Tag Archives: Guns

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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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

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

consecration-

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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The Day Off Target

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Yesterday was the proverbial “day off”, which doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with taking a day off, but for a short while it was wonderful day. Up at 3:55 AM, away for an early appointment on the far side of Asheville, not knowing which fire/smoke/falling-rock detours I would encounter. A falling-rock detour occurs when, after a fire burns away brush and fallen logs, small rocks and boulders are free to tumble down the mountains onto the roads below. Anyway, that done, and a few other chores, I stopped by the hermitage. As always, I said the Angelus going up and coming back down and more, with the usual intention for the bishop and for priests.

The forest is soooo dry. The bugs have almost entirely disappeared. That has an effect on the whole ecosystem. I raked the leaves and fallen branches away from the hermitage but knew it was a lost cause should another fire among a myriad start up near the hermitage. The forest here is like a peat bog, even on the top of mountain ridges, as fire can spread by burning underground. The forest floor does remain soaking wet even after months with no rain, but it is already over six months since news stories about a severe drought in Western North Carolina were hitting the papers. It is dry deep down in the forest floor. You can only do what you can do. Raking done, I thought I might “fire” at a target I just happened to bring along:

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Still better (after some practice and not from too far away), but not where I want to be. Still South and still mostly to the left. The South bit is trying too hard to fight any up-snap. I’m getting over that. These are tossed out pretty much as fast as I can pull the trigger.

And then I got a worrisome phone message from an old acquaintance for whom I no longer have a phone number and who clearly needs prayers. When my Android takes a message it won’t register the phone number. So, how to call back? How do people without hope survive? At any rate, I’m happy to have the hope afforded by Christ Jesus, who will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire. Amen. I must say I was happy to have a long talk after that with the neighbors at the hermitage. They are such good people.

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Ricky

 

You’ll remember that Ricky, in his short tour from 2010 to 2011, got shot twice, an axe in the face once, and blown up six times by IEDs, with the last one giving him traumatic brain injury. His brain was injured in such a way that no pain medication of whatever kind touches the pain. If they give him too much of one type he stops breathing and it doesn’t help anyway. If they give him the other kind, even dozens of times the max, it still doesn’t touch the pain. In this way he lays down his life every single day, every moment of every day, for all of us. Put it this way: If you help one Afghani, you help us all. Thanks, Ricky.

Just to say, although when he came down to visit my neighbors at the hermitage he had his best day in his best week in all these years, he’s now paying the price for having way over-exerted himself. Seizures, maxed out headaches, dizziness, way overtired… And on top of that, and I feel guilty about this, he took a tumble while giving me some pointers on how to shoot. Many tumbles actually. He didn’t seem to mind, and I remembered my own tumbles when I was on crutches and didn’t want others to mind. It’s just that he actually broke a finger on one of those tumbles and didn’t say a word until they were back in South Dakota. He didn’t want anyone to be concerned… Please, remember him in prayer. He does his battle every second of every day for you and I. Hail Mary…

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My day with the combat wounded, with me taking the part of an Afghan soldier.

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Our hero’s tour included getting shot twice, getting an axe to the face, and being blown up with IEDs six times. The last time involved TBI, traumatic brain injury. You know what happens to your ankles and your head when you’re in a “IED-proof” Humvee, right? He would go back if he could. Deployed to Afghanistan in 2010 at 40 years of age (an exception, as he’s really talented), he returned Stateside in 2011.

He wasn’t in the zone long, but saw more action than most might see in multiple wars. And don’t think it’s over for him. He is absolutely constrained to fighting every single day, both with a bad case of PTSD and its nightmare of being “there”, when you want to do more for your brother but can’t because you’re taken out yourself, and then by way of dealing with injuries, walking with a crutch, getting way overtired very quickly, dizzy, and then… and then… the end of the world headaches… end of the world… non stop, 24/7/365. The brain injury takes all of everything to deal with.

Whenever you see a vet, make sure you go way out of your way to thank them for their service back in the day and their continuing service for the burden they carry to this day. They carry us out of harm’s way to this day by having been available to do that for us all.

I’ve been following our hero’s progress for a number of years (he being related to my neighbors back at the hermitage), but never had the privilege of meeting him until now. He and his mom – I’m forever indebted to her for her prayers – drove down all the way from South Dakota. It’s a kind of miracle, really. This is the best he’s ever done, his best day of his best week in all these years – lots of laughter all day long – but… (I’ll get to that “but…” further below).

When he would get a phone call yesterday morning he would have a moment of hilarity, telling the caller that he would have to get back to them as he was busy now teaching a Catholic priest how to take out terrorists. “A what doing what?!” would be the answer. And on it would go. One of his many jobs over the way was to teach Afghanies how to shoot. He was happy to make me an Afghan soldier for my “day off.” He knows what he’s doing; take a gander at this very short video about his work:

After putting this newbie back about 25 feet (four more feet than NC qualification distance for concealed carry), and giving me tips on stance and posture and arms and hands and fingers and eyes and what exactly I’m looking at, he immediately got bored with that and put me back at 75 feet, well over three times the maximum distance, and then talked to me about ballistics and gravity, saying that I would have to work on distances so that calculations as to the drop would be second nature. He also wanted all the other mechanics to be second nature, muscle memory, muscle memory, muscle memory. I have plenty to work on, but apparently have a little bit of potential…

target2

I must say that he’s really good at psychology, as I easily despair if I’m not exactly on center-target every time with my 4″ barrel Glock 19. My chance for depression above is 14 out of 15. But he was very encouraging, insisting that for a newbie at that range for a pistol such as I have, my groupings were really very good because very consistent. All I have to do now is sharpen the mechanics a bit and stay practiced. Did I say he was also deployed in PsyOps?

I take this opportunity to remind the more timid readers that all Catholic priest-chaplains for the great Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police force must go through special FBI training, which includes being trained up in weaponry, particularly pistols. Just sayin’

We also talked quite a bit about shooting while running, something I never thought I would be able to do and which is part of the FBI course mentioned just above. But he said if I had the mechanics down for stationary shooting, the bit about running added no further difficulty, demonstrating just what kind of “run” it is when you’re running and shooting a pistol. Yes, of course, thought I, when I saw this. This is exactly what I’ve already seen with what I know of that FBI course. Great! Anyway, that was that.

He accompanied me to do some errands in town and then get some Chinese before heading back out to – dare I say it in view of recent posts? – “The Farm.” There we met up with the others and had the best homemade pizza ever. I got three big pieces to bring home with me. They’re for lunch and supper. Mmmmmm Mmmmm good!

