Tag Archives: Guns

Day Off and the Chrism Mass: Show of Force Prevention

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It’s Holy Week. Busiest days ever for a priest. Apologies to those sending questions etc.

Tuesday saw well over 400 miles clocked on Sassy the Subaru Forester, going from Andrews to the Chrism Mass at the Cathedral in Charlotte. The priests renewed their promises at Mass, the Sacred Chrism and the Oils of Catechumens and of the Infirm were blessed. There was a meal for the priests afterward. Artwork and best wishes by the children of the Cathedral were at all the places for the priests. This one was at my place:

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Of course, vocations are from Jesus!

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Everything about the day was enjoyable, well, except for something rather unexpected, rather out of the ordinary show of force with armed security, which is always done with the motivation of prevention. The security guy, in full uniform and a heavily decked out duty belt followed the bishop and his two deacons for the procession in and then out. So, I guess, this was more of a bodyguard thing.

What I say here is NOT a criticism, not in the least. I don’t know the circumstances. I’m guessing that if there was a credible and imminent threat, either the Mass would have been cancelled or there would have been support from “normal” law enforcement, with a couple of squad cars out front, etc. Perhaps there were some other undercover guys as at, for instance, Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York.

The Bishop’s homily was rather abbreviated. And then, also out of character, he only appeared for perhaps one minute at the meal afterward to do the blessing. Again, I don’t know the circumstances.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

The policy of the diocese, surely to appease insurance companies, is that there can be no officially mandated armed presence for church services on any campus of the diocese. Let’s stare at that:

“No officially mandated armed presence…”

In other words, volunteers can volunteer, and it’s up to the priest to assess a volunteer’s viability on any number of levels and in all sorts of ways, but nothing that the priest says can make anything with weapons that which is expected of anyone for any reason ever. Fine. In the end, the policy is a non-policy. It just facilitates attorneys protecting whoever.

I’m guessing that this security guy at the Chrism Mass was told where he was to be and even that he was to be uniformed, but that any weapons were totally his option.

I had a good chat with him ranging from his provenance (that was interesting), a particular “group” to which he belongs (that was interesting).

During the hundreds of miles long trip there was plenty of time to mull things, that is, about this and a number of other issues, always enjoyable speeding by the mountain scenery.

But I wanted more time to mull things over. The Day Off suggested the option of gun-slinging. A detour was made to the neighbors to the hermitage. As usual, some FBI and FAM tactical pistol courses were accomplished.

I should volunteer to be a kind of security secretary to the Bishop, you know, with some optional security options optionally being put into play, optionally, of course, but surely in a more low-key manner. But for now, just to say, in support:

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

After the tactical pistol courses – which afford time for prayer for the bishops and priests during target set-up and replacement – it was then time for discussion with the neighbors to the hermitage. The topic above went on for hours. It is quite a bit to take in.

We discussed undercover as opposed to open show of force. Even at Saint Peter’s in Rome, the top operator guys are dressed in tuxedos so as to be more low key.

We ended by praying for the security of the Bishop, and that the Lord continues to give him the grace and strength he needs each day (to quote the card pictured above). Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory be…

To repeat: we don’t know the circumstances of the preventative show of force, and this is no criticism. Far from it. The whole “ounce” “pound” thing is very wise. Perhaps this is a paradigm for the diocese in hopes of saving lives amidst so many attacks on churches.

Yes, there is a picture of a glorious cross pictured at the top of this post in that card made by a child. “Out of the mouths of babes” and all that… And, yes, Our Lord did say, “As the Master, so the disciple.” Yes.

But defense of the innocent is a good thing. I’m sure there will be debate…

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Day Off: Seamless Garment edition)

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Driving into the yard of the neighbors to the hermitage was easy on such a dark and cloudy, dangerously stormy day, illuminated as all things were by the pear tree blossoms. An Immaculate Conception statue looks upon the scene from next to a nearby rosebush. Lightning also brought some light, accompanied with great audio: thunder! This (at the time) real-time video was provided by the neighbor as to what was happening just down the mountain:

Hail! Some were to be seen walking about confused, snow-shovels in hand. Floods were all around, with water just about up to the floorboards of Sassy the Subaru Forester. Cars were in the ditch, emergency vehicles (fire engines, law enforcement, ambulances, tow-trucks) everywhere to be seen.

Meanwhile, continuing up the ridge, prayers were said for the Bishop and priests of the diocese. And behold, one other lone flower for the Immaculate Conception was to be seen. I say it’s for her because it’s precisely here where it is somehow necessary to pray the Angelus and other Marian prayers. This necessity has been going on for seven years.

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But then it was time for other day off activities. Up went a target at seven yards away including the “A” body-box (8″ tall by 6″ wide) and a head-box (2″ tall by 4″ wide). This was for the supposed stage 4 of a surely outdated SEALs tactical pistol course, namely:

  • Two to the “body”, one to the “head” equal to or less than two seconds from a holster. My holster is “locked”, so that slows me down. Best was slow: 2.19 secs. My best ever was, I think, down in the 1.70s and 1.60s range.

