Tag Archives: Road danger

Road danger: well, no, just some fun, but also some questions

road danger river

The splash, always with the windows wide open and me getting soaked, goes up as high as the trees on the day off. The hood of Sassy the Subaru is about level with the road on the other side of the stream I smash into at pretty high speeds at least once a week. This past week brought the joy of four crossings, pretty much hydroplaning across the water. Saint Peter would have enjoyed being in the passenger seat for this it seems to me. But I only think that because the other side of the stream at those high speeds comes up pretty quickly. This wouldn’t work if it were the Sea of Galilee. And it would be much better to be saved and then reprimanded by our Lord Jesus for our lack of faith than to merely fake out gravity.

SUBARU DECALS

As long time readers know, I like to brag about my dad. No apologies. The reason for the decals on the back of Sassy the Subaru are meant to provoke questions. A million times, it seems, I’ve then had the occasion to tell whoever about him. He was commander of the Checkerboard squadron in the North Pacific. The Distinguished Flying Crosses seem to have classified citations still today. North Korea borders a certain country. ;-) Anyway, I’ve been looking at Amazon for metal-foil decals of the USMC like the one at the bottom of the picture above. The one I have, unlike the picture, is now half off and looking pretty miserable. All the ones I’ve seen are vinyl. No metal-foil ones anymore? What’s the deal with that? I think these were given out at Lowes on the 4th of July last. Maybe they were leftovers from recruiter stations or made up by Lowes. Unfortunately, some people really, really, really DO NOT LIKE the back of the car. What’s there to argue with? But it seems to make some people quite aggressive. I don’t think it’s the USMC or Israeli bits. I think it’s the cross and the “4G0D4ALL” plate.

medical bracelet

Anyway, I’ve been thinking of getting a medical bracelet or equivalent in case of any untoward emergency for whatever reason as I do, in fact, have a reason for a bit of special activity by EMTs in whatever catastrophic event. However, I saw that my phone, which goes with me everywhere as I always want to be available if possible, has an option to fill out emergency health information which is easily accessible by EMTs for the same purpose. I’ve done that. But is that good enough or is a physical medical bracelet better?

 

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Road danger: “Let’s go kill people”

head on collision

Sorry about the salty windshield. This was some hundreds of miles into a hospital run with one of my parishioners after a rare Winter storm in the mountains here. We’re making the final descent into the Nantahala Gorge.

Pictured is me slamming on the brakes, just squeaking in between the guard rail and the otherwise certain head-on collision. The driver wasn’t going fast at all, perhaps just ten or fifteen miles an hour. It wasn’t a sudden thing. It was like he was determined to be a danger to himself and others, you know, entitled to do so. Little did he know that I make a thing of asking my guardian angel for protection.

Perhaps he was drunk, off his meds or some such thing. But he was just a little too stubborn. I was honking at him but he seemed to be purposely ignoring my difficulties in avoiding him. He looked to be in his late sixties.

I had just had another incident hardly a minute before this just over the same hill, just some hundreds of yards away, with a woman who also looked to be in her late sixties and who also seemed to have the same belligerent determination to cause death and mayhem, you know, like she was entitled.

not an accident

Much closer than it looks.

She pulled out directly in front of the tractor-trailer with heart-stopping slowness and determination, just like the guy described above, and, like him, continued going no more than ten or fifteen miles an hour. It was not a sudden thing. It was like she had waited for the circumstances to be what they were. I had stopped completely and pulled over as far as I could so as to give the tractor-trailer guy a bit of an option should she brake-check him. He waved, thankful that I had done this. It’s quite a few miles of double-yellows. I wonder if she kept everyone trapped behind her at such a slow speed. She was yelling and gesturing at me for having gotten out of her way, apparently upset that she and everyone else was still alive.

I gotta wonder if this man and woman had been having a fight. Were they married? Was it road rage against each other which turned into road rage against everyone?

Situational awareness is a service to self and others as it looks for ways out of potentially bad situations instead of letting them get worse. This is a courtesy, and can spell the difference between life and death at any given time.

Are we aware of the situation we are in what with all of eternity before us?

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Road rage tender snowflake tantrums and peaceful situational awareness

road danger nantahala gorge

A view in front right where the slow-moving-vehicle right lane just quits.

Situational awareness involves always having at hand a number of ways to deescalate a potentially dangerous situation. This is especially useful in road rage situations, which, it seems to me, are on the increase for the reason that road rage is all about the tender snowflake entitlement mentality of “it’s all about me.” There are so very many tender snowflakes these days. Very few have their identity in their Creator, Christ Jesus. Nothing to do about that until they get to know the self-sacrificing love of Jesus, with some goodness and kindness and respect for others. So, patience and a good example is what’s best. In a dangerous situation, give them what they want, which is that the road is for them and nobody else. I don’t want to die and I don’t want to see anyone else hurt, not even the tender snowflakes.

