This is hindsight not for accusation but for immediate tweaking of tactical rules:
Practically speaking, there is no such thing as an unloaded gun. You always treat all guns as hot. The next guy to take the gun makes sure it’s cold. Obvious right? Even the best of the best don’t do this every time. And they shoot themselves or others accidentally. In the same way, there is no such thing as a room unoccupied by injured victims in immediate need of medical attention. Every room needs to be cleared, starting with the room from which all indicators scream is the room with the shooter.
To repeat: No matter what anyone says, there are no dead victims in a mass shooting, ever. You always assume that they are still alive and that you must rescue them now, but the shooter is blocking you from doing that, which blocking you must assume is actively murdering people.
There are no active shooters that become “barricaded” for all the reasons above, always, without exception.
You always do the rescue immediately, regardless of the guy having better weapons, regardless of his being strapped with bombs, regardless of his better ballistic protection. Take the brain-box shot, every time.
“But those rooms are vacant!” But say that teachers, admin, faculty, staff of the school, and all law enforcement officers already on scene tell you insistently that it’s a barricaded situation, that no one was in the room when the shooter went in and barricaded himself. DON’T BELIEVE IT. You treat the room as full of victims bleeding out who must instantaneously be rescued.
Proof of concept: Remember that little kid in the first seconds of the surveillance video who was coming out of the restroom two seconds after the shooter walked by on his way to that classroom to shoot up everyone there? Do you remember how that little kid turned back and ran into the restroom to hide?
Let’s turn that scenario around. Let’s say that the classroom was out for recess (and the shooter came into the school from a different direction). Let’s say the little kid had been an extra long time in the restroom and the teacher forgot about him before everyone going outside. Let’s say that little kid goes back to his classroom and is shot by the shooter who went into the classroom before the little kid saw him. Let’s say that that little kid looks dead to the shooter but is only slowly bleeding out and can be saved by immediate medical attention. Let’s say that law enforcement officers arrive to the classroom minutes later and are told that those classrooms are vacant because everyone was out for recess, and that surely the shooter was using the room as a base to shoot out at the playground, but that after an initial barrage of shots, stopped shooting. So he’s barricaded, right? Wrong. That little kid who had gone to the restroom is dying because someone made an assumption.
NEVER make assumptions. See the rules up top.
Let’s call those rules: “The Little Kid Protocol.”
Jane’s Revenge, a violent Marxist revolutionary group already being investigated for terrorist activities and for their plans already being enacted for terrorist activities, has stated that it wants to make the insurance risk-retention companies of their victims tired of backing institutions which are pro-life, like those who peacefully and joyfully provide diapers and baby formula[!] to (expectant) mothers (and fathers!), as well as those who provide peaceful and joyful instruction on God’s desire that we respect life from natural conception to natural death. Wait… What…? Making risk retention and insurance companies give up on clients? That’s some very serious forethought.
The reaction of the Catholic bishops is to provide their own security programs of their own risk retention insurance self-funded companies.
Programs are extremely top heavy, with emphasis on the ongoing documentation of synod of synodality style blah-blah, with so many levels of admitted CYA paper-trail oversight of oversight of oversight (literally), that the stated outcome, security, is a goal to which one never arrives, for one has made an esoteric perfection of bureaucracy into the avowed, determined, archenemy of the good. The program could literally generate thousands of pages of CYA documentation every week. Every week.
It’s so bad that the only people who would sign up to effect church security under such conditions would be the same ones who would say that any security whatsoever is an unfair affront to the entitled feelings of mass shooters, which effrontery is only what ol’ meanies do.
The programs are seemingly so purposed in their malice that they read like a manual of a secular North-East Virginia school board on how to destroy education while shooting down concerns of parents by using Merrick Garland over at the Department of Justice to call parents terrorists, parents who only want that their children are not super-sexualized by aggressive pedophilic groomers as soon as the kids are signed up for Kindergarten. In other words, the security team will be made up of Marxists ready at any second to protect the activity of mass shooters as they wipe out everyone in church, you know, by asking the mass shooters if they would like to dialogue over coffee and donuts even before the Mass is over.
What these programs hold up as the most effective structuring of the conversation is Critical Race Theory, CRT social-engineering, which in and of itself helps to promote the creation of mass shooters, and this time with authority of a respected security team which has a divine mandate, coming from a church as it does.
It’s not that the bishops are stupid. This really seems to be cynical malice on steroids and cocaine. It’s like the (Cardinal) (arch)bishops giving Holy Communion to Joey Biden and Nancy Pelosi while they come up to receive Holy Communion even while busy picking their teeth with the ribs of aborted babies. We’re not supposed to judge the interior souls of others; I’m just judging what’s presented on the outside. What the pro-abortion politicians do necessitates that they be barred from Holy Communion. The (Cardinal) (arch)bishops say otherwise. That seems like full-on anti-Christ malice. Why should a church security program from these (Cardinal) (arch)bishops be devoid of such seeming malice from hell?