It’s a perishable skill. Practice is needed. The extremely restrictive European Union rules limit ammo to 1000 rounds a year per person. Maybe I need more than that because I’m such a terribly bad shot. But more realistically, making sure that people don’t practice much makes people within the legal parameters dangerous.

After that drill, the pre-2001 Fed. Air Marshal course went up. 100% accurate and under-time for five stages, but DQ for being slightly but predictably overtime on a couple of other stages. Accuracy trumps quick every time however. It’s fun to shave off hundredths of seconds. But those other two stages need separate work.

After that, it was time to empty out a partially emptied mag at the series of swinging plastic coffee buckets. Starting to get used to wildly moving small targets.


 

Then it was dinner time at the neighbors with spiritual discussions lasting hours. Always so enjoyable. This time, the major topic was the cloak of our Lord for which the soldiers cast lots, being that it was of super-high-quality, being woven from top to bottom throughout. This was the garment that Jesus’ good mom would have made for Him, not the resplendent, gorgeous apparel that Herod had mockingly put on Him to send Him back to Pilate.


Two Notes on the Seamless Garment: 

  • There is a position in heretical moral theology blasphemously called the Seamless Garment, which has it stopping the threat of a murderous unjust aggressor in the defense of the innocent (which is actually a contribution to the virtue of justice) is equivalent to murdering the innocent (which is always an evil and admits of no excuse): a so-called “seamless garment.” No. They are not the same.
  • Mary, the true Woman of Genesis 3:15, is the “Mother of All the Living,” the title (in bad translation) that Adam tried to give his wife. Fail. Mary, the Mother of the Redeemer is, in good translation, the “Mother of the Entire Living-One,” what Saint Paul calls the Body of Christ, with Jesus as the Head of that Body and we as the members of that Body. How appropriate that the garment for this one Body of Christ be woven as a seamless garment. Good call, Mary. You are Jesus’ good mom, and ours.

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Have you met Howard? (In training?) Guns and the timid don’t mix.

The above video is illustrative of how criminals deal with those who have guns but are not adept at using them or psychologically or spiritually ready to use such stop-the-threat-tools. Those criminals will wipe the floor with you, and, unless someone else stops them as in the video above, they’ll just take your gun and shoot you with it.

This priest sometimes writes posts about guns on this blog. This could give people who are NOT ready to use guns the impression that they can do it: “If Father George can do it, we can too!” Why is that? Because I’m a priest?

I wrote about what the Department of Homeland Security says about this:

DHS Active Shooter Preparedness Program for churches

Added to that was the following comment of mine. In case someone missed it I’ll put it up again here. It’s desperately important for everyone’s safety:

I would NOT like to see parishioners participating in this program who have a concealed carry permit but who, other than their first qualification have never fired their stop-the-threat-tool, or have only rarely done so. I can see it now: fumbling around in a purse or ultra-complicated safety holster and with all sorts of unnecessary safeties employed on the gun itself, trying to figure out how to use for the first time red-dot sights or lasers with all their switches or not (depending), with batteries being useful or dead, with zero scenario training, zero indicator awareness, zero situational awareness, and therefore little possibility of recognizing and isolating a target and therefore being caught off guard with a lack of confidence and therefore way too much hesitation and liability to foggy confusion, and therefore with an increased possibility of causing friendly fire casualties.

I’m afraid someone is going to shoot their own foot.

Or even worse, meet Howard and not have the foggiest idea of how to deal with him.

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Choosing targets for targeted churches The rule is: It’s not about you

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All churches, because they are soft targets, are targets. They have been for years. Cowards abound. They only hit soft targets.

Got a security team? Do they practice? Not really? Why is that?

In my experience, easy is the only way. No one is going to do something difficult.

Materials needed:

  • A political-election-sign-pigtail-wire carried by, say, Lowes. I get them by the handful since, with my bad aim, I’ll sometimes cut a wire with a bullet, usually and unhelpfully in the loop holding up the plate.
  • Dessert foam plate (7″), the flat bottom of which is about the width of the inside bottle of the QIT 97-99 targets, about the size of the “stop the threat box” for eyes and forehead. For example, here’s a donated 4″ splatter target pasted over the plate, useful if you have the target out at 75 feet. I guess. I haven’t used them.

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By the way and just to say, terrorist active shooter idiots are now much more commonly using body armor. Head shots are that four inch box. That’s it. I measured it out putting a ruler to my own face in a mirror. Even more, the box is half that height, only two inches.

Anyway, assembly and placement, not counting the pacing distances is five seconds:

  • Slip the plate into the top pigtail loop. I put it in at an angle (as seen above) so as not to interfere with the virtual vertical inside bottle. (3ss)
  • Pace out the distance for the stage of the course you’re doing.
  • Poke the wire into the ground, which doesn’t have to be level. (2ss)

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The rule is: If it’s too difficult, you’re not going to do it. The pig-tailed plate is sooo easy.

Massive paper targets or pre-printed on cardboard QIT targets still need to be attached to frames that need constructing (you’re really gonna do that?) and transporting (you gotta truck, right?) and then lugging and placing on a flat surface (I don’t have a flat surface on the ridge) and then removing them afterward and then retransporting them and then storing them (you’re gonna get away with storing them?).

