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Coronavirus quarantine road blocks, checkpoints, thinly veiled threats: part 2

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Update to Part 1 which was about what is happening up in Graham County regarding checkpoints: It was said that people who are resident outside of Graham County will no longer be allowed on Highway 28, then 143, then 129 (or vice versa) when the Nantahala Gorge closure would be opened. Well, now the landslide has been partially cleared and the Gorge is now open again, albeit still with one way traffic regulated by an automatic traffic light and cameras, thus enabling people to entirely bypass Graham County. If you drive up to a Graham County checkpoint and you are not from the county, if you do not have a deed to your property in Graham County in your car with you (literally), you will be turned away forthwith. Yep. Pay attention. For my part, I do have a “Green Card”, it being that I’m the pastor of the Mission Church up in Robbinsville.


Meanwhile for Part 2 down here in Andrews of Cherokee County:

The pictures in the slideshow above were taken the other day. The circumstances of the roadblocks have been changing daily, even hourly. You gotta work in view of contingencies, right? Yes. So, what you see here may or may not be what you see if you are out and about near Andrews. I don’t have overview or any extra special insight regarding these road blocks as I don’t know all the facts, not having oversight. That’s not my purview. That’s for our elected leaders. I may be the Police Chaplain, but that has nothing to do with the barrels and cones.

But I will say this: I’ve been doing a bit of “accompaniment” of some of those present at the road blocks or checkpoints. It’s mighty interesting to see the different reactions of people:

  • Some, say 5%, are a bit perturbed but behave themselves at that moment, entirely polite. Fine. This is smart. Don’t talk yourself into a citation for public disturbance. That’s never a good idea. Never. But there’s always someone… But so far, no one for this as far as I know. :-)
  • By far the vast majority of people, say 90%, are happy go lucky, happy in their own lives and not wanting to make others unhappy. They know they are essential workers and local residents and that there will be no problem at all. All goes very quickly for them and very smoothly. All good.
  • Some, say 5%, hold up any traffic by going out of their way to thank those manning the check points for their service and, if they have been delivering food or gasoline from elsewhere, going back and forth through these check points, they make sure to also add that they wish that the same precautions would be taken in their own home town. They see more mayhem where they are from. And where they are from there are no check points. There may be a lesson there.

The thinly veiled threats have, as far as I know, disappeared entirely just over these few days. The streets and highways are emptying out where we are. People are staying at home as they see the mortality rates go up in surrounding areas. Sometimes it just takes people longer to “get it.” That’s fine.

The next couple of weeks may see plenty of deaths if the charting relative to our stats and that of other countries has any relevance at all. These will be because of infections that took place already some days or weeks ago as we now reap the spread of the virus by the tender snowflakes who feel ever so entitled to spread the virus to others because it’s just an authoritarian rule not to do so.

Of course, I suppose I’m picking on the entitled generation too much. We’re basically all the same in our fallen human frailty. At the railroad block pictured in the slideshow above, when taking that picture, I witnessed an entirely elderly geezer get out of his truck, move the barrels aside, drive through, and then neatly replace the barrels, continuing on his way, I’m sure quick happy to be so clever. What-eeeeh-verrrrrrr!

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Corornavirus: day-in-the-life-&-death

COVID-19

It’s 12:37 PM and I just woke up from a nap, wakened by a phone call for last rites, this time a 200 mile round trip. Then possibly delivery of this person to a hospital in Charlotte as the hospital in Asheville threw this person out, although at death’s door on so very many levels, not that this person has Coronavirus, but was triage out, not because of not being in extreme need, but because triage now refers to keeping the young and otherwise healthy. These are also the victims of COVID-19. Crazy. A prayer for this person, very dear to me. I’m just about to rush off as this person will soon be home once again…

The reason I just woke up from a nap is because I spent a good part of last night doing up the Police Chaplain thing. The Chief told one of the officers to give me a call – 1:00 AM – so as to do up my first Death Notification to family members of the victim. I can’t say the details. Let’s just say it was bad. Real bad. Such violence. Such death. Please say a prayer for them and the repose of the soul of the victim. One family member was someone I also consider to be a good friend. Doesn’t make it easy. The reason I also put this incident under Coronavirus will have to be dealt with in another post, but I think the stress of COVID is somehow giving a self-perceived permission to sociopaths to put their sociopathy into action. I have very many examples. Be situationally aware, people.

It’s now 12:50 PM. I must run to do the priest thing. I love being a priest, COVID times or not. Thank you, Jesus.

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Coronavirus advice for criminals

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Coronavirus humor & Law Enforcement

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Sister is far too kind. When I was a kid, rulers had metal edges so as to permit super-straight lines, perfection and otherwise striving for excellence being the norm. Imagine that: the norm, what is expected, what is elicited, what is produced.

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Coronavirus quarantine road blocks, checkpoints, thinly veiled threats: part 1

coronavirus cherohala skyway closure

I am impressed. The cement barrier on the left is resting on a vertical cement wall holding up the road. The mountain at that point is impossibly steep, not able to be traversed. The barrier on the right also makes it impossible for motorcycles, ATVs, etc. No one in or out.

A bit too enthusiastic up in Graham County, the entirety of which lies in my parish, which also comprises half of Cherokee County and half of Macon County. Graham, jumping the gun, went a bit too far, and the County was forced to remove the impossibility factor of the barrier in favor of emergency vehicles being able to pass by.

In lieu of such extremes, we have such as this at the Topton entrance to Graham County, which only has something like four roads in and out of the entire county:

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This setup is quite well thought out. There are warning signs, cones, plank-stands, plastic barriers, concrete barriers, a tent with table and chairs for nasty weather conditions. And for personnel, we have three:

  • One deputy in a slime-green vest who checks ID
  • Two deputies to provide security for the interface officer, as well as enforcement, and, I’m sure transportation of rebellious sovereign citizens, anti-government militia members, et alii.

I had to have a chat with our Vicar Forane in Bryson City yesterday, before the Governor’s lock-down of the entire state of North Carolina went into effect at 5:00 PM. I got to talking with the checkpoint crowd to and fro. Very friendly. The identical set-up is to be found at the Swain-Graham border up on Highway 28.

On my way back, I stopped at the tax assessors office at the courthouse in Robbinsville, County Seat of Graham County, and got me a Green Card, so to speak, a non-resident pass to enter Graham County (where our mission church lies) even though the rectory is in Cherokee County. I wonder if I’ll have to do the same for Clay and Macon Counties. I want to be able to pass freely throughout the region in order to do up the Last Rites for my parishioners and those of surrounding parishes when their priests, for whatever reason, are not able to respond to calls. Here’s the placard to be placed visibly up front of the vehicle:

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I’m compliant. Some think that’s a good idea. Some think it’s downright anti-American. Whatever you think, it’s good for me in that I’m interested in doing the priest-thing, providing the sacraments to those whom I am able to reach. Clever as a snake and – hopefully – as innocent as a dove. (I’ll have to work on the latter with Jesus!)

There are, apparently – rumors being what they are – some who are saying with, um, a bit of an edge to it, that they are sick and tired, just really, really fed up with any restriction whatsoever in favor of public safety. “IT’S UNCONSTITUTIONAL!”

