“I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves.”
“Dispatch, please tell my family I love them.”
“I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves.”
“Dispatch, please tell my family I love them.”
I was following these guys for miles, nicely, a long way’s back. Meanwhile, they were always within a few yards of each other, going way below the speed limit. They sped up in the picture above to 11 miles below the speed limit. O.K. But’s a long passing zone, straight up a really steep mountain, but plenty of room to pass. I thought it would be within acceptable politeness rules of the road to pass them up and leave them to their bumper hugging. But then a warning side-swipe followed immediately by a brake-check:
With no one coming I just slammed on the brakes and let them go their merry way, still hugging each others bumpers, neither of them passing one another, both still going way below the speed limit. Strange. Ah well! An occasion to say a prayer for them, or two. And that’s what I did. I was in no rush. It’s always better to just have a pleasant day, and to put an emphasis on how to deescalate whatever unknown situation one might come across. After all. This was my day-off.
I feel sorry for cops who gotta actually pull over these kind of drivers and walk up to their windows. You don’t know what drinking they’ve done, what drugs they are on, what rage against themselves and the world they are going through, what kind of stories with which they are burdened, wanting to dump that all on someone else, anyone else. Cars make people feel they are powerful. For those on the receiving end, like the police, this is the most dangerous thing in the world.
I took this picture yesterday. It’s one of those impossible coincidences that happen to me all the time. I knew the people involved, that is, if they are same ones I had talked with quite a number of times over the space of months a while back. I guess these kind of coincidences make things come full circle, maybe so that I can pray for them, maybe to teach me that everyday interactions with people can be important because you don’t know when life is going to radically change or be finished in this world.
There are four or five cruisers at the top of the far hill and another half dozen in front of a residence with all sorts of ambulances and law enforcement vehicles frantically moving to diverse staging areas all around, sirens blaring and blue lights alerting.
The offending residence is catty-corner from Sharing House and behind The Haven homeless hostel and the Bread of Life soup kitchen where I would volunteer for years.
I was interested in buying a woods-trailer that was out on their side yard with a For Sale sign slapped on it. Knocking on the door… Nothing… Knocking… Voices inside… Nothing… This went on for some weeks when I would be at the soup kitchen and when I would want to bother about the trailer again. Finally, a twenty-something kid cracked the door and asked what I wanted. I expressed interest in the trailer. He came out and we discussed through his broken English the shape it was in, with me wanting it to actually work with real tires and working lights in the back so that it was roadworthy enough to get to the hermitage. This conversation took some months, with me checking on the progress of any work on the trailer. I was in no rush.
During this time we also talked about life in Honduras, where they were all from, and life in this house. We talked about their crossing the border, blah blah blah. We talked about the soup kitchen (which detectives would visit now and again, so they avoided that), and going to church. He knew I was a priest. The very distinct impression I was getting in the midst of all this is that this was not a family house, nor were the other guys in this packed house even his friends. It seemed instead to be a safe house for a gang, a gang from Honduras. Lemme see…. that would be…. MS-13? I don’t know. What do I know? Nothing. But I do know that you never have friends in gangs, ever. Impossible. There’s always a threat of death over you.
This guy was filled with fear. But he wanted money for the trailer. I was about ready to sign the papers (I wanted it to be official as it was something that would travel on the road with a licence plate on the back, with inspections, etc.), and said that when I came back with a notarized statement I would just knock at the door again.
“No!” he said, alarmed. “Don’t come to the door. If I’m outside, then I’m outside.” As he said this he half looked at the house. I knew that whatever it was that was going on inside wasn’t good and the situation was deteriorating. I gave up when he said he wasn’t going to attempt to make the trailer any more roadworthy and when the “Tag Office” as they call it here in N.C., said that the name wasn’t matching the trailer. That was a while back.
That was it with me and them, until I now pass by, my attention taken by fired bullets. Of course, maybe they had moved out and nothing was wrong except someone with a bunch of firecrackers. But someone running from the scene spoke of a shoot out and Latinos in that house. But it could be anything, right? Sigh. Hail Mary…
I went up to our tiny “police station” (more like a couple of rooms in “city hall”) last week to invite our new police force to the Knights of Columbus Fish Fry which raises funds for some really good charities. This picture was taken through the exterior door which may as well have been welded shut months ago for all the times it has ever been opened, like never. That’s not really a complaint. We’re just going though some tough times. People can only do the possible.
As I found out, it’s useless to invite anyone to anything on a Friday as no one is even in-state on Fridays, and none of the police work on weekends, ever. Talk about an invitation to make Andrews a weekend playground for criminals, either locals or out-of-state knuckleheads. Friday through Sunday are the most busy days for our drug factories / distribution centers. But, I hope, that is about to change quite radically.