Let’s go through a list of hazards that is said might well indicate a level of concern regarding mass shooters, hazards which the security team is to use for their ongoing training and readiness and mind-set. Here’s a screen shot, which will be followed by my own analysis:
Sorry for technical terms, but this list is a perfect example of “values clarification”, a pedagogical technique meant to deceive those already self-subjected to media-induced availability bias. For example, people think that legal tools of self-defense legally acquired by citizens in good standing are the reason why criminals should not be penalized for criminal usage of the same tools illegally obtained for violent purposes. That’s how powerful availability bias and “values clarification” is.
Let’s analyze that list of the bishops’ fears. Risk retention insurance policies, by definition, are marketed by fear. Let’s get into this:
High crime area: I’d like to see real stats on that. Do purposed mass shooters come from high crime areas so that mass shooters are just your normal criminals doing up some recreational shooting above and beyond their day-to-day criminality? Have we ever seen that even once? Or is it that mass shooters, wherever they are from, can go to whatever place for which they have some kind of emotional connection, or the place that is the softest target, the most ideologic target for whatever sociopathy weirdness swirls in their heads? Was the Fort Hood guy living in a high crime area? Was the Las Vegas guy living in a high crime area? Some, of course, like the Uvalde shooter, do have difficult backgrounds and are deeply troubled individuals, highly conflicted. But are such people only to be found in high crime areas? This is misleading, a distraction and, just my opinion, it is an attempt NOT to solve the problem because of purposely analyzing the problem incorrectly. Fear is not rational, and the creators of the program know this, right? They do it for money, right? Try out this statement (which is the attitude which will come across):
“We’re afraid that you’re a potential mass shooter because you live in a high crime area!”
I think we can call this a self-fulfilling prophesy, a license to kill by proxy, and getting paid for it, because with a program like this you’re creating fear, which is, again, always the most successful marketing strategy for risk-retention programs. They gotta love the death and destruction. $$$
But here’s the truth: by far the vast majority of people in high crime areas are super-decent people, kind and caring, real believers, who are suffering in their circumstances, sick of the aggression created by lenient district attorneys and liberal mayors. Most people in high crime areas simply want those in the church to be in solidarity with them. If some thug’s mom is going to church it’s not likely that he’s going to be shooting up the church. If the priest is giving Last Rites to some gangbanger’s mom at his own house, do you think he’s going to go and shoot up the church. No. But some idiots at church saying that all those living in high crime areas are potential mass shooters because of living in a high crime area is counterproductive. More programs are sold, more $$$ pocketed.
Demographics: Seriously? This is left generalized so that the security team has to read into “demographics” whatever they want. But whatever they read into “demographics” its going to be wrong. Demographics include consideration of age, gender, race, marital status, number of children, occupation, annual income, education level, homeowner or renter or homeless, political affiliation, religious affiliation, nationality, disability status, etc. We’ll get to poverty in just a bit, as it’s specifically named further down on the list. But I guess it has to be said: making a risk assessment about relative dangers of any of these or other categories that the security team has pulled out of it’s own prejudice is the kind of attitude that is going to create active shooters in the first place:
“You have been put on the most-possibly-a-mass-shooter-list because you’re black!”
This is, by definition, absolutely unapologetically in-your-face racist, Marxist CRT on steroids, and with a divine mandate, and with the adjunct authority of a security group. Outside of abortion especially targeting one particular race, this is about the most racist and disruptive thing one can do:
“We have a lot of black people in this neighborhood, so we have to be extra cautious. We need a one-to-one ratio of spotters for those dangerous black people.”
That this attitude would issue from a church, with a security team led by the pastor is either insane or very cynical, and greedy, creating fear and racism for money in selling the program. $$$
Also, just to say, we know that so very many of the heavy hitting terrorists are well educated, perhaps have families, and are likely at the top of their game in whatever it is they do, like gambling, or as university professors. Remember that guy in Las Vegas? Remember the September 11, 2001 terrorists? Sociopaths are not suffering from low IQs. They are quite consistently very high on quotient scales of intelligence. It’s just that there are currents which run deep regardless of demographics. The “demographics” thing is missing the point. After all these years, blaming demographics seems to be about as malicious as it gets in purposely missing just who it is that is going to commit a mass shooting. As it is, and just to state what is ironic and should be obvious: the guy most likely to do a mass shooting is the guy who judges that because of certain demographics it’s gotta be those other people who are a danger to existence, surely – it’s them! not me! – you know, like the Buffalo mass shooter. It makes any buyer of this risk retention program feel good about being the hero and pointing the finger at others. Then there are more mass shooters and “we haven’t been able to figure out any motive.” That’s social-engineering demographics for you. Murder by the proxy you created.