Here’s the deal: Law Enforcement is at risk enough without people ramping it up. If someone attacks Law Enforcement, you gotta know that pretty much all LEOs in a region are gonna hunt the knucklehead down, rightly so. At that point, it’s no longer about discussion of policy. It’s about whether one guy can take out all Law Enforcement of a region. Hint: It can’t be done.

And if Militias ramp it up, that’s when the full force of the National Guard will come into play. Thinking of smacking down Law Enforcement? Ain’t gonna happen. Don’t do it.

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Coronavirus: policing crime, or not

I’m so happy to live in Cherokee county of North Carolina.

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Not working from home. Never. No. Coronavirus risks? Pfft. It is to laugh.

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These guys and gals don’t have any time to go panic buying. That sets things in perspective, doesn’t it? Say a prayer for them. You gotta know, they are each individually blamed by some of those who feel entitled not to get the Coronavirus[!] as if – just because they have some authority and are in a position of service[!] – it is those heroes who are to blame for the virus itself. Again, say a prayer for them all. Please share.

Meanwhile, there are also clergy. I suppose people are upset with me travelling as I do to bring people the sacraments, the last rites. Yesterday was no exception, with hundreds of more miles. It is what it is. Here’s the deal. I’m in my car. And I wear CDC provided Coronavirus risk reducing items. How’s that, you ask?

Mike Pence mentioned the other day that the CDC is making exceptions for visits in end of life situations. So, I’m taking advantage of that. Also, I’m getting tons of usage out of what I already use for the law enforcement chaplaincy. Double duty for those items. It’s not forbidden. It’s a public health and security issue.

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Calm quarantine strategies, not panic

pan

First  of all, we are not in any kind of stage of a quarantine of any kind. San Francisco called for a State of Emergency, but that was just a cynical move to release Federal monies they otherwise can’t get at this time for sanctuary cities. It has nothing to do with any COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus. No. Demoncrats are self-centered jerks and want to cause panic.

And I don’t say we are any kind of stage of a quarantine YET. No. That also would be to panic. See above.

Having said that, let’s take the worst case scenario – a declared pandemic – so as to point out how to avoid the worst case scenario, which would not refer to any medical condition (more people dying from the flu or smoking or car accidents…), but rather panic, which would be the logistical cause of death for hyperbolically more cases of death. So…

  • The other week a reporter asked POTUS Trump whether or not plans were already in place for the quarantine of entire cities if the need arises. He answered yes.
    • I’m sure that if this were to be effected it would be done so by the National Guard before anyone knows, including all law enforcement, who will likewise be quarantined in place in their cities.
    • Immediately after the National Guard is in place for a no one in-or-out scenario, health officials and law enforcement will be privy to policies and enforcement and rules of engagement.
    • It would be extremely helpful if in the same announcement it was said that food delivery trucks to supermarkets will have drop off locations at the border of the quarantine and that other trucks from inside will later come to pick up that food and deliver it to local supermarkets.
    • Gasoline deliveries? I guess they would have to be made when the stations are otherwise abandoned.
    • It would have to be stated that utilities will continue.
    • Extremely severe penalties for price gauging and looting would have to be stated.
  • demon panThe worst possible thing that could happen is panic. In that case, there will immediately be home invasions of idiots looking for food, not because there is any lack of food, but just because of panic. This will be done by those who have already been spending all their money on drugs. And they are well practiced with home invasions. Not good.
  • Panic in this sorry world of ours – the mob mentality which eliminates all “inhibitions” like reason and goodness and kindness and courage and fortitude and justice and mercy – the eliminator of all that is good in the chaos of panic is the demon-god Pan. This is not the too-cute and effeminate Peter Pan of Disney, but rather the ancient demon of all demons, Satan, who, as Jesus says, is a murderer from the beginning. Panic is the worst thing that can happen.
  • What is most needed in a Pan-Dem-ic is to not cave into panic, to not cave into Pan-Demon-ium. Get it? Pan in Greek means all or everything or everyone: “Everybody’s panicking!!!!!!!”
  • To panic is to give reverence to the demon-god pan. Panic makes one a worshiper of Pan. Panic makes one a pagan, an idol-worshiper. “Oooh! Pan told me to worry and have anxiety and to panic, so, therefore, of course, ever-obedient to demons, I will! I will panic! I will! I will! // off sarcasm.
  • So, an examination of conscience is in order. What or who is the most important thing, person, during a pandemic? Christ Jesus. If we have our spiritual lives squared away, if we are actually looking forward to going to heaven, trusting in the mercies of our Lord, we will not cave in to panic, we will not worship at the feet of Pan.
  • For atheists who mock faith in the time of crisis as the opiate of society, know this, the only ones I’ve ever seen help each other out in desperate times are believers. This is especially true in Socialist/Communist/Marxist countries. You know that’s true. I’ve seen it first hand. Believers have extraordinary strength of love and reason because of the love and truth they carry about within them coming from God Himself.

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  • Where is God in all of this? Look for those who are trying to be helpful in all of this. Look at Jesus’ good mom holding God in her arms…
  • But why did God let this happen?
    • Let’s call to mind that original sin opened us up to all of this sickness and death and weakness of mind and weakness of will and emotions all over the place.
    • Let’s call to mind that God so loved that world despite our use of free will that He sent His only-Begotten Divine Son Jesus – basing mercy on justice – to stand in our place, the Innocent for the guilty, taking on the punishment we deserve so that He might have the right in His own justice to have mercy on us.
    • Let’s call to mind that God thus knows all about suffering, and all about combating panic and the horrific demon-god Pan.
    • Let’s call to mind that Jesus does give us the grace, His friendship, to be reasonable, to be calm, to be good and kind, not to panic, but to be helpful, pointing people to Him who is that love which is stronger than sickness, stronger than any pandemic, stronger than death, strong enough to bring us to eternal life, to our eternal home, where love and peace reign supreme. Heaven is our home and we are now – in this hell – in exile away from home. But we do have a home in heaven, and we right now carry about the way to that home, grace which St Paul says will turn to glory.

So, no worries then! Jesus, I joyously trust in You.

JESUS I AM

Meanwhile, I’ve lost 52.xx pounds on Keto so far, and I’m going off Keto soon, transitioning over to something more high protein and not neglecting carbs. Trundling off to Walmart grocery to stock up on non-Keto items, I noticed lots of almost empty shelves, just a few packages of oatmeal, a packet or two of lentil beans, that kind of thing. It looked like panic buying. That’s O.K. Those panic buyers are all set now and won’t be emptying out stores in panic buying. Don’t panic. Instead, drop off real dead weight that holds you back. Go to Confession!

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COVID-19, beards, attending church

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The above chart is actually from 2017 and gives advice about respirators in general. It wasn’t generated in response to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). How long the virus is able to survive on surfaces (for days or weeks) or in aerosol form (hanging in the air from breathing for minutes or hours traveling in the breeze) is all unknown.

There are scare-tactics used by some on the one side, and the near hysterical smashing down of scare-tactics used by some on the other side. Scare people and it spreads faster as people run. But don’t tell the truth of virility of the virus and people are not careful to take precautions as simple as washing your hands on the other hand.

