Thanks, Mike the Cop.
You led me deeper into life.
Thanks, Mike the Cop.
You led me deeper into life.
There were some two dozen present. Lots of food. Lots of drink. I had Ginger Ale, though I have nothing against responsible consumption. The easiest song to sing had but one word, “Tequila!”
The Karaoke controller’s wife had the most difficult song with an impossible range. She did great. Being from the Philippines where Karaoke is ubiquitous and continuous, she’s had plenty of practice, though I must say the cop has got quite the range as well, as well as a friend of theirs who I thought might have to try out for America’s Got Talent.
Johnny Cash songs were the most popular. Lots of older stuff. And we had two languages going on. A Mexican couple did the obligatory La Bamba and their family did quite a number of songs, with their daughter also singing in English.
If you must know, the ones yours truly participated in are “You bring me back to life”
and then, from way back in the day, Buffalo Springfield’s “For what it’s worth.”
I hesitate to put up the videos they took of us singing, as I’ve already been trounced by the trolls for my obvious lack of dancing ability as well:
Is humor forbidden? Is making others laugh outlawed? Is having a good time with friends the most terrible sin? Didn’t Jesus come eating and drinking? Are we all John the Baptist? What did Jesus say about Wisdom’s children?
O.K. So, here’s a few seconds of each song.
This is a post tagged as humor, so, there it is. Hahaha.
When people say that this is NOT the time for humor, the situation is dire. “We must be more serious!” they say. — Well, when people say that, that’s precisely the time to have some humor.
Are there not plenty of saints who, when asked what they would do if they knew that the world would be ending in ten minutes, their answer was “I would continue to do whatever it is that I was already doing, for it is a worthy occupation also in the spiritual life when whatever we do is done in the Lord and for Him.”
“But Reverend Father Byers! Reverend Father Byers! Haven’t we had enough of humanizing the priesthood already?!”
Nope. Not at all. Actually, there’s been way too much putting priests on pedestals, literally, up the steps of the high altar where the high altar and tabernacle have been done away with so that we have a new “god,” you know, those priests who think they are better than the Most Holy Trinity, thinking they can change the truth of doctrine and morality when the Most Holy Trinity cannot do that. Heck with all that rubbish. Jesus is the one. He’s the only one. Time for priests to be HUMAN, however much they are laudably dedicated to Jesus, the Divine High Priest. We ordained priests are nothing, and we had better get out of the way of Jesus so that Jesus’ priesthood with His love and His truth is manifested through us.
Do I obscure Jesus by a bit of a few minutes of singsong, by a few seconds (literally) of dance? I should hope not. I’m guessing that that would not be my fault, but the fault of those who are just overflowing with condemnation always and everywhere for everyone, but themselves.
It’s precisely the humor that can bring people in, by inviting to them, you know, while at the same time not abandoning truth and justice. Actually, one can insist on truth and justice more when one is also appropriately humorous.
I’m guessing a feather of Father’s guardian angel jammed the gun, twice.
This is a Hail Mary story if ever there was one. The power of the Rosary!
Because of the immediacy of a certain set of weird circumstances in which would-be misdemeanor activity of a certain individual – objectively speaking – could have jumped to a class “H” and then class “I” felony (here in NC), a cop from the other side of these USA was telling me sometime later about the meaning of some tattoos[!].
After this conversation, I spoke with a prisoner, and he said that, in his area, again in an entirely different area of these USA, those kinds of tats did not have anything to do with HIV as far as he knew. And if they did, one would immediately want to make a distinction with how it is that someone came to have HIV. For instance a druggy “lifestyle” using used needles isn’t necessarily the same as an “alternative lifestyle.”
I rarely ask people about their tattoos. But I do. I would if I saw tear drops, which can reference even a number of murders. I asked a guy who stopped in front of the rectory asking for directions about his full body tattoos that reminded me of MS-13. He was fearful of letting his tats be seen, even wearing one of those girly shirts with the ultra-long-sleeves that are tied around the thumbs so as to cover the hands. But the tats spilled out onto his fingers and up his neck and face.