There was lots of laughter all day long, but nothing compared to what happened when 189 million year old Grandma Clara-Gene joined us on speaker phone and had us all rolling on the floor laughing hysterically with her utterly dead-pan statements about her own proficiency with guns compared to all our ridiculous carry-on about useless target practice, because, you know, after all, if you see something that needs a-killin’ you just shoot it and that’s all there is to it. And actually, if she was in the military, she would be expert and an instructor. To hear this gentle grandma carry on was really a hoot and she very much enjoyed it all as well. It was just a really, really good day for all. But…

I was worried that this might be too much for our hero. It was. I got a call about 20 minutes after I left, when I was already just into the 30 mile dead zone for phones. I got the message only after midnight. He had had a seizure about 15 minutes after I was gone. I feel terribly guilty, but this morning he said that I had nothing to do with it. This is just what happens. He not only didn’t regret anything, he said that he thoroughly enjoyed every minute, having the best time ever, very happy with everything. They do plan to come again. And, of course, I could go and make my way up to where he is. I do have some errands I could do in Minnesota and South Dakota…

Update: They’re on their return trip. Pray for their safe travels: Hail Mary…

airborne-1

battle-coin-002

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Being on target? Good for humility…

target

That’s actually 15 hard nose at the furthest distance for a North Carolina qualification, all of them within an inch or so of center target, most going slightly South. I told this to my neighbor who can do about anything with a gun, and he looked to the ground, sighing, telling me a story about his rifle days, I guess implying that I should give up on the Glock 19 9mm Gen 4 that I have, and just concentrate on some rifle work. He said he and a friend used to put out an American .25¢ piece (a quarter) at 1,500 yards and see who could hit it closest to the center, it being a given that they would both hit it somewhere, of course. I blame the Glock having perhaps the heaviest trigger pull of any gun anywhere. He doesn’t buy it. That, of course, is a challenge to always get better. But then it’s a bit depressing, enough to give up. But I think I’ll take up the challenge bit.

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WAY TOO MUCH FUN with interreligious dialogue, Pope Francis, guns, guns and more guns

arrow robin hood

A bunch of the parishioners and myself went to eat at “The Hub” after Holy Mass. Pictured is the Robin Hood of the parish after the meal. As you can see, he’s pretty good with a long bow. I went over to his cabin today in my continued effort to know where and how my parishioners live in the back sides of the mountains. He lives in the most impossibly remote place on the planet, accessible only by helicopter unless one loves extreme sports. I’m certain that dirt-bike jump competitions got their start on his miles and miles long driveway/logging road whose water diversion gullies can be six feet deep or high depending on where you are (if not very high in the air) with a cliff face on the one side and a ravine on the other. This dirt bike video pretty much captures the ride:

The cabin is a spectacular gem impossibly where it is, much better than the hermitage ever could be. We talked about Pope Francis and interreligious dialogue. He knows his faith very well as does his dear wife. Meanwhile, he introduced me a bit more to the art of shooting guns, showing me some rather interesting items. As you might imagine, he can place a tight pattern with a pistol just 2-3 inches in diameter at +100 yards… (These guns are not for sale…)

gun 1

And…

gun 2

And then there is the following AMT, which is no longer manufactured. It’s used for competition. It’s a 45…

gun 3

This AMT is smoooooooth. I emptied a clip dead bulls eye, one bullet on top of the other, except for one bullet. For that one, I changed targets to a “dot” target patch we had put on another part of the cardboard backdrop, and with the last bullet took out that “dot”, hitting it dead center as well. In my lifetime and only very recently, I’ve emptied out just a small handful of clips from any kind of pistol.

This kind of scares me: way too good way too fast, like I had known this in a different life, not a déjà vu thing, not a reincarnation thing, but rather something like this is who I would have been professionally had I not been a priest. I look back at how our Lord kept me from this. Amazing. When I was a kid, my family was pretty close with the FBI. I’m not interested in how things would have been as I’m so very happy being a priest. It’s just weird, that’s all. At any rate…

After this, we gave up on targets and just shot at the quarter sized “dot” patches that we put up. That was good, until I added a scenario. I said that most terrorist perps these days use body armor, and so I wanted to be good enough to shoot a perp in the head with confidence even if he should have a hostage drawn in right next to him in one hand as a human shield even while he continued shooting at other victims with the other hand.

So, my Robin Hood parishioner put up a target with a six inch circle, saying that that was the head of the hostage, and then he placed a sticky “dot” immediately to the side of the hostages head, calling that dot the head of the perp. O.K. Just to say, such was the pressure NOT to have any bullets fly into the hostage that neither of us strayed a bit from the “dot” perp. The psychological pressure changed our shooting. This was a discovery. For me, it’s all about necessity and confidence. More shooting in a more relaxed manner with more accuracy means more confidence which means being more relaxed with more accuracy… which means learning to be unflappable even in tough uncontrolled circumstances. My Glock 19 9mm is a lot harder to shoot than the AMT 45, that is, unless I just allow myself to let myself go, so to speak, with the Glock, aiming only once and pumping out the bullets quickly, calmly letting gravity do its work. Then I’m just as accurate with the Glock as I am with the AMT 45. Only the Glock, mind you, can be concealed with ease.

I fully realize I’m NOT a good shot in that I was taking my time in circumstances I controlled. Real life scenarios are messy and need different kinds of training. I’ll see if I can’t turn to my CIA/Army friend and my CIA/Air Force friend for some pointers. There are in this area a seemingly endless line up of very helpful individuals with ineffable military / intelligence careers.

I’m sure any gun fanatics reading this post will know what this is…

gun 4

O.K. I admit it. I’m just having WAY TOO MUCH FUN. Now, here’s the question: Is it bad and evil for a priest to just be having WAY TOO MUCH FUN?

Yesterday, guns were a catalyst for a conversation involving encouragement about interreligious dialogue in the face of airplane statements from Pope Francis. Is that bad and evil?

Today a hospital run of some hundreds of miles was a catalyst for a conversation involving encouragement about all and sundry everything. Is that bad and evil?

People find themselves in different circumstances but always before the living God. I think that priests can be there for them wherever they are at, not only to bring them closer to our Lord (even if they are already much closer than I, which is the case with both of these parishioners in my opinion), but to be brought closer to the Lord myself by them.

Just to say, I am about to read up a bit more on Saint Francis and the conversion of the Muslims with a book I picked up at the most incredible gift shop in the world at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville Alabama. But just remember, Saint Francis had an entire army with him!

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Bitter frustrated liberal ex-seminarian throwing a tantrum attacks yours truly

Some bitter, terribly un-well-researched comments have been coming in from a certain – I don’t know what – perhaps student teacher at a certain not-very-famous-for-anything Catholic institution situated in the chemical waste dump of the eastern USA, trying to bait yours truly into some sort of sword fighting in the comments box so as to give himself some claim to fame (not that I have any stature for that whatsoever anyway, but we go back to his lack of research), but I digress before we even begin.

What started him off was the usual self-hero worship of being tough with abuse when everyone agrees that we must all be tough on abusers. He cuts and pastes an old diatribe against Father Gordon MacRae which cherry picks bits and pieces out of context and arranges them in such a way that some anti-Catholics would applaud. All such rebuffs are answered by the record from which context they were ripped. Text without context is pretext. Journalists too numerous to name here have shown the malice and hypocrisy of such self-promotion. Those who try to ensure that no due process is granted to priests are, in my opinion, eager to see more abuse. People will get tired of innocent priests being killed off as scapegoats, and then will not listen even to real victims. In his fail to get street-cred in this way, he moves on to aim his cannon at yours truly (my emphases and [comments]), using my recent post as a foil for his diatribe: Bacon sniper priests: tools of the trade. It’s a matter of charity. Warning: anti-gun person here…

======== According to the Code of Canon Law:

Can. 285 §1. Clerics are to refrain completely from all those things which are unbecoming to their state, according to the prescripts of particular law. [So, if I were a bishop[!], I would have a particular law forbidding clerics from dancing on table tops at wedding receptions singing pop songs that are unbecoming for them to sing. It’s happened.]
§2. Clerics are to avoid those things which, although not unbecoming, are nevertheless foreign to the clerical state. [e.g., trading on “the floor” at Wall Street exchange.]