My own beard and gas mask story. From about the end of June 1989 until about the beginning of February 1990 I was living at the Pontifical Biblical Institute across from the King David Hotel a stone’s throw from the ancient walled city of Jerusalem. Saddam Hussein was lobbing scud missiles at Israel that contained – he said – biological weapons of mass extermination. We were all issued gas masks to avoid breathing in aerosol laden poisons or biological horrors.

I liked having a beard mostly because I was too lazy to shave every day. We were told to tape up our windows to avoid glass shattering from exploding missiles, so I did that. Likewise, we were told to tape up cracks between the doors and the walls of our little rooms, so I did that. We were all ready, with rolls of tape at the ready, to tape up the opening between the door and the door frame the moment a scud missile exploded nearby. The missiles were dropping all over Israel. We had a room that was especially well-sealed and stocked with food and water into which we could seal ourselves for a day or two if need be, if we had the chance to get there before some of the more nervous members of the Biblicum community locked late-comers out of the room much like submariners caught in a leaking chamber are sealed off from escape by their friends so as to save the rest of the crew members in the rest of the submarine.

Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount is Islam’s third most holiest site in the world. We were very close to that, and stupid me, I was trusting in warfare technology of 1990, and, stupid me, I was thinking that Saddam wouldn’t dare throw missiles that would drop around those living near the Temple Mount. I thought that until a scud missile exploded between the Biblical Institute and the King David Hotel, near enough to shake a car outside my window, setting off its alarm, but the tape on my window held.

So I tried to shave my beard, only half successfully, but not good enough for a seal to be made between the gas mask and my mug of a face before the rest of the community were yelling at me to get into their special room.

Now, that’s a different set of circumstances, right? Well, that’s controversial. Those in danger areas are wearing total-seal hazmat gear from head to toe, looking like aliens in space suits. Why oh why would they do that, I wonder. Why would the CDC make a statement against all previous policy for all other viruses and say that the spread of COVID-19 in these USA is inevitable? It’s not the beard chart that surprises me, but the “inevitable” statement.

The Italian government has been cracking down on meetings of people, you know, in churches. Hardly any Ash Wednesday Masses in Italy at the beginning of this Lent. Scare tactics that are political in nature, as there is no crack down on going to stadiums or supermarkets.

Meanwhile, with great malice, the Demoncrats have been playing up scare tactics as a way, they think, to hurt any re-election of Donald Trump. That’s a fright, because scare tactics only encourage faster spread of the virus.

Having said all that, I should also be the priest and say what I always say, people should have their souls in order. Our Lord can call us at any time. Confession! For myself, I’ll go to Confession again later today if I can as the Smokey Mountain Vicariate of the Diocese is meeting up down the road.

If the CDC’s out-of-character statement about “inevitability” comes into play, this priest will be at particular risk:

  • I’ll attend to the sick and dying with the last rites as long as I’m not forbidden by hospital staff. That would be tough for them since the kind of volunteer level that I enjoy is actually at the level of employee status for our local hospital.
  • I’ll still accompany our local law enforcement as Police Chaplain. I can only imagine that unstable people will cause trouble with increased home invasions if the inevitability thing closes down supermarkets. It would get a bit chaotic. Can you imagine being on corpse-removal-detail? Blech. I hope any respirators have odor controls.

Having said all that, I have not shaved my beard. Life goes on. I do what I always do. Take note of a recent development – as reported some hours ago – that there may be a way around a year and half wait for a vaccine. It was said that there may be a way to fight this with an anti-viral found to have great success in animals and which may be able to be used forthwith. Maybe. But – hey! – maybe!

Here’s the deal: We’re no longer meant for this world. Our home is to be in heaven. We’re in exile here. Worst case scenario with COVID-19 may be a ticket to heaven. Not bad, that.

But what about Church attendance here in the USA? Yesterday, a reporter asked POTUS Trump a question about any contingency plans for locking down cities. He said that those are in place and being refined. Lock downs enforced by Martial Law can happen overnight. That includes shoot-to-kill curfews. I must say, I’ve never in my life heard talk of such things in public in these USA. I’m NOT indulging in scare tactics. Don’t be mad at me. I’m just noting was the CDC has been doing, and what the advised policies are regarding mentioning any of this kind of thing in public. Keep your eyes and ears open.

Now, after all that chaos, I have a question:

Should I shave my beard?

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Profiling TRIAD killer before the fact: DARPA COMPASS indicators predictors

Excuse the language of that video. The point of it is that those who are not at the top in “power” and profession might just be the best in profiling. “Maya”, in the scene above, is correct about the whereabouts of Usama bin Laden. But she’s just a “mere” analyst. Her indicators were taken as predictors and it all turned out. This time. But…

There’s really a lot of arson going on here in Andrews, NC. I don’t know if this is a single person, unrelated persons with unrelated incidents, or a group of people together. I don’t know him/her/them personally, so the profile of a TRIAD psychopath killer outlined below may or may not be applicable to him/her/them. But the profile is worth noting for future reference regardless, just as an awareness thing, but we’ll nuance that.

Before going through this, note that these are only indicators, NOT predictors, and that there are two parts to the present post: (A) Using indicators as predictors (this will heavily provide on side of the argument); (B) Recognizing indicators post-hoc but the impossibility of using indicators as predictors before the fact (this will heavily provide the other side of the argument). The latter (B) has everything to do with making a critique of DARPA COMPASS, which does precisely that, using indicators as predictors. But let’s start at the beginning so as to be able to establish some reference points.

(A) Using TRIAD indicators as predictors for serial killers

The very many arson events have been, as you can imagine, the talk of this tiny town. People bring it up wherever I go. For instance, during my rounds to the home-bound and nursing homes just yesterday, a good friend who has much wherewithal in the medical / psychiatric / law enforcement fields wanted to explain to me at length – motu proprio – the profile of a killer, the TRIAD, as she called it. She’s knows I’m now with the Andrews Police Department as a Chaplain. Perhaps she wanted me to pass this info along. She went on at length about the three things which, when they go together, point to a psychopath, a future killer, she says: 100%. Again, I’ll dispute that just a bit further below.

  • I immediately asked: “All cases? One hundred percent?”
  • “Yes. All cases,” she replied with emphasis, “One hundred percent. Those three things together: bed-wetting, torture of animals, arson.”

(1) Bed-wetting

Millions of kids, mostly boys, mostly as toddlers, wet the bed. This is ubiquitous and means absolutely nothing on its own. It’s when the bed wetting continues into early teens that… no… it still means nothing as far as profiling, but at this later age when it goes with a couple of other things, then there’s a concern. There’s shame that goes along with this. If parents are supportive, she says, that lessens any psychological scars, if any. But if the parents freak out, this can make things worse, leading to night terrors, and there can be some negative and even lasting scars. Be supportive of your kids.

(2) Torturing animals, real torture

I don’t understand this. It happens. I mean look at this picture of Laudie-dog below. How could anyone torture her or any animal? My friend says that for the psychopath in the making, this is all about abstraction from the personal, so that the “other” is no longer “other”, but rather a mere object that is under one’s power. Animals are experiments, she says, in how to go about depersonalizing sentient beings, not only animals, but human beings.