I discovered trying to do up fingerprints recently for NC-SBI and FBI background checks for getting my concealed carry with the sheriff that my “natural tattoos” (fingerprints) are pretty much worn away. I guess I’m older than I was at one time…
The only real imprint you’ll find with me is the permanent character of the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders while I hope that, as Saint Paul says, any sanctifying grace will turn to glory forever in heaven. We’re already “branded”, if you will, for our Lord by our Lord. By this time it’s not something that covers over but the Most Holy Trinity shining out.
We had some sort of emergency in the far back corner of Holy Redeemer Church this past Sunday, September 8, at the end of the offertory of the 11:00 AM Mass. Our entire church can fit into most sanctuaries of most churches, so, the far back corner of the church is, like, merely 25 feet away from the altar.
Someone cried out: “Call 911!” And the chorus of “Call 911!” multiplied in seconds. But there was no noisy commotion. No one said what the emergency was in those first seconds. I hiked it down from the altar to the back of the church in those few seconds. Pastor is as pastor does, right? As I then found out, it was a medical emergency for one of our ushers. In mere seconds, I gave an emergency anointing of the sick to the usher even before they were able to lay him down on the floor. EMS arrived minutes later and our usher is just fine now.
Since our faith family is small, we’re pretty tightly knit, so you can imagine our hearts were entirely in solidarity with our usher. You might say that we were distracted, that anyone bothering to have any situational awareness could now relax as it’s surely impossible that any other critical incident indicators that might present themselves cannot happen, because, you know, emergencies rarely happen, and un-associated and entirely diverse critical incidents never happen at the same time. So, go ahead, let your guard down, right? Wrong.
We immediately continued Mass starting with the Preface. “The Lord be with you!” “And with your spirit!” came the strikingly strong response. I can’t imagine that anyone would or, humanly speaking, could complain about these few seconds given over for the anointing, either time-wise or appropriateness-wise. So, no big deal, right? But something else happened in those few seconds in back of the church which should have had me run after someone so as to get a licence plate without him realizing it, you know, right after that anointing. That would have been logistically pretty easy in our circumstances. But I didn’t do it. Stupid me. Let’s review.
We had an unusually high number of visitors throughout the church. The emergency and the calls to call 911 were happening right in back of a certain visitor, who, unlike the others, did not come with a family. Never seen him before. He was alone [… description removed…]. By the time I got next to that certain visitor who was sitting at the end of the pew in the side aisle in that back corner of the church, with me just about to reach over others to anoint our usher, the visitor guy came out of the end of the pew and simply pushed me into those holding up the usher, that is, out of his own way. The visitor guy then bolted to the front-side door of the church and made good his escape. “Escape…”
The push wasn’t anything violent, but it was forceful enough to get the job done (I’m a pretty big guy), forceful enough that I had to turn to look at him while he bolted out. It was all too surreal. I was instantly all questions about who he was and what he was up to. I watched him until he went out the door next to the sanctuary in, say, four seconds. Whatever about him, I then turned my attention over to the usher so as to get him anointed.
Many are able to keep a sense of situational awareness for a singular critical incident that may take place at any given time, but it is not so easy to be entirely in the midst of one incident while another, entirely un-associated and entirely diverse and utterly unexpected critical incident begins at the same time in the same place. That’s what was happening here. This was an excellent experience easily able to demonstrate lack of readiness. Humility is always needed. To be noted:
Recall the discovery of “White Hat”, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, one of the two terrorist bombers of the Boston Marathon, now locked up in the ultra-super-max ADX facility in Florence, Colorado. He was the only one who did NOT look at the explosion as it took place on Boylston Street near the finish line of the race. He is the only one who looked away from the explosion, and then made good his escape:
I have the link of that video set to 49:36. Watch until 50:35, just under a minute. This is a lesson in catching out a bad actor. Note how the terrorist guy doesn’t look, but looks away. This is important. Also:
“No! – I can’t do this! – I have to leave!”