As seems to happen a lot, everything has changed once again:
This will all help us to settle down a bit. It’s been crazy, and, because of that, unnecessarily dangerous for the police doing a stop or a call. It was basically useless to call in: “Officer requires assistance” or “Officer needs backup.” That situation is untenable. Even an “officer down” alert could take 15 to 45 minutes for a response. But now we might be doing a little better, perhaps. Police lives do matter. We need to act in accord with that fact. We’re getting better. We’re moving forward. That’s good. But it really shouldn’t be on a continuum scale. Either we do things with at least a minimum of safety or we don’t do them at all. Police lives do matter, don’t they? It shouldn’t be a question, just a statement.
I don’t want to put on another seven county tri-state Officer Down Memorial Dinner that includes tolling out the names and end-of-duty dates for Andrews Police…
Anyway, and I could be wrong on this, but I’m wondering whether this means that applications are once again being taken for another Police Chief… Anyone want a real challenge?
Last night we had a Fathers Day party in the parish hall. Really wonderful. Packed. Lots of great fellowship. After a great meal and a “three milk” cake (that’s the best), I started chatting with one of the guys, a Mexican, you know, without papers. Today he mows lawns for a living. He told me a story about what life was like in his state in Mexico. Calling to mind commentary one sometimes hears, it seems that prejudice might dictate that he’s a criminal low-life who is illiterate, perhaps a member of a cartel, surely a drug dealer. Hah!
He said he got a phone call one day. It was one of the kidnappers of his daughter. That’s the nightmare phone call no parent ever wants to get. The kidnappers wanted Mex$ 220,000.00 or they would kill his daughter. I asked him if he paid. He laughed, shaking his head in derision of my stupidity, saying “No! Never!” Instead, he himself then made a call to some friends, Mexican State Police. They then explained the matter to the kidnappers in person. ;-) His daughter was set free, safe and sound. You see, our lawn-mower friend is himself Mexican State Police with half a lifetime of experience, highly tactically trained, equivalent to one of our special ops guys, martial arts, weapons, tactics. I asked him if he would like me to have a chat with the Sheriff here. He would be a treasure for us. He jumped at the idea but wonders how the bureaucracy would work. I’m sure something can be done about his lack of papers. He’s been here some 13 years, pays his taxes and his ‘wait in line’ fees, blah blah blah. And he can get plenty of super excellent job refs from both here and the Mexican government. So… nothing is ever as it seems. He’s the guy who, instead, might be giving one of the locals a ticket or handing over a warrant. I love it. ;-)
This morning Trump told Steve Ducey for FoxNews that Strzok’s continued employment in the FBI, and now in Human Resources, is even worse than the previous situation. I feel vindicated for the following comment I made already some four months ago on Strzok being moved into HR, a manipulation which seems so malicious that those hired, promoted or moved about by Strzok should have a cloud over them until they are re-vetted after Strzok is entirely removed from government service:
///// That comment above, btw, was picked up by the FBI’s CJIS, namely, the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services [“Fairmont”] (that’s interesting), and then by what seems to be a most influential conservative think tank, that is, for policy within the present administration. ;-)
It might be argued that a priest shouldn’t talk about unpleasant topics because that somehow besmirches him, but a priest would be besmirched in my opinion if he didn’t talk about the darkest of humanity’s existential peripheries so as to see about addressing the problem. You can’t solve the problem unless you can name it and address it, right? Saying that priests should just be wusses and stand on the sidelines is NOT the way to go about things.
It might be argued that a priest shouldn’t talk about politics, as he is likely to alienate people from much more important religious matters, and therefore he is risking their eternal salvation for the sake of few banal comments on a few banal matters. This Catholic priest thinks that he has the right to talk about purely banal matters, being a tax-paying citizen, about whether or not, for instance, a road needs repaving before hiring more police, what with arguments about car-size potholes ending lives or lack of police who could have been there to slow people down coming to the fore depending on one’s point of view.
But some matters are both political and moral and therefore belonging both to the natural law and also to religion, God having created nature, after all. Thus, the morality of genocide, for instance, while being supported by politicians on one side of the political spectrum (Democrats, as demonstrated in the video above), is also a topic that a minister can validly address. God will be the judge if one is for or against, campaigns for or against, facilitates or places obstacles over against, for instance, genocide.
Sometimes certain matters are so important that methods of teaching that are out of the ordinary are called for. For instance, read a classic teaching-by-way-of-baiting event in Mark 3:1ff or Luke 6:6ff, when Jesus purposely called into the midst the man with the withered hand, curing him and making the others absolutely livid, furious, inciting their willful murderous intent so that they could see just how bad and evil they already were. Hah! “Oh, but, Father George! Baiting like that is mean! Jesus is a meanie!” No. Jesus was teaching truly horrifically cruel people a lesson. Period.
