy on us, our obligation in love to offer a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, the possibility of another major Ecumenical Council between East and West, and which theologians might be useful to this end…

You didn’t expect that, did you? If not, why not? You might offer a comment in the comments box… Pretend you’re sitting around the fire we had outside as night fell, all reminiscing. There was also some discussion of how it is that John the Baptist gave advice to soldiers about how to be the best of soldiers, and about the morality of self-defense on one’s own behalf or that of others: a positive contribution to the virtue of justice as opposed to the idiotic PTSD inducing lesser of two evils theory that would mean that no matter what you do you are always doing something evil (No!).

Is there a disconnect here? You know, between it being Easter Sunday evening and, you know, guns? No. And you have to know that the Army guy tested me on that, joking a little by wishing me a Happy Easter with all the target practice. Those who are on the front lines either here at home or overseas in some of the worst of the worst most violent hot-spots in the world have to know that we are in solidarity with our soldiers even as they are in solidarity with us. That’s an orthodox truth that the Orthodox appreciate.

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Filed under Ecumenism, Guns, Humor, Military, Missionaries of Mercy

Count them if you can: Zero for 15 (relaxing is stupid: go for adrenaline)

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Here’s yesterday evening’s pattern of Zero for 15 rounds of 9mm from my Glock 19, all of which you can count if you know how to read the markings. The orange dot is the size of a penny, which didn’t get hit even once. But hey! It’s been a while. Not really to the left or right so much anymore, but definitely still a bit too far South. These are pumped out pretty much as quickly as I can go. The grip feels better, more solid, but my mechanics need more work. And it’s not pumping rounds out that makes for good pistol work, it’s all about the mechanics, and the mechanics in difficult circumstances. I know. Still nowhere near to practice on a regular basis.

More on why a priest has a gun (most all priests I know have them and practice with them and are more proficient a thousand times over than I am):

  • Well, one benefit still lurking in the background is that this makes being an FBI trained chaplain for local law enforcement in part of the Charlotte Diocese a much greater possibility. And that is a good thing, right? Yes, it absolutely is.
  • Also, just to say, what I have noticed experientially however anecdotally is that this kind of sportsmanship occasions friendships with many new sectors of society. And that is a good thing, right? Yes, it absolutely is. Blue Lives Matter as do all other lives. People are so brainwashed by television that they think spiritual support of LEOs is to reject Christianity. Really? That’s not what Saint John the Baptist thought about it.
  • And anyway, it makes for good fun usually in the great outdoors. I just can’t see going to an indoor range unless it’s for re-certification or to keep up with friendships so easy to make at indoor ranges. There are lot’s of good people at the indoor ranges, often law enforcement and just really serious, responsible, helpful citizens. But indoor ranges for me are bit too controlled in the environment, a bit too surreal. And yes, even priests do well to have a bit of recreation. Yes, “guns” and “recreation” are not exclusive words.

By the way, the South bit on the target mean that I’m just trying to hard to do well, pulling down on the gun as shots go out. No good. I’ve been trying to relax a bit, and that has done me well. But, really, that’s just so wrong. As “The Guy” told me, forget about “target practice,” which totally destroys one’s aim. Sorry to say this, it’s all about making every shot a “kill”, so that instead of being relaxed, one goes into adrenaline mode, which is an entirely different thing altogether than being relaxed. Adrenaline is about slowing down but for the benefit of an impossibly intense in-that-moment-only concentration, with all other senses blocked. That takes a special kind of person. He’s the best shot, literally, in the world, with a pistol. That rating isn’t about Olympians or some dumb thing, but rather being pitted against all the best in the world from our military and intelligence services. I’m not there, yet. For him, it’s 10-X pretty much 100% of the time.

An analogy is in order: Do we let Jesus go in for the kill, as it were, so that we die to ourselves to live for Him alone, with His aim perfectly 10-X as it were when He commands His Heavenly Father to forgive us while He Himself dies on the Cross, totally pumped with adrenaline, senses blocked, vision narrowed just to us in front of Him, total concentration, He giving us His very Heart which we then pierce through, and that, of course, occasioning our being killed off to ourselves… Truly this was the Son of God…

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Gunslinger priests: on consecrated canonical digits vs trigger fingers

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A reader recently asked:

“Not to belabor it, but, did I miss the column where you explain why you (1) feel you need to carry a gun? (2) Don’t the same fingers that hold the Host, hold the trigger?”