The previous (i. e., 1917) Code was even clearer: [when clarity is wanted, go back! Note that pretty much all of this was removed from the new Code for good reason.]

Can 138. Clerici ab iis omnibus quae statum suum dedecent, prorsus abstineant: indecoras artes ne exerceant; aleatoriis ludis, pecunia exposita, ne vacent; !!! arma ne gestent, nisi quando iusta timendi causa subsit; venationi ne indulgeant, !!! clamorosant antem nunquam exerceant; tabernas aliaque similia loca sine necessitate aut alia iusta causa ab Ordinario loci probata ne ingrediantur. [He edited that.]

According to Fr. Woywod’s always-valuable commentary on the old Code: [I haven’t looked any of this up, so we’ll just take his reporting for the sake of argument.]

“114. Clerics must abstain from all things that are unbecoming their state: they must not exercise unbecoming arts [like what, the black arts? O.K.!]; not play games of chance with money [what about parish bingo with the money going to the soup kitchen? That doesn’t count!]; not carry weapons, unless there is justified cause for fear [so, the very thing he wants to attack me for is given an excuse in the very text, whose mention of “justified cause”, given my history overseas, by the way, I have, or does he not know me, and so is judging me with no due process just like he did with Father MacRae? Interesting.]; not indulge in hunting [“indulge” is very different from the “need to go”: language is important, and this distinction is confirmed:] and never in that kind of hunting that is done with much display and publicity [the separation of the general from the particular leaves the general up to the necessity of the situation; obviously, fox hunting U.K. style, with trumpets and pageantry and tea is supremely ridiculous at least to this mountain boy.]; not visit saloons and places of the same nature except in cases of necessity or for any other just cause approved by the Ordinary. (Canon 138.) [For instance, when the Legion of Mary tromped right into a brothel, knelt down and recited the rosary, putting all to shame and helping them to enter into a better life, thus getting their start way back in the day. It’s pastorally imprudent at times to legislate particulars.]
115. Even those affairs that are not unbecoming to the clerical state, but are foreign to it, the clergy must avoid.” [“affairs”… like… I don’t know… with all these undefined terms… say… like… being an executioner for those whose death-row term is up at the local prison, or, in my opinion, being on the jury of a capital case or any case when possibly knowing the fuller story from the confessional…]

========= And then our ex-seminarian (my hypothesis) adds this comment:

Personally [this is his personal attack against me though he doesn’t even know me. I certainly have never heard of him], I find that “conservative” temperament [It’s always about feelings with liberals, always] amongst [“-st”!] the clergy [so, he singles out the clergy to do some hating] just as cafeteria-like [as who? himself? So, he’s doing this to rationalize his own cafeteria Catholicism? There we have it.] when it comes to certain practices [like what? “gender appropriate” practices? In his mind?]: hunting, guns, [a woman cop sent me a beautiful email describing her day on the range with sniper rifles, commending me for a good day out with the boys as she put it] sitting around [I tend to stand for intense but enjoyable discussions which he despises in puritanical fashion] drinking booze [I don’t drink], smoking cigars [I don’t smoke at all], etc. [surely everything] — all apparently [“apparently”] forbidden to clerics in the pre-Conciliar Church. [There’s a strong argument, emotional too, you know, with a mention of pre-Conciliar and all that: “You… you… you hate Vatican II. So predictable. No, I don’t hate Vatican II.] (Remember the old yarn about the poor Seminarian thrown out of Seminary due to the fact that he cherished that one cigarette more than his vocation?) [And there it is, an old yarn from a gossip monger.]

========= My comment: Dear friend: The answer to your flailing about is Jesus Christ, the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception. Go to Confession. Why? Glad you asked. Here’s your answer. The priesthood is not evil. What are you doing with your life? Join your priests in getting crucified. We need you and we need your prayers and we need your encouragement. We are weak and frail and fragile and are bound to deny our Lord at any time. O.K. But be there for us. Don’t be triumphal against us. Work with us. Our Lord did, from the cross, when we had all run away. Your mother is calling you…

pieta

P.S. Why feed the trolls? There are so very many. Converting them is part of reaching into the darkest of existential peripheries so as to help point people to Jesus and to the Immaculate Conception.

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ISIS murders priest during Mass. R.I.P. Père Jacques Hamel. My comments.

Père Jacques HamelDearest Father Jacques, remember us down here as you enter eternal life. Thank you for your priesthood in Christ Jesus. Thank you for laying down your life even as you offered Holy Mass. Just… thank you.

=== Let’s analyse this, shall we? Let’s use the FOX story as a base. We’ll add some comments of the Holy See. My emphases and [comments].

Two attackers reportedly shouted “Allahu Akbar” before slitting the throat of an 84-year-old priest and critically injuring at least one other person [an eldery nun] during a Tuesday morning terror attack on a church near the Normandy city of Rouen, officials said.

The terrorists, who French President Francois Hollande said had pledged their allegiance to ISIS, were later shot and killed by police.

The priest, identified by Sky News as Jacques Hamel, was dead at the scene, and another person, possibly a nun, was clinging to life, Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said.

The killing Tuesday inside the church, in the small northwestern town of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, “is obviously a drama for the Catholic community, for the Christian community,” Brandet told reporters. [Just “for the Catholic community, for the Christian community,” and not all people of good will? Wow. No. This kind of word-play is how it all gets much worse much more quickly. This is a supremely stupid move of Brandet. Perhaps he thought he was being nice, but, no. Watch for the liberal media to follow his example, you know, just sectarian violence or workplace violence in which surely Father Jacques was at least partly to blame, you know, just because…]

The attackers were not immediately identified. [Actually, they were. They had already tried to enter Syria to fight for ISIS. They were wearing electronic ankle GPS locators. The alarms should have been screaming away in police stations all around, but suicide terrorists don’t care if they are followed and killed after they’ve done their dirty work. They want to die. Does no one, after tens of thousands of incidents counting just since 9-11, perceive any of this? (Correction! No alarms since they turn the alarms off on purpose so that they can get in a morning’s terrorism while not being tracked!)] Police said the pair entered through the back door of the church and took the priest, two nuns and two parishioners hostage during morning Mass. [The priest was immediately beheaded. The word “hostage” is incorrect. They are not immediately killed in order to torture them in horrific ways and let the media scene play up outside. Remember the Paris attack in the theater? They neglected to tell us of the horrific tortures, eye-gouging, eviscerating, dismembering, etc. The captives are not hostages. They are there to set an example.]

Police responded and later confirmed that the attackers had been “neutralized,” Sky News reported. Three hostages were rescued in good condition, while another was taken away on a stretcher, according to reports. [And other reports say that the motive is not clear. What? Really?]