This was not a frantic, panic attack statement, nor a statement issuing from PTSD. It was all quite deliberate, even ever so slightly tinged with anger, but not at any of us, but rather with himself, disappointed, it seems, perhaps, that he had actually decided to do something horrific, but was just now changing his mind. He wasn’t at all in panic-like fear. Nor was he suffering from wartime violent sensory overload and couldn’t bear to see anything anymore even in the form of a non-violent medical emergency. He didn’t know if it was a medical emergency or he was being called out. If he was a bad actor and was just now changing his mind to not do the unthinkable, a medical emergency and calls to 911 would act as a preview of what he himself was about to bring about. He couldn’t take it.
(1) “No!” — This is an answer, voiced for himself to hear physically, regarding an internal agonizing dialogue that he had been having, much longer than just a few seconds.
(2) “I can’t do this!” — The reasoned conclusion isn’t about someone deciding to get over agoraphobia and feeling like a failure, so that he had heroically decided to be in a place as public as a church but was failing in the attempt. No. For all his fear, his words were way too deliberate to be issuing from panic. The reference of “this” is not a reference to a PTSD episode. Again, note that the statement was reasoned and deliberate. He was thinking about doing some thing, not thinking about suffering some episode. He’s entrenching his “No!”
(3) “I have to leave!” — He was a heap of chaotic emotions. IF he was a bad actor – and I’m not saying that he was (I’m just using this as a lesson in situational awareness) – but if he was a bad actor and had repented on the spot, he would want to get himself the heck out of there lest he change his mind. And the dichotomy between what he was seeing in the calm worshiping and his would-be senseless violence was too much to handle in front of others. He needed to be alone to sort things out. Such on the spot repentance is one of the best things I’ve ever seen. Good for him. He did it. He did the right thing. This was grace at work. The Holy Spirit working on him. His conscience getting to him. Great!
If that guy is reading this, and I’m wrong about all this, please, accept my apologies. It’s just that this makes for a good lesson in situational awareness. If you’re a good actor, you’ll understand that we can’t be too careful in these weird days of waaaay toooo many critical incidents, and that we have to learn from out-of-the-ordinary behaviors. It’s not you I’m judging. I’m just wondering about the ensemble of indicators. That’s all.
If that guy is reading this, and I’m right about all this, please, know that God loves you and wants you in heaven for ever. Yep. God’s love is more powerful than anything we could ever come up with. He wants us back. Always. If you’re Catholic, Go to Confession! Taking your own life is not allowed. You are not beyond redemption, not beyond salvation. God loves you. We love you. God’s love is more powerful. Don’t hate yourself. Just receive our Lord’s forgiveness. I, for one, would give you a do-able penance for sure. And the secret of any Confession is absolute. This is what we have to be about in this world, helping each other to get to heaven. We can be thankful to the Lord together, for Jesus’ mercy endures forever. Amen.
The time that the visitor guy was noticed in particular and until he left the church was, like, eight seconds. These things take place very quickly.
If there was a scary part, it was that he hesitated, wavered for just a split second before exiting out the side door, like he had to make one final decision not to do something.
Finally: Thanks go to guardian angels.
After Police arrested the guy in El Paso and ended the threat in Dayton, they had to deal with the death and carnage. Don’t think it doesn’t hurt.
Google this: DARPA COMPASS. It’s the first entry. This started a while back. The confluence of information replacing the census citizenship question goes a long way to making this happen for those of whatever status in these USA. Algorithms of gaming theory and the OODA Loop can sort out who needs targeting. This seems to be the obvious reference of Trump’s reaction to the El Paso and Dayton shootings on Monday August 5, what his quick due process means. The psych lockup is a dumbed down version. The program usually just gives a target-name to a field operator who terminates the possible terroristic threat. The mere psych lockup for those in these USA makes the program seem a bit more acceptable as a way to do something about mass shootings.
Colion Noir is pretty upset at stupidity. Don’t worry. He beeps out the language. It’s worth the watch. Back to Trump. He’s right: racism, bigotry and white supremacy are unacceptable. Besides the immediate death penalty statement, urgent resolve amounts to cyber surveillance, red flag “quick due process” confiscation and restrictions on violent video games. But all those solutions aren’t really solutions, even the quick death penalty thing as these guys often want suicide by cop anyway. Regarding cyber activity, perps tend to go dark when they are about to turn into “some people who do something.” What’s most important can also be what’s also most ignored, that is, follow-up on any “if you see something say something” reporting.
