Tag Archives: PTSD

Days-off preparing for *The Day Off* Remembrance of USSOCOM *David* Suicide and Thanksgiving

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This massive cross is at the entrance to the property on which the hermitage is to be found. The neighbor is a welder and created this from the downspouts that were being replaced at the parish church which is to be found way down the mountain.

This is where I often come for my day off, during which I often get in some target practice. As it is, I’m practicing quite a bit, as, at Thanksgiving, I may well be here once again, and an old friend will be attendance with some other extended family. The old friend may well have some special effects, if you will, to try out while doing a bit more target practice, or scenario based training and drills.

For those who are a bit cynical of all this “violence”, please know that all this can be quite healing, the get-togethers and the special effects and conversation about old times and hopes of heaven and the present trouble-making we all get into happily. We’re just trying to deal with the mistake of this old friend’s top-tier buddy who took too many pain killers the other week, leaving a small child of whom he had custody, the wife having abandoned them long ago. I wonder if the military provides for dependents in such circumstances. Anyone?

If you know what “top-tier” means, then you know that that buddy, *David*, had seen a hell of a lot of hell already in his short 39 years. These USSOCOM operators are made up of the 75th Ranger Regiment, the Green Berets, Delta and the Navy SEALs DEVGRU.

Hey! An idea! Soup kitchens at thanksgiving are often busy places. Whatever you might do there, how about one other thing… Do you know any Vets who are stuck in V.A. hospitals who would enjoy a family thanksgiving even if their own families have abandoned them? Don’t know anyone? But the hospital might be able to tell you if there is anyone who is eligible for a day trip. Just a thought. I mean, after all, the way to celebrate thanksgiving is to say Thank You in an effective way, right? Yes. We say thanks to God, but the second commandment, love of neighbor as oneself, is like the first commandment, love of God, right? Yes. Just a thought…

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Filed under Day Off, Guns, Military, PTSD, Suicide, Thanks

Flores for the Immaculate Conception (PTSD unspoken war stories edition)

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My own experience in becoming friends with those who are devout Catholics and who truly have the absolute worst cases of PTSD ever (even registered on special vehicle licence tags) is that they love such events as giving a flower to the Immaculate Conception.

That’s right: “event.” That’s the word for this mere giving of a flower to Jesus’ good mom. Those who have been through just some hell might well scoff at that fact, but those who have been through hell itself know that what I say is true. The hell walkers know that Mary has been there, done that as she stood under the Cross when all of hell was broken out. They know that they can trust her, go to her, knowing she will understand.

In Lourdes the sickest of the deathly sick go to the grotto, and in silence they speak of their war stories with her, but in a way you might not expect. They can’t place a flower there (it’s a prearranged candle thing), but they note the flowers that grow there no matter what, drought, ice, it doesn’t matter. The flowers grow and are there to give her honor. And those who suffer place themselves in agreement with those roses. Or perhaps the roses are in agreement with those who are there…

Mary tells her own war story, also in silence, simply pointing to her risen Son, you know, the One who faced all of hell for us, who faced the worst torture hell had to offer for us. She saw it all. She brings us to Him. “Tell Him your war stories,” she says with the tenderest encouragement. We look to Jesus, drop to our knees, and say, “My Lord and my God.”

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Laudie-dog / PTSD-dog: a reminder…

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Laudie-dog has now claimed a plastic bin as her favorite bed in the rectory where she can be happy and lazy and secure, checking every so often to see if I’m O.K. I’m her security project, her little puppy she adopted on that far away mountain top so many years ago, coming to me skeletally thin, with a bit of mange, and shot between the shoulder blades.

After smiling with the realization that I’m just fine, she falls asleep, but every so often this can be traumatic with fierce nightmares, growling, barking and, from the movement of her legs, she looks to be on the attack. And she is. In her dreams.

She saved me from wolves both red and grey, from bears and, most memorably, a panther. I’m guessing it’s the panther she dreams about, as she was the prey while protecting me.

I don’t wake her up at such times, hoping that the process will be even just a little bit healing for her, and afraid to add to the trauma by waking her up in the middle of it. I am thankful to God at such times for creating such marvelous creatures who are so tied to mankind and of great service to us. She deserves a bit of pampering.

Of course, all of that immediately has me think of those having experience in law enforcement, the military, the “Company”, and so on, those who may be suffering from PTSD, which never goes away, though you can somehow in some way learn at least a little how to deal with it, the ongoing battle, the ongoing trauma, not in being pampered, mind you, but by doing what one has always done best, continuing on in a spirit of solidarity with others whether or not these others have a clue about how to be in solidarity with those who serve them often in secret and therefore seemingly thankless ways.

I stand in awe of those who have been of great service all their lives, suffer for it now in every way, and who would – if they could – continue to serve in extraordinarily self-sacrificing ways. Lest we forget, we at least pray for them. And that’s already something very worth while. Hail Mary…

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Filed under Dogs, Military

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Filed under Guns, Military

“The Coming Storm” – Pulling triggers

Go to my article: Active Shooter: The Coming Storm (FBI: Train now!) That’s – how to say it? – a highly monitored post by the FBI. Pretty much every college, university, school district, public, private, or government entity, even military, nuclear facilities, here and overseas, whatever, have seen that post and, clearly from the stats, shared it with others. It’s still very popular especially after tragic events as we’ve recently seen in Dallas.

But there are those who simply will not admit that there is a coming storm, so let’s make an analogy shall we?