=== Now, let’s see what the Cardinal Secretary of State of the Holy See has to say:

[…] Le Saint-Père est particulièrement bouleversé par cet acte de violence qui s’est déroulé dans une église au cours d’une messe, action liturgique qui implore de Dieu sa paix pour le monde. Il demande au Seigneur d’inspirer à tous des pensées de réconciliation et de fraternité dans cette nouvelle épreuve et de répandre sur chacun l’abondance de ses Bénédictions.

In my translation (skipping the expected bit about solidarity in grief): The Holy Father is particularly upset by this act of violence that took place in a church during a Mass, a liturgy which implores God’s peace for the world. He asked the Lord to inspire all with thoughts of reconciliation and fraternity in the face of this new trial and to spread on each of the abundance of His blessings.

So, nothing from the Secretary about ISIS or Islamist fear mongering. Nothing. Just a complaint about the place and time. I mean, is anyone really shocked that ISIS has no pious devotion for the Mass? Do we really expect ISIS to kneel at the altar rail, wait until Mass is over, and then behead the priest? And that makes it all better? I’d like to see the Cardinal just go ahead and condemn ISIS (which immediately claimed responsibility, by the way). In fact, I’d like to see him be a signatory of the Regensburg address of Pope Benedict XVI.

=== Now, my own comment: If ISIS thinks that they are spreading fear and terror by this, it’s certainly not working on me. Perhaps that’s a tactical fault of mine, but fear is not any kind of great motivator for me. A desire to make a positive contribution to the virtue of justice in the proper self-defense of self or others in the face of unjust aggression is a source of motivation. And that, I think, is consonant with the Lord inspiring all with thoughts of reconciliation and fraternity even as He spreads on each the abundance of His blessings. Self defense for self or others is a part of those blessings as well.

Again, I wish it were not this way. I wish Father Jacques Hamel had not been beheaded. I wish the Sister had not been grievously wounded. I with the others hadn’t been taken hostage. I wish all people would kneel before our Lord and Savior, accepting redemption and salvation. I wish, in fact, that we were already in heaven. Wouldn’t that be great?

But, to be frank about it, had I been in the sacristy during Mass, say, collecting old Mass vestments and altar cards with the permission of the good priest, and the ISIS crowd had come in that back door next to me wielding their knives and shouting Alahu Akbar and starting in on their attack, I would not have let the attack proceed. I mean, no hesitation about “Oh, let’s wait just a minute and let’s see if we can alert the media about sound bites of setting up encounters of dialogue with multi-cultural participants so that we can be perceived as being heroic men of consensus,” or something like that. In that amount of time, the good priest’s head would already be balanced on top of the chalice, right? So, instead, in a nanosecond, my CCW would already have been drawn and the “neutralizing” would already have been accomplished.

We live in a violent world. And the Mass is a most violent place already: it is Calvary where being tortured to death is the order of day, of that hour, when all hell is broken out, when Christ claims victory by not giving in right to the end (and then rising from the dead). Is it bad and evil to defend priest and people at Mass? No, it is not bad and evil. It is good. Our Lord is our Redeemer, not any priest or any parishioner. We are mere sheep, all of us.

Meanwhile, two things today, my “day off”:

(1) As soon as I click “Publish” for this post, I will be offering Holy Mass for those involved in this and in all recent terrorist incidents both oversees and here in these United States.

(2) I’m going to go and kill some paper targets, which I haven’t done for a full week. A friend says I need to start working on muscle memory. Meanwhile, Aliengear holsters (IWB and OWB) came in yesterday afternoon. I may need to adjust them for ease of use. For now, I can only use the OWB as I haven’t taken the CCW course yet (outside of acing the qualification test).

And, yes, I know. I still have to write something about the why of guns and priests. Patience!

P.S. Please don’t think that I am devoid of knowing something of the Mystical Body of Christ. I know that when Jesus, Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception, lays down His life he is also laying down our lives with His, especially His priests – as the Master so the disciple – especially when we offer the Holy Sacrifice and say His wedding vows to His Bride the Church: This is my body given for you, my blood poured out for you in sacrifice. Yes, I know. And Father Jacques is a hero for me. When I say the consecrations I am aghast at the torture and death; when I say the consecrations I am in awe of Jesus as I then kneel beneath the weight of the glory of His love; when I say the consecrations I tremble and find it difficult to move on to the rest of Mass, wanting to continue to stand there, beneath the Cross. But, more on this later. Now, it’s time to offer Mass for Father Jacques and the others. Accompany me, if you would, with a Hail Mary for the eternal repose of his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed. Hail Mary…

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Box-in manuevers, shooting cars in my parish: boring druggies but not Jesus

In the same part of my parish where the ol’ PIT manuever takes place with increasing frequency (see: Guns, PITs, yours truly, a new friend), there are those who, being knuckleheads and all, try to do the box-in manuever.

This has never played out on me in my life as I had an experience some thirty years ago when three 18-wheelers mistook me, I guess, for someone else, and boxed me in, putting the crush on with just inches, it seemed, from the bumpers of my car to the back and front bumpers of the 18-wheelers to the front and back of me. The other was just to my left. In order not to be crushed, which was imminent, I would have to zip out on to the shoulder to the right, which was only one car width wide, as there was a guard rail. Just when I was about to jump out – and they knew this (good timing on their part) and I couldn’t see it – there was a broken down vehicle on the shoulder which I would have slammed into at full speed. I knew that that might be the case, and so just avoided it at the last second, but jumped out and slammed on the brakes right afterward, with all three 18-wheelers also slamming on their brakes. But they had to keep going nonetheless. Heh heh heh. That experience stuck with me, and so I notice the possible situation developing when such a configuration on the road arises.

I met a lady, a wonderful pro-life activist, who happened to be at one of my stops on the rounds to those needing accompaniment in one way or the other. Amazingly, she knew a couple of my good friends and heroines from back in the day, Donna Steichen (who had wanted to write about me, of all people, though I declined) and Rita Marker. It was these characters who pushed me to get to know Father Paul Marx when I was just a little kid, a friendship that would continue decades, with him asking me to take over Human Life International (though control had just gone to the board, with the members wanting to go the way of – how to say this – someone more conciliatory than Father Marx, who was always friendly by the way). Anyway, she told me that the box-in manuever has been tried on her in this part of my parish with some frequency, once with the same knuckleheads doing this to her twice in a row, failing both times as she knows how to slam on her brakes and have the whole thing recorded on 911. Heh heh heh.