Some people say that we should leave everything up to law enforcement. You know the drill: when seconds count, it takes more seconds or minutes or longer for law enforcement to arrive if they’re urgently busy elsewhere. It took some six minutes for law enforcement to arrive in El Paso. It took 20 seconds for actual engagement of the target to take place in Dayton.
Let’s take the 20 seconds, example. Let’s say that that’s the case every time. Still, when a few seconds count, law enforcement might not be able to stop the threat until 20 to 30 seconds go by. Nine were killed and really very many injured in those tens of seconds.
It takes me about two seconds to accurately put in two to the body and one to the head (the latter being necessary in this case because the guy in Dayton was wearing body armor). Cut that down to one second, one to the head, if I saw the body armor and therefore skipped the two to the body and went straight to the head, you know, only to stop the threat. What it means is that the body count and injury count might have well been drastically much less, and that’s what counts, right? Even if he was wearing an armored mask (hypothetically), there’s no way he won’t be knocked out or totally disoriented by bullets to that mask, smashing the mask against his head.
But I wouldn’t have been there anyway. It’s a gun free zone, meaning a free-for-all killing zone by bad actors looking for soft targets in those gun-free zones.
/////// Motives? Pfft. Not knowing who we are in all reality before God, not having any inkling of how much God loves us. We don’t find out who we are until we are one, as creature in the presence of his Creator, with the Son of the Living God, Christ Jesus. If we don’t know who we are, mayhem breaks out in whatever way. Human life is cheapened with no love, no respect, no goodness, no kindness, no justice, no commandments. People are taught by their schools how to disrespect each other and how to get abortions. Life means nothing after all that. All that is left is aggression, hatred, entitlement to “power.” The shrieking is heard: “Damn thoughts and prayers and damn God too!”
As I’ve mentioned the other day, there was a car in the upper back parking lot rather aggressively parked up against my car and which was sporting all sorts of logistical red flags. I moved my car just a bit so that I was fully in back of him, just to the side a bit, as it creeped me out that he was just a few inches away. The only picture take-away I thought I had was the strange licence plate. The window reflections obscured the inside of the car from the back (see above), or so I thought, until just now, a few days later, when I ran the picture through some brightness and contrast tweaking. Unfortunately, the picture is still super grainy and splotchy with reflections of light from the street lights and my headlights (see below).
The driver has flipped himself around in the driver seat and is looking back. It looks like there may be a possibility that he is brandishing a pistol. Of course, I’m NOT, NOT, NOT accusing anyone of anything. It just looks like his brandishing and aiming a pistol might be a good possibility in conjunction with multiple and serious red flags that were presenting at the same time. Again, I realize that the picture is grainy and is of poor quality. Did I say I wasn’t accusing anyone of anything? The red edits on the same picture below might help you you to see what’s going on. I already knew he was wearing a hat when I walked up to my car from another angle, from which angle, by the way, I could clearly see into the car and he appeared to be the only person in the car.
When someone holds a pistol in your direction, the only thing to be seen is the tiny end of the barrel and perhaps a bit of the slide. The rest is covered by, in this case, two hands. Even though he’s aiming directly at me, I doubt he would hit me. The angles of the windows would throw any bullets off by some inches. Or one hopes so. Even though I couldn’t consciously see the gun, I’m guessing my brain could pick this up. It’s part of situational awareness to pay attention to heightened attention, keeping one “left of bang” as they say.
I’m guessing that his brandishing is what was making him so overconfident. I’m guessing he was thinking that I could see his gun. I did not see his gun until now. He saw that I wasn’t responding in kind. He was waiting for something to happen, baiting, threatening. By this point, even without seeing the gun, I was convinced that he was up to no good because of all the red flags:
Had I seen the gun, I would have had to hypothesize that this was about human trafficking and this was effectively a kidnapped hostage. I’m guessing he thought I was the buyer as I had obviously come up coincidentally at a prearranged time before whoever the real buyer is could do so. But I wasn’t producing any cash. Perhaps he just thought I was having second thoughts, or wasn’t convinced he wasn’t law enforcement. Greed is what would keep him around for so long. This was a stand-off that went on for a good eight minutes. I don’t know the price of what I’m guessing is a child, but I’m still guessing that he was expecting many tens of thousands of dollars. For that kind of money, people risk going to prison for a long time, even for life, and even for death in this capital punishment state. People also risk going to hell for eternity.
