Tag Archives: Guns

Going to Guadalupe? Pay the Mexican Military Cartel cash or die. It’s that bad.

ak 47 ammo

We had a wedding last Saturday in the parish. The couple went to Mexico for their honeymoon. They reported back that there are now military checkpoints everywhere in Mexico. They don’t ask for documents or other useless rubbish. They want money, only. If you refuse, they let you go, but they call ahead to inform the drug cartel in whatever area that you refuse to donate to their cause. The cartel stops you, and simply kills you as an example for others. This makes me upset inasmuch as my identity was used for arms transfers to the Sinaloa Cartel just when Joaquín “El Chapo” Archivaldo Guzmán Loera (now imprisoned along with his “godson”) started to terrorize innocent civilians, the government, the politicians, law enforcement and, finally, the Church.

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Filed under Drugs, Guns, Intelligence Community, Mafia, Military, Politics, Road danger

Day off 4: FBI QIT-99 drills: Chaplain Qualification

FBI QIT 99 legal size paper

To become a police chaplain in North Carolina (at least in Charlotte) one has to go through the FBI course which includes being acquainted with firearms, including a variety of sidearms, assault and long rifles. That’s a whole different universe for me, so some months ago, on the same day:

  • I got a sidearm purchase permit from the sheriff’s office
  • purchased a Glock 19 gen 4 and a box of ammo
  • shot a few rounds for the first time in my life (from a pistol)
  • qualified 40/40 at a gun range first attempt
  • signed up for a concealed carry course

Soon thereafter:

  • I sat through that very useful concealed carry course
  • applied for a concealed carry permit
  • after many SBI / FBI background checks, got the concealed carry permit

Since then, I’ve been throwing out a few bullets so as to become more accurate more quickly in incrementally difficult circumstances, for my safety and the safety of others. Upon reflection, I think I’ve been having too much fun. I think I should get down to business and put myself through the FBI qualification course, that is, just for practice, on my own. Since the FBI targets are printed on larger paper than can fit in my printer, I’ve just magnified the most important detail of the target in 1 to 1 proportions, which will print out on legal paper (8 1/2 by 14). See the top of this post.

The FBI course requires 48 hits out of 60 for a pass = 80%. Meanwhile, using the same target, Kansas LEO qualification requires 35 hits out of 50 for a pass = 70%. Both courses are fairly demanding. Kansas has more variety. The FBI is perhaps more realistic.

KANSAS

  1. 3 yd line – Beginning on the 1 ½ yard line, shooter will draw and fire 3 rounds as they are stepping backward and moving laterally one step. Shooter will re-holster and repeat this procedure again on command. 2 strings of 3 (6 rounds total) 3 sec. per string.
  2. 5 yd line – Shooter will draw and fire 3 rounds from a two-hand, supported grip. Shooter will reholster and repeat this procedure on command. 2 strings of 3 (6 rounds total) 5 sec. per string
  3. 7 yd line – Shooter will fire 2 rounds from the threat ready position with weapon in strong hand, supported by the weak hand. The weapon is then transitioned to the weak hand and supported by the strong hand for the final two rounds. 1 string of 4 (4 rounds total) 10 seconds
  4. 7 yd line – Shooter will fire 3 rounds from threat ready, strong hand only, one-hand shooting grip. 1 string of 3 (3 rounds total) 4 seconds
  5. 7 yd line – Shooter will fire 3 rounds from threat ready while moving laterally one step, using the two-hand, supported grip. Re-holster and repeat on command. 2 strings of 3 each (6 rounds total) 4 seconds per string
  6. 10 yd line – Shooter will draw and fire 4 rounds using the two-hand, supported grip. Re-holster and repeat on command. 2 strings of 4 each (8 rounds total) 5 seconds per string
  7. 15 yd line – Shooter will draw and fire 4 rounds using a two-hand, supported grip. 1 string of 4 (4 rounds total) 6 seconds per string 
  8. 15 yd line – Shooter will draw and fire 3 rounds using a two-hand, supported grip. 1 string of 3 (3 rounds total) 5 seconds
  9. 25 yd line – Shooter will draw and fire 5 rounds from a two-hand, supported grip around a barricade in a standing position. 1 string of 5 (5 rounds total) 15 seconds
  10. 25 yd line – Shooter will draw and fire 5 rounds from a two-hand, supported grip around a barricade in a kneeling position. 1 string of 5 (5 rounds total) 15 seconds