THAT ain’t a gonna happen more than a couple times at the most, even for the most enthusiastic, and then you’ll just give up on range work. Not good. So, forget big targets. They are harmful in every way. If you shoot with a massive target, you’ll not stop the threat from any real target and you’ll very likely endanger the very ones you’re trying to protect.

The rule is: Aim small, shoot small.

This makes you more accurate, which makes you more safe regarding those you are trying to protect in any critical incident.

The rule is: practice under pressure.

  • Use a timer, use small targets, and use variable staged courses that are quick.
  • Use courses that make you run, go prostrate, kneel, stand, that get the adrenaline going, that make you change out mags with some left and when all is empty (“tactical” and “combat”).
  • Use courses that make you use only your strong hand, only your weak hand, make you change hands mid-stage, and also both hands.

Think about it. You’re in close quarters with lots of people. When an active shooter terrorist idiot opens fire, you’ll have, at most, a three second grace period, so to speak, that is, if you’re not hit while he’s shooting as fast as he can. The utterly unexpected and very loud noise will make people shy away from the perp, giving you a clear shot, but only for those three seconds. You’ll not have more time than that. No matter what you say and practice, people may still rush the perp at risk to themselves so as to attempt to stop the threat, perhaps, with likely many getting killed by this method. And they won’t hear your shots, however loud, as adrenaline will already have blocked their senses. But you don’t want them to rush into the line of fire and so you are the one to stop the threat even before that reaction of theirs could possibly take place. It’ll all be over before they can react.

The rule is:

  • You have to be the one who’s not surprised.
  • You have to be the one at the ready.
  • You have to be the one who is a bit edgy.
  • You have to be the one with situational awareness.
  • You have to be the one who practices all the time.
  • You have to be the one who makes it easy for yourself to practice by using, say, the targets recommended above.

The rule is:

  • It’s not about you. If it’s not about service to others out of love of God and neighbor, you’ll freeze, you’ll run, you’ll hide, but you won’t fight. You’ll let it happen.

We’re so weak and so don’t want to be bothered that we’ll let difficult targets get in the way. Do everyone a favor, make your targets super inexpensive, super easy to set up.

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Day Off: guns & spiritual conversations – Jesus bragging on His mother in hell

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Not having bought any ammo since, I think, sometime in late 2018, the “long-way” was taken to the hermitage, passing by a number of Walmarts with variously stocked ammo desks, some desk managers being more on top of things than others. Then, after hitting the UPS Store, it was up and up and up “the mountain.” BTW, can you spot the huge cross made out of I-beams partially hidden by the trees towering above the driveway in the picture above? The neighbor to the hermitage is a master welder.

After a couple of hours of quiet time – a day off after all – energy returned, prayers were said, protection of angels was requested, targets went up, mags were loaded, timers were set, “ears” were adjusted, adrenaline was forced, trigger fingers, left and right, were steadied, concentration was narrowed…

The first course consisted of some six stages of drills, supposedly of a SEAL team, surely dumbed down and from “back-in-the-day.” Here’s a picture of the first stage, just three yards out, from cover/holstered, with an 8 1/2 x 11 target of the usual “body” (inside the two vertical lines: 5:3/4″ x 10:1/2″) and “head” (consisting of a 2″ x 4″ box at the top, an eye-forehead shot instantly “stopping the threat”). The first stage is just one shot from holster to the “head” ≤ 1.5 seconds. Dunno why, but this time I was much more accurate and quick for all stages of all courses, coming in mostly (way) under time and with smaller more centered patterns, mostly inside the “inside bottle” representing the spinal cord. Prayers for priests and the bishop while moving, marking, changing out targets.

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The target then moves further away for different stages until 75 feet away up the ridge.

DIGRESSION: Someone had given me some massively oversized targets (23″ x 35″), I guess to poke fun at my aim, the comment surely being that I’m not able to hit the side of a barn… from inside the barn! I took those dozen or so roll of wallpaper-esque targets just to see if there was anything superimposed. Nope. Having ascertained that, those targets will now go back to the giver. As of a couple years, the most recent policy really is no gifts from intel, ever, zip, zero, zilch… can’t happen. I’m guessing the targets are for zeroing in rifle scopes, say, from a mile out. But I’m not a sniper. I don’t own or use rifles. Not my thing. With a Glock, as the saying goes, aim small, shoot small.

After that, it was time for an FBI course with reduced QIT 97-99 inside bottle targets (that partial detail fitting on legal paper), and then the pre-2001 Federal Air Marshal courses (that target consisting of foam dessert plates propped up by pigtail wires), and then some swinging breakfast blend plastic coffee buckets on ropes and filled with dirt (out to about 15 yards), totaling for day I’m guessing about 175 bullets. Not much, but enough. It was a good day for review and keeping edgy.

With the Glock thoroughly cleaned and oiled and the target-ammo changed out for appropriate carry-ammo, I was eager to go to the neighbors of the hermitage. That’s when the real happiness of the day began.