Recently I wrote a post about the genocide of the Cherokee promoted by Democrat Andrew Jackson. I compared the praise he lavished on those who took the land compared to some of those who took the land, the Scots-Irish. I’m also Scots-Irish, as I’ve redundantly pointed out on this blog (redundant because the name and family clan of Byers is, like, the definition of what a Scots-Irish person is). The baiting was to get a reaction to whatever the reader thought might be important, because, truth be told, I’m quite afraid that the same Democrat Andrew Jackson kill-em-all attitude is still to be found in abundance in this region. But sometimes it needs a bit of baiting to bring it out for all to see, including the people who, even unbeknownst to themselves, are genocidal without knowing it. It’s important to know who’s who. Law enforcement agencies do this kind of thing all the time, say, detectives, say, the FBI, say, the DEA, et alii. All the time. But, hey! You can even bait the baiters…
I would have hoped that it would be agreed that Andrew Jackson’s call for genocide was a terrible mar upon American history. But I thought, rightly, that some might take the bait and, revealing who they are in a comment, demonstrate that the only important thing for them is not that genocide began here, but that some among the Scots-Irish might have been criticized, I mean, like, you know, even the point of name calling, and in their opinion, entirely wrongly. Oooo! Name calling! “You, you, you, human being you!” I need to put up a post I wrote long ago about the name calling wrought by Jesus and His cousin John the Baptist. They’re the biggest name callers of all time because, truth be told, they were right both logically and morally and with integrity and honesty and goodness and kindness of actually taking people seriously enough to tell the truth. I’m not as proficient at name calling as they were, but – hey! – one can try!
Anyway, I won’t approve that one particular comment or reveal who that person is, you know, unless it appears they are going to continue some violence on the Cherokee or anyone not themselves, like the Latinos.
I’ll have to write a post about someone here – super intelligent – who was seriously rationalizing with the most refined moral argumentation the gunning down of Latinos in Graham County just to do it. Think about that. It’s reminiscent of 1920s Germany, you know, the lead-up. But I digress. Though not really. Oh! What’s this:
From Behind the Badge OC. Editor’s Note: The grand opening of Golden West College’s Criminal Justice Training Center (CJTC) was held April 10. The keynote speaker was the Hon. Associate Justice William W. Bedsworth, Fourth District Court of Appeal. The video was provided by GWC. BehindtheBadgeOC.com is publishing Associate Justice’s Bedsworth’s speech in its entirety, along with video. His speech perfectly captures how today’s law enforcement officers have to be vastly more equipped than their counterparts in the past. Here is a slightly edited text of Associate Justice Bedsworth’s speech:
“I know those of you in uniform probably feel like you’ve already had to listen to me too much in your career. I have both good news and bad news. The good news is they’ve only given me 10 minutes. The bad news is they’ve given me 10 minutes.
“I’ve been given the honor of joining all of you today and I want to use those 10 minutes to make some points about the need filled by this spectacular facility. I was born in 1947. I was a boy in the ’50s. John Murphy, my next-door neighbor and godfather, was an LAPD sergeant. His equipment consisted of a .38 special revolver, a billy, a flashlight, and a pair of handcuffs.
“The people who are trained here will be equipped with a .9mm semi-auto, 14-round sidearm. They will carry multiple magazines, double handcuffs, a tear gas canister, a baton, a handheld radio, a Taser, a flashlight, a voice-activated audio recorder, a body camera, a tactical knife, and a hidden backup pistol.
“In their trunk will be a shotgun, a patrol rifle and a patrol bag full of report forms, first aid kits, and a dozen other items John Murphy never imagined. They will be expected to know how and when to use all of those things.
“Sgt. Murphy had been trained to drive and to shoot. He had not learned artificial respiration. He knew nothing about CPR or the use of a defibrillator. He never saw an upper-body protection vest. He never used a computer to check a record or registration. Those tools and the expertise necessary to use them were science fiction to him. His knowledge of search and seizure law was rudimentary.
“Mapp vs. Ohio had not yet been decided, so very little evidence was being excluded on the basis of Fourth Amendment violations. He did not know the Miranda warnings because Miranda had not been decided until 1966, the year he retired.
“He knew nothing about detention law, because Terry vs. Ohio was not decided until two years after that. He did not know how the rights of high school students differed from the rights of adults because nobody knew that until the Supreme Court told us in TLO vs. New Jersey in 1985.
“The men and women who go through their training here will be able to debate the finer points of all of those court decisions and dozens of others and hold their own with any lawyer. They have to be able to do that to do the job correctly.
“Sgt. Murphy knew almost nothing about crime scene preservation or trace evidence, blood spatter interpretation, fingerprints lifted with chemical fumes, obtaining evidence from cell phones — cell phones themselves were all things none of us even imagined when the first academies began going through the facilities here at Golden West in 1969.
“When this college opened in the 1960s, the letters DNA were juxtaposed only on monogram sleeves. I was the first judge to rule on DNA evidence in Orange County and that was in the late ’80s.
“Law enforcement changes hourly, folks. It is no easier to keep up with the changes in law enforcement than it is to keep up with changes in medicine or physics or biology or ballistics or pharmacology. All of which, by the way, are things the modern police officer must know a lot about — must learn and relearn constantly.