I tend to go right at the speed limit, or, as I like to tell people, just a 1/2 mile an hour under the speed limit so that I don’t ever get a speeding ticket from a State Trooper in the area who gives everyone a ticket who is going just a half mile an hour over the speed limit. But anyway, it’s a known fact that speeding up a couple of miles an hour enrages road-ragers. So I just go the speed limit. It’s also just safer with all the blind drive-ways and the possibility of hydro-planing because of misconstructed roads and fallen-trees after a rain so very common in the gorge. Speed limits are there for a reason.

Well, last evening as dusky dark, coming back from Bishop Curlin’s funeral, passing through the Nantahala Gorge, which is pretty much double-yellow no-passing for miles and miles, I noted a group of cars going waaaaay over the speed limit zipping up behind me, driving really aggressively among themselves, enraging each other like yellow-jackets attacking a hornet’s nest, with all the more raging when they got behind me, what with me going only the speed limit. Now I was a common enemy to the lot of them.

There’s a courtesy lane for slow moving vehicles to move into for a few hundred yards right at the end of the gorge, so I thought I would get in that, fearing that if I didn’t, they would pass on the right and knock me into oncoming traffic on the left. Yes, that happens… lots of cross-markers for deaths that way. Or they might otherwise just pass on the double-yellow going up the mountain to Topton, likely, then, to kill themselves and others on the blind curves, causing head-on collisions. The passing on the double-yellow thing is a way of life here in the mountains. Lots of deaths that way too, but, it seems, no one really cares. But this crowd was particularly a raging sight to see. So, all situationally aware, I let them pass while I got into the slow-moving-vehicle-lane.

I knew I would have to slam on the brakes in the all-too-short lane as there is no one polite on the road anymore it seems, and the entire line of traffic would surely try to pass me whether I crashed out or not. I don’t like crashing!

Here’s the video from the back window of Sassy the Subaru as the tantrums of the tender snowflakes unfolds.

Note all the angry honking as they passed, ever so angry that I was only going the speed limit. It’s kind of humorous in a sad sort of way in that it’s all so predictable. The more tender snow-flake one is, the more angry one becomes. You know: tough tender snowflakes. Honk honk honk. It’s a tender snowflake world. That sounds like a song title.

I’m not saying that these guys did anything wrong at all. But real road ragers who actually endanger others should have some sort of punishment like sporting huge car-magnets for a month which say “I’m a tender snowflake throwing a tantrum.” Then they pay a fine to cover the cost and replacement of the magnet if they throw it away or if they don’t have it on their vehicles during the required period. I’m so bad and evil. But really, it seems that driving is getting to be a barometer of the soul. Does no one have the ability to just take it down a notch?

Jesus, save us. Give us a sense of identity in you. Don’t permit any of us to be tender snowflakes. Make us tough, that is, Lord, have us be good and kind and courteous and polite and respectful. Have us be safe so that we can be good stewards of soul and body, which are to be tabernacles of the Holy Spirit, at peace and peaceful, joyful in your presence. Amen.

At peace and peaceful. Joyful. Amen.

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Road danger: Just the good ol’ boys

Just the good ol’ boys, never meanin’ no harm, beats all you never saw, been in trouble with the law since the day they was born

Staightenin’ the curves, flattenin’ the hills, someday the mountain might get ’em, but the law never will

Makin’ their way, the only way they know how, that’s just a little bit more than the law will allow

Just the good ol’ boys, wouldn’t change if they could, fightin’ the system, like a true modern day Robbin’ Hood

=====================

About two or three days after reporting an arson in a certain place the other year there was a period of some nine months of good ol’ boys in that area riding my bumper even for dozens of miles wherever I went. I could literally set a stopwatch to see how long it would take before I had good ol’ boys (often two ruffians) on the back bumper. Usually no longer than three and half minutes, sometimes less. That was in the days before I got a Thinkware F770 (with front and back cameras with auto-cycling digital recording). After the reporting of the arson, it was like turning on a light switch, every trip out. It was a bit annoying. For no reason I can discern, nine months later, it was like turning off a light switch. Nothing more, except on the rare occasion.

There were a few occasions when some trucks raced up at what must have been twice the speed limit only to slam on the brakes before actually ramming me off the road, then charging, backing off, charging, backing off, weaving aggressively into the ditch and over double-yellow lines, charging, blah blah blah boring. I just didn’t react, always 1/2 mile under the speed limit. Most of that was in the middle of absolutely nowheresville.