The spiritual conversations after plinking are becoming a thing, as it were, something that’s expected and to which we all look forward. We spoke of judgment, heaven, hell, purgatory, witnessing to the point of martyrdom, suffering, angels, Jesus, our dearest Heavenly Father, the state of the Church, the state of our souls, the patience of our Lord with us sinners, and being happy for Jesus that after all He has gone through for us, He is now in heaven with our Heavenly Father.

But most of all – at length – we spoke about our Blessed Mother, Jesus’ good mom, about what she went though in this world, what with her purity of heart and agility of soul and clear vision confronting this fallen world, how it is that she was in solidarity with her Divine Son Jesus as He was tortured to death right in front of her. If recorded, these conversations would be good material for an ongoing series of blog posts.

A repeat-topic about our Lady came up, you know, which of the 14 Stations of the Cross would be most – how to say? –  involving to Jesus. The neighbor said it would surely be the meeting with His mother. I agreed, but in another way, saying that it may well be when Jesus is taken down from the cross and put in the arms of His blessed mother.

Aquinas says that the divinity of Jesus never left His body even when that body died and He, with His soul, descended to hell to preach to the fallen spirits. It struck me then, devastated as He would be in His soul that His mother was so devastated holding His dead body, that He would be bragging on His mother to the fallen spirits: “Look at her! She’s the mother-warrior who crushes you, Satan, under her heel. She’s remained faithful in the most adverse circumstances, all of hell attacking. You have failed! She has won souls for heaven!” These are the words, so full of love, which will torture those fallen spirits, so full of hate, for eternity.

Much better to have our souls in order, frequenting the Sacraments, to go to heaven and rejoice to be happy that, after all they went through in this world for us, both Jesus and our Blessed Mother are there.

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My Appalachia Gun Sanctuary County: This Priest’s Day-Off

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On the one hand, I’m only here in Andrews, NC, for 5  1/2 years, and I think we’re looking at our fifth chief of police coming up in that time. The Chief just up and quit along with two officers, leaving only two, and there’s a publicized rumor in the paper that another one of them is about to quit as well, leaving… one… Over these few years, now uncountable numbers of officers have up and quit. Just pay? They knew the pay before doing up the BLET course. When hundredths of seconds count in a critical incident, law enforcement is always hours or days away.

On the other hand, my Cherokee County North Carolina Commissioners – and the Sheriff – passed a resolution, the heart of which is as follows:

“The criminal misuse of firearms is due to the fact that criminals do not obey laws and this is not a reason to abrogate or abridge the unalienable, constitutionally-guaranteed rights of law abiding citizens. The last protectors of the US Constitution are We the People of the United States and our ability to fulfill that role successfully rests on our Second Amendment rights.

“Therefore, the Cherokee County Government will not authorize or appropriate government funds, resources, employees, agencies, contractors, buildings, detention centers or offices for the purpose of enforcing or assisting in the enforcement of any element of such acts, laws, orders, mandates, rules or regulations, that infringe on the right by the people to keep and bear arms.”

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They were immediately contacted by others from around the state and the country as to how they could follow suit.

I think it’s telling that of all relatively recent mass shootings 97.5% took place in gun-free zones since those gun-free zones are, by definition, purposed soft-targets which purposely invite criminals to kill people just there. Of course, tender snowflake bullies who insist that guns are the problem actually want that to happen. Criminals don’t obey gun-control laws. The tender snowflakes say that laws are written by meanies anyway. Get it?

Does one think that those who are fingerprinted and subject themselves to months and months of extremely thorough State and Federal Bureaus of Investigation background checks (and mental health checks here in NC) are the problem? That’s absurd. Licensed carriers are the ones who either stop the mass shootings from playing out or who are able to limit the killings. Remember the Sutherland Springs church shooting, how the threat of the perp was at least limited by a legal carrier?

This priest, having gone through all the checks, received all permits, obtaining reciprocity, got a Glock 19 a couple years back, and proceeded to do the work to acquire an easy to loose bit of frostiness, and so also practicing as time goes on, practicing on my own, or with my wonderful parishioners, with law enforcement, with military, with neighbors. I live in the best place in the world.

As part of the Day-Off the other day – besides getting the control-arm fixed on the Subaru (the whole car was shaking!), and besides the usual stops here and there throughout Western North Carolina – some time was spent at the hermitage. After the usual prayers for the Bishop and fellow priests, various courses were set up.

Pictured is the FBI Instructor Qualification Course, with the near target being used as the “barricade” and then start line for all the running involved. The far target, also just a detail of the QIT-combo-97-99, is up the steep ridge some 25 yards.

Last week was terribly hectic, so this was an unwind day. Drills and courses gone through were:

  • FBI agent qualification – once
  • FBI instructor qualification – once
  • Navy Seals qualification (partial) – once
  • Federal Air Marshal qualification (pre-2001) – twice
  • Distance drills at 25 yards out – a few magazines worth – an exercise in humility. Our churches are about ten yards long, front to back…
  • Bucket drill – just once. With “A” being the far bucket, it’s A-B-C-B-A ≤ three seconds for all five shots from holster as a standard… Start the video and see if you can “aim” and “pull the trigger” at A-B-C-B-A before the three (actually more like four second) video finishes…

That’s reminiscent of the shoot in half the 1″ x 1″ stick drill:

With FMJ at about ten yards out even a small stick needs multiple hits, making for a good drill:

target stickAs you can see, I have waaaaaaay toooooo much fun. But who says you can’t have fun, even in Lent? And just to say, while setting up or marking shots on targets a zillion prayers continue to be said on that mountainside of the hermitage. Prayer there is something that has to be done.