“Do you think that’s an exaggeration? Those of you not in uniform, ask yourself about the changes in the last eight years. How much did you know about methamphetamine in 2010? How much did you know about AR-15s five years ago? How much did you know about sniper scopes and bullet trajectories before the Mandalay Bay massacre? How much did you know about opioids two years ago? How much did you know about bump stocks and high-capacity magazines a year ago?
“Every day, every time a cop picks up a paper or watches the news, she learns about something else she will have to know about probably before her next shift. The amount of education and reeducation our police must assimilate every day is staggering. It requires literally, and I emphasize, I mean this literally, not figuratively, it requires literally more daily re-education than a doctor or lawyer ever needs to do his or her job, and when a peace officer applies that reeducation, he or she has to be a psychologist, a pharmacologist, a teacher, a counselor, a lawyer, an EMT, and a bad-ass superhero, probably all during one shift.
“It has always been a tough job. Long before anyone had ever heard of Stefan Clark or could find Ferguson, Missouri on a map, law enforcement was a brutally difficult way to make a living.
“Well, for one thing, the Constitution — our police take an oath to defend — was devised by rebels. Our founding fathers were protesters. Think of the Boston Tea Party and the Bunker Hill massacre. Those were protesters. They were men who had been oppressed and subjugated and they were determined it was never going to happen again.
“So when they won the revolution, they instituted a system designed to restrain their new government, designed to make sure that they would never be oppressed by the government again. The whole system is set up to exalt the individual and to limit the government.
“Folks, the United States of America is the only place on the planet where in a case called Miranda vs. the State, Miranda wins. That’s what the revolutionary army fought and died for, and that’s what our police protect.
“When you represent the government in a system like that, you have to know it’s going to be difficult and it is. It is as difficult a job as there is on this planet.
“Imagine doing what you do. I don’t know what your job is. Whatever your job is, imagine doing it with people throwing rocks at you, people spitting on you, people trying to kill you, and then think about what their job description is.
“Their job description, these people in uniform, is putting your life on the line every day for strangers, dealing with the mentally ill, mediating domestic violence, counseling child molestation victims, consoling the bereaved, pulling people out of burning vehicles, chasing psychopathic 15-year-olds down blind, dark alleys, knowing they have a gang (and) gun, but they don’t yet have a conscience.
“What kind of person takes that job?
“I don’t understand it. I’ve never understood it. My jobs have required me to study cops for 37 years. I’ve worked with them. I’ve played ball with them. I’ve drunk beer with them. I’ve laughed with them, I’ve cried with them, I’ve celebrated with them, and I’ve suffered with them, but I have never for a single moment understood them.
“I cannot imagine what kind of person does all the things they do for a society of strangers, 3 million of us in this county who they will never meet, but for whom they are always committed. Always there. Always ready.
“It’s not a job, folks. It’s a calling, and if you haven’t been called, you can’t understand those who have been. So, I no longer try to understand them. I just thank the Lord for continuing to turn them out and I suggest you do the same.
“And as long as I’m giving thanks, I thank all of you for supporting them. I thank all of you for supporting endeavors like this spectacular new facility, I thank you for making sure they will have the training and support they need for this complicated job.
“I thank you for continuing to encourage our best young people to take up this work and I thank you for giving me 10 minutes to express my thanks to you and to them.
With the above, I’m a looking at number 7. How about you? But it’s one in a zillion that you shoot into a barrel of water. With the more realistic chart below, I’m still looking at the same round in row 2, staying with the 9mm. But here, row 3, the last of the 9mm, an overpressure round (+P) in the chart, seems to hold up a bit better. But there are pros and cons.
Steve is from California and he somehow, despite that, knows about guns and ammo in extreme detail. I’m guessing he’s a LEO instructor of some kind. He hails from […]. I’d love to get some practical range tips from him. In lieu of that, he offers some advice. Let’s take a look:
I’m not an armorer, so, this will have to go back to Smyna. But that’s O.K., I didn’t do that 10th floor thing at the State Department in Atlanta the last time I was down. This comment gives me hope. I thought it was something with the slide itself. The slide stop does, in fact, seem weirdly loose. But what do I know. The Glock guy should’ve caught it. But we’ll see what he says.
I agree with that. No paranoia. Situational awareness is all about deescalation. Paranoia is about escalation on purpose, ironically. But, when it comes down to it, we are to use the fear we cannot deny; we use that fear with the adrenaline rush with all its wanted consequences for effective action. Please see (when I used bigger targets):
I love the biblical citation from the psalms also found in compline, night prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours. Is Steve a chaplain?
For these types of ammo, see the charts above. Steve is exactly right. I’ll have to cycle out my personal defense rounds (mere Winchester 115 grain hollow point that are very roughly made, with all sorts of manufacturing defects, of wildly varying lengths for instance). Having used them for target practice, I’ll have to find where I can get my hands on these LEO rounds. Not the usual Walmart stock. But the Speer GD 124+P scares me a bit.