But now I think I’ve discerned a motive for some of this activity, which of a sudden has picked up again, not related to the reporting of any arson, but because it’s now much more difficult to acquire hillbilly heroin, opioids, prescription pain-meds, what with Trump’s war on this kind of drug abuse. The price goes up. Addicts need money.

Waiting outside the church after a Sunday Mass is the occasion. As everyone leaves and I take off, the pursuit begins. A junky truck with a couple of good ol’ boys will race up at something like twice the speed limit, get on the bumper, and stay there with evident aggressiveness for the next ten miles, with a half-dozen opportunities to pass, but never taking them, and then simply turning around and returning, upset with themselves for being cowards, in the end, for not taking down the priest with, they presume, the Sunday Mass collection. Hah.

I think it might be a good idea to get a somewhat heavier vehicle than Sassy the Subaru Forester. Dunno. Heavy usually means less agile, and all we have in the mountains are super-curvey roads, which are, in fact, the tourist attraction. But heavy also means hard to do a PIT on (see video above). I’ve so often had people ride just off the back corner of the vehicle while they drove in the passing lane, but never passing, just sitting there in pre-pit-maneuver position. I’ve successfully avoided bad consequences quite a number of times by slamming on the brakes when they were truly off to the side, with them in the same nano-second, literally, also slamming on the brakes, frustrated that they lost their opportunity. No one who is just passing does that, nor do they just ride in the on-coming lane just forever, regardless of double-yellows. Hah.

Guardian angels are really very wonderful, but I’m thinking we’re also supposed to do our part. “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God,” and all that.

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This gunslinger priest: It is to laugh! More updates on the ironies. Ha ha!

wrong way off ramp

October 27, 2017: The first time I had my gun at the ready, brandished and all, was when I was the victim of a carjacking on highway 40 while bringing a retired cop to his major surgery appointment. Lucky for me, nine cruisers showed up just when I needed them, that very second. Thanks to the cops! I’m guessing he was an escapee on the run and they had just gotten a tip he was in the area. The timing was perfect.

The second time I had my gun kind of at the ready was today. With the neighboring priest sick to death, I was on my way to the hospital in his parish in Bryson City to give one of his parishioners the last rites, priest that I am, and I had Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament with me. I was coming down the off ramp at Exit 67 on Interstate 74, clearly marked on the far side with the proper wrong way signs for any would be knucklehead drivers not paying attention, something like the picture above. It’s not a good thing to get on an interstate highway going the wrong way.

Because I was going to a hospital in North Carolina (with the law prohibiting entrance with any gun, concealed or otherwise), and since the trip was almost over, being now only a couple of miles away, I took the gun out of the Serpa Blackhawk holster and secured it otherwise in the vehicle. This is really stupid. You just never know when a critical incident is going to occur.

As I slowed up for the intersection, an ultra-sports sports car, the kind with really wide tires pulled up into the one-lane off ramp coming right at me, going the wrong way. It wasn’t a Corvette or a Lamborghini, but perhaps, if I remember rightly (looking now at some pictures), a Bugatti Veyron (one or two million for the el-cheapo version). It can go 60 mph in 119 feet, 255 mph maxed out (410 kms per hour for those across the pond).

I pulled right into him, decisively, slamming on the brakes with a bit of attitude. I didn’t hit him but my perception was that he fully intended to do what he was doing and he was pretty upset that I had totally blocked his access. It was a man driving with a woman in the passenger seat, both about 65 years old. Were they on a scenic tour of the mountains here in his new car? This was a very elegant looking man and woman. The look of big money. Was he trying to show off to her, racing up the highway the wrong way just until the next exit, perhaps running circles around cars (easy to do in a Bugatti)? My perception was that he wanted an explanation of my behavior and so put his window down halfway even as he continued to go around me in the ditch.  In the ditch. I was fully aware that he could have put his window down a bit so as to shoot me. He did seem to be messing around with something in his lap. In fact, he didn’t say anything. But he was determined to get on the highway going the wrong way. He was still edging forward. It was my perception that it would almost be impossible for him to be making a mistake. Another car came down the off ramp behind me and laboriously went around this scene of mayhem. It couldn’t be clearer that this was on off-ramp, NOT an on-ramp.

I jumped out of Sassy the Subaru with my hands up, waving him off, so as to stop him. My message was unmistakable. He kept moving forward slowly, but it seemed with determination, as he was ignoring my indication to stop. I ran right in front of him and told him with calm authority (where did that come from?) that I wasn’t going to let him go any further. I stared him down like I’m sure he’s never been stared down before. His companion looked scared to death with her hands to the sides of her head while he was looking at my hip. It was my perception that he was intent on going on an adrenaline joy ride. He was still edging forward with the low front of the car getting obnoxiously close to my shins. This is reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon. Did I put myself in danger? Sure. But for every possible reason he could and should stop. And I had every reason in the world to make an attempt to stop him from mortally endangering his life, the life of his companion, and the lives of those on the highway behind me.