(1) “Feel the need.” That’s a strange statement. If anyone carries a gun because of feelings, they should not, must not carry a gun. That’s the definition of psychosis. You’re right to rebel against that, but wrong to put that on anyone who does carry. Feelings are not the reason a sane person carries a gun. Not everyone who carries a gun is psychotic.

At any rate, I have many reasons (forget feelings) why I carry a “carry permit” in my wallet.

  • Is it that I have, in fact, been shot at and had a gun held menacingly in my direction many times in my life, throughout my life? No, that wouldn’t be it. I really couldn’t care less. I’ve lived this long, right?
  • Is it that I’ve had quite a lot of contact with “successful” terrorists these past decades? No, that’s not it either. A gun wouldn’t have been a help or been used in any of the situations in which I’ve been. Well, in one or two situations… Anyway, that’s hypothetical as I didn’t have a gun and I lived to tell the tale, right?
  • Is it perhaps that I have a background that is interesting enough for the State Department to issue me a false passport for my protection, and then put a perpetual protection order out on my behalf? Nope, not that at all. After all, they’re helping me, right?
  • It is that I think I will certainly run into a bad situation in which I wish I had a gun, you know, like Father Kenneth Walker? Certainly not. I mean, most law enforcement officers go their entire careers without ever even once taking their guns out of their holsters except for re-qualification at the target range. It could happen, but…
  • It is that I often am to be found on the most violent roads in Western North Carolina where I’ve faced deadly situations a half-dozen times already? Definitely not it. Those were all once-off incidents.

So, what is it then?

  • Is it that I want to be available for any contingency in which doing this would be helpful for the defense of the innocent when the police are only minutes away? Yes, that’s a reason, as this is always a positive contribution to the virtue of justice.
  • Is it that my legs, a bit crippley, are too unstable to do what young Francesco Possenti (Saint Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows) did in stealing guns from the arsonist / rapists invading his village? Convenience can also be a reason to carry a carry permit.
  • Is it that to be a chaplain for the police in some parts of this diocese one has to go through the FBI course which includes getting trained up in weapons? Yes, that’s a reason. I would say it’s the reason.

(2) “The same fingers.” An attempt at helpful, glorious irony? Or simply a non-sequitur if I ever saw one? Here’s the deal: a positive contribution to the virtue of justice by way of our Lord laying down His life, standing in our stead, taking on what we deserve for our sin so as to have the right in His own justice to have mercy on us is not contradictory to a positive contribution to the virtue of justice by way of defense of the innocent. Justice is justice and one is not to offer some sort of apology for justice.

Stepping up like this will, of course, lay one wide open to getting killed. I don’t see this as contradictory to the statement of Jesus that laying down one’s life for one’s friends is the greatest act of love.

It’s true! I’m not a LEO and I’m not in the military. I’m just a mere citizen. Ah, but that’s the answer, isn’t it?

Just to say: most priests I know have carry permits. Yes, most priests I know are both on the younger and more conservative side of things. But I’ll add a story about perhaps the most liberal priest in this diocese who would throw out LEOs if they came to Mass in uniform, including a full duty belt. Really. He would stop Mass and make a scene until they left. I guess that was a ploy to look liberal, you know, to get praise from the liberal crowd. That priest, mind you, carries a gun himself. I smiled a wry smile when I found that out.

Back to feelings… What if – God forbid – I shoot someone in the justifiable defense of innocent human life? Could I go ahead and consecrate the Body and Blood of our Lord with the same fingers that held the gun and pulled the trigger? Why not? Would feelings be quite overwhelming about having taken someone’s life? Maybe. Even probably. But that’s an occasion to be introduced more deeply to the Sacred Mysteries. Our fallen human nature tends to obfuscate in fear of the deadly seriousness of Jesus’ love for us. But that must be overcome in His grace.

Canon law forbids a man to be ordained a priest if he has ever murdered anyone, perhaps forgetting about Saul (later Saint Paul) and Saint Stephen. But killing is not necessarily murder. Also, shooting is not necessarily killing, as you never shoot to kill. You shoot to stop the threat. I’m sure there are many “Buts” to be answered. It’s a discussion worth having. Am I upset with the question? No. Not at all. There has to be a way to begin the discussion. Distinctions are to be made. We learn together.