Let’s just say it: this isn’t about demographics; this is about behavior.
It’s about stopping the threat of the guy walking up to the church with a stick of dynamite lit up and wildly sparking and smoking in the one hand, and is already shooting at you with his gun in the other hand.
It’s about keeping an eye on the guy in the massive winter coat looking like he’s hiding a rifle while it’s 110 degrees outside and there’s a Biden-caused power outage that has shut down the air-conditioning on the inside. Forget the demographics.
Events after normal hours of operation: Just about every important event at church is accomplished “after normal hours of operation.” That’s how churches operate. Thus, the logic here inescapably equates office hours with “normal hours of operation,” you know, “bank hours”, nine to five, minus lunch breaks. We are therefore to assume that safety is all good on campus when the secretary is working on say, budgeting risk retention insurance company payments. Just a little overconfidence there, methinks.
Are we to risk assess late evening or super-early hours of Adoration because those are not held within “normal hours of operation”? Those are supererogatory, right? How many liberal pastors are there who even have Holy Hours at all? None? Let’s risk-assess those Holy Hours unto “normal hours of operation.” And then they won’t exist at all. No risk there.
How about risk assessing varying hours of funerals and weddings and baptisms, usually on Saturdays, not during normal hours of operation? Should we just refuse to do such things unless done during “normal hours of operation”?
How about risk assessing the always dangerous fish fry? All those non-Catholics fellowshipping with Catholics during non-office hours. DANGEROUS!
How about risk assessing the Saturday Vigil Mass, which happens to be the “Spanish Mass” filled with Mexicans. Oooo! Mexicans! Be afraid! Be very afraid! And, in the Winter, it’s night! Ooo! Night! Let’s reschedule that Mass to normal hours of operation, say, Monday at 10:00 AM, when most of our Spanish speakers, men and women, are hard at work. Mass shooter probability is therefore lowered to non-existent, right? No risk in that risk retention. Problem solved. Money raked in. $$$
And how about that early “English Mass” up across the mountain at Prince of Peace, on a Sunday morning, when all good risk retention insurance company desk-jockeys are sound asleep, not office hours? It’s Graham County. That’s already too dangerous even during normal hours of operation. We don’t even have an office on campus. Guess we’ll have to get rid of that.
And how about that ever so Traditional Mass at Holy Redeemer on a Sunday Morning? Same thing, right? All good risk retention vendors are still asleep, because it’s safest just not to get out of bed ever, except to do risk retention manipulations during banking hours, right? $$$
To be scared is to be without love. And that’s the attitude that creates active shooters. If anyone knew that events were being cancelled so as to avoid mass shooters, that’s precisely what will create a mass shooter who’s upset that the entire church and parish wasn’t cancelled from the get-go. He knows, because of this, that such a church is the softest target ever.
I’m trying to think how a pastor paying for a program that actually makes people more afraid could actually be a selling point of the program… think… think… think… I know. This is about pastors who are scared to get out from behind their office-hours desks, those who are surrounded by a series of offices with other people in the way of any shooter first, you know, so that they can hide under their desks.
Shutting down everything outside of office hours will make them feel like they’ve “done something.” This is the shut-it-all-down-because-of-Covid mentality that so many congratulate themselves for having. They are tough. They are the heroes.
Food pantries and homeless shelters: Here we go: the poor. So, the poor are singled out apart from the demographics as having to be assessed for especially being a danger as mass shooters just because they are poor? Really? Who are the freakoid monsters who wrote such things for church security? This is hateful. This has to be some elite, filthy rich, entitled Marxist college kid writing this for a church risk retention group with full satire directed against the church. Does some (arch)diocese actually use this execration? For shame. This is exactly the kind of attitude which very directly and very immediately right now creates mass shooters on behalf of, say, the Marxist Jane’s Revenge in the first place:
“You have to be dangerous as a probable mass shooter and we have proof because, like, you’re poor! We have a whole sub-team watching you! We’re scared of you! Really scared! You’re like bad and evil. You know it! We know it! STOP MAKING US AFRAID!”
What kind of person, what kind of priest, what kind of (Cardinal) (arch)bishop would take this statement on board without even blinking? And anyway, just because someone is hungry or needs a place to stay doesn’t mean that they are likely to be mass shooters; it just means they are hungry or need a place to stay. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, anyone? This is about the risk retention crowd thinking that their customers are filled with fear of people who are hungry and who need a place to stay, poor people, so that their instruction is: “Those who are hungry and need a place to stay are likely mass shooters.”