Someone mocked me later for not being “welcoming.” Sigh. Bad things do happen. Just down the way from the parish, in the next parish over, there was a beheading just the other day. I know the EMT who attended that incident.
Since I didn’t know about the gun yet, but because of all the red flags, I thought it best to just try to move this person along by playing loud music and having the bright headlights shining on him, drawing attention of whatever of the rest of the town that cared to look to see what the mayhem was all about. He endured eight minutes of this. I guess he really wanted money or whatever the deal was supposed to be. He finally left.
A week ago I published this about some incidents: Banging on the window at 1:38 AM like a thief in the night.
Within a week, there have been more incidents:
Then, another event, this time up at the church. Having gone to the supermarket and filling up the car with gas for the weekend travels to the churches and rehabs, just at nightfall, I had one of those “feelings” that I should then go up to the church and check the doors and such. There had been a number of events: re-construction of the confessional in the church, a conference by a great visiting priest in the social hall, and a continuance of the rosary novena for persecuted Christians. Surely one of the doors had been left open, thought I. Because of another “feeling”, I parked in the upper gravel parking lot out back, I made my way along the doors, spotting this huge mama wolf spider with a trillion babies on her back:
Nature is fascinating. But that’s a distraction. Back to checking the doors. Fine. All the doors were locked and all was tranquil. Everything was over and no one was on campus. Great! Soooo quiet…. Crickets…
Just then a phone call came in about logistics for celebrations of Mass the next week as renovations will involve the church itself. Having gotten through that phone call in front of the shrine pictured above, I went back to my car in the upper back parking lot, making my way between the buildings. That back parking lot has a history of being a druggy drop site, day or night, as it is all kind of hidden. I once called in an escaped felon in a stolen vehicle. The driveway is gravelly and tires spin turning up into that back upper parking lot as the driveway is so very steep. No one would park there just to do it, especially at night, all hidden away like that. After all, with all the thieves and druggies round about the past week, with all the pretty much continuous mass shootings at churches and schools and businesses, it would look suspicious to park up there all hidden away…
But, sure enough, there was another car parked within inches of mine, side to side. That’s what tipped me off that this was way too weird to just discount as a nothing burger. Inches away in an empty parking lot signals trouble, even if it’s a good person with good motivation, because in that case there surely has to be drinking or drugs involved. So, being bad and evil myself, I immediately thought that whoever it is may well have malicious intentions.
The driver did not get out when I walked into the parking lot. I just went straight to my car without hesitation. I got into my car, turned it on, waited for a minute. Nothing. I moved the car around to park behind the guy and shine the bright lights on his car. This usually moves the druggies right along. They hate that. Nothing. I took a few pictures of the car. They hate that even more. Nothing:
Out of state plate. Interesting. Probably a local who is back in town for a moment. No “year” sticker on the plate. Probably too new, right? Also, it’s a “fleet car” with a “fleet” number and code number. That’s like an advertisement for people to know who you are. So, surely it’s all innocent. Nothing to hide. If it’s a rental car to escape notice, the person probably hasn’t thought it through. You can’t rent a car except with a credit card. Anyway, it’s probably just someone praying for a loved one who passed recently. We’re always to think good things of others. And that’s what I was thinking.
After all, there was only one guy in the car. I should just go and introduce myself. Be welcoming. Despite the red flags.
But then I saw something that just ripped all those good thoughts out of my head. I had only seen a driver when I had walked up to my car and could clearly see into that car. Just the driver. But now I saw a second person who had been hiding in the passenger seat as there was movement of a head of hair for just a split second up against the lower edge of the passenger window. There’s no chance they were up to hanky panky, as they wouldn’t park inches away lengthwise with my car, the only other car on the entire campus. As far as I’m concerned, that most likely makes them fit the modus operandi of aggressors of whatever kind.