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It’s practice for stepping up the game, she said. Stepping things up refers to transferring from animals to human beings. And, in fact, we find out that the stats on people who mistreat animals are doing this to human beings, pretty much 100%, not quite 100% because it might still be in process for some, and that process might take some decades. My comment below is that this is confusing indicators with predictors. But let’s continue…

My friend said that the torture of animals is a way to take out on a scapegoat the “guilt” for the bed wetting. So, in this narrative, there’s a progression. I would add that if that torture is done in front of another person, such as kicking a dog through drywall, terrorizing that other person as much as the dog (note the proportion), with the kicking done so as to accomplish the terror in the other, we’re moving quickly to the next step of the TRIAD.

(3) Arson

Here we move to the destruction of that which involves human beings very directly, regardless of whether the house is presently occupied or not, regardless of any “cover” for motivation such as whether or not such dwellings were insured or not. “Cover.” Get it? If uninsured, it hurts human beings more. If just one or two are insured, that make just be deeper “cover” yet. Psychopaths are usually of way-above average intelligence. Note that with arson:

  • There’s always a risk that squatters are inside.
  • It creates a risk of life and limb to firefighters: authority figures…
  • It creates a risk of life and limb to law enforcement: authority figures…
  • It hurts people economically, even to bankruptcy.
  • It terrorizes people.

Have you noted the progression? But be careful to draw conclusions, as we will see. That might just be an opinion of a narrative of someone trying to make sense of things…

Therefore, is it hopeless for such a person to come around?

My friend speaks from her own experience with profiles of people she has worked with herself, and from her own studies. Don’t ask me how accurate that all is. I don’t know. I don’t have too much experience in that area.

As a priest, I have to ask as to whether I am naive to hold out hope for people who are caught up in this cycle. I don’t know enough about psychopaths to know if they are reachable. As a priest, I would never say someone is hopeless. I can’t do that. I can’t. But, if someone has some advice on all that, let me know. If you don’t want your comment published, just say so, and I’ll totally respect that.

(4) The TRIAD psychopath is bound to become a killer: TRIAD or QUADRAD? 

I don’t know if that’s true. I don’t want to give an excuse of “prophesying” like this to a TRIAD psychopath. However, my friend says that if a no-longer-a-child-bed-wetter who tortures animals also destroys things with fire, so that the “TRIAD” is present, you can bet that such a person, a psychopath, super-intelligent, has already been fantasizing murdering a human being, sometimes for decades. So, I’m guessing that when trying to reach such a person, to bring them out of such a cycle, they are looking at you as a mere object, someone who is not hearing you at all, but rather looking at you with the thought that they can torture and kill you just like they did with animals. There’s a wall.

I think of someone who has slashed his girl friend, torturing her, and who poured fuel down her throat, and then lit her on fire. But this is emotional sensationalism. My friend says the TRIAD is a 100% predictor. I don’t know. I think we’re more complicated than that. For instance:

She also said that if you are caught defenseless against such a person, you do have one hope of surviving, that is, she said, if you can somehow get them to use your name, as that personalizes things. That goes against the grain of objectifying someone. It might well at least buy you time. Re-personalizing is perhaps the key to bringing someone out of this cycle, but that would take years of psych work in a maximum security psych institution. But even there, the psychopath might well be much more intelligent than the doctors and shrinks, and fool them into having them think he’s cured, just to get out and kill again. That would almost act like a mandate to kill again. They’ve conquered the best in psych care and so have all power in their mind-game.

She said the TRIAD psychopath’s first killing is an experimental gateway. After the first killing there “has to be” many more, very many more. It’s like the arson thing going on right now. They could be copycat, but really, they are close together, one after the other, almost like a challenge. That’s how it is with serial killers. She said that all the serial killer cases she is familiar with have the TRIAD. But…

(B) Recognizing indicators post-hoc (too late) but the impossibility of using indicators as predictors before the fact.

I spoke at length with a world class psychologist friend of very many years. He says that while you can say that every psychopath killer has this TRIAD happenstance, it is an illogicity to say that those who have TRIAD behavioral history will certainly become serial killers. Indicators not predictors. Thus:

  • Self-entitled white boys don’t all become church or shopping mall shooters.
  • Not all poor black boys become gang members shooting each other down.
  • Not all mosque attending Muslim men become or plot to become terrorists.
  • Not all white Puritan women in Salem, Massachusetts were guilty of being witches just because they were accused. Etc.

Those are just analogies, limping at that, as they are based on prejudicial profiling instead of individual behavioral history. But what my other friend was trying to say is that indicators are not the whole story. You might note those indicators, but they are not proof. We are not so absolutely determined by unrepeatable personal histories of whatever behaviors. To say that we are entirely determined by historical indicators actually pushes people into jacking up the stakes. It gives them as excuse. It’s what society has done to them. They’re not culpable. They are the animal that has been tortured and made into an object. They are now simply lashing out. Who can blame them? So, it’s all a mind game. On the one hand, you don’t want a TRIAD offender to kill someone. On the other hand, you don’t want to give him an excuse. And you sure don’t want to say all TRIAD offenders are serial killers waiting for opportunities.

(C) There’s actually a third part ending with such as DARPA COMPASS

I personally know someone who has this TRIAD history on steroids, big time, all three, the bed-wetting, the torture of animals, the arson. That person has shot at me many times. You don’t easily forget bullets whizzing past your head. It took him no time at all after the arson bit. That person became an arms dealer for the Sinaloa cartel. That person told me recently enough that he wants to kill Jews. But when you say to appropriate people – “I’ve always heard, if you see something, say something, so this is what’s going down…” – the invariable response interrupting any reporting has been:

Look, I don’t have any idea about any arsonist(s) here in Andrews. But, like Maya in the video up top of this post, I’m 100% on the intent of this guy I know. All the indicators are there. Ooops! I just crossed the line from indicators to predictors, didn’t I? Yes. That’s because there’s a bit of emotion in it for me. That confuses things right quick for anybody. That’s a no go. But, can someone set me straight on this, say, in the field of criminology? Again, I won’t publish your comment if you tell me not to do that. I gotta wonder if the DARPA COMPASS crowd are subject to emotion. Reading their presentation is like reading a rationalization for assassination based not on any wrongdoing but merely confusing indicators to predictors. The rationalization:

  • The geeks behind computer screens indicating possible targets for field officers to decide to kill or not: “We’re not pulling the trigger. That’s the decision of the field officer.”
  • The field officer getting target info from the geeks: “We’re not really pulling the trigger. That’s the decision of the geeks at DARPA. How can I question their gaming theory combined with situational awareness. Take the guy out.”

Meanwhile, a guy who shuns terrorism is killed because it’s thought he might think about it, maybe, perhaps. Confusing indicators and predictors. Hmmm….

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Filed under Firefighters, Intelligence Community, Law enforcement, Situational awareness

Isn’t that Father George driving a Police Dodge Charger Pursuit V8 ?!

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No, I don’t do this on a regular basis. This was a once off as a favor because of an unrepeatable, unforeseeable circumstance. Things happen. You do what you gotta do. It is what it is. Happy to help. Any citizen would have done the same. I happened to be there.