This Iranian smooth-talker tough guy is talking his country into pre-emptive strikes on all nuclear facilities, even suspected, everywhere in Iran, no matter where they are located with human shields or whatever. This is Iran’s response to Netanyahu’s intelligence victory over Iran.
This recalls what you should never do when you’re caught out. We can all do this. It’s all at the level of Psych 101 in Junior High School. Lots of “grownups” seem to have missed out on that course.
The next time you want to feel entitled not to take care of what you must fix, don’t try to get out of it with simple emotional aggression especially when those catching you out have you dead cold. It’s the kind of thing we would all terribly regret doing ten minutes later.
Iran is a world powerhouse of architectural and historical culture. But now they are reduced to tantrums. I bet they are regretting all this just like this girl must be. I’m guessing she’s really a nice person but is just suffering one of the worst days of her life thus far:
We had a Knights of Columbus Fish Fry April 20, 2018 at Holy Redeemer parish in Andrews, N.C., so as to raise money for the local Special Olympics. I would have to be there, of course, just then, in the parking lot to go up to the parish hall. As I got out of my car, a jogger, say, in his sixties, jogged up to me, stopped, and we had this conversation:
He could see that I was a priest with all the black and the Roman collar, and that I was physically at that moment at that parish, obviously, but he still wasn’t sure of my identity (I could be a guest priest after all), so he asked if his prior knowledge of my name was correct, you know, after my denial about working on LMFBRs.
interrogations – err… – conversations are in store for me. “Researching”, mind you, on LMFBRs doesn’t refer to summaries of the history or findings of others throughout the decades, (what a waste of time that would be) but rather on the LMFBRs themselves, which is the only way to do anything, the only reason why anyone’s knowledge would have any value whatsoever. Maybe he’s offering me a job. Could be about doing active research, could be about doing something about some LMFBRs in some other way. But maybe asking about someone’s wherewithal with LMFBRs in whatever way just to do it is a normal thing at the ol’ fish-fry, right? I mean that’s a normal conversation to have, right? Maybe it’s a task to accomplish as a favor, and then, maybe, Main State will listen to a request of mine. We’ll see.
But I still expect this guy to come back with his friends and have a wee chat with me. Blog posts like this are merely one of those nothing is as it seems things, right?
I was with our famous church secretary the other day (a witness!) when a call came in on my cell phone (an Android with all the google stuff) from friends of Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest (in the parish). Kilmer died young in World War I by way of sniper fire. He was perhaps the most famous Catholic poet of his day. The guy on the phone wants me to give a kind of eulogy for Kilmer on July 30 2018 coming up. I’ll meet up with him today.
After my phone call with him was over, like only about 30 seconds later, a notification came in my phone. Google location whatever it is wanted my opinion not just on Nantahala National Forest, but specifically on Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest. Really?
So, they surveil all phone calls, turning them into text and shoving that txt through their algorithms. Wow. That’s information for sale, right? FaceBook lost over 100 Billion dollars overnight just now because of these kind of shenanigans. Let’s see what happens with almighty Google. Isn’t this wiretapping? But, as it is, this is much more valuable to that which Snowden was against. Google’s free to go, I would say. Heck, Google just hands all this stuff over just to do it.
Anyway, I don’t have tracking turned on. I don’t have location turned on. I don’t want to give any opinions about locations to Google. I certainly don’t want to give Google opinions about phone calls I make right after I make them. I don’t know how to shut all that off. It seems anything relevant is already off. They don’t seem to give the option not to give opinions except when Google asks the question.
Anyway, I don’t care so much for myself. My life is so very very very much an open book forever and ever. But other people might care for their own business models, and whatever. Information is gold as business people say. It seems the Constitution of these USA means absolutely nothing, not to business freakoids, not to law enforcement up top.
If you google – Arnaud Beltrame Hero – you’ll get the story about his taking the place of an ISIS hostage in a supermarket just the other day in southern France, a boring little out of the way supermarket like any other as in any small town anywhere in the world. Here’s that supermarket, your supermarket:
Arnaud Beltrame is just another guy with a bit of military background like most Law Enforcement Officers anywhere in the world. But just another guy, Catholic, as most people are in France. The ISIS guy shot him four times and, by the way, no, he did not get the opportunity to get sacramentally married before he died from those wounds).
We recall Maximilian Kolbe taking the place of a fellow prisoner facing execution. Yet, the response is muted by a lot of conservative Catholic blogs. He was civilly married, though on his way to a sacramental marriage. I was a priest in France for two years but I wasn’t responsible for marriage prep and don’t know if getting civilly married means anything. In some places it doesn’t mean you are living together, just that you have an intention to get sacramentally married sometime in the foreseeable future. He had some 30 hours of prep time put in, his pastor “accompanying” them (ooooh, Amoris laetitia). I assume with all that prep time that this couple was living chastely and had always done so. But even if they were not – he in that case being no Maximilian Kolbe before his death – I would still nevertheless assume that he went right off to heaven with this selfless act of love.