It happens that I wear a black and frumpy 5-11 tactical shirt (with Roman collar!) over my Glock 19 which I carry OWB but unseen on my right hip. But when I’m in the car I pull the shirt back behind the Serpa Blackhawk holster so that the gun is immediately available even with the seat belt fastened. I still remember the carjacking and I refuse to be a victim. I forgot that the shirt was still tucked behind the holster even though the gun was itself secured in the car. He saw the holster and couldn’t be sure that there was no gun in it as the shirt flopped over the top opening of the holster in it’s baggy fashion, though without concealing the rest of the holster itself. That’s O.K. North Carolina is an open-carry state also for those who have concealed carry permits but who may happen to want to open-carry on occasion.

So, I didn’t brandish. I never threatened. I wasn’t terrorizing the public with a weapon. I was formulating a plan to perhaps shoot out his tires if he continued to run into me, perhaps over me, that is, if conditions indicated this was the proper thing to do for the safety and welfare of all concerned, including the general public on the roads. I’m practiced enough now that I could shoot out tires that with the certainty of not hitting the occupants. I’ve been run over with extreme violence before, with plenty of shattered bones, so I know what that’s like. I know I can be totally calm in a storm. I know what adrenaline is. So, easy peasy, however intense. It didn’t come to that, thank God. There are plenty of videos on-line demonstrating that personal defense rounds from a 9mm will leave a big enough hole in a reinforced steel-belted extra heavy duty truck tire so as to let the air out in about 15 seconds, so, no worries there. The bullets only go through one wall and generally get stuck coming out the far side.

Anyway, however upset he was, I’m sure he just couldn’t believe what he was seeing what with me wearing the Roman collar and all. I actually think that made him all the more angry and upset, though he just couldn’t fathom what was on my hip. If he was looking to show off with dangerous driving, risking the lives of others, he finally figured out that killing a priest, especially considering what he was doing with his life, would be counterproductive in every way imaginable. He stopped, backed up, and turned his car around. Off he went getting an ear full from his friend.

I was elated as I got back in my car. I looked over to the share-ride parking that is there as I came up to the stop sign at the intersection, and some guy in a pickup, looking very much in the part of an undercover cop, gave me a big thumbs up, which I also returned. I’m sure he also had a good view of what was on my hip. He looked terribly amused to see my Roman collar as well. I was amused that he was amused. I’m sure he was happy to see civilians doing their part, even the clergy. I’m quite sure Jesus was amused as well. I think I give Jesus lots to be amused about.

I was also quite impressed with this incident that you just don’t know when bad things can happen. It can all go down in mere seconds. I gotta thank my guardian angel for arranging the timing of this and for smacking me down to make sure I did the right thing. I could have let him go. But to what end, to kill themselves and others? That’s not right. I realize that this could have all gone south very, very quickly, but that’s O.K. too, isn’t it? I mean, just because something could go wrong doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do the right thing, right? I’m sure Jesus doesn’t mind if we do the right thing. I’m still elated it all went well… and I’m still thanking my guardian angel.

October 28, 2017 (early the next morning): The face of the woman in the passenger seat was burned into my mind, as she framed her head with her hands while reprimanding the driver, who I just assumed was her husband, seeming to be about the same age and all that. When I was on the phone with Father Gordon MacRae this morning (the 28th, still only hours after the incident above), we were sending a note to a lady who is perhaps by definition the most anti-Catholic, anti-priest woman in these United States. (She’s quite willing to receive the messages, by the way). Her photo came up as I started to type in her gmail address. She’s a spitting image of the lady in the car. The face, the age, the exact weird color of hair, the exact exact exact hair-do. Exact amount of lower-chin-fat. Everything. 100%. That’s her. This, I’m sure, was her worst nightmare: to be rescued from malicious death at the hands of her companion by a priest who helps Father Gordon, her biggest nemesis in the universe. Hah hah hah hah hah hah hah! I love it. I just love it. Happy to provide the nightmare. Maybe she will also have, upon reflection of what happened, a better regard for priests. As I say, the angels arrange just this very kind of ironic circumstance. I love it.

December 26, 2017: While doing some editorial work for Father Gordon MacRae, it struck me that I should google-image someone for whom I never had occasion to see an updated picture. Hah hah hah hah hah hah hah! I love it. I just love it. The driver of the Bugati was not her husband, but rather, someone who is, perhaps by definition the most anti-Catholic, anti-priest man in these United States. I didn’t recognize him earlier because, in fact, he’s lost some weight what with all pressure he’s suffering from all the hypocrisy and corruption being uncovered about him, and… and… he’s grown himself a goatee. It was this thinner, goateed guy that I saw. The ironies are so rife it’s hard for me to write this update. Hah hah hah hah hah hah hah! O.K., I’m happy to have saved him from himself as well. I’m not laughing at him with some sort of schadenfreude. I do hope he lives long enough to repent and be on his way to heaven. The angels are more amazing than we can possibly imagine, setting up the timing of such encounters more than we know, perhaps more than we care to know.