So, that momentary red flag made me want to move this crowd along quickly, that is, to have them remove themselves from this private property. Something’s just not right…
What’s my usual method? It makes my laugh. It always works. It worked when I was being shot at out at the hermitage with me having no escape. I played Handel’s Messiah on my phone and the shooting stopped, just like that. Now what I did was to lower the windows and turn on some music, loudly, and with the bright lights shining on his car from behind, off to the side a bit. Here’s what I played for all of Andrews to hear:
He lasted right through the pro-Police “I’m Bleeding Out” but only made it about 3/4 of the way through “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes. Too religious, I guess. Too patriotic, I guess. Too much to do with cemeteries, I guess. Too unapologetically loud, I guess. I gotta admit, there is nothing louder than Amazing Grace on Scottish bagpipes at night in an an otherwise sleepy neighborhood with the sound multiplied by the high-beam headlights shining on the back of your car from the side, you know, for all to see and hear. I’m really bad and evil. He drove away, ever so very slowly. That was the end of it. Today I’m sure I’ll find out that this was an American hero of some kind, a ex-parishioner of some kind, come back home. Right?
I’m all for being embarrassed, because safety comes first, regardless of being embarrassed about being over-careful. No apologies for that. Too many red flags with this incident. But still, there’s probably some very good and boring and entirely embarrassing (to me) explanation, making it look like I shouldn’t have been such a knucklehead. It is what it is.
Mueller: “After that investigation, if we had confidence that the president did NOT commit a crime, then we would have said so.”
How peachy is that? A hardly veiled referral to Congress for impeachment. Mueller turns on its head the principle that one is innocent until proven guilty and assumes that insufficient evidence screams guilt. Since pretty much anyone who is alive is able to commit any crime, that evidence, that one was alive, however insufficient, means that pretty much everyone is guilty of whatever crime. Everyone is dead.
If the victim is accused of being a witch in such a witch hunt, he is thrown into a river. If he drowns, he’s innocent. If he survives, he is guilty and then killed another way. Dead both ways.
That’s the American way! Peachy! Impeachy! But no. That’s not the American way.
Social engineering that clockwork-encourages Congress to undo the Constitution without the Constitution undergoing duly legislated amendment is…
Firstly, in general, the terrorism thing isn’t anomalous. The fallen human spirit is given to such things if not brought into humble thanksgiving for merciful redemption wrought in justice. “Never again!” is a cri de cœur which must be placed in the context that all of us can do the same thing, given the circumstances in life, given whatever state of one’s soul.
Secondly, the Commissioner was right to ask with great cynicism: “What’s a typical terrorist look like?” The elder brother shaved his beard for the event while the younger brother had no beard to speak of, right? Beards are typical of terrorists, right? Sigh.
Thirdly, the Commissioner got it right again in a self-correction, saying that they all passed over considering the elder terrorist who was already on a watch list because they all knew that he was a coward. Here’s the deal: all terrorists are cowards, they always and only go after soft targets, babies, children, unsuspecting and unprepared adults.
On this last point… if you want to profile a terrorist, look for the coward, for the one who goes along with peer pressure, political correctness, never standing up for what is right even when under no pressure at all, always taking the path of the lowest common denominator of niceness in his own eyes. The raging bull underneath is always there in all the niceness that can be mustered.
From Psalm 22, cited by Jesus on the cross, when all hell of cowardice broke out on Calvary:
My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why so far from my call for help, from my cries of anguish? My God, I call by day, but you do not answer; by night, but I have no relief. Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the glory of Israel. In you our ancestors trusted; they trusted and you rescued them. To you they cried out and they escaped; in you they trusted and were not disappointed. But I am a worm, hardly human, scorned by everyone, despised by the people. All who see me mock me; they curl their lips and jeer; they shake their heads at me: “You relied on the LORD — let him deliver you; if he loves you, let him rescue you.” Yet you drew me forth from the womb, made me safe at my mother’s breast. Upon you I was thrust from the womb; since birth you are my God. Do not stay far from me, for trouble is near, and there is no one to help. Many bulls surround me; fierce bulls of Bashan encircle me….