Look, no one ever wants to pull a trigger. But there are certain prosecutorial tricks used to convict someone, but none of them are true:

  • You have personal defense rounds which stop in the person you’re shooting, meaning you intended to kill, wanted to kill. /// No, that’s not true. You simply don’t want the round to go through the perp, wounding but not stopping, and then through an innocent bystander, and another and another, as can happen with full metal jacket.
  • You had a trigger job done, meaning you intended to kill, wanted to kill. /// No, that’s not true. You simply want to be as accurate and quick as possible in order to save lives. That’s what it’s all about.
  • You do target practice a lot, meaning you intended to kill, wanted to kill. /// No, that’s not true. You simply want to be ready to face serious untowardness appropriately, knowing well the tool you have to bring deadly imminent threats to naught.
  • You carry a gun because of feelings, whatever they are for whatever reason they are there, and the conclusion must be that you intended to kill, wanted to kill. /// No, that’s not true. See above… etc. etc. etc.

Now, having said all that, my joy in life is not to carry a gun. Instead:

  • My joy in life is to use my consecrated hands to consecrate the Most Holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus, gracious as He is to this sinner.
  • My joy in life is to use my consecrated hands to absolve sins in the confessional, or out of it for that matter, though I am not as joyful then as I am when I myself am absolved from my own sins.
  • My joy in life is to use my consecrated hands to pick flowers and give them to the Immaculate Conception: it’s what Jesus would have me do always in all circumstances. And we don’t need consecrated hands for that. More on that joy in another post. But for now…

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Update: Dearborn MI open-carry inside police station / Brandishing vs. me at Police Station, Andrews NC. Yikes!

In Dearborn, Michigan, these guys are pulled over pretty frequently by the police so as to ascertain if they are creating a public disturbance, purposely terrorizing people. But now these guys seem to have gone too far. They open carried right into the police station with rifles and pistols and really a lot of ammo, one of them with a ski-mask covering his face. I don’t know if all that is legal to do in Michigan, particularly Dearborn, Michigan. They say it is. The police are understandably a bit nervous. Here‘s what one of the police officers yells out:

“Put it on the ground or you are dead,” one of the officers screams in the video that was live-streamed on the Internet via cell phones by Baker and Vreeland as the confrontation unfolded. “I will shoot you. I will put a round in you. What the hell is the matter with you?”

I don’t know what the motivation of the two open-carry advocates is, whether it is all about self-promotion or about the second amendment or if it is perhaps about their possibly being nervous because of the rumors, true or not, about un-official but somewhat de-facto sharia law observance in Dearborn or all or some or none of the above. Whatever about their motivation…

The fact remains that entering a police station armed to teeth (truly, the list is long) and with a ski-mask pulled over one’s face just doesn’t seem to me to be a good idea. FWIW.

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Meanwhile, in Andrews, NC, I was sitting inside the police station just the other week having a chat about the executive order on immigration when a gentleman came waltzing in brandishing a fairly large pistol. Brandishing in any law enforcement center is, generally speaking, illegal in North Carolina. He was waving it about in my direction and I, trying to deescalate the situation, asked him in a sing-song naive voice and all smiles, much like Alfalfa of the Little Rascals:

“Hey! Wow! Is that one of those pistols that also shoots shotgun shells? It looks like the barrel is really big! Is that called ‘The Judge’?”

This threw him a bit, as it’s a stupid question. The Taurus Judge is actually a somewhat snub-nose pistol which can also fire off .410 shells. Although he had his hand around the handle of the gun and I could easily be mistaken, his .45 looked like a Colt, a Smith and Wesson, not small at all. He answered:

“Oh no. It’s, um, just a .45.”

As he looked down the barrel of his own gun I should have bolted and smashed him hard to the floor, as he was only about three steps from me.

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At any rate, he then turned to the officer on duty – the gun still in my direction – and asked if it was O.K. for him to carry inside the station. The officer said:

“Well, you know, it’s not really allowed but I guess it would be O.K.”