The idea for the perp is to pull in front of you, that is, right in front of you, just feet away, and then slam on the brakes at 55 miles an hour. You want to pull out to the other lane but cannot because his buddy has planted himself right next to you. Your only other option is the ditch, but on these roads there isn’t much of a shoulder, more often just the white line and a drop off gully that would make your car flip. But even if you try to avoid them, risking grave injury or death to yourself, you still end up rear-ending them while slamming on your brakes as they are just too close. No one is seriously hurt but they collect big time, you know, because you were following too closely. The way out of this for the would-be victim is to slam on the brakes before it happens. That’s what my activist friend does. That’s what I’ve always done. I can’t even count the times. And in slamming on the brakes when I suspect this, very frequently the other vehicle does the same, but then it’s too late for them as I’m already stopped dead out of harm’s way. :-)

I’m guessing that the PIT and box-in manuevers are used by some of the same knuckleheads who take pot shots at people passing by on whatever road. Quite a number of parishioners have mentioned this to me and are pretty disgusted by it, angry even. It seems to be quite the pass-time in a particular region of my parish. Some of those they shoot at are highly decorated WWII veterans who just don’t need that un-American, un-patriotic, inhuman aggravation in their lives. Ah well. All in a day’s occasions to turn to the Lord and, with the Lord’s goodness and kindness, hold out a spirit of forgiveness to the coward perps. After all, they’re probably on meth, right?

Druggies are boring because they can’t drive and they can’t shoot. They’re just boring. And sin is boring. The only One enthralling totally is the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the Prince of the Most Profound Peace, Christ Jesus, who will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire, just the one they need to be introduced to all the more. Hmmm…. Maybe that’s why my guardian angel is setting up such scenarios. ;-)

BTW: I love my parish to pieces. One reader suggested my being a chaplain to the local law enforcement. Don’t think I haven’t offered to help start up programs for them in this regard but more on that later.

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Guns, PITs, yours truly, a new friend

pit maneuverI love that one minute video! Anyway, yesterday I was in the usual PIT territory of my parish and, due to situational awareness (not paranoia, or do I protesteth too much?!), I noted a zippy car not far behind for a total of about 2 1/2 miles of various roads and streets and highways. Not moving too fast at all I was subjected to a non-blue-light no-siren PIT manuever. “Cool!” sayeth I to myself, knowing exactly what would happen next. With his right front bumper he knocked the back end of my vehicle over a few feet to the side of the road using my back left bumper.

Ramming the manual transmission into a low gear, I smashed the pedal to the metal, regaining control and then pulling over to the ditch. (I coincidentally and happily just happen to have a four-tire trick that makes PITs difficult to complete on my vehicle.). I was looking, meanwhile, at whoever it was who was offering me such an enthusiastic greeting on the beautiful and otherwise peaceful byways.

Getting out, I waved nicely at the fellow who pulled in right behind me, while I then reached under the left back bumper and popped out the indentation. No harm done. A good bumper, mind you. Not the first time. I gave him a friendly thumbs up with a huge smile and wave and got back in my vehicle.

But he couldn’t leave it at that. I think he wanted to know who I was, so he got out before I could take off and came up to my rolled down window, apologizing even while intensely noticing a legal open-carry legal gun legally visible on the passenger seat next to me. More apologies. I kept telling him: “Don’t worry! No damage! It’s all alright! You’re fine! I’m fine! God bless you!”… all with the biggest brightest smile and happiest demeanor I could muster. Had I had a concealed carry permit (I’m working to get that) he would never have seen the gun. This wasn’t done on purpose. Open carry must be totally open. Just a little innocent practice for him and for me. Diffusing a situation is ALWAYS the way to go if you can. ;-) It’s surprising what can turn people into being friends.

Anyway, this kind of thing never happens by coincidence. I’m sure I’ll meet up with this fellow again (seeing which road this started on), and this incident will stand me in good stead. I just thought this was all the coolest thing ever and that I might share this with you. All set up by guardian angels, I’m sure.

UPDATE: Here are the lyrics:

Just the good ol’ boys,
Never meanin’ no harm,
Beats all you’ve ever saw, been in trouble with the law since the day they was born.

Straight’nin’ the curve,
Flat’nin’ the hills.
Someday the moutain might get ’em, but the law never will.

Makin’ their way,
The only way they know how,
That’s just a little bit more than the law will allow.

Just good ol’ boys,
Wouldn’t change if they could,
Fightin’ the system like a true modern day Robin Hood.

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Gunslinger Priests: qualification. More on the local CIA, Army, Airforce…

Glock 19 gen 4 with 3 clips + 1

Just full metal jacket for now. Cheap for practice. Self-defense rounds are pretty expensive.

I’m a priest, that’s remains true. I’ve never carried up to this point. I don’t even have a holster, concealed or otherwise. I’m a peace loving guy. Really. My main prayer these weeks is mentioned in the Apocalypse (3:20) by Jesus:

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, (then) I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me.”

This prayer is not at all disturbed by my new Glock 19 Gen 4. Why should it be? Was Jesus offended that Peter carried a sword as a matter of course? No, He wasn’t.

I think I should write about what’s happening in my prayer life, but it’s one of those things where I would be at a loss for words (yes, even me, speechless). I can only say that our Lord is very good, very kind, and that our very bodies are to be temples of the Holy Spirit, the house, if you will, where the Holy Trinity then resides. How pure of heart and agile of soul we must be for the presence of the Great King, the Most High God, who delights to walk with us simply as one Friend with another! It is all His work. We can and should and must be in humble thanksgiving in all reverence. Just because we live in a vale of tears, are we not to walk humbly with our God? We are commanded to do this. This is not a special or unique thing, out of the ordinary. This is to be the case for all of us.

Is such a prayer contradictory to this series of posts about guns and priests? No, this series is meant to clarify some issues in these days of self-indulgent pacifism that is so aggressive it puts even our Law Enforcement in danger. See, for instance, the shameless anti-Cop statement of the the bishops of these U.S.A. (US Catholic Bishops: Law Enforcement Officers are guilty always & everywhere of racist violence because they are LEOs). Having cleared that up, let’s continue with the saga!

The Glock 19 comes with three clips (15[+1 for carry] then 15 and 15). Most instances you never need bullets if you know how to diffuse situations. When all disintegrates you most often need only a few bullets. But with increasing frequency, more complex instances are making their way into these back ridges of the mountains and elsewhere. With deference to Sheriff Clarke, we’ve already had two terrorist attacks stopped in the area, one involving a bomb at a local school and one involving guns. And then… Anyway…

I loaded the clips up and discharged them against some targets at 3, 5, 7, and 10 yards. This is the first time I emptied out full clips in any pistol. I’m a total neophyte. But I did O.K., enough to qualify, at least according to my own timing in my own circumstances,  but knew I needed some more pointers, and didn’t want a shooting qualification hanging over my head. I need the qualification to do the CCW course and, with that code of completion, sign up for an appointment for fingerprinting toward the completion of the continued checks. So, off I went to a shooting range where a friend is mentoring me a bit.

He said I needed 28 out of 40 to pass. I got 40 out of 40 first time. Of course, he said that’s nothing to be proud of, that I had to keep up the practice to improve speed and accuracy in increasingly difficult circumstances. Afterward, he gave me a few more pointers showing me what happens when shooting with but one hand, with the right and left, why it is that the out-of-date advice about “isometrics” is out-of-date, why I should let gravity do its work without further intervention, etc. He said that taking all that into consideration, I should be able to put in a bullet in back of a bullet in a target in quick succession. He had me fire off the last five rounds of my ammo in this way and… wow… One in back of the other as fast as I could pull the trigger, the ol’ splitting the arrow in the target with another arrow trick.