It’s most worthwhile – unto eternity – to look up and read the rest of that psalm in a quiet moment, noting the filial devotion of the one being put to death before God the Father.
Among those receiving the Medal of Valor two were already no longer living in this world. It’s about doing what you should do. You do it, and it’s almost never recognized. No thanks. In fact, just the opposite. Many condemn you to hell for laying your life on the line… for them. Guaranteed: the contentedness in the face of the young man above isn’t about himself. Instead, this is about seeing things the way they should be, whereby the whole country is recognizing what is right, what is of all honesty and integrity. And that’s good. That’s very good.
I recall some priests from Columbia speaking of all the normal pastoral things that any priest gets into for the sake of his flock, and I stupidly said that they were doing so much. The immediate response of one just ordained priest was one of anger: “No! We’ve done NOTHING! None of us has been killed like so many of our priest-friends in Columbia. We’ve done NOTHING!”
Another guarantee: those who have been killed in the line of duty and are standing before the Lord to be judged on what they did in laying down their lives as the greatest act of love will instead stand aside and point to Jesus’ wounds, and then to Jesus’ good mom.
It’s when we realize that even those of us who have laid down their lives as the greatest act of love have done NOTHING. The love, the generosity, the honesty and integrity and humility by which that is done is not our ours, but rather our Lord’s that we’re drawn into. Mary was always in solidarity with Him as He laid down His life for everyone, from Adam until the last man is conceived. Jesus, in doing this, laid down the life of His mother for us as well. He died, and you gotta know, she was totally crushed for us. A flower for you, created by your Son, dearest mother Mary.
We pray to come home to our families when we leave at night.
We pray for comfort, pray for safety, and for peace of mind.
We face the demons in the streets while you all sleep tight.
People meet us with their anger from the 6 O’clock news.
People hurt and people maimed by the boys in blue.
No one looks into the story like they all should do.
No one airs all the officers who save our lives.
They’d rather cover all the issues to increase their dime.
It’s not a story and to them it’s just a waste of time.
Another officer is down.
Do they hear us now?
Another day of being blamed.
While we bear the pain.
We’ll continue to stay in the fight.
In spite of all of this we’ll do what’s right.
Analysts love declarations. There are certain declarations that are stand-alone, and which simply cannot be voiced unless you mean them in any and all contexts or regardless of any particular context whatsoever. They reveal a helluvalot about a person.
Here’s Peter Strzok declaring away to Tray Gowdy at 5’38″…
“The American electorate I respect in their decisions and their right to vote is absolutely a cornerstone of our democracy so at no time did I insult or call into question the judgment or the power of the American electorate.”
And he later repeats a version of that. It’s ingrained into him.
It’s all in the “so.” The “so” inescapably indicates that Peter Strzok believes that he, personally, is America. But this is not the Patriotism of which he thinks he is the definition. Instead, this is, for him, about his inability to do wrong. This, my friends, is as cynical as it gets. It’s a licence to kill. It’s a licence to betray one’s country as doing so could not possibly be considered betrayal by him: he IS America.
There are plenty of false patriots who say: “I love America and I’m the most patriotic person ever and I embody all that America is.” No. That doesn’t work.
It needs to be added instantaneously that there is an ever present possibility that we can fall short, we are able to betray. It is this honesty and humility which keeps one sharp, frosty, and, indeed, able to see ever so easily how it is that this or that person is at the verge of or has already betrayed America and is a danger.
Anyone who embodies the “so” principle of Peter Strzok cannot be trusted.
Do the analogy. The person who, in the spiritual life says to himself that he is doing just fine and is strong because he hasn’t killed anyone in a long time or ever and that makes him all good is a fraud. The person who by the grace of God is in humble thanksgiving before the Lord gets it, knowing that he could fall at any time into whatever lack. Holiness is about the Lord creating us as His friends: “I call you friends.” The trust is not in ourselves but in Jesus. Jesus I trust in you.