The ballistic vest says “POLICE CHAPLAIN”. It’s Level IV multi-hit ceramic-polyethylene composite that can handle such as a 30-06 of a deer hunter, or an AK 47 7.62×39, or similarly, an AR-15 5.56×45. You do what you can do to make it home, and ask the angels to do the rest in those contingencies that might well arise more than ever these days even during the “typical” traffic stop. A direct hit with a rifle, even with a plate, even with no back-of-plate deformation, can throw your heart out of rhythm, meaning you’re basically dead unless you can get the defibrillator to work, if you have one…

The picture was not my idea. An Officer jumped at the chance as I was pulling into the parking lot. What could I do? He knew it was rather out of the ordinary. Having said all that, I think it was a great idea. The police are receiving little support from anyone right around these United States, and any show of support is, I think, just what is needed.

I’m hoping to get some narrowly focused law enforcement chaplaincy training coming up soon. People ask what Police Chaplains do, sometimes with an only lightly veiled negative attitude (which reveals a lot about the one asking, right?). Those with a positive attitude already understand and could already give a job description of a chaplain better than I could, they usually having benefited from other chaplains, say, on other front lines scattered about the globe or close to home. Some of our Law Enforcement Officers in the towns and in the county were ministers of the local churches, as was our Sheriff.

For those with a negative attitude for Police Chaplains, I think the best answer is for them to do a ride along. One of the recent ride-alongs I was honored to be on – though specifically as Chaplain – involved an operation analogous to that of a special weapons and tactics team (SWAT), which we don’t yet officially have in our fledgling department. Should people see all the terrible immediacy of life and death situations all at once, it might open some eyes. Experience often kills negativity.

Take for instance, those who are entirely anti-Second-Amendment. You have them go through a concealed carry course – not because they will ever carry a gun – but to be introduced to what it’s all about. The experience very often kills the negativity. They then see the endless background checks on every and all levels, all the fingerprinting, the large stack of papers to fill out, all the release forms, etc. It’s quite the ordeal, taking very many months until all is said and done.

I found out that I only have two or three viable fingerprints. That’s interesting.

Anyway… It’s just me, just my opinion, my ♬ feelings ♬, but sometimes I think I have waaaaay toooooo much fun as a priest, such as driving a Charger Pursuit, even if only for two or three miles. Then there’s this:

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The statement I’m trying to make with that picture is that I think that police chaplaincy is an integral part of my priesthood consistent with everything that priesthood is all about.

The gear on the vest itself consists of some helpful things, a couple of tourniquets, because when things go bad, they really go bad, a small but powerful flashlight (from 300 to well over a 1000 lumens), my phone (because it’s handier there when wearing a ballistic vest). No taser, no pepper spray, no handcuffs. But an IFAK came in the other day for use with anyone who needs it on the rounds. My EMT neighbor is going to prepare the contents of that for me. One of the courses I want to take at BLET is first-aid.

  • I’m not a law enforcement officer. No. I’m a Catholic Priest, a Pastor of a parish.
  • But I’m a priest who supports law enforcement officers. Yes.
  • I’m part of the police family, if you will.

P.S. Yes, I do wear proper liturgical vestments for Holy Mass, Adoration, Confessions. And, for those concerned with rubrics and directives and such, there are two crucifixes, one on the altar and one on the wall above the tabernacle. That’s true, and it seems to be a liturgical aberration to have two. But until we can have Mass ad orientem the priest has no visible crucifix in his line of sight if he is versus populum. Have pretty much all priests forgotten that the Last Supper is all about Calvary? Yes, they have. So, what’s up with that? So, the Church wants a crucifix where the priest can see it. So there it is. Sorry liturgical purists. Salus animarum suprema lex and all that. It is what it is until better times prevail.

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Filed under Law enforcement, Missionaries of Mercy

Road Danger: February harvesters in Nantahala Gorge

claas harvester

I didn’t expect to see such as this being hauled on a low-rider flat bed through the Nantahala Gorge last night. It’s entirely miraculous that this harvester – minus the rig out front but still 3 to 4 feet wider than the lanes of the two way traffic – didn’t meet another truck turning wide around a sharp blind curve to avoid scraping the rock face cliff on the inside of the curve next to him (with the river and guard-rails on the far side).

The harvester guy did not have a “WIDE-LOAD” chase vehicle out front or out back. Not that he has to, as I don’t know the law on taking up two lanes… But I was imagining an oncoming car of an entire family being wiped out by the rear balloon tires on a blind curve when half the oncoming traffic lane was already occupied by those tires. Depending on his (lack of) control, he would either be halfway into the oncoming lane or destroying whatever was over the white line on the other.

Down in Murphy he entirely gave up trying not to cross into the other lane as this was forcing the other side over the white line, and the curbing, and destroying the front lawns of businesses with the back balloon tires smashing hard into the curbing and plowing through the lawns, spraying mud and turf and smashing into who knows what utility hookups. So, he just went ahead and took up two full lanes of traffic. Further on, there were a couple of pickups that passed him on the 4-lane, as they call it here, but they had half their vehicles across the white line of the median on the one side while the harvester was fully four and five feet over the white line on the other side.

Thinking all this is a bit dangerous, I called 911. But there are often no available officers. Times are changing. There’s a lot more going on. You only have so many resources.

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Filed under Law enforcement, Road danger

Last Call Fallen Officers Tribute

  • Stunning change-ups in the editing, right to the end.
  • Thanks to the one who did this.
  • I got totally choked up by the end.

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Filed under Law enforcement, Officer Down!

New York Bail Reform: Violent Crime? You walk! Analogy with VIRTUS®

In New York, you can get away with anything for free and skip your court date and still get away without a bond to escape again. So, that invites violent crime, and of course the first ones perps will try this out on are cops. This post is categorized and tagged also as humor because Mike the Cop in the video is so very angry – rightly so – that he can only keep it together by inserting a bit of chancy humor.

FoxNews NEW YORK — Two New York City police officers narrowly escaped with their lives when a gunman fired into their patrol van Saturday night, wounding one of them in an attack officials called an attempted assassination. The ambush, which Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said “should outrage all New Yorkers,” happened just before 8:30 pm in the South Bronx. The officer at the wheel of the van was grazed in the chin and neck, but he avoided serious injury, Shea said. He was expected to released from the hospital Sunday. “He is lucky to be alive,” Shea said. “He is expected to make a full recovery and it is a miracle.” Shea recalled other unprovoked assaults on police officers sitting in their patrol vehicles.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, condemned the latest attack at a news briefing outside the Bronx hospital where the wounded officer was being treated. “There’s too much hatred in general, there’s too much hatred being directed at our officers, and it has to end,” the mayor said. “We have to move forward in a situation like this and find a way to create a peaceful society, not one where those who protect us are in danger in this way.” [And the way to do that is to have no bond for violent crimes?]

The two uniformed officers, partners for eight years and friends since middle school, were sitting in their van with emergency lights activated when a man approached them and engaged them in conversation, Shea said. The man asked the officers for directions, then pulled out a gun “without provocation,” the commissioner said. The man fired multiple shots, striking the officer behind the wheel. Shea said the officer’s carotid artery narrowly avoided injury. Neither officer returned fire. The officer’s partner drove him to a hospital nearby. Shea called both officers “heroic” for their composure and said their long association made for “an amazing story.”