FBI

From Three Yards (12 rounds fired):

  • 3 shots in 3 seconds, strong hand only
  • repeat above for 3 more rounds in 3 seconds
  • 3 rounds strong hand only, switch hands for 3 rounds weak hand only: 8 seconds

From Five Yards (12 rounds fired) [two hands for rest of course]

  • 3 rounds in 3 seconds
  • repeat 3 more times for a total of 12 rounds fired

From Seven Yards (16 rounds fired):

  • 4 rounds in 4 seconds
  • repeat above for 4 more rounds
  • 4 rounds, reload, then fire 4 more rounds all completed in 8 seconds

From 15 yards (10 rounds fired):

  • 3 rounds in 6 seconds
  • repeat above for 3 more rounds
  • 4 rounds in 8 seconds

From 25 Yards (10 rounds fired from cover)

  • Move up to the cover and fire 2 rounds standing and then 3 rounds kneeling, all under 15 seconds.
  • Repeat above

RESULTS:

  • 86% for Kansas (cold barrel) 
  • 88% for FBI (hot barrel)

Points off at 75 feet out. So I’ll need to practice that. I haven’t done that since Ricky was out from South Dakota. I totally missed when going down on a knee (no knees). No excuse! More practice needed. Anything less than 100% is no good. Mind you, I have no timer but I think I was well within the limits.

    JUST TO BE COMPLETE

    • Do the above courses at dusky-dark to simulate conditions 99% of the time.
    • Use two targets five feet apart. Any string moves from one to the other whether two, three or four rounds are required.
    • Add close quarters shooting (one hand) right up against one of the used targets used for the courses above.

    I didn’t get around to doing any of these things yet.

      JUST FOR FUN

      • Shoot in half a 1″x1″ by however long swinging stick at a marked line:

      I did do that again yesterday:

      That will take some time to own. All that is just for pistols. One has to be familiar with assault and long rifles, etc. More on that in future.

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      Vatican: Handgunners’ Patron Saint is Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows. Sharpening your skills is possible

      target uncountable

      Practiced concealed carriers will laugh with me (if they’re polite, as most CC crowd are) regarding my attempts at defending myself from stationary adhesive dots on stationary paper (that’s a full mag of 15 above), with me standing in a stationary position. I least I start holstered turned away from the target.

      Always taking laughter seriously, I’ve come up with what is now a challenge, cutting a 1 inch by 1 inch by many feet long stick in half (marking the point with florescent orange spray paint) with target ammo using my Glock 19 from 15 to about 25 feet out (at the end of the arc), swinging the stick on a string that was thrown over a branch 35 feet up (this being out in the woods with a ridge as a backdrop). Here’s a three second video I made and just now uploaded to youtube to show you what this looks like in action, thought I’m not shooting while filming. Of course not.

      Hey! It’s got a whole 5 views while I put up this post! I think people don’t watch youtube by principle or simply are afraid of anything to do with guns. I think it’s a cool three second video. But I’m biased ’cause I made it. Anyway, here is the result after what I think are too many attempts (but you gotta start somewhere, right?):

      target stick

      9mm FMJs go right through and won’t break a 1 inch by 1 inch stick in two with one shot. You have to saw across the stick at the same place. Not easy for me anyway when, after some hits, it’s only hanging together with something similar to a toothpick. I’ll be the first to admit that a bunch of shots were not on my spray-painted line. This will be a good play-time distraction on days off for quite a long time. This can always be made more difficult, with me moving either much closer (in which case it seems that the target is moving faster) or further away (in which case it seems that the already small target is smaller). Then you can add walking at the same time, and “running” (a kind of crouched fast-walk). I’m sure that won’t be easy. The more difficult in practice, the more accurate in a hoped-to-be-never-actual-incident.