I saw two good friends at the range, renewing their concealed carry. I guess I’m a good influence on them! And then a third wanted to get his…

In going to get more ammo afterward, I met an Airforce/CIA guy who knows my Army/CIA friend. What a great group of people in this area. Both these guys took care of our Embassies and Consulates right around the world. They all know each other of course. They all retire here. They would all know my FBI friend who issued me a false passport for my own protection years ago, you know, the once in charge of the investigation of the sites of the Nairobi and other embassy bombings at the time.

Just to say, I find dealing with guns so entirely second nature however much a neophyte I am, having been a bit of natural at being a sharpshooter as a kid and now, I think, pretty handy with a pistol, that I have to thank our Lord for protecting my vocation by keeping me away from guns during my teenage years. My dad was pretty close friends with the FBI, inviting them over for conferences for instance, that I would surely have been sorely, sorely, sorely tempted to join up with the FBI instead of the seminary had I been a gun fanatic. What did I know of the CIA in those days? I would get to be friends with them (or vice versa, as they hunted me down) after I was ordained a deacon and started winding up in difficult circumstances with rather interesting people. Again, I’m very thankful to our Lord that I’m a priest and I’m happy to be a priest.

Anyway, the second I started to write this post (before publishing it!) the CIA paid a visit. I think the CIA crowd are great. They can a bit Kryptos. Anyway, I’d like to give them a retreat fit for their circumstances in life. It would be something along the lines of that post: Solving Kryptos – Part 4 – Coriolis effect – Crux stat dum volvitur orbis.

BTW: One of my mentors is Jewish (like me). He lives on a road where the locals pretty continuously take pot shots at passing cars that “don’t belong there,” and that, of course, would include the usual targets of the KKK, that is, Catholics, Jews and black people (with me being two of the three). He said they don’t shoot at him because his reputation with a gun is well known. He would shoot twice: the first bullet would knock down the bullet coming at him, and the second would hit its target. I told him that this is a frequent occurrence in my parish (I won’t say quite where), as I have now been told by quite a number of parishioners who are pretty disgusted with the situation.

Anyway, I really do realize I still have to dedicate a post to why priests can and even should carry. Patience!

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Ambush-Assassinations of our LEOs: Damnable statement of the USCCB

LEO ASSASSINATIONS USCCB STATEMENT

I’m still planning on dedicating a post only to Luke 22:51, Matthew 26:52, et al. But in this post I just ask the question as to whether Archbishop Kurtz, precisely as president of the USCCB, is implying (amidst his appeals to say: “Have a nice day!”) that any wrongful action of this or that individual of Law Enforcement is to be put on the same level as any and all Law Enforcement Officers being targeted for ambush and assassination. That’s just a not so hidden way to encourage deadly violence.

Here’s the deal: If a Law Enforcement Officer is alleged to have done something wrong, then he is to go through investigations and, if necessary, the penal process. Period. But the Archbishop’s statement seems to reject all judicial processes, so that it is now just up to dialogue and encouragement of saying “Have a nice day!” and what will be will be.

What? Were the officers who responded to the ambush-assassinations not supposed to have supplied overwhelming force to the violent individuals to make them stop? Are they to be condemned? Is everyone who is in Law Enforcement a racist? What an insult and condemnation of all Law Enforcement.

The statement of the USCCB is perhaps the most unhelpful/inciting/provocative statement to date. What are they thinking? What do they really want? This is not good.

I bet that statement was written by a Black Lives Matter ghost writer. Just my opinion.

Dear Archbishop: All lives matter.

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“Jesus won’t let churches be attacked!” The evil of being aggressively catatonic

sunset

The whole neighborhood gathered on the street to see this spectacular sunset last night. We spoke of the continued slaughter of law enforcement officers and the sunset of America.

LEO LODDLEO LODDs (Law Enforcement Officer Line of Duty Deaths) by way of gunfire, much of it ambush and assassination, are way up this year. They were way up last year as well. There is a sharp trend to murder our Law Enforcement Officers in order to induce fear among those who serve us and among those who are served. This murder leads directly to chaos and the disintegration of society. There is no difference whatsoever between such incidents and the horrific murder of police outside police stations in Baghdad by way of gun fire or suicide bombers or car bombs. These assassins in the United States are full-on terrorists. It’s not that “It’s coming here!” It’s here already. Politicians really need to stop giving these terrorists excuses to murder. But that’s not going to happen in the near future is it? No. It’s not. The only plan by our enabler-politicians is to disarm everyone except such terrorists. By definition, terrorists don’t care about any laws whatsoever. So, what are they doing? But, it’s no different from the attitude of those who are otherwise aggressively catatonic, who say:

“Criminals and terrorists who shoot people NEVER go near a church because criminals and terrorists ALWAYS respect houses of worship and nice places like that, you know, just like they respect nice officers of the law!”

Um, no. Click here to see the incidents at churches just from January 2015 through the first quarter of 2016. Read through the whole thing. Know that in this sleepy little town of Andrews, my tiny little parish has had meth-labs to either side of the church (with many others nearby), and our parking lots were drop-off / pick-up points for druggies. In one incident, I confronted a young couple who were acting terribly suspiciously. I know that sounds paranoid, but, if you see something say something, right? It turns out he was a felon on the run in a stolen vehicle. He said he was looking for his phone charger that he left inside during Sunday night services. We have no “services” Sunday night. Happy to have helped to bring him down. His idea was:

“Where else to go for supplies but a church. All those religious people are naive.”

I agree. Many religious people are naive. I think they are afraid to look at the list of incidents involving churches. Click here to see church related incidents from January 2015 to the first quarter of 2016.

Those who are aggressively catatonic, in denial, aggressive denial, enable the criminals and terrorists and are not living in reality. They effectively side with them. That’s unhelpful. When they see a church full of dead and wounded, maybe they will change their minds. But we see this with too much frequency. They just deny that it happens. Too much reality. So, why wait for them to change their minds? They will only say that the problem is law abiding citizens, just like our criminal/terrorist-enabling politicians. I mean, if we wait for shootings to happen without doing anything to prevent the same, is that just so we can sing:

“Neyah neyah neyah neyah neyah! I told you so! Look at all the dead people!”

Instead, perhaps we can be of service to our churches and to all of society by learning how to defend ourselves and others, and this as an assistance to police and other law enforcement who are the first to want citizens in good standing to learn such defense. Law enforcement won’t arrive for minutes. It is in those minutes that all the damage is done.

P.S. Thanks go one of my neighbors who, early this morning, left a pair of sound-eliminating ear protection phones hanging over the back gate. Good for practice.

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Back porch chat: Medal of Honor, Saint Michael, guns, roses, advice for all

back porch

One of my neighbors who’s mentoring me a bit on guns and gardening gave me some great advice that I thought I would pass along to you. He has an ineffable military background and trains in our regional EMTs and Firemen and road crews.