I couldn’t believe my ears. I must say that although the guy was a nice guy, I did feel threatened since it was clear that everyone knew this was an illegal situation and that the officer, who had visibly tensed up and who had glanced over to me, may have only agreed to the brandishing of the gun under duress of the brandishing.

I kept my trap shut since this could have merely been a way on the part of the officer to buy time, deescalating the situation until such time as they could make an arrest and not get hurt. Never pull a gun when someone already has a gun in your face. They only have to pull the trigger, which is faster than whatever you can do.

I also thought the guy might be an ex-cop and that they might have all been friends and/or relatives, and I didn’t know quite how legal or illegal his situation might be in that circumstance, although I suppose I should take a hint from the actual officer on duty that “it’s not really allowed” for him. I will be happy to know if this guy was eventually arrested when this could be done safely. I was the one in the direction this guy was waving his .45 at…

If the situation went badly, I would have been shot first, as I was closest to him and he already had the gun aiming in my direction. Meanwhile, the officer would have had the time to draw and shoot him while I was getting shot. That saves the officer. Fine with me. I suppose I could have tried to avoid my getting shot by bolting behind a physical structure next to him and myself and then trying to slam him to the floor. He did have a second person with him. But if that other person didn’t have a weapon, I think I could have kept the guy pinned for the few seconds it would take to get the officer to shove a gun barrel into the back of his neck commanding him to let go of his weapon. I don’t know. If I had bolted toward him, first going behind the physical structure for cover, he could have first shot the officer before I got to him, easily shooting me in that time frame as well. Maybe the “permission” part of the conversation was a cue for me to tackle the guy as he was distracted at that point. After all, the officer had glanced over to me. He would have followed me with his gun, possibly shooting, but leaving the officer alive. I would have been behind the physical structure for a second. He would have been totally distracted. The officer could have taken a shot at him while that was going on.

What to do? The situation did deescalate… I don’t know if there was an arrest that followed later…

Did I do the right thing in delaying, letting it deescalate? It might not have deescalated at all. He could have killed me and perhaps also the officer after that. He was pointing the gun in my direction the whole time. Each nano-second was a risk for me, and then the other officer. What would you have done? Suggestions?

It just happened to work well. This time. Just because it worked out this time doesn’t at all mean that it was best to let it deescalate.

Should I have possibly taken a bullet possibly saving the officer? I could have commanded the guy to PUT THE GUN DOWN NOW!  while moving unstoppingly in his direction. I’m a pretty big guy… with a pretty big voice if I need it. His voice was just so familiar and soft-spoken when he talked to the officer on duty that it really did seem they were friends or relatives or the guy was absolutely to be trusted because of his own background… But it’s often like that. For instance, bank robbers are usually extremely soft-spoken and nice because in that moment they have all the power.

FBI CITIZENS ACADEMYThe thing is, I didn’t know any of that possible background (which I think is actually the case regarding a friend or relative). It was extremely imprudent for him to brandish like he did. He could easily have pulled the trigger on me, unwittingly, if I tackled him. Actually, I’m still pretty upset with this guy for recklessly putting lives at risk. Unless the police tell me different, I think I will tackle anyone brandishing in the police station here. There are plenty of people who are fully capable of brandishing in the police station, having the mentality of the two in the video at the top of this post. They brag about it. Loudly. That’s just the way it is. And now they have a good example as it seems to me someone who does this without getting arrested, if that’s the case, is a hero to very many people around here.

The lesson for all of us is that you just don’t know how you’re going to react in whatever situation. This was good training, whether I did the best I could or if I could have done better. It helps to go through real situations. The point of training is to get better. Which reminds me about the FBI training: Active Shooter: The Coming Storm (FBI: Train now!) Critical incident situations are simply not easy. One does need to be trained. I see that more clearly now than previously.

P.S. Just to say. I did not have a weapon with me. It would have been illegal for me inside a law enforcement facility. But I could have tackled the guy. I probably would have died. But I could have saved the officer’s life. I don’t know. I just don’t know. Ideas?

UPDATE: As I now find out, not only was this guy not arrested, this incident was not even reported within the office. My response: The next time someone is brandishing against the law, following this guy’s bad example, I will end the threat, whether I get shot or not. At any rate, I was told that this will be brought up for training purposes in the department. That’s all I can ask for. That’s a good result.

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Filed under Guns, Interreligious dialogue, Officer Down!