      saint gabriel possenti patron

      Saint Gabriel Possenti, CSsR – Patron Saint of Hand-gunners as so designated by the Holy See

      In my younger seminarian days I got on a bus and headed out on pilgrimage to the Passionist Monastery where Saint Gabriel had been a seminarian. The account given by all is that he saved a young lady from being raped by soldiers who were pillaging the town by demonstrating his marksmanship in killing a tiny lizard. Some people may feel sorry for the lizard, but I feel sorry for the young lady who was about to be brutalized and raped. Self defense for self or others is a positive contribution to the virtue of justice.

      Those lizard loving people might want to ask what the ladies think about it, you know, those who have been raped by, say, al-Shabaab, al-Qaeda or ISIS or whatever and are then gunned down in some backwater alley because they complained about it. I’d rather take out the lizard. Saint Gabriel rocks!

      See the Saint Gabriel Possenti Society…

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      Filed under Guns, Holy See, Saints, Vocations

      My “day off”: Bishop, Holy Spirit, guns, priests, potato soup[!], ice cream

      target can

      First things first: Holy Communion brought to well over a hundred miles away, here and there in the backsides of the beyond in these mountain ridges (I love bringing Jesus around through his creation to His loved ones).

      Meanwhile, target practice. I thought this tin can filled with dirt and swinging from a string from a branch 35 feet up (giving a long quick arc) would be good. See above. Nope. Too easy to smash apart. The neighbor gave me a good suggestion. Tie up a thin but heavy stick and get that moving. I could spray paint a line around it and shoot it in half at the line. That should makes things a bit more difficult. I’ll have to remember that.

      Meanwhile, on one of my stops I was taught how to make potato soup. This is significant for me, since I have a total mental block about cooking anything more difficult than toast and cereal, though I have been known to make a hamburger with bacon and, of course, pasta. But this soup thing is a big step for me.

      potato soup

      And then it was off to Sylva where the bishop did the Confirmation and installed a new pastor of the parish. Father is a friend. I didn’t ask him if he is Jewish. I am. He was wearing a yarmulke with a Star of David on it (not during Mass). The previous pastor had a shofar…

      pastor sylva

      Other priests from the diocese were there, friends, also my neighbors from the hermitage. We had gone out for ice cream before Mass.

      After the festivities, the bishop and I had a long chat, very productive, very helpful, far reaching. We have the best bishop in the world. I got home about midnight.

      Today was follow up with the meeting with the bishop, and now, Communion calls, then Mass. Away I go. I love being a priest.

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      “Go ahead and blue light me!”

      Just now I was having a chat with our true blue about a particularly aggressive Andrews-ite and a call came in with an aggressive challenge to the police. 

      I watched the arrest unfold. He was evading, then reaching in his pockets (don’t do that!), not following lawful orders, being belligerent, placing the public and our LEOs in danger, wasting our already stretched resources. For our LEOs, “tools” we’re drawn. They were totally respectul to the knucklehead. 

      My thought was: what’s going on elsewhere whereby this guy is creating a diversion. Sorry, but I’m evil and bad. That’s the kind of thing that comes to my mind. He had like six cruisers of multiple angencies wasting their time on him. This is also the perfect baiting situation for an ambush. And they were scanning for this. Good for them. Good training.

      As I watched this unfold I witnessed the perfect calm and yet tinge of fear, just enough to be useful for safety, being alert. Just enough adrenaline. Perfect choreography.

      Analogies in my life as a priest come flooding into my mind.

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      Basic coping mechanisms in societal and geo-political breakdown: Go to…

      tactics 2

      Whatever one thinks about anything 2nd amendment (gun rights), there are some tactics which are essential to everyone’s life regardless of whether or not one carries, tactics which, knowing them well and putting them into practice, is a huge service to oneself, to one’s neighbor, to society.