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Extreme Sport North Face of Tatham Gap Trail of Tears Communion Calls.

tatham gap summit ice

This is the summit of the North Face of “the mountain.”

Being from Minnesota, I have to think that there is nothing about snow and ice in Western North Carolina that I can’t handle, especially with all wheel drive Sassy the Subaru Forester, though with only street, not snow tires, no chains, no metal studs.

Stupid me. Notice the bevel of the road is rather severe from left down to the right, and it’s all slick ice. And, at this point, the car just wouldn’t stop tumbling down the mountain side if it started to slide ever so slightly. But, hey, I’m clever! And immortal! I can do anything! Especially filled with adrenaline!

And that’s why these roads are eventually closed in the winter time by the Forest service, you know, for people like me. Sigh.

I’ll see if I can’t put up a video of at least parts of this Trail of Tears, which pretty much starts in my parish church and heads out to Nebraska.

I don’t have to go this way on Communion Calls, but I do because it is a short cut and so very beautiful. I’m quite certain that I have the most beautiful parish in the world.

But then again, I recall the words repeated to me as spoken by Humberto Cardinal Medeiros before the Archdiocese sold a castle in the forest on the rocky north shore of Massachusetts. Someone commented to him standing atop that castle while looking over the beauties of nature just how very beautiful it all was. His response was that he himself found the grimy steel pylons of the elevated trains back in the city to be so much more beautiful.

Boston El Train

Well, I’m sure there is the same adrenaline rush on an icy Trail of Tears over Tatham Gap as one might have being jerked around by the rickety and now closed El-Train in Boston. I remember it well. Someone else also remembers such things:

pope francis bus albert the great

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Road-danger, Angel of God, BATFE, Shadow-dog, clericalism at its best

head on missed

Yesterday’s trip started off with a would-have-been head-on-collision had I not been paying attention. I was coming around a sharp blind curve with a double-yellow and some joker had just blown another car off the road and decided to drive into oncoming traffic. I slammed on the brakes and watched as he was just able to get back to his side of the road. My reaction? I mean, after the first second or two? ;-) Angel of God my guardian dear…

The 400 some mile trip was successful. Lunch with the Abbot, a LOOONG talk with the bishop, as always, as I come from so far away, and catching up with very many other priests. We have the best bishop in the world (sorry Pope Francis). He puts on an Advent meal out of his own pocket every year for the priests. I’m sure my guardian angel conspired to make all of this go along very well as well.

I have to say that a number of priests were mightily interested in Shadow-dog, and demanded more posts on Shadow-dog. I think that’s a good idea. One priest, however, shared his opinion that dogs are most inappropriate for priests as they “hold the priest back from doing what he needs to do.” I guess I just don’t feel that way. It’s never stopped me from rushing to hospitals day or night, or going on long excursions, or trips, say, to Rome. The neighbors are happy to look after the dogs and they do anyway, so who am I to judge? And… and… the way I look at it, Shadow-dog is security. Times are changing, also here. Even BATFE is making its presence felt in my little neighborhood. Imagine that. I’m sure they’re happy to have Shadow-dog around as well.

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Sharing the road with druggies. Or not.

ditch driving

You never know what you’re going to meet on the road, or not on the road, while on Communion calls to the shut-ins on the tops of the back ridges of this Appalachian wilderness. A good sense of situational awareness is important.

I was keeping an eye on this fellow as he was closing the distance mighty fast. And then he decided to drive in the ditch. He almost rolled the car overcompensating but then soon stabilized, spraying dirt round about and creating a cloud of dust, and then he sped up again and got on my back bumper. After another couple of miles he suddenly peeled off among some recycling dumpsters at the side of the road.

I can’t imagine such a very exciting trip was to drop off a little bag of recycling (the car being really very tiny). I’m guessing he was going dumpster diving for drugs, perhaps after hearing that someone had just been doing their recycling, someone who always throws away any extra prescription pain killers.

This is one of the worst areas in these USA for abuse of opioids. There’s a real crackdown on the doctors in the area who have been prescribing opioids for anything and everything or nothing at all. People are hooked. The supply is running dry. They are getting desperate. It’s pretty bad.

People have zero sense of identity. They are defined by their drugs. People need Jesus.