Update: After merely eight people clicked on this post, it was trashed. I didn’t do it. Who did? Why? I’ll put it back up every time. Original post follows:
What with church / synagogue attacks coming along fast and furious, I thought it might be a good idea to instigate a push for more security by all believers. After Mass Thursday I dropped by to have a chat firstly with the Sheriff of Graham County, requesting ongoing involvement not only with presentations to security teams of the various churches (itself an encouragement for all churches to rustle up security teams if they don’t already have them), but also to have someone be a training and range officer say once a month or every six weeks for those on security teams who are voluntarily armed. Our insurance, for instance, does not permit mandated armed security, only volunteers. All that got an enthusiastic response from the Sheriff, who told me that, in fact, just some hours before, a Powerpoint presentation was sent out at State level (North Carolina) to all county Sheriffs that they might use as a template to tweak for local presentations to the ministers and their security teams. He’s enthusiastic to do something with this, and, beyond that, to take up the suggestion for ongoing guided range time. He agreed that without continuous practice, no one is going to be frosty and edgy enough to be able to do the necessary in stopping the threat of an active shooter.
It’s true that a bunch of ministers went down to Georgia from WNC for a presentation quite a while back, but as one significant LEO commented afterward, that presentation was worth no more than being preparation for a clean up operation after all the slaughtering was done. In other words, the security learned was just enough to get everyone killed so that the crime scene wouldn’t be disturbed. A bit cynical, perhaps, but honest. And if we want to save lives, we have to be honest. Kudos to him for that honesty.
After heading to a nursing home / rehab in another county, I went to another Sheriffs Office to push for the same program. Believe me, no one in law enforcement is saying to just leave it to the professionals. They know that every split second of inaction in a house of worship means another person dead or wounded, you know, when help is minutes or longer away.
If your Sheriffs Office isn’t pushing programs for all the ministers and their security teams, then you do something. And you absolutely can do something. Need some materials and direction? Behold:
Looks like just a bit of confusion, like “someone did something” above. So, let’s move in media res and get a better idea. You can’t fix something unless you know what it is.
Not good enough. Let’s make this more personal. Jesus, just now risen from the dead, having been ripped to shreds Himself, blood everywhere, walks in the midst, the blood of His followers all over Him, witnessing to their belief in life eternal. As the Master, so the disciple.
As of 4/27/2019 there are at least 310 killed and 469 wounded. More die and are injured as raids take place and “collateral incidents” occur. Always increasing numbers of terrorists are arrested or killed, depending on circumstances. Innocents can unfortunately be in the way as terrorist cowards hide behind women and children.
ISIS has claimed responsibility, having sucked in the local Islamicist terrorist group, National Thowheed Jamath.
All the spooky groups were telling the crowd in Sri Lanka 17 days before it happened. But just as Sri Lanka has traitors in it’s government, so do we. No decision maker knew.
It’s personal to me because these are other members of the Body of Christ. That’s as personal as it gets.
But, just to say, I also have priest friends in Sri Lanka with whom I lived in Rome at various colleges for years of studies.
I’ve even had an interview about the liturgy with the Cardinal Archbishop, his Eminence Albert Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige Don. He says he’s been told by the local Muslims that this wasn’t about anything Islamicist. “He says he’s been told…” Clever way of saying that. He says he has zero concern for the rebuilding of churches. He’s concerned about rebuilding lives. Good for him. Blessings upon them all.
I hope the perps convert and are forgiven. I hope the victims, if alive, can forgive. It will do them an eternity of good. We must pray for that: Hail Mary…
Having said all that, even on this Divine Mercy Sunday, my sentiment is also summed up by the Chinese University student at the time of the Boston Marathon Bombing Dun “Danny” Meng when he escaped and was interviewed by Police Officer Tommy Saunders. It was the last thing Dun said to Tommy: “Get those *************!” This isn’t a vengeance thing over against someone who has repented. No. The bombers were on their way to New York City to do up some more bombing, more killing, more terrorism. They weren’t going to stop until the were stopped. So, yeah: “Get those *************!”
Having said all that, none of that is inconsistent with this being Divine Mercy Sunday.
And to those cynics who condemn religion because God permitted such a thing to happen, look again. He took our place, the innocent for the guilty, so that He might have the right in His own justice to have mercy on us.
And… and… He’s risen from the dead. And He intends to have us rise from the dead for life eternal. Thank you, Jesus.