      • The Crucial Advantage: Preventing violent attacks before they happen [I thought this might just be a short pamphlet with some throw away lines, but, no, 266 pages of tightly scripted text book; I’m impressed.]
      • How to Control Conflict and De-escalate Threats (DVD & guide) [So, if you can’t prevent violence, is there a way to control the conflict and deescalate? Much excellent advice here, also that which requires study. Excellent.]
      • Advanced Gunfighting and Survival Tactics [In the heat of an uncontrollable situation, are there nevertheless useful tactics that benefit you, others, society? This is multiple DVD course which needs ongoing training, bringing much together. Great!]
      • The Gift of Fear [Throwing a spotlight on a balanced approach to situational awareness, not paranoid, not naive, entering deep into the human psyche in a fallen world.
      • On Killing [Analysis of what goes on in the fallen human psyche when faced with the mere possibility of killing, for instance, in self-defense, whether in war or in society; a balanced outlook that makes the difference between being mowed down or having no conscience whatsoever.]
      • Defeating Jihad [Trying to wrap your mind around confronting violence for the sake of violence? Meet Sebastian Gorka. He makes an extraordinary analogy between the ideology of the USSR and that of ISIS. Perfect.]
      • Left of Bang [Superb presentation of situational awareness.]

      tactics 1

      But I’ll tell you this, none of this can be brought to perfection without first being good with God. For instance, if one is already being dead and on one’s way to heaven, that is, as far as one knows having nothing on one’s conscience, that means everything as far as one’s engagement is concerned, as far as one’s prudence and emotions and fear and reason can be properly utilized in whatever situation. Rule number one: Go to confession.

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      This Catholic priest’s Glock 19 target practice: Rope swinging video

      Before heading off to lunch with some good friends on my “day off”, I stopped by the hermitage to set up a new target, a half-gallon cranberry juice bottle filled with water swinging from a branch from about 35 feet up. If you watch the 3 second video you’ll get the idea.

      I set the bottle in motion and stepped back some 33 feet. The very first shot from the Glock 19 was a direct hit, middle-middle. It was, in fact, a bit too easy, though I did miss some as I replaced magazines and replaced bottles, four of them. After lunch I came back for more. Maybe standing so far away is too easy because you have to move your arms less. The closer you are the quicker you have to move. I’ll have to remember that. Advice welcome.

      I’ll also have to come up with better things to swing. The juice bottles are made with hard plastic to avoid mold growth inside the bottle. Hard plastic means shattering and all the water gushes out straight away. I thought I’d have a bit more time with it, but:

      target swinging juice bottle

      So, perhaps a soft plastic Folger’s Breakfast Blend coffee bucket filled with dirt with the lid tied on. I’ll have to remember that.

      The point of all this is just a bit of play time while out at the hermitage. Recreation is important in anyone’s life. And, guaranteed, there’s no indoor or outdoor shooting range around this area that would permit such contraptions to be set up. If you do carry, it’s important to be well practiced, a good shot, which protects innocent people, and that’s what it’s all about. Getting trained up in situational awareness so as to get out of bad situations before they can occur, and getting trained up in deescalation to cool down incidents that are inescapable is all essential. These are just basic life skills that are always useful even if one does not carry.

      And, praying for the bishop and priests of the diocese is always a necessity just at this point exactly in the trail up to the hermitage. The Angelus. Don’t ask me why but I remember this very strongly every time I’m here, without fail. Always. Strong.

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      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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      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…

      3 Comments

      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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      Filed under Guns, Spiritual life

      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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      Filed under Drugs, Guns, Terrorism

      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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      Filed under Guns, Military, Song analysis

      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.

      8 Comments

      Filed under Guns

      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?

      2 Comments

      Filed under Guns, Road danger, Spiritual life, Terrorism

      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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      Filed under Guns, Spiritual life

      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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      Filed under Angels, Guns, Spiritual life

      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):

      target01

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      target02

      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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      Filed under Flores, Guns, Military

      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