Officers had a basic description of the gunman, who fled after the shooting, but his identity was unknown. Security video that appeared to capture the shooting shows the van driving quickly away as a man appeared to point something at the fleeing vehicle. The officers had been stationed in the neighborhood because of recent drug activity and violence, Shea said. The president of the police union, Pat Lynch, said the department will use “all its resources” to bring the shooter to justice. [He means to bring the shooter to no bail and walk and skip town to come back later and do the same thing. You can bring a perp to justice, but New York justice actually promotes violent crimes and crimes of turpitude.]


My own comment on something analogously stupid:

When I sat through the VIRTUS® Child Protection training there were guidelines presented about possibly suspect people, so that if one noticed TWO things in a list of suspicious behaviors, then one was to bring this up the ladder. The problem was that one of the things was showing porn to minors. So, if you haven’t by chance noticed one more suspect behavior, then you are to just let it go. It’s not suspect behavior at all. All good. VIRTUS® is the education arm of The National Catholic Risk Retention Group. They should all be thrown in prison, with no bail before any court date either.

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Filed under Humor, Law enforcement, Officer Down!, VIRTUS(R)

This priest’s “Day Off”: Helping serve warrants in Andrews NC

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On my way back from three states away, having slain The Tail of the Dragon, and having done an exorcism for real, I got a call from Andrews, PD:

  • “Can you get to the PD by 7:00 PM? You’re our chaplain, and we want you to do a prayer with us before we do a raid on the drug house du jour, and then come along for the experience.”
  • “Sure, I’m just crossing state lines (still a couple of states away), but I should be able to get home, feed the dogs, put on my ballistic vest, and get up to the PD by 6:55 PM. See you then.”

And that’s how it worked out, to the second. The prayer was about serving those in the community, and about getting back safe and sound with life and limb. This was a first time to participate in a raid. And right near the rectory, and across the street from the town grade school. Here’s just part of the haul, with test kits verifying some substances:

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Of course, everyone is innocent until proven guilty. I’m not sayin’ nothin’ ’bout nothin’ no-how, not ever. No. Some were transported down to the jail. Some walked. Some, well, we will see. Everyone gets their day in court.

What I will say is that our PD is doing a great job serving the community. The point isn’t just about the law. This is about serving the community, particularly the grade school kids, keeping them safe, but also about those otherwise involved, giving them also a chance to start anew. Sometimes this is a way that also God permits for people to get tripped while they are running in the wrong direction in life. So, that’s great.

And mind you, these guys in the PD do this as a regular course of affairs, but this is perhaps the most dangerous thing any officer can ever do, breaking down a door and clearing a house while arresting and cuffing. Those inside are immediately filled with adrenaline, making them more unpredictable than ever. And any drugs often mean weapons. Just to say, there were two sets of  nunchuks right at hand and a nunchaku guy who knew how to use them to great effect.

What’s the part of a chaplain in all this? To witness the event. To be available to the alleged perps when they’re squared away (yes, that’s very important). To be available for situational awareness in a way that now ultra-distracted officers cannot be. For instance, who, if escaping the house as the raid goes on (there can be way too many to control)… who is jumping through windows and side-doors and through hatches in the floor…), and who is running where, and their descriptions. It’s also to see if anyone comes to the house to disrupt police activity. In this case, one car kept driving by continuously. It’s a thing with me to notice cars and licence plates. Like a hobby. That became important enough for that driver to be stopped and questioned by two of the officers. It’s also to watch over items that walkers-by could grab when contingencies get out of hand, tampering with evidence, or opportunistically stealing what greedy eyes beckon them to steal.

I recall a ride-along the other week in which we did the second most dangerous thing an officer can do, which is to do a “typical” traffic stop. The second we stopped the guy, friends of that guy came from nowhere, walking from across a lawn (in the direction of a drug house), from across a field (in the direction of favorite stash niches), and two more from another drug house, and with also – immediately – two trucks blocking the road by the one drug house, and another truck blocking the road on the other side near another drug house. That’s a bit weird. No violence ensued, but that was also perhaps because a second person was with the officer, chaplain or no chaplain.

These days, everyone thinks they are entitled to interfere with police activity, ganging up on the police. This is extremely unsafe for all involved. Contingencies were getting out of hand. I was happy to have the back of the officer, who, I’m also very happy to say, is simply the best at deescalation that I’ve ever come across. All was well.

The day started with the alarm going off at 1:00 AM. Then Mass was offered in the rectory chapel, this time in French. I was tuckered out by the time the Tail of the Dragon and the exorcism and the warrant serving was all done at about 9:30 PM. I have to confess I did not go along to the jail for the delivery of those in cuffs. It probably would have been 1:00 AM again before hitting the hay. So, having been absolved from that, I went back to the rectory and crashed, totally.

All on the “Day Off.” I’m thinking we priests shouldn’t be criticized so much for taking a “Day Off.” I love a “Day Off.”

That’s me. But the experience was slightly different for one of the officers, who was injured, not seriously, but perhaps really seriously, cutting himself with “sharps” that were used by one of those inside. He must have hit a small vein or artery as the blood was flowing quite freely. That sharps were involved could be really serious. That’s something also faced by officers day-in, day-out, as with nurses in hospitals, EMTs, et al.

I must say that I was quite taken by their concern for each other with the various first aid kits flying open, and at the same time how they took this in stride. They are well aware of the sacrifice they might have to make at any time. That says a lot. Truly.

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Filed under Law enforcement, Missionaries of Mercy

“Police Tribute”? Call it “The Striving”

This is a police tribute that forces me to recall advice given to me by one of our best CIA operatives:

  • “Do NOT hold up anyone, putting them on a pedestal impossibly beyond your reach. Instead, just strive to live their example.”

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Filed under Law enforcement, Officer Down!

Andrews NC unanimous: Fr Byers to be first Police Chaplain (I’m humbled)

Humble thanks go to our Police Department, our Chief of Police Michael Hobgood (who, with his words about why we need a chaplain, sets the bar very high indeed), our Mayor James Reid (and his very kind words), and all of our hard working Aldermen. It is a vote of confidence that demands that I strive to live up to expectations. I will do my best.

Some points touched on by the Chief:

  • We need a chaplain because…
    • of some dramatic calls
    • of the officer getting injured
    • of the officer having to shoot someone
    • it all takes a toll on the officer

Let’s review:

Might one think that the video above is a bit too dramatic, the music too adrenaline pushing, somehow glorifying violence (though it’s not; it’s just reality), somehow capitalizing on the adrenaline rush that can come along – going from zero to a hundred in one second in any number of mundane situations such as traffic stops, domestics?

If you think so, erroneously, then do have a listen to “Mike the Cop”, who was inspired to be a cop by his brother, who went into law enforcement before him, and who was shot and killed in the line of duty. Mike rounds out the perspective that you might have not seen above as you’re not in it. But here’s the way it really, really is. I agree with everything Mike says here:

More on the journey of establishing a Police Chaplaincy where there was none before will follow on this blog. That will include commentary on aspects of what a law enforcement chaplain gets himself into.

For now, again, thanks to Chief Hobgood, the guys in the Department, to our Mayor James Reid and all our Aldermen.