Arnoud Beltrame laying down his life for someone under his protection – he being a Law Enforcement Officer – has done what Jesus calls the greatest act of love. That’s God saying that:
“This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:12-13)
Oh, and let’s not forget what we read elsewhere as inspired by the Holy Spirit:
“Above all, let your love for one another be intense, because love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaining.” (1 Peter 4:8-9)
Question from a reader: Can we ask for prayers for him?
Answer: Why would you want to do that?
I mean, sure, go ahead. Yes. Pray for him. And, by golly, there will be a massive funeral like France hasn’t seen for perhaps a half century or more for Arnoud Beltrame. Great!
But here’s how I think that will go. Those prayers and that Mass will go for those in purgatory, but not him. Indeed, I think Jesus will laugh at the attempt of such prayers and ask you if you are serious about that. Why oh why shouldn’t this guy go straight to heaven? I can’t imagine that he wouldn’t, you know, taking Jesus’ words seriously. Fulton Sheen once said about another soul that was controversial: “Upon hearing of his death, I firstly prayed first for the repose of his soul, and then I immediately prayed to him.”
I suppose I will be condemned by ultra-traditional-ism-ists for playing a dark side of Amoris laetitia. But, no. That’s not the way it is. I suppose I will be condemned by ultra-liberal-ism-ists for not confirming everything they exaggerate in Amoris laetitia for their own dark ends. And I’m good with that condemnation by them.
OK, now let’s give the proper direction to this event
There are lots of words being thrown about, like “hero,” and I agree entirely, and with that I would also point to similar selfless accomplishments of Arnoud Beltrame in the military. Really, very impressive. I rejoice in all that for him. What a great guy.
But in saying those things we had better not be “building the tombs of the prophets” in all hypocrisy, running away from doing the necessary when it is our turn. I dread my weakness and ask my guardian angel to help me in such a situation. Exclaiming “He’s a hero” is not about us basking in the limelight simply because we are the one’s voicing words like “hero.” As one operator of operators told me (“The Guy”), having a hero is not about lifting someone up; it’s about striving to follow their example.
Personally, I have a profound reverence for Arnoud Beltrame. O.K. We pray for him: Hail Mary… And now, I say: Arnould! Pray for me! Pray for us!
Remember my “Shadow”? He’s the guy who stole my identity decades ago to get a clean identity to travel under so as to do arms transfers to straw purchasers for upstart cartels, specifically that of Sinaloa. He was a program runner for DoS shenanigans, inextricably entrenched under my name. He wants to send monthly “payments” to me. For what? Paying me for the use of my identity to commit crimes? Thirty pieces of silver for all those murdered with the AK-47s and mountains of ammo he transferred to the worst murderers South of the border? [By the way, these interdepartmental State Department programs are never about just guns, but rather about disrupting governments and economies. Giving weapons to the most adept murderers really helps.] For years, my “Shadow” wanted me to purchase vehicles for him, put my name on his properties, get a property for him in my parish right now. I’ve never done any of those things and none of these “payments” are for any of that. He says that the amount will be at least as much as 8% of his adjusted gross income. If your bleeding heart bleeds for this never repented guy and you are making excuses for him and you think he’s ever so sweet and nice and that I’m just an ol’ meanie who needs to give it all a break, take a breath. Having done that…
If you know what the rules are for Federal Income tax right now in these USA, just stare at that 8% for a moment and figure out what he’s doing, I mean, you know, considering that I’m a pastor of a 501c3 church. Money laundering. Get it? It falls under the RICO act (racketeer influenced corrupt organizations act). I mean, did I extort him for “payments” as a way to get back at him in some way? Anyway, I expect all that from him. So when I see rubbish like this, what I do is not stare at him, stunned by his behavior; instead, I look with disgust at Main State. They know this is going on, laughing. It’s their program. Great headline though: Pope Francis’ Jewish-Catholic-Priest Missionary of Mercy imprisoned for racketeering. The State Department owes it to me to get me out of this.
They know the bit of blue I want. They all have it.
It would solve really a lot of things.
Like Stzrok and McCabe and Comey and the whole sorry lot of the them in upper hierarchy of the FBI, Main State bad actors are plenteous. They made a mistake on 28 and 30 June 2017. There are recordings. I won’t give up. My going to prison, framed, won’t stop me. To the FBI and Main State: go ahead and ask Secretary Mike Pompeo and Director Gina Haspel when they get confirmed for a summary of my case and that of my “Shadow.” Can’t do it, can you? It would devolve back on you, wouldn’t it? A little too much Fast and Furious? Pope Francis is right about the sin of corruption. Hey! I’m all about forgiveness, but as John the Baptist says: Bear the fruits of repentance.