Due to my parishioners trying to make me civilized (they will fail!) – what with them bringing over an otherwise to be junked outdoor table from the church and getting me a couple of chairs – we sat on the back porch of the rectory. Here are some salient quotes which he also uses for training:

  • “Insisting that you have ‘No fear!’ will make you panic.” In other words, if you pretend you have no fear you will panic and then you are worse than useless. Let fear work for you to make you clear-headed, to make you slow down. Pretending you have no fear makes you speed up to prove it to yourself, but that’s when you make mistakes. Admit the fear, but let it work for you.
  • “I will risk a little under a well structured plan to save a savable life.” In other words, let your fear be controlled by reason so that you use your training to risk as little as possible but only to save a savable life. He gave an example for the fire fighting world: if flames are pouring out of all the windows and the roof is sagging and just about to cave in, don’t go in even if it’s your own family in there, as they will be long dead, and this must be about rescue at this point and not recovery. Stupid heroism isn’t heroism; it’s just stupid. Then we spoke of the Medal of Honor, risking a lot under an impromptu plan to save others often without knowing what their conditions might be. In other words, risking your life (a lot) under the only plan available for a life that is to be considered savable unless conditions prove otherwise (with all this being consonant with the above). We must be able to count on our brothers when we need them.
  • “Pray to Saint Michael.” Good Baptist that he is, he showed me the Saint Michael medal which he wears to this day, pointing out in particular the sword that Saint Michael carries at the bidding of God Himself. Yes, indeed. Not knowing I just wrote about this, he brought up the image of the good shepherd with the staff. Useless is the shepherd who has long found no use for his staff, having made friends with all the wolves to the horror of the sheep who are eaten and just killed for the hell of it, even while the shepherd congratulates himself as being a “man of consensus.”

Of course, there are many other things to say about shepherds and any staff. Patience!

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CCW Priests: Sensitivity Training! Providing the narration: you to me…

Laudie-dog

Laudie-Dog the Attack Dog invites aggressors to pet her with her great smile. When they least expect they are caught by surprise by her master and they have to lay down their weapons. Sensitivity training isn’t needed by Laudie-Dog the ever so Surreptitious Attack Dog.

Anecdote One: One of the Police officers in Western North Carolina (I know many) told me a story that he can repeat surely so as to get out of any dreaded and traumatizing idiotic sensitivity training which the Army, for instance, puts the infantry through now every six months, making them so sick of this pandering rubbish that they leave the military altogether. But this is a really good story about good sensitivity!

So, a drugged up invincible with no pain druggie guy takes out his gun and fires at the Officer, misses, then runs. The foot chase is on. The Officer didn’t return fire against the druggie. The bullets fired at him, he can see, are not well aimed. The druggie runs into a river and turns and fires again multiple times at the Officer, who, however, doesn’t return fire at all. It’s pitiful, really. The druggie guy runs further across the river (all rivers being pretty shallow here in the mountains) and the Officer pursues him and tackles him and struggles with him in the river, both half drowning, guns everywhere.

The druggie gets cuffed and booked and thrown in the slammer. After a year or so, he has a chat with the Officer, thanking him for not killing him, as suicide was his intention all along, wanting to do the ol’ suicide by police trick. But now he wanted to live and knew the Officer saved his life. The Officer could see this quite plainly from the start. No danger. He was sensitive to this guy just needing help. Crazy of the Officer not to return fire? No. Just good hearted. It takes sensitivity.

cadillac limousine

Anecdote Two: A snippet from a chapter of my autobiography (eight years old)

On my way home [three miles away] from a great swim, but on a particularly cold night, way below zero on the Fahrenheit scale [Minnesota in February], and with eyes seeing chlorine halos around every distant light, I noted that a very expensive looking black Cadillac Limousine started following me at my walking pace, about forty yards out. He had followed me a couple of other times, but from about 100 yards out. This narrowing of the range was creepy. I was on the road since the sidewalk had about a foot of snow cover. But now, to escape, I ran up the mountain of snow separating the road from the sidewalk, which was set back from the road about twenty feet. I walked along the sidewalk, to no avail. The car stayed exactly forty yards back. He knew what he was doing. I was just at a point where the sidewalk ended in front of a deep, culverted ditch that was being filled in with building demolition, parts of brick walls and great slabs of cement floors, with jagged metal I-beams that poked through the snow and ice with dark menace. I stared at this, imagining myself escaping along this impassable route, but being put off at the thought of freezing to death with a broken leg a half mile from the road, not to be found until the following Summer, if ever.

I jumped back out on the road, right where my stalker would be able to grab me. Back in the day, there were no houses in any direction for about a half a mile along that stretch of road. The field next to me, blanketed with about three feet of snow, up to my chest at that time, stretched all the way to a forest about three miles away. It was pitch dark. I thought I was dead for sure.

And yet, if you can’t run, you can fight, even if you are only eight years old, as I had learned some months previously. I was braver than I was smart. I turned and walked straight to the car and, when offered a ride – just as I thought – I took it. This seemed stupid even to me, but it also seemed like the only option, and so, therefore, smart. I thought I was going to end up in the car one way or the other, but if I took the initiative, the psychological dynamics were such that I could have the upper hand, at least for a while, until I figured out a definitive escape. What a stupid eight-year old! But I was filled with adrenaline once again. And I had not forgotten the bit [mentioned in an earlier part of the autobiography] about letting people hang themselves if that’s what they wanted to do. I learned later on what our Lord did with Judas.

This fellow in the Cadillac Limousine was perhaps in his thirties, and may have been merely the driver for someone else somewhere else. His job for the evening was acquirement (kidnapping). At any rate, he knew his business; it was clear he had done this before. [He] interrogated me about exactly where I lived in town and then what my name was. When he heard the name, he asked me to repeat it, again and again. I told him, and said that my dad had been the mayor of the city (of 48,000 people at the time) and was now an attorney at law, and also worked at the State Legislature, and headed up the biggest law firm in central Minnesota. He asked me repeatedly if I was sure that was my father. Sure? I almost broke out laughing. But instead I also mentioned my uncle by name, since he was the chief emergency responder in the city. At that point, he stopped the car abruptly, right there on the icy street, far from anywhere, at night, way below freezing, commanding me to get out. I mocked him with a sing-song voice, saying he could meet my dad if he wanted to drive me the rest of the way. That wasn’t very intelligent on my part, but he sped away, thank God. I tried to get the license plate number, but it was too dark. I was dumb enough to be a bit too happy with myself, having gotten 1-1/2 miles closer to home in a nice car. I had no idea that I had been in most grave danger, out of which few come out alive.