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Lane splitting and brake checking: So, what’s the cure to hopelessness? Jesus!

lane splitting

Quiet mountain villages are not so quiet anymore. Sure, this is where Thunder Road was filmed, but I’ve never seen the level of dangerous driving here that I’ve seen in the last few days. The example of lane splitting above, I’m guessing at about 80 miles an hour, almost took out two other vehicles.

ford ranger

Something more or less like this.

But that’s nothing compared to a deep but very bright metallic blue pickup on Highway 40 the other day. He almost clipped my front bumper passing me on the right. He seemed to hesitate as to whether he should brake check me for the offense of being on the highway at the same time as him, but he sped up again, perhaps well over a 100 miles an hour, almost ramming into the back of an SUV, perhaps pushing that vehicle to make it go faster. As soon as that SUV passed a tractor trailer, switching lanes in front of the tractor trailer, the bright blue pickup passed him and violently pulled in front of him and slammed on his brakes. You can imagine the ensuing chaos. See the picture below. The brake lights are those of the SUV. The pickup is right in front of the SUV (you’re seeing the reflection of the SUV headlights on the back bed of the pickup). I imagine the trucker got some good video.

brake checking

This isn’t road rage as no one else was doing anything wrong. I don’t even think it’s people full of self-importance, who make adrenaline their god, with everyone else paying the price for such idiocy. Instead, I think it’s driving while on some pretty strong drugs.

No one is hopeless, but trying to reason with anyone controlled by the drugs they take is a hopeless cause. Druggies consider themselves to be hopeless while taking drugs. Hopelessness is a licence to kill. But, here’s the deal, they are also feeling terribly hopeless before they choose once again to take drugs, throwing themselves into such uncontrollable behavior. But that’s the only time to a hold of their souls, making them understand that there is hope for them. Giving them a way out of hopelessness is key.

Prison ministry? Of course, hopeless people are just absolutely FULL to overflowing with mind games, with a seemingly infinite number of rationalizations and fears and peer pressures and escapes from reality at the ready, making sport of those who would chisel away at their cynicism and despair. What to do?

Rehabs which don’t answer the big questions in life, which cannot or will not speak of Jesus can only be accidentally and only very occasionally successful. The only way to crash into the midst of someone’s life and brake check them for the good is Jesus.

The Indian government once asked Mother Teresa of Calcutta if she could take on the training of government social workers, as those social workers were utterly useless to society, but, they said, Mother’s sisters, the Missionaries of Charity, were doing a most spectacular job. Her response, of course, was that she had never done social work, but only manifested the love of Jesus for all, His respect, His goodness and kindness. That’s what makes the difference. She said she would train the social workers, but under condition that she could speak to them about Jesus. The government, of course, refused.

But Jesus is the One. He’s the only One. It’s all about Jesus. All else is violence and a waste of time. We want Jesus!

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Road danger. Total respect for our State Patrol and Highway workers. Craziness.

On the way back from dropping off Shadow to get “fixed,” while on the steep mile-long downhill of a straight-away on Highway 74 just north-east of Andrews, a damsel in distress needed help, her SUV parked, out of gas, fully half-way onto the north-east lane of the highway.  The four lane highway at this point is just two lanes. The near head-on collisions were pretty continuous as traffic tried to go around her. A tractor-trailer just plowed right up the opposing lane of traffic around her parked vehicle regardless of oncoming traffic, so that oncoming traffic had to fly into the ditch. Craziness. Total insanity. People just don’t care. A lot of people could have died right then and there.

I had already turned around and was parked on the highway behind her so she wouldn’t get hit. I had put my emergency blinkers on and jumped out to direct traffic, slime-green emergency vest at the ready, of course. One car almost hit me, it seems on purpose, I guess angry that I was stopping him from getting in an accident. Phone in hand I called the dispatch, asking for a blue-light until the vehicle could be removed (the ditches being straight down some fifteen feet at that point. No one came. One Patrol per three counties. Busy on another call.

Meanwhile, the damsel in distress was frantic, saying the car wasn’t even hers. A boyfriend, it seems, appeared and grabbed her and away they sped in his red truck, saying they were getting gas, but leaving all gas stations behind in the opposite direction. I called it in again, saying I was thinking the car was stolen and the perps just ran away., giving the licence tag. They never reappeared as far as I know. The car had a handicapped tag, but the girl, terribly dirty, druggy looking (sorry), was not in any way handicapped at her 20-something age, running around the way she was.

Lots of near head-on collisions. Some nice people, but many really angry for having had to slow down for a few seconds. I called it in again, saying this situation was totally crazy and I really needed help as someone was bound to get hurt bad really soon. Finally, a State Patrol showed up. He thanked me profusely, apologizing for the delay. We had a great chat, actually, and we reviewed the scene. He then sent me on my way, saying he was going to get the vehicle towed.