I was out on Communion calls on Sunday, getting on toward a couple hundred miles in this expansive parish, when I wound up behind this guy, and not for the first time, and it’s always the same with this guy: all over the road, over the double yellow or with a tire in the ditch. Weave, weave, weave. You would think he was drunk. But, I think not. Or maybe an angry drunk.
You can’t really tell, but when I’m behind him he always seems to be leaning way over into the passenger seat, yelling down into the seat at what must be just a little kid. I mean, it’s really ugly, like you wouldn’t be surprised if you were to see a little kid thrown right through the closed window and into the ditch.
But then! Then he turns off, always into the same driveway, and is immediately followed by what looks to be a deputy in an unmarked black Suburban with super-blackened windows. Hopefully he’s getting nailed for something, like a custody kidnapping. But, what do I know? Maybe he was yelling at pet goldfish. It’s just that it reminds me of when I was a kid and was in untoward situations in untoward vehicles. Bad stuff happens. I got out of it. I don’t know about this kid. It seems to happen a lot. I’m rarely on that road, and there’s a quantifiable percentage of times that this scenario plays out with this same vehicle, which would mean that it happens a lot more than just when I happen to be on that road impossibly coincidentally behind this very guy. It’s stuff I hate to see. But maybe he’s in prison now.
A 29 year old woman just got murdered up the street from the rectory. A quiet small town and all that. Someone said that this part of town changed about ten years ago, for the worse.
The ex-con, who, it is said, also stabbed a dog to death a while back, is a felon, but he had a gun with which he shot the woman to death. He didn’t get his gun legally. There are already laws about felons not getting guns. Criminals don’t care about laws. That’s why they are criminals. His bail is fully a million dollars. But that doesn’t mean he won’t be out on bail. I think that anyone who treats animals badly is extremely likely to treat human beings in the same way.
We now have a police chief, not yet certified to make an arrest. He lives in another state. We have no officers. We do have a State Troopers office in town now, but there might be only one Trooper assigned for three counties at any given time. And in North Carolina the Troopers are not police. They’re assigned to traffic only. There are deputies in the county, but perhaps only three on duty at any given time of the night anywhere else in our expansive mountain county.
One of my shut-ins who lives just through the back yards of where the murder took place lives alone and is ultra-feeble and has no family in the area. I told her that if someone is breaking into her home that she is firstly to call 911 and then call me and then call 911 again. That doesn’t make me a vigilante, just a capable friend looking out for a friend. Do you have someone who will look after you when law enforcement is only hours away?
Oh. One last thing. Don’t ask for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee, for me. Are you ready? Am I? This guy could have gone after anyone at any time…
No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were: any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.
It’s now Friday evening in Lent. Time for a Knights of Columbus Fish Fry, the Adoration with Stations of the Cross. Jesus stepped into this violence so as to bring us heaven. Having the faith is so very important. What would we do without hope. Last Friday evening our little church was jammed with people. We want Jesus!
Shadow-dog’s “cover identity” is being an ultra-soccer superstar. He’s really quite incredibly good at nudging the ball along in any direction on the inside of his ankles. He likes to carry the ball to Laudie-dog and nudge her with it. He’s baiting Laudie-dog into a game of soccer in the picture. Laudie’s not budging, having temporarily taken over Shadow-dog’s doghouse, with a smirk.
When no one is looking (Shadow-dog having perfect situational awareness), he tunnels. It’s a thing for him. There is “wall” technology that has finally been deployed to frustrate active breaching of the perimeter, old steel down-spouts from one of the Catholic churches of the diocese, just enough to add another layer of border fencing strategy.
It’s not that Shadow-dog couldn’t scale the wall, so to speak, in a nano-second, but it just something to keep honest dogs honest. Otherwise, he might get into all sorts of perceived trouble with the neighbor’s dog, with the neighbor’s gardens, with nervous humans. He’s happy to be an honest Shadow-dog, staying inside. But that doesn’t mean he can’t show me that he knows also how to tunnel out if need be. Mind you, it wouldn’t be a tunnel just to get out, but also to get back in. Shadow-dog knows he belongs here now. And he’s happy with that.
There is an analogy with how the dear Lord and our guardian angels deal with us, helping us to understand about what a sense of belonging means in heaven and while we are still in exile here upon earth.
As many others, I have my own opinions about any border wall. Animals are one thing. Human beings are another. These opinions of mine are nuanced by present realities which change everything. What we would like to be the case regarding human relations is hardly the same as what we need to do with a de facto situation.
Let’s say you’ve just been tasked with finding “the next school shooter™.” if such a creature exists in your school. You’re on the look out, but you are dismayed that the indicators such as mental illness that you were counting on to make your life easy to CYA are really difficult to assess. Those who would have gone to their school counselor to have a chat about some issue or other now hesitate because they are afraid that they’ll be labeled for life as being “the next school shooter™.” Education about getting advice is the way to go, of course. Great! You say you’re only looking for “the next school shooter™” so that students will feel comfortable about discussing other issues. But it also means that “the next school shooter™” will avoid counselors like the plague.