/// Let’s update that story. Let’s say I was twelve years old for the sake of argument and had a CCW (those were the days in 1972, right?). As it is, I already had my gun training on my 12th birthday at the shooting range in the basement of the local VFW Granite Post 428. You finish the story for me. Be sensitive… And don’t just say I shouldn’t be so stupid as to be on my own at night at such a young age and condemn my parents. Those were different times. Also, I loathe limiting my liberty because of threats. O.K. Now, train me in…

Story modification: If you think that’s an emotionally unfair scenario, take an incident when I was 30 years old, walking from the Sea of Galilee to Jerusalem the day before Saddam’s assault on Israel with scud missiles. I had intended to make it into Jerusalem just minutes before it started… I was delayed for five minutes by Islamicist knucklehead teenagers who ran up to me and were dragging me off the road and me trying my best to break their grip on me and continue on my merry way. They were screaming stuff about Saddam and happy that they had an American in their possession. They were just nervous and “brave” before the war, as expected. Good kids, I’m sure. But good kids and choose to do nefarious things for the sake of fame and adrenaline. They were successfully dragging me away, out of public view (in the middle of nowhere West Bank), but then some older and wiser guy told them to let me go. A felicitous ending, but what if the older and wiser guy wasn’t around, and what if these guys were screaming out Alahu Akbar instead? And what if – ;-) – the IDF let me carry. You finish the story for me. Be sensitive…

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CCW priests: what the Catechism of the Catholic Church really says, or doesn’t

glock 19 9mm gen 4

PART THREE – LIFE IN CHRIST – SECTION TWO – THE TEN COMMANDMENTS

CHAPTER TWO – “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF”

ARTICLE 5 – THE FIFTH COMMANDMENT

  • You shall not kill.54 [Giving the Scriptural reference in the text itself, the Latin has this: « Non occides » (Ex 20,13). The Greek is οὐ φονεύσεις = Do not murder (Exodus 20:15[!]). The Hebrew is לֹא תִּרְצָח (Exodus 20:13).]
  • You have heard that it was said to the men of old, “You shall not kill: and whoever kills shall be liable to judgment.” But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment.55 [The same thing: the inspired Greek refers not to killing but to murder:  Οὐ φονεύσεις (Matthew 5:21).]

2258 “Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative action of God and it remains for ever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end. God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end: no one can under any circumstance claim for himself the right directly to destroy an innocent human being.”56

I. RESPECT FOR HUMAN LIFE – The witness of sacred history

2259 In the account of Abel’s murder by his brother Cain,57 Scripture reveals the presence of anger and envy in man, consequences of original sin, from the beginning of human history. Man has become the enemy of his fellow man. God declares the wickedness of this fratricide: “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground. And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand.”58

2260 The covenant between God and mankind is interwoven with reminders of God’s gift of human life and man’s murderous violence:

  • For your lifeblood I will surely require a reckoning. . . . Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for God made man in his own image.59

The Old Testament always considered blood a sacred sign of life.60 This teaching remains necessary for all time.

2261 Scripture specifies the prohibition contained in the fifth commandment: “Do not slay the innocent and the righteous.”61 The deliberate murder of an innocent person is gravely contrary to the dignity of the human being, to the golden rule, and to the holiness of the Creator. The law forbidding it is universally valid: it obliges each and everyone, always and everywhere.

2262 In the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord recalls the commandment, “You shall not kill,”62 [see comments above] and adds to it the proscription of anger, hatred, and vengeance. Going further, Christ asks his disciples to turn the other cheek, to love their enemies.63 [No tit for tat: It’s not about: “All that I ever learned from love is how to shoot somebody who outdrew you”… to quote a popular song… But this doesn’t precisely rule out self-defense does it. This is actually a bit of a reprimand, however loving in its scope, to get people to be a bit better at situational awareness!] He did not defend himself and told Peter to leave his sword in its sheath.64 [Yes, He did. And these were particularly unrepeatable circumstances about His purpose to stand in our stead. It is unfortunate that this is not given further explanation. This basically says nothing. But, we’ll get to all that in another post. It needs more space. Patience!]

Legitimate defense

2263 The legitimate defense of persons and societies is not an exception to the prohibition against the murder of the innocent that constitutes intentional killing. “The act of self-defense can have a double effect: the preservation of one’s own life; and the killing of the aggressor. . . . The one is intended, the other is not.”65 [And this is NOT about a lesser of two evils. An act of self-defense is a positive contribution to the virtue of justice.]

2264 Love toward oneself remains a fundamental principle of morality. Therefore it is legitimate to insist on respect for one’s own right to life. Someone who defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his aggressor a lethal blow:

  • If a man in self-defense uses more than necessary violence, it will be unlawful: whereas if he repels force with moderation, his defense will be lawful. . . . Nor is it necessary for salvation that a man omit the act of moderate self-defense to avoid killing the other man, since one is bound to take more care of one’s own life than of another’s.66 [And this is not just about tolerating this moral act as something barely legitimate but nothing more: An act of self-defense is a positive contribution to the virtue of justice.]

2265 Legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for one who is responsible for the lives of others. The defense of the common good requires that an unjust aggressor be rendered unable to cause harm. [Read: overwhelming force.] For this reason, those who legitimately hold authority also have the right to use arms to repel aggressors against the civil community entrusted to their responsibility. [And one would think of the FBI, SBI, DEA, the Sheriff’s Department and the local and State Police, etc. But that is not all. Anyone with a gun that has been vetted and permitted a weapon (for whatever use) is thereby also mandated to act in a manner appropriate to the circumstances including those situations for which self-defense of self or others is necessary, at least in this state of North Carolina and in the many counties of my parish.]

2266 The efforts of the state to curb the spread of behavior harmful to people’s rights and to the basic rules of civil society correspond to the requirement of safeguarding the common good. Legitimate public authority has the right and duty to inflict punishment proportionate to the gravity of the offense. Punishment has the primary aim of redressing the disorder introduced by the offense. When it is willingly accepted by the guilty party, it assumes the value of expiation. Punishment then, in addition to defending public order and protecting people’s safety, has a medicinal purpose: as far as possible, it must contribute to the correction of the guilty party.67 [Unfortunately, conditions in prison are not about correction but mere vengeance. It is justice devoid of mercy. That only makes things worse.]

2267 Assuming that the guilty party’s identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor. [The idiocy of our system can even exclude DNA evidence that the convicted killer is not the killer at all. This is insane. The stats on wrongfully convicted “murderers” are staggering. People are hero’s for throwing someone in jail, not for throwing the right person in jail. That’s sad. It’s sad that many don’t get this until they themselves are on death row screaming their innocence while one’s former friends spit on them.]

If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people’s safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.

Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm – without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself – the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity “are very rare, if not practically nonexistent.”68 [This is almost always the case today. Inability to do this would prevail in times of societal meltdown…]

Intentional homicide

2268 The fifth commandment forbids direct and intentional killing [= in this case, murder] as gravely sinful. The murderer and those who cooperate voluntarily in murder commit a sin that cries out to heaven for vengeance.69

Infanticide [always murder],70 fratricide [if murder], parricide [if murder], and the murder of a spouse are especially grave crimes by reason of the natural bonds which they break. Concern for eugenics or public health cannot justify any murder, even if commanded by public authority.

2269 The fifth commandment forbids doing anything with the intention of indirectly bringing about a[n innocent] person’s death. The moral law prohibits exposing someone to mortal danger without grave reason, as well as refusing assistance to a person in danger.

The acceptance by human society of murderous famines, without efforts to remedy them, is a scandalous injustice and a grave offense. Those whose usurious and avaricious dealings lead to the hunger and death of their brethren in the human family indirectly commit homicide, which is imputable to them.71

Unintentional killing is not morally imputable [= it is not murder]. But one is not exonerated from grave offense if, without proportionate reasons, he has acted in a way that brings about someone’s death, even without the intention to do so. [Drunk driving…]

======== notes =========  Continue reading

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