 

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Filed under Law enforcement, Missionaries of Mercy

Christmas shooters Hanukkah stabbers: security teams visitors ongoing training

I have much to say about this kind of thing given that DHS has trashed pretty much everything they did have for encouragement of self-protection and training (which was a lot at the time) in favor of ripping everything from their own FEMA and giving it over to a brand new agency that is still in its infancy and still sporting its first Director: CISA. The incredible magnitude of CISA’s effort in so short a time is nothing short of amazing. I’ll get to that in future. For myself, for my parish, for churches and synagogues, I have some practical suggestions at least for this locale. I’ll get to that in future as well, I hope.

For now, I would like to repeat some advice from a previous post on the old FEMA out-of-date and broken-linked effort of more than two years ago, which post has been seen by pretty much every justice department and law enforcement agency from local to state to federal, and has been visited by pretty much every educational institution, private, city, county, or state, from podunk to the ivy league, also internationally, making it one of the most visited posts ever on this blog. That post is now out of date, except for the added advice:

  • I would like to see among first responders to an active shooter critical incident on a church campus my own parishioners who are already on campus, and who are LEOs, military operators, or otherwise highly trained individuals who can instantly respond to and neutralize any threat, that is, those who don’t rest on their laurels, but who are frosty, always and instantly at the ready.
  • I would NOT like to see parishioners participating in this program who have a concealed carry permit but who, other than their first qualification just to sit in the course 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 (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 would like to see the very same parishioners and others help to get those around them out of the building or, if that’s impossible, to the floor, even while getting out their phones and calling 911 and/or (depending on the circumstances and logistics) fighting with anything at hand: hymn books, loose chairs, music stands, instruments… oneself…
  • But here’s where the importance of a plan comes in, when everyone should know their part to play, so that flight or dropping to the floor is important so as to give clear access to defenders who have the proper tools to stop to a threat (regardless of policy on firearms), therefore reducing the possibility of a friendly fire causality. The placement of defenders in good positions of situational awareness and the possibility of responding is key.
  • Flight-hide-fight. This is about love.

But in viewing that church shooting video above, one more point needs to be added. I praise the church for having a security team and for allowing firearms in church for self-defense. That team might have been trained up well. But…

  • There were four fellows who drew their weapons – a couple of them moving from left to right in the foreground aisle – and I don’t know if those latter two were on the security team or not. They could just be visitors trying to help out. They might have been well trained, even military or police, but lost it when the adrenaline hit, perhaps falling back on house clearing training for SWAT or military. But even then – sorry – they’re not doing that well. Those two don’t have a target as the perp is already on the ground behind the pews. Those two are super dangerous to all around them. They’re continuously flagging their fellow parishioners with the muzzles of their own weapons. If that’s just because of adrenaline and they have their fingers on their triggers, they might have extremely easily pulled the trigger in the chaos. If they were that controlled by the adrenaline (and there are ways to control it, and use it), they might just as well have pulled down the muzzle had they had to pull the trigger, again risking hitting not the perp but another parishioner. In this kind of a situation – with no target in sight and lots of people in between – they should have had their weapons high entry, so to speak, not low entry and certainly not aimed right at other parishioners the entire time. It’s high because if you draw up, in this situation, you’re directly flagging the very ones you want to protect.

No one gets out of training. Churches present a different situation from SWAT or military house clearing, as the above video makes evident. Military and Law Enforcement exceptions are not to be made in scenario based training with the exact incident in the video above as evidence of this. Everyone dismisses the soft target as that which is easy to protect. The opposite is true, especially because of this attitude. “I got this!” is the typical exclamation based on truly heroic careers of those who have been highly decorated for their bravery in violent incidents. I get that. It’s the temptation of any and all to rest on their laurels when it comes to soft targets. It is what it is. Unless there is scenario based training also for the differences of high entry and low entry, even the greatest of heroes isn’t to be on the security team. We don’t need anyone thinking “they have this”. Watch those two guys in the foreground of the video above again. That’s as scary as the active shooter guy.

Just because you own a tool doesn’t mean you know how to use it. Even if you have your drills down, that doesn’t mean you have your scenario practice in. And that certainly doesn’t mean you have situational awareness skills or deescalation skills. I’m NOT claiming I’m great at any of those, but I do some study. I try to keep up. I think that’s an obligation for everyone who carries. It’s a service to society to carry. Just make sure you have at least some competence.

Let’s look at some stills:

  • In the picture above the defender in the top middle circle has already taken down the perp and has his weapon pointed at him with clear line of sight. Great!
  • The defender in the white shirt and black vest at the top left has his weapon drawn low entry. Not great for the circumstances. If he does have to draw up, he will have to flag his own parishioners. Not good. He should be high entry. But he’s clearly scanning and taking in the situation as it really is. Perfect. I like this guy.
  • Meanwhile, the guy in the dark maroon shirt has his weapon pointed directly at our defender up top as he moves along flagging everyone in front of him. NOT good at all. I’m guessing he’s a visitor. But even then he should see that the guy up top has dropped the perp and is simply keeping a bead on him, and not shooting others. The defender guy up top is NOT the perp.

Let’s move on a nanosecond:

  • In the picture above we see the defender guy up top still with a bead on the perp, and the guy in the upper left still at low entry – we’ll let that go – but he’s still scanning and evaluating. Great!
  • But the guy in the maroon shirt in the lower center of the above picture is still aiming directly at his security team guy who took down the perp. What the heck? This guy has gotta be a visitor. But even so, he should be noticing the guy to the upper left, where he is instead looking, and note that he’s low entry. But, not at all. This guy in the maroon shirt, in my opinion, is dangerous. Look, I wasn’t there. I wasn’t in the scene. I wasn’t filled with adrenaline. I didn’t suffer tunnel vision. I’m sure the guy means well, but, the point is, he needs some training or retraining for how to do up things in a church.

Let’s move on a nanosecond:

  • The hero defender guy – unmoving – still has a bead on the perp. Great!
  • You would think the guy in the maroon now all the way to the right, would have figured things out by now, but he’s still flagging everyone and still has a bead on the hero defender. Dang. Who the heck is he?
  • The guy in white shirt and black vest in the upper middle left circle, still really low entry now, has already figured out the outcome, light years ahead of the guy in the maroon shirt. Great.
  • Now we see another guy in black to the far left. He’s also flagging everyone, but really seems to be aiming right at the two defender guys in the middle top. Dang. These guys might have plenty of laurels to rest on and be great heroes for whatever they’ve done in the past – even both have Congressional Medals of Honor for that matter – and I’m not denigrating them… it’s just that, seriously, any training has gone out the door and they have no clue as to what they are doing, flagging everyone and not noticing the two defenders are looking somewhere else and NOT shooting anymore. Those three should all be high entry…

What I’m saying is this: Scenario based training in the environment in which you are going to be a defender is important. Churches and synagogues are much different than “kill house” training, you know, house-clearing training. It’s not enough to carry. It’s not enough to know your drills. You have to know how to approach a situation. You have to know how to read a situation.