Anyway, and just to say, improvement in any skill sets – which are definitely not over-the-top at the moment – is not linear. It’s a matter of two steps forward, one step back. This time it was one step waaaaay back. I was fairly accurate but all around slower at all stages. Good thing that adrenaline, which I didn’t purposely encourage this session, while making things happen more quickly on the outside, slows down time on the inside: critical incidents automatically get the adrenaline flowing.

Some might say that this is all bad and evil for a priest, however, in this most gun-toting parish (we’re NOT the definition of a soft-target), even the most frosty of the parish openly point to me saying with some rather strident assertiveness and with the agreement of bystanders that Father Byers “has to be able to do his thing to protect us should the unthinkable happen.” That puts the pressure on.

Now, mind you, I’m not certain about what that quite refers to, but my own first example is a story I’ve told many times, when it happened and then didn’t happen… when, as I do, I was bringing, in this case, a rather severely disabled police officer in my car to a hospital appointment a hundred miles away and we were being subjected to some violent aggression: “This is a car-jacking” the cop exclaimed, ever frosty, but disabled and helpless. With the training I’ve had I knew I had to get out of the car, which I did, and started drawing up. It’s exactly then that a police cruiser came up, and a total of nine cruisers from that direction within seconds (I don’t know how many from the other direction – I’m guessing just as many – as we were no longer needed to help contain the aggressor and we were allowed to go on our way). My LEO passenger would surely have become a hostage and very possibly killed had I not been able to keep the aggressor at bay for that nanosecond when I needed to do just that. Also see:

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Tintinnabulations & plinking: Shootings in churches and synagogues

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The forest in the background is very near the hermitage. It’s where I also go to plink, that is, practice with the Glock 19. A friend in the parish gave me a couple of oversized targets he was discarding anyway, so I put one up at 75 feet out. No center-10-X…. Hmmm… But I have another to put up perhaps this coming Tuesday. I almost never put a target out so far as that involves work in climbing the ridge. There’s no flat area. A detail:

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Low and to the left. Hmm. The black is from an oversized marker that indicates shots already taken. This was more than one magazine, obviously. So, now you know how bad I am at some distance with a pistol. Yet, with a bit of practice, I might be able to keep it within the “9” range (for these targets). The distance is more than three times the normal civilian qualification. I was happy to note that at seven yards out, after the above exercise, the groupings were much tighter on the little foam pie plates that I use for the pre-2001 Federal Air Marshal Course, with just two out of thirty wide, giving me a 96.6% on the reduced targets, though overtime on a couple of stages. But it’s fun for me to try to keep edgy.

The reason I rarely practice at 25 yards out is because I just don’t think it’ll be a very necessary skill to have. If you’re that far away, you can hide, escape, at least in most cases, perhaps, depending. Most incidents are at close range. The incident in which I had to start drawing up with my Glock was a car-jacking which I couldn’t let happen as my passenger was a disabled cop I was bringing to the hospital. He would have been a great hostage for this guy who had just taken down the rest stop on the highway. The distance on that occasion was four to five yards. The cop exclaimed: “This is a car-jacking.” That’s not what you want to hear. Thankfully, all the LEOs in the region arrived just at that second.

If I now and again put up a post like this, it’s just to say that priests are people too. Some of the most violent places in the world are not only our schools, but also our churches. Look up the incidents. Factsandtrends has the following:

“HOW COMMON ARE U.S. CHURCH SHOOTINGS? – May 21, 2018 – By Aaron Earls

[…] Here are the locations of all the fatal church shootings since Columbine.

  • 1999 Wedgewood Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas
  • 2001 Greater Oak Missionary Baptist Church in Hopkinsville, Kentucky
  • 2002 Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church in Lynbrook, New York
  • 2003 Turner Monumental AME Church in Kirkwood, Georgia
  • 2005 Living Church of God in Brookfield, Wisconsin
  • 2005 World Changers Church in College Park, Georgia
  • 2006 Zion Hope Missionary Baptist in Detroit, Michigan
  • 2006 Ministry of Jesus Christ Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • 2007 First Presbyterian Church in Moscow, Idaho
  • 2007 First Congregational Church in Neosho, Missouri
  • 2007 New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • 2008 First Baptist Church in Maryville, Illinois
  • 2009 Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita, Kansas
  • 2012 World Changers Church in College Park, Georgia
  • 2015 Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina
  • 2017 Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch, Tennessee
  • 2017 First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas
  • 2017 St. Alphonsus Church in Fresno, Texas

[…] As of last year, Chinn identified 617 people having been killed in deadly force incidents since 1999 at faith-based properties, including churches.

Despite these numbers, many churches do not make security a priority.”

Of course, there have been more since. I call to mind the Synagogue in Pittsburgh, the Tree of Life. Seven killed. Seven injured. Yep.