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Laudie-dog, snakes, tears and tech

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When getting back last night from a second trip to graham county Laudie-dog noticed a snake coming out on the back porch of the rectory, despite the cold, and she was immediately in protective aggressive flurry mode. Poor snake.

Here’s the summit of the Trail of Tears, Tatham Gap Road, which basically starts in my parish church and makes its way out to Nebraska. The government of the time killed off thirty million bison so as to starve to death those Cherokees who survived the death long death march.

tatham gap summit info sign trail of tears

I would like to know how to turn my 770 ThinkWare clips into a YouTube movie so that you all know where I go on my screamingly beautiful Communion Calls with Jesus. This is paradise here on earth.

tatham gap washout

Perhaps there is a techy trick to this. Anyone?

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OK, I’ll move off to the overlook

Cherokee Police 2017 11 02

This is at the Stecoah Gap, at 3,165 foot elevation. He looked like he really really really needed to get somewhere fast. Unless you pull off the road altogether, there’s hardly anywhere for miles where there is no double-yellow so as to pass. So, I try to be nice. Or, maybe I just didn’t want a cop riding my bumper for the next dozen miles! He was already riding my bumper for some miles. It’s surprising the number of police in this remotest of places. This guy is Cherokee Police, which is, effectively, Federal Police. He might not know that I had Jesus with me, making the rounds to many shut-ins up in the mountains here. It’s so cool to bring Jesus round about His own creation. I’ll try to post some pictures later. Off to a wedding rehearsal now…

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again and again and again and again and again and again and again and…

State Police 2017 11 01 Robbinsville

Here’s a snapshot of my life from the backview camera of Sassy the Subaru. It’s nice to have my own private motorcade, of sorts, this time made up of the State Police. Talk about security! I’ll take the high road and say that this is for my benefit.

I’m going 44mph in a 45mph zone, center of my lane. The State Police, breathlessly chasing after me, can barely stay on the road during the wild pursuit that utilized, however, no blue-lighting, no siren, no flashing headlights, no ramming or pit maneuvers. Never does. This continued, as usual, for miles (the longest “chase” being 26 miles, bumper to bumper). I can feel the love!

It starts, as it often does, right after morning Mass in Robbinsville. He was waiting for me in the parking lot right next to the church, the usual stakeout position for that… gasp… Catholic priest. The church is just a few hundred yards away on the left in the picture. I don’t get stopped, just, you know, to borrow a word from Pope Francis, accompanied. It was right at this point that I gunned it, as it were, and went 49mph in a 50mph zone. I guess that could be considered to be mockery of the police. I don’t mean it that way. Maybe I should go 50 1/2 mph in a 50mph so that they can pull me over and give me a ticket. Maybe that will make them happy and then they’ll give up such heart-attack level activities. I mean, these stakeouts must be expensive as the years go by.

The sheriff deputies follow me past the county line usually just another nine miles. I guess they get permission from the neighboring counties to go ahead and continue such hot pursuits. The State Police or Cherokee Indian Police (Federal Police) or the National Forest Police (Federal Police) can, of course, go anywhere and remain in their jurisdiction. Pretty much all of WNC is National Forest.

Sassy the Subaru Forester (el cheapo edition) could probably go 60mph flat out if pushed on the highway, going downhill, surely enough to leave all pursuit vehicles in the dust. :-)

JUST KIDDING! I APPRECIATE IT, GUYS!

Thank a police officer today. They risk their lives day-in, day-out, in an often thankless job. In wearing their uniform they are already targets for abuse. They do us all a great service.

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Going to Guadalupe? Pay the Mexican Military Cartel cash or die. It’s that bad.

ak 47 ammo

We had a wedding last Saturday in the parish. The couple went to Mexico for their honeymoon. They reported back that there are now military checkpoints everywhere in Mexico. They don’t ask for documents or other useless rubbish. They want money, only. If you refuse, they let you go, but they call ahead to inform the drug cartel in whatever area that you refuse to donate to their cause. The cartel stops you, and simply kills you as an example for others. This makes me upset inasmuch as my identity was used for arms transfers to the Sinaloa Cartel just when Joaquín “El Chapo” Archivaldo Guzmán Loera (now imprisoned along with his “godson”) started to terrorize innocent civilians, the government, the politicians, law enforcement and, finally, the Church.

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Monkey see monkey do “off the road”

car in the ditch

Driving in the ditch looks benign enough until you end up in dangers which have few warnings besides the ditch itself being, after all, the ditch. Sometimes people fall asleep or simply drive off the road on purpose so as to park, not knowing the dangers they face. Sometimes there’s a monkey see monkey do effect at play with some drivers all too eager to imitate the drivers either ahead or behind them. A LEO can drive near the edge of the road to test the sobriety of the person in front of them and, if that driver is drunk, he’ll start driving on the edge of the road as well. Clockwork. Sometimes people who are talking on the phone or texting get on the bumper of someone and simply mimic the speed and even turns of the car ahead of them, without once fully looking up.