In the graphic exercise above, find the dog among the pandas. It’s really easy. The pandas are all nice and, for that matter, the dog is really nice too.
Find him? Congratulations! The guy in Florida was predicted. “I’m gonna do it.” That was ignored because everyone is entitled to be a jerk. But the shooter often doesn’t turn out to be the odd dog out, but just another panda that looked like all the other pandas. What to do?
The Las Vegas shooter, Stephen Paddock, to date – at the time of this writing some five months later – did not have any discernible motive, according to the usual pundits anyway. It depends on what the criteria for motivation are. I wrote about that: Stephen Paddock’s motivation and our motivation in not finding his motivation.
The problem in these United States especially with the policies of our education system is that we think that best practices for assessing students are to be structured first of all by thinking of students as the picture above, vacuous Styrofoam no-identity zombies, whether pandas or dogs, precisely the kind of Styrofoam person for whom the vacuum is filled by “power” with no structure. The lashing out is a complaint that they have been stripped of the one bit of education without which all else is nothing: identity, character. If the one thing that is hailed as virtuous is to have no identity and no character, you will see power with no structure.
It’s happened before.
The late 1960s and 1970s saw pop-psychology zero-identity, zero-character aficionados become the gate-keepers of Catholic seminaries. If any applicant had indicators that he might not be a team player, might not be always and in every way be totally politically correct with anyone and everyone, someone who was not merely vacuous Styrofoam, that candidate was rejected as inappropriately rigid, blah blah blah, as if the Cross was not counter-cultural, a sign of contradiction. This modus agendi was even admitted to be a mistake by a number of these pop-psychologists later in life when they saw the catastrophe that they themselves had created with their style of gate-keeping.
One might object that the latest school shooter was hearing other things from the ROTC, and I’m sure he was. But this was taking place in the much bigger societal structure of nothingness.
So, what’s to be done? Let’s start with understanding the First Amendment of the Constitution about the free exercise of religion correctly. It doesn’t refer to separation of church and state. It doesn’t refer to religion as being the enemy that the state is to fear. It doesn’t refer to stopping people from exercising religion even in their public office. Can there and should there be chaplains even and perhaps especially at “state” schools. Yes. Should they be able to speak about how it is that one’s identity is to be fulfilled as a creature of the Creator? [emotive language, that, I know.] Yes. I’m talking identity, character, self-sacrifice, goodness and kindness, respect for others, justice, mercy, helping each other out.
But the opposite is now happening and the opposite creates the vacuity in which school shooters are spawned:
“We’re entitled to be selfish, arrogant, drugged up, rebellious activists on behalf of entitlements to be the worst jerks imaginable.”
Oh, and that’s not coming from the students. No, no. That’s from the counselors who think they are speaking for the students. Those counselors are not necessarily of any school. They come from all over and offer advice. You’ve heard it. “If anyone speaks about thoughts and prayers even while they are also doing stuff to solve the problem, make sure to tell them: ‘F*** your thoughts and prayers.'” Yep. That’s exactly how to continue the problem and make it worse: take away religion and then blame religion.
Update: If anyone still thinks this isn’t systemic and we’ll thought out, remember that under Obama, religion was basically criminalized in the armed forces, even for chaplains, even in private counseling sessions about politically incorrect topics.
The first time the FBI laughed with glee, in my face, was when they found out that I knew about their program of gunrunning using my identity (yes, you read that right), immediately supplying me with a false passport without me asking for it, protecting their gray-man who was using my name and wanting me, the squeaky clean U.S. Citizen in good standing, to disappear from the face of the earth, giving up being a priest, giving up being in contact with siblings and friends. Leaving all projects of a lifetime behind. I’ll say it’s their program since they cooperated with the State Department with the passport thing and they seemed to know everything there is to know about the program.
Every time since then that I had a “See something say something” event going on, they did the creepy thing:
“If you see something, say something.”
“No no no!” “See something, say something” thing is a total lie. No one cares.
Like the Florida school shooting.
In fact, you become a target for knowing too much. So what if people die?
It puts most people off. But a few, perhaps very few, get somewhat entrenched and insist on saying something about what they saw. Do that and you end up like the naive investigator guy in Lord of War, disillusioned:
That five minute scene sums up the last 40 some years of my life. Truly. You would think that after 40 years I would be delivered from this. But no. As Main State told me in 1992 and as the FBI told me in 1996, the program is perpetual. No way out. Not alive anyway. As THE black-site guy told me once, “No one gets out of life alive anyway.”
What pushes me is that people are dying in my name. And it continues. And it was all just ramped up hugely just the other day. I don’t know what to do about this.
I would tell the FBI about it and I will if asked, but, like, it’s their program. So…