Our little church is only about eight yards, maybe ten, front to back, not twenty five. If a shooter came in and started up and he was wearing armor, I’m guessing I could get an accurate head shot at that range and instantly stop the threat. I would never have the chance, however, as about everyone else in the congregation would stop the threat quicker than I could begin to stop to the threat.

Tintinnabulations and plinking are not mutually exclusive.

It’s an act of charity to serve and protect. See:

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Day Off: over the top Glock skill set sharpening on the cheap, for fun

 

Having some really old rope and really old string and some really old coffee containers filled with some really old dirt, I set up this really el cheapo group target for a bit of fun. And it only took moments to set up.

But don’t think I already have over the top skill sets. I don’t. That’s precisely the reason why this provides a some distraction for few minutes on a day off which is otherwise filled with so many errands and people.

The idea here is to shoot, say, the farthest one, then the middle, then the closest, then the middle, then the farthest, five shots, accurately, as fast as one can pull the trigger. You have three attempts at that per magazine. You should be able to do that in three seconds. The video is three seconds long…

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Blackhawk Serpa zip-tie trick

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Sorry for non-gunners, but I had to put up this solution to an annoying part of the always said to be evil and bad (because of the trigger finger release) OWB Blackhawk Serpa. No amount of duct-tape solves this. I know. I tried many times. It’s the tiniest of zip-ties applied to the belt height adjustment gadget that will work to keep them in place and keep you from losing them. Those of you with OSB Blackhawk Serpa holsters (at least like mine for a Glock 19) will know what I’m talking about and see how well it brilliantly works in the picture, both sides.

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‘El Chapo’ guilty of weapons violations. REOPEN FAST AND FURIOUS CASE!

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Sinaloa cartel boss ‘El Chapo’ was convicted not only drug trafficking and money laundering, but also on… wait for it…

weapons violations!

ak 47 ammo

Based on that…

… now “it” begins.

But will “it” be successful?

The story behind the “weapons violations” conviction of ‘El Chapo’ is succinctly summarized in that clip above. That’s exactly how it is. Fast and Furious. Yep. With the conviction of ‘El Chapo’ there is now a question of hypocrisy. We created ‘El Chapo’. So, now it’s time for prosecuting those who created ‘El Chapo’.

So many times I went to the FBI through the years to stop such arms transfers. But, I have to say, I was unsuccessful. Bringing proof, written admissions of an arms dealer for ‘El Chapo’, the agents instead just stared hard at my eyes, making it crystal clear that they couldn’t care less about any proof, that they never saw any proof, that they were not going to receive any proof. This is across the years. A hot topic. I recommend seeing…

Jason Chaffetz’ final report

If you’re wondering about the why of facilitating arms dealers for an extremely violent drug cartel with corpses of victims going into the hundreds of thousands (226,000), well, let me tell you what a CIA guy told me about it. He said that it’s NEVER just about some tracking logistics with guns. No. Pfft. There’s always a much, much bigger objective. You look for someone as wild and violent as ‘El Chapo’, you give him as much weapons and ammo as he could possibly desire, so that he will kill rivals, kill soft targets to instill fear, kill police, kill military, kill government officials, kill politicians, and all that so as to create chaos, and all that so as to destroy the competing economy of a neighboring nation.

I’m sure everyone feels that they’ve ‘won’ in getting a conviction of ‘El Chapo’. You know: he’s the bad guy! But we created him. What goes around comes around. That kind of hypocrisy – disrespect – as the mafiaesque crowd would say, doesn’t sit well with the criminal element. I’m sure revenge is in the air. And now they have weapons which we arranged for them to get. This is all so foolish. There’s more death to come. I mean, does anyone think that a conviction will deter such violence? One digs one’s own hole deeper.

You can’t not convict ‘El Chapo.’

But we created him.

Deeper and deeper and deeper it goes.

So, now it gets dangerous. People will scramble to do a cover up even more.

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FBI Pistol Instructor re-qualification course: first time for this priest

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You can’t practice what I’m guessing is the FBI Firearms Instructor Pistol re-qualification course at an indoor range what with all the running and jumping around, so it’s away to the great outdoors where one appreciates the beauty of God’s creation. And that’s all part of it, btw, and all the more for those who are in deadly situations every day. The integrity of knowing how to be safe with some tools of self-defense is consistent with the integrity of walking in God’s presence.

The hermitage gun range is stretched up a super-steep pathway – at about 3,000 ft up, close to heaven, if you will – with the only kind-of-flat place being the starting firing line (used in this case for the first stage only), the rest of the path/course being as steep as 38º. But I won’t allow myself extra time for the parts where one is supposed to run, in this case climb, even with my middle-aged-ness kicking in. Real situations don’t allow for extra time. I’m told that shooting up-hill is more difficult. Good.

Here’s a downloadable graphic presenting in my own shorthand what I’m guessing is the briefest of re-qualification courses for FBI Firearms Instructors. This is only part of what they do, excluding the drive-by shooting scenarios, the “kill-house” scenarios, the pop-up discern bad-guy from good-guy exercises, etc. You can copy the graphic of this most basic part of the course below and fit two of them on one 8 1/2 by 11 sheet of paper. The timings are very generous.