Sometimes people imitate others for the sake of road-rage. Sometimes they do it just to be annoying. This was the case up in Graham County a while back, with the guy following others closely everywhere they went, that is, everyone, it seems, who was not born there, even if they’ve lived there for decades. This gets dangerous in this neck of the woods and so a sting was set up with the Sheriff’s office and the guy was smacked down.

This very following thing was happening to me the other day just at that point on that road in that county (same guy?). He had been on my tail for quite a long time, though staying back 200 yards exactly. The “exactly” thing, regardless of the speed I would go, made me put up my antennae. Meanwhile, I arrived at one of my shut-ins, a Communion Call, a 92 year old, and did a U-Turn some 10 feet into the ditch on the far side of the road so as to park, as is my practice, at that location. Meanwhile, I was watching the rear-view mirror, and the very nanosecond I started the maneuver, the other car did as well, like, without thinking, going fully right into the ditch where he was, but finding out that it wasn’t a great place to do that. Finding himself in trouble in the ditch at that point, he somehow got back on the road and drove past me all sheepish for being such a knucklehead. ;-)

Motivations become muddled with whatever is monkey see monkey do. Analogies can be made with political correctness, going along to get along, proving something to self or others as a reaction to whatever. Whatever! It reminds me a bit of what can happen at a Synod, one of those being on the road things. What we need are people who can just do what they are supposed to do in following Jesus, who went off the road into death, the Exodus (going off the road) in Jerusalem Jesus spoke about with Moses and Elijah during His transfiguration.

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The druggie girl strikes again: fried

fried brains drugs

A while back I wrote about the lady who almost T-boned me as she raced out onto the road without looking, how she then drove to a known alleged drug house, all without a licence plate on her car. Well, just yesterday, she was parked on the road outside the rectory (about 20 yards away), straddled across both lanes, moving a few inches when she saw me coming, but then staying there as if defiantly. I had to slam on the brakes to avoid hitting her. But, of course, I realize that she was totally wasted on drugs. She finally moved after a stare down inasmuch as that is possible: her vacuous blank stare really made me feel so sorry for her. I should have reported her but we don’t have a drug dog anymore in town and she would probably register no alcohol on a breathalyzer. I suppose our LEOs would easily see she was totally wasted, and could haul her in for a blood test after an easily made traffic stop, what with her being all over the road hardly knowing where she is. I really should call that kind of thing in…

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Trip: Exorcism of a house (road danger)

road danger 2

Holding my phone camera to the passenger side window of Betsy the Nissan pickup. See the side view mirror. That’s straight down about 500 feet. You have to know that the trees here are abnormally tall, often 75-100 feet, with White Pines easily growing to 130 feet. The purple stole you see in the reflection of the window is extra long, which I had made specifically for exorcisms. It has the JPII Cross and M. Here’s the same place looking ahead:

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And here’s a close up of where not to put your tire: just air for 500 feet.

road danger 4

A car passed at this curve and I overheard, “Don’t be scared!” I love it.

Before this point, there’s this, most of the way down, but still two miles so steep there’s a mandatory truck info pull off at the top and a number of emergency truck ramps on the way down.

road danger 5

Meanwhile, Betsy the Nissan Pickup was overheating repeatedly. That was fixed by my neighbor when I met him in town. Thanks!

road danger 1On the way back, there was this, worse than ever. You know it has to just collapse and avalanche down hundreds of feet into a reservoir sooner than later. It seems to have a foundation of sand over slippery bed rock.

Oh, and the exorcism? That went very smoothly, thanks be to God and Saint Michael the Archangel. I still have to resurrect the series of on exorcism, 40 some articles as I recall.

Sometimes my outings bring me to places where I wish I had a dog for protection, like if I break down (that happens quite a bit). Some of the places are really remote.  The rescued puppy might not cut it in some of the more difficult situations that I had to hesitate to go into but did. We had some small dogs, and some bigger ones when I was a kid. I know, I know, I should just trust, right?

Anyway, what if I did have a German Shepherd that rode along on these trips, and stayed in the bed of the truck chained from a shoulder harness to the center of the back of the cab with enough leeway to put their nose to the wind, I wonder if that would work, like at a supermarket. Someone said that people steal dogs around these parts for illegal dog fight gambling. And there is, in fact, a lot of that. I wonder if there are lockable leashes for just such a scenario. The orange dog is going to be shipped up to Connecticut for… um…

 

 

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