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This storm slammed into me yesterday evening up in Graham County. It was unavoidable, scary, and there were plenty of warnings and watches, and yet I noticed people ignoring it altogether as if nothing at all were going on all around them. The above picture is to the West. The one below to the North-West:

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The system is moving fast and is literally dropping dozens of slow moving funnels down from the bottom of the massive, extremely low-lying thunderhead with lightning everywhere. The picture below is to the North. It’s also throwing out funnels horizontally:

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It’s overtaken me within seconds:

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I do have a phone-video of this, but don’t know how to reduce the size and get it into a format workable on WordPress. At any rate, here’s a close-up of a part of this massive system just above ground-level. Don’t tell me you don’t see a right-side profile of a face of an old guy with white hair and beard with joe-cool sunglasses and open mouth with buck-teeth looking to your right:

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You would think I was on drugs seeing a face in the clouds, right?

Back to: Active Shooter: The Coming Storm (FBI: Train now!)

Here’s the deal. Much violence is wrought by druggies on a drug-induced high / low / hallucination, or, now, by those in full use of their faculties but on an adrenaline rush pushed by ideological radicalization, whether it be with ISIS, some sort “Black Power” movement, or the idiocy of “White Aryan Supremacy”. Besides a super-abundance of drugs, there’s a lot of KKK around here in Western North Carolina. I’m Jewish, and a Catholic priest, and I do assert that black people are people just like anyone else. I remember one lady telling me: “Oh Father George! We’re not racist around here! Take ol’ [N-Word] Joe for instance. We treat him and his [N-Word plural] just AS IF they were real people!” Um… no. She got the reprimand of her life from me, but, I’ll tell you this, there was absolutely no talking to her, and she had just been to church!

If you’re suffering a home invasion or you are witnessing a violent crime, you have to assume that the aggressor is either on drugs (and therefore cannot be reasoned with by definition) or is on an ideological adrenaline high (making them invincible and unreasonable by definition). Other than that, robbers are arrogantly violent, and there’s little chance of reasoning with them either, but there might be. I guess that since I have no fear and want what is best in the long term for anyone, yes, even a very possibly mortally dangerous aggressor, I would look for a way to make someone back down by way of reason or non-deadly force. But the nano-second that they continue to aggress in a harmful manner against myself or others, I would like to think that I would be right there with well placed overwhelming force. I didn’t say nor mean lethal. Overwhelming is good enough. Sometimes there is no time for such niceties, however. For instance, when someone is pumping bullets into a crowd. Then you don’t wait. You provide overwhelming force the instant you have a shot. But if I were you, I would do this, if you can, with the FBI:

Go to: Active Shooter: The Coming Storm (FBI: Train now!)

In speaking with a gun-instructor recently about the opinions I’ve developed over the years regarding our vets and PTSD and how various militaries deal with this right around the world, he recommended to me a couple of books which, it goes without saying, I never heard of before, it being that I’m the most unwell read priest in history. Anyone come across these? I would like to read them only because they were personally recommended. Apparently, they are filled with psychology that uses reason and a great abundance of experience. I like that. They’re by an Army Ranger who has also written against violent video games that train kids to kill.

Then, recommended by a fellow priest, the following is by a USMC guy (like my dad!):

As far as that goes, for light reading, I would like to plow through:

Outside of the Narnia series when I was kid, the only other novel I’ve read in my life is The Sum of All Fears, and only because I forced myself to do it. But I did like it, especially the style of in media res switching to in media res switching to in media res. What a fright! I used that style to write my own 750 page ecclesiastical thriller: Jackass for the Hour: The Murderous Intrigue of Interreligious Politics. But reading, or writing for that matter, just isn’t good enough.

Go to: Active Shooter: The Coming Storm (FBI: Train now!)

Oh, and the bit about “pulling triggers” in the title of this post? People tell me they wouldn’t know how to deal with the regret of possibly killing someone. To that I say, just get over it. A positive contribution to the virtue of justice is not something to regret. To say that you regret original sin, or the prevalence of drugs in society, or the insanity or clarity of a mass murderer terrorist…. well, fine… regret all you want, but DO the right thing.

Watch just the first seconds of the video above. See the guy on the mid-way landing of the staircase? All the warning signs are there. If I had the perspective of the camera, and I had a gun as a deputed security guard in a school allowing such guards guns, in as much time as it takes just there for him to show his gun and turn, two seconds…. Yes, I would shoot him, and in the back, but first in his keister, and before his first shot. What if it was a water-gun? It’s his fault. We’ll get him the help he needs. What if it’s unloaded and he’s a suicide? Well, then we’ll get him the help he needs in a psychiatric institution.

The storm clouds above took about fifteen seconds to roll over. It only took this guy two seconds to show his gun and turn to aim. It would take me a half second to pump four bullets into both sides of his keister. He would be falling down the steps with me literally jumping fifteen feet down the stair case and landing on top of him, breaking his ribs and basically immobilizing him enough for me to easily slip his gun out of his hand, or, if failing that, pumping a few more bullets into his torso.

I regret that that’s the way it is. I regret we’re not in heaven right now. I regret whatever brought him to such a pass. He probably had a horrible life. But, that’s between him and the Lord, not him and I. Get that? Between him and the Lord. Period. Pulling triggers is sometimes O.K.

And that coming storm? It’s here.

Go to: Active Shooter: The Coming Storm (FBI: Train now!)

P.S. 

officer down gun fatalities

Gun fatalities of law officers killed in the line of duty are up 63% this year.

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Filed under Guns, Terrorism