FBI Tactical Pistol Instructor Course

If there are any mistakes with that, let me know. It’s a point per bullet. But I don’t know if a “hit” refers only to entirely inside the line of the QIT inside bottle or the whole “body.”

I only briefly researched this once like a year ago. I tried to verify it just now. There’s a lot of BS on-line. For instance, the entire first stage above is, from my research, to be done continuously in a total of 75 seconds or less. One guy put up four minutes for the first stage. That can’t be right. My times – which I thought were really slow, even for a first attempt, and not having practiced for a good while – came in at about 60 seconds. I mean, the entire course shouldn’t take but two minutes shooting time max, which, as I say, is already very generous. Of course, if you’re not changing out the target, you’ll still have to stop to count hits and mark out already fired shots after each stage.

Btw, I use not-foreseen-for-this-course Glock 19 Gen 4 that was refurbished by Glock down in Smyna, GA. With that, I use the absolutely forbidden ultra-evil never-to-be-used Blackhawk Serpa (it has a dangerous trigger-finger unlock for the holster). It’s just that it’s safe for everyday carry as it’s almost impossible for a bad-guy to take the gun. Any suggestions are welcome for an alternative OWB holster that’s similarly close to the body (which excludes pretty much all LEO holsters).

Previously, I’ve tried my own makeshift running courses – like running by a small target [paper plate] some seven yards away while shooting with whatever hand – but this is the first time I’ve done an “official” tactical pistol course involving running, or going from prone to a knee to standing, back to a knee, amid combat reloads and after that more running. The extra activity is done for the sake of getting the adrenaline going, and to make for a more realistic exercise. Great.

But perhaps I should combine the courses I’ve been doing, like the pre-2001 Federal Air Marshal TPC (the timings for which are hilarious for me, as they are two and three times quicker than the FBI instructor course), and what I know of the SEALs TPC (even quicker), as well as a few exercises of my own, like shooting a suspended wobbly stake in half. Even direct hits with target ammo won’t snap it. It’s gotta be hit many times in the same place:

It’s not a sin to have some innocent fun that is also useful in real life. As I say, I’ve already had to draw up on a carjacker who had just robbed everyone at a rest stop and wanted a get away car. I had a police officer in desperate straits as a passenger. I was bringing him to the hospital for major surgery for an almost fully ripped-off arm at the shoulder. He was already helpless besides that as he was still suffering from a broken back because of one of the traffic stops he had made in the past. This cop in my passenger seat desperately said that this was a car-jacking. What was I supposed to do, let him be kidnapped, become a hostage (because he’s a cop) and perhaps be murdered? I support our LEOs! Surely saving the life of a cop and otherwise protecting a cop from grave injury isn’t an unseemly activity for a priest, is it?

Thankfully, at that very nanosecond, another LEO screeched to a stop in front of the robber, now would-be carjacker, kidnapper, hostage-taker guy. Then eight more cruisers joined that cop within seconds, and how many more from the other direction I don’t know as the first cop let us go as other cops joined in the apprehension.

If I write such things, it’s to demonstrate that priests are people too. It’s good for priests to know that they are human beings. And good for other people to know that priests are human beings. Just because of my background, this is my way of having fun. But it comes with a price – enjoyable – of keeping sharp, a bit edgy, well-practiced. I was happy for a day off. And, yes, lots of prayers were said too.

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What makes mass shooters tick?

Upshot, as it were: Help the police do their job in this dangerous world.

There were warning signs about the shooter: Ignored, of course. The Canadians want to think that everyone is nice all the time. How dare we ever even insinuate that someone might not be nice. Everyone is entitled to be thought of as being nice! And then tantrums and hissy fits ensue. Just like in these USA these days.

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The upshot of that ignorance: train up not only to see the warning signs but to act on them. It’s called situational awareness. But it’s not as easy as all that. Quick and easy solutions are usually the fast road to death and grieving. Sure, arm the police. Sure, pay attention to the guy who says he wants to kill people. Easy. Do that. But those aren’t the only things.

For instance, what about the Stephen Paddock or whatever his name is, who shot up Las Vegas? To this day “no one knows the motive.” Really? Cowards! How does one get people to face reality? See my rant on the cowardice of some of our intel community:

Stephen Paddock’s motivation and our motivation in not finding his motivation

Humility. Humility. Humility. Start with oneself. Sure, we all have unrepeatable circumstances by which – right now anyway – none of us would do those terrible things. But that’s an occasion for us to congratulate ourselves to the point where we don’t know that by so doing we give ourselves a licence to do those very things. Ah, the irony of it. People are afraid of irony. It’s too hard hitting. It’s offensive. It’s to be dismissed as literary trickery. And because of that arrogance that we are all better than the rest of men, people will die either because we won’t catch out those who are murderous or we ourselves will fall into that violence. Impossible, you say? Just following “orders” you say? Where have we heard that before by people who have congratulated themselves? It happens more quickly than you think.

Solution (in case you missed it): Look at the link about Stephen Paddock above.