Again, I’m the armchair pundit here. I’m a zillion miles away from that church. I wasn’t there. I didn’t have the adrenaline pumping. I didn’t suffer from myopic vision because of adrenaline. All I’m saying is that there is a world of difference – easily between life and death – between the two defenders up top and the two to either side. It’s not enough to have a security team even made up of war heroes and law enforcement. This is a different situation. It’s a soft target that’s actually more difficult to defend.

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Filed under Law enforcement, Situational awareness, Terrorism

Officer Mader style deescalation: two anecdotes including suicide by cop

It’s been well over 3 1/2 years ago that Officer Mader put his off-the-charts skill sets in deescalation into action, and saved the life of a guy wanting to do a suicide-by-cop, well, until another officer just shot the guy three times to the body and once to the head (the latter being the instant kill shot). Then Officer Mader was fired for not firing his gun himself. Mader went on to win a $175,000 settlement for wrongful termination. But then he had to move out of his hometown as the harassment was too great for he and his family. “He’s a coward!” it was said. No. Deescalation is not cowardice. It is supreme bravery if the circumstances were right. It just seems that the officer who arrived in media res might have asked what the deal was. Maybe he did. I wasn’t there.

I would like to share just a couple of incidents about deescalation, one related to me by a Sheriff who did the same as Officer Mader as told to me by that Sheriff himself, and another I personally saw during a heavily armed incident. Both stunning stories. I do this because I’ve seen the same off-the-charts skill sets in deescalation more recently. Hugely impressive. Let’s start with something I saw myself:

[1] The above picture is the entrance to the Fijian Parliament. I was there in the year 2000 taking over the courses for the chair of the Scripture department of the Pacific Regional Seminary which is situated to the right just some hundreds of yards away. The problem was that all the students, staff, faculty and administration to a man, to a woman, had all fled as far away as possible, even to their own countries, to avoid a somewhat violent coup d’état with 21 hostages, members of the parliament, including the Prime Minister, that was taking place in the parliament itself.

Being left behind, as it were, and being behind the last military check point, left to the whims of the hostage takers, I decided – me being me – to read all of the Bible, cover to cover, writing marginal notes and cross indexing everything in my mind and on those pages, all while walking the surf on that southeastern seaboard of the tiny country, directly in front of the parliament. :-)

Sometimes I would end up walking along the road that bordered the sometimes too violent surf, even right at the entrance of the parliament itself, even when some of the hostage takers were also out front on the road. At that point, the side of the road sported a smoking, ashen, burned out fruit bar / restaurant, and now mounting skeletons of cattle the hostage takers had been eating. Deescalation skills came in handy a number of times when I was approached. There were plenty of murders around the mostly peaceful country in now extremely tense times.

Then, just from the POV of the picture above, I saw a dozen soldiers on the one side and a dozen on the other aggressively walk-running toward each other just at this point. They all had their rifles brandished in front of them, pointing at each other, yelling whatever it is that one yells in such a situation. I ran to the left of the picture, trying to get cover from any violence that seemed sure to break out, but I must say that I had a front row seat to what would now follow. There were plenty of bullets that would zip through the seminary grounds (also right next to me, repeatedly… ah… that sound of bullets passing by your head…), so it wasn’t as if anyone was hesitant about pulling the trigger for any or no reason.

When they came together I witnessed the most incredible restraint-as-deescalation I have ever seen or can ever imagine seeing. Both sides did a kind of dance in which they would lunge at each other in the air – pointing their rifles directly at the opposition – only to drop their rifles mid-air (still secured by slings) so that their hands were free to grab the ends of the barrels of the rifles of the enemy soldiers pointing right at them. There would be a tussle for the control of weapons, but then the lunger would retreat having yelled some choice words. After some long minutes of this – and it started to get boring even as they got tired of this surreal dance – the verbal assaults turned into a somewhat more intelligible back and forth between the two leaders of the clashing parties. Surely these were demands being made and such like, you know, like delivering pizza, or re-writing the constitution. The Fijian way. Everyone knows everyone. Everyone went to school with everyone. Everyone went through United Nations military training with each other.

In other words, it’s alright to know your enemy, what he will and will not at all do in certain situations. No one was going to fire a weapon in such a situation. Zero chance. Is deescalation by restraint allowed? It can be dangerous, but yes. There may be a life or two lost here or there because of misreading of certain signs or subterfuge about the same, but hundreds or thousands of lives may be saved because of that restraint.

[2] But even more to the point, let’s take a more local law enforcement suicide-by-cop attempt that took place somewhere here in Western North Carolina (I know exactly where) and told to me by the Sheriff involved, who did the same thing as Officer Mader in the video above. That Sheriff has been reelected many times.

What happened was that the perp had purposely caused a scuffle in town, waiting for law enforcement to show up. It was the Sheriff himself. The perp ran to the nearest creek, some 1,600 feet. The Sheriff caught him, but he broke loose and jumped in the creek, now brandishing a gun and shooting “at” the Sheriff. I put “at” in scare quotes because the shots were way wide. The Sheriff immediately understood that the guy meant him no harm, but was wanting a suicide-by-cop. The Sheriff then went in after him, the perp continuing to pull the trigger, firing more shots “at” the Sheriff. The Sheriff simply tackled him, took the gun, and dragged the perp to the river bank, cuffing him and marching him back into town. The guy goes to jail. A year later, the perp asked to see the Sheriff, who went to see his “assailant.” Sure enough, the perp admitted he had been attempting to do a suicide-by-cop, and thanked the Sheriff for having saved his life with restraint as deescalation. Amazing.

The thing is, you have to keep level headed in such situations. You have to have lots of scenario training, including suicide-by-cop training. Not having that doesn’t make for a happy ending. But sometimes there are those who are super trained up:

So, however sad the situation, that was really funny. Hahahahaha. Sorry, I played this multiple times. I laughed every time.

I mean, just think about it. How many suicide-by-cop incidents, with the perp brandishing a gun, have resulted in no one being injured. Quite a few. Remember the one in which the guy just sat in a chair on the middle of a road after a spat with his girlfriend and brandished a gun? They didn’t shoot him. They knew what was going on. They quietly got a sniper in place. The sniper guy shot and hit the trigger mechanism of the gun, making the gun fly out of his hands. The perp guy didn’t even lose any fingers. But maybe some departments don’t have snipers, etc., etc. I know. I know.

And, yes, I know, all cases are different and very many times you do have to pull the trigger on someone regardless of what they say or do signifying a suicide-by-cop attempt. They are just too dangerous, too out of control, too wild. It is what it is.

Analogy with all matters spiritual in evangelization: Do we ever dismiss anyone ever because they seem to have gone too far, that they are too far gone? It’s not to be done. Our Lord is working on everyone. As long as we are alive, that in itself is proof that our Lord is giving us a chance to get to heaven.

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Filed under Deescalation, Humor, Law enforcement, Situational awareness, Suicide

Officer Paul Perrette – RIP

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I noticed this in the territory of the parish for the first time the other day up Junaluska Road East of Andrews. He didn’t make it on to the ODMP as it seems his was not a LODD. He was not part of our Police Dept, serving elsewhere. He was on a motorcycle and this stretch of road is notoriously dangerous. I can think of a number of scenarios. Whatever way an officer dies we honor his life of service and mourn his passing. Thanks, Officer Perrette. RIP

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Filed under Law enforcement