No, really! Click.

hilaire bellocAnd if you fail to understand irony. Think of Jesus on the Cross, standing in our place, the Innocent for guilty, He bearing the weight of our evil, becoming like a mirror of our evil. And now, with that in mind, read over this frightening bit on irony from the great Hilaire Belloc:

“To the young, the pure, and the ingenuous, irony must always appear to have a quality of something evil, and so it has, for […] it is a sword to wound. It is so directly the product or reflex of evil that, though it can never be used – nay, can hardly exist – save in the chastisement of evil, yet irony always carries with it some reflections of the bad spirit against which it was directed. […] It suggests most powerfully the evil against which it is directed, and those innocent of evil shun so terrible an instrument. […] The mere truth is vivid with ironical power […] when the mere utterance of a plain truth labouriously concealed by hypocrisy, denied by contemporary falsehood, and forgotten in the moral lethargy of the populace, takes upon itself an ironical quality more powerful than any elaboration of special ironies could have taken in the past. […] No man possessed of irony and using it has lived happily; nor has any man possessing it and using it died without having done great good to his fellows and secured a singular advantage to his own soul.”

[Hilaire Belloc, “On Irony” (pages 124-127; Penguin books 1325. Selected Essays (2/6), edited by J.B. Morton; Harmondsworth – Baltimore – Mitcham 1958).]

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Shooting my neighbor’s dog: wrong guy

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Basset Hound

When there’s illegal gunfire in the neighborhood, Shadow-dog is quick to turn his head and look in the direction of whatever it is, a pistol, a shotgun, a rifle. I’m sure he’s, like, “What’s that and is it coming this direction?” As it is, my neighbor’s dog was shot yesterday, I’m guessing point blank, Sunday morning, when people were in church. Two other neighbors (one a retired minister and one a Vet and Firefighter) want to move away. Andrews and this neighborhood in particular is getting to be way too violent.

No one heard anything because this time it was all subsonic, a pellet gun of some sort. Pretty powerful though. The pellet struck his shoulder bones and ricocheted so as to destroy surrounding muscles and tendons. That’s what a .22 “real” bullet might do. That’s why I say that it was probably point blank. I hate that. The neighbor’s dog is a basset hound, not this one. I’ll have to take a picture of the real Frankie-dog when he gets out of surgery. I’m guessing the guy who shot Frankie-dog is going to pay that bill.

I think I might know the guy who did it. I’m thinking the guy who did it didn’t grow up around here. I don’t think the the guy who did it knows whose dog he shot. You just don’t shoot someone’s dog in Western North Carolina. No. The only one who would do that is a tender snowflake from an entitlement big city. Sorry, I’m generalizing. sigh…

Let’s just take a look at what happened when a Navy SEAL’s dog was shot, this time while he was home. This is harrowing. Kudos to law enforcement for helping him out:

Here’s the deal: people who can shoot animals just to do it can also easily just go ahead and kill human beings. Those are the stats. Yep.

But maybe this is my fault. There’s a weirdness with the mail delivery and unless you know it, it’s a little difficult to know whose address you’re really at, mine or the neighbor’s. I’d hate to think that someone wanted to do in Laudie-dog or Shadow-dog but instead got Frankie-dog. At any rate, our reaction is the same no matter whose dog.

Update: here he is…

This would have been a kill shot if it had been any more powerful.

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Leaving the ER: Bwoop! Bwoop!

bluelighted

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DHS Active Shooter Preparedness Program for Churches

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Church Shootings: Into the Fray 241

Two rules:

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

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

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“Day Off” Best DQ Best 2+1

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

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

Does your parish have a church security team?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Filed under Abuse, Day Off, Ecumenism, Guns, Holy See, Missionaries of Mercy

After retreat: bullets, razored arrows, cops. “Quiet till you got back, Father.”

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This razored hinged hunting arrow was shot into my neighbors yard across corners of two other neighbors’ yards (with little kids about).

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It’s full of identifiers…

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It looks to have been modified, or fixed up with a bit of glue. Just that red bit at the end I think comes in at about $10.00.

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The hinged razors might retail for like $50.00. Let’s see: carbon shaft, special joiners… Maybe just this one arrow is coming in @$75.00. Or am I overpricing that? I’m not into archery at all, though I did shoot arrows round about as a kid with a fiberglass bow.

Anyway, that’s just an arrow. Just as disconcerting for the neighborhood are bullets ricocheting here and there. They’ve whizzed by the neighbor’s dog. I think the target is the neighbor’s propane tank. If I’m guessing who the perp is correctly, he’s not a good shot at all. I’ve never seen him pull a bow back or pull a trigger, so, what do I know? Nothing. It’s usually between, say, 3:23 AM and 3:43 AM. I look at my backlit el-cheapo Casio watch during such events. I bet his favorite TV show ends at 3:00 AM and that’s when he takes out his weapons, perhaps totally plastered.

Various of the neighbors have called in these shenanigans, which, in town, are totally illegal. I haven’t done it up to now, but maybe I should call it in. After all, people’s lives are unnecessarily put at risk by someone mixing alcohol and guns. That never works well. So, fine. I hate to call stuff in because that puts the cops at risk. That’s the very last thing I want to do. And yet…

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