I’ll tell you what, the guy in the parish whom I most trust with my life is the most dirt poor guy in the parish. This is literally true. But the risk retention crowd capitalize on fear devoid of love. What does that say about the state of our (Cardinal) (arch)bishops and priests and those effecting this type of program?
Large amounts of cash or offerings:That‘s clever to slip in a push for having electronic collections, that is, people giving by a credit card app. No cash at all. But we have visitors. Lots of them. None of them will be signed up for any credit card app. Some want to be anonymous. Cash only. And anyway, money, I don’t care how much, is not the draw of any mass shooter. That’s the last thing they are concerned about. They figure they are going to die anyway. So why is money brought up for this program? It’s about not naming the real problem, which is the attitude with which the rest of these assessment of danger categories are presented. It’s that lying fear mongering attitude which creates active shooters in the first place. I mean, if it were actually the case that mass shooters were interested in money (never), you’d meet them at the door with a bucket of money and they would go away. But no. They’re going shoot you, then throw your money to the winds, and then they’re going to go in and shoot up the rest of the church. And then they’re going to get shot or shoot themselves. They don’t care about money. Why’s that? Because you’ve also just proven to them that they are worth nothing themselves, just a bucket of money, and that God doesn’t want them at all. They are trash, for eternity. They are only good for buying their own removal from the property.
Counseling that could be confrontational: This is surely a comment about the risk retention group thinking that priests are bad and evil, say, in the Confessional, if they do not accept as repentant those who say that they know better than God and they fully intend to keep “sinning” so as to lead the church into the niceness of continuous “sin.” If the priest doesn’t acquiesce, he’s being confrontational, and such controversy needs to be assessed. In other words, the Church is not to be a sign of contradiction with Jesus’ Cross, and the Church is instead to dumb-down doctrine and morality and instruction on the spiritual life and the Liturgy because dumbing down all that is good and holy will somehow cut down on mass shootings…. um… I’ll tell you what, it is when the church does not take people deadly seriously as Christ took us all deadly seriously that creates mass shooters in the first place. People actually want to hear “Repent and do not sin again.” If the Church were to say, “Go ahead and sin and then go to hell because I don’t care and you shouldn’t care either,” that’s when mass shooters are created in the first place.
Again, this church security team program was sent out to pastors everywhere after a spate of mass shootings and right when the FBI and then DHS upped the threat assessment for terrorism in churches and right before the cause of that threat assessment, which is reaction to the SCOTUS decision on abortion. No time to analyze the program. Just put it into action, doing something! But the program causes the problem, which sells more programs. RICO, anyone?
Television or web-based ministry where a person is frequently monitoring your safety/security teams’ position and activities:
There’s no talk of monitoring the congregants. This sounds likes it’s a public broadcast so common after idiot Covid-lockdowns of churches. Everyone is proud to be able to continue to use their tech savvy salvation beyond Covid era lockdowns. Pastors who locked everyone out of the sacraments can congratulate themselves that were right to do this from the beginning.
If it is public, that means that the position and activities of safety/security teams are also being monitored by mass shooters, who are thus being provided with up-to-the-second tactical information right up until the moment of catastrophe.
If this is closed circuit, and envisioned, as stated, to be utilized with merely frequent monitoring, this seems to refer not to anyone on any security team actively directing team members concerning possible threats, but rather to a secretary in the office with a wall monitor with a dozen camera shots opened on screen, overlapping each other, and who is busy with other things in the office, like googling cartoons to put in the next parish bulletin. That secretary will look up every hour or two, after going to the bathroom, getting another cup of coffee, maybe a donut.
Everything in this program favors the viability of mass shooters being successful in killing as many as possible. I mean, think of it. Cameras for, say, televising a Mass are going to give a good view of the altar, a good view of the pulpit. That’s it, except for the occasional panning of the congregation by Cathedral sized media operations, but not of any place in the church where security personnel would be, such as under a choir loft, or merely next to a camera in the choir loft, or behind a corner to the far sides of the sanctuary, manning the side-doors.
Just to say, if it’s on the internet, it’s wide open to the ubiquitous hackers. Easy peasy. Really. The security cameras of our own police station were hacked and being controlled from off campus, including the saved files being looped, even as officers, surprised, watched the monitor. What is it that’s being watched? Is it real time or a loop?
When it comes to actual real-time security, know this: complex=death; simple=life.
But this isn’t about saving peoples’ lives. This is about proving in court by saved footage that security teams were doing their best to be at the ready. Such proof means that it will be extremely unlikely that those suing the church for lack of care because a loved-one got shot up will be successful. The risk retention company is saved, meaning $$$ have been saved.
The reality is that risk retention groups are rarely going to pay one thin dime to anyone.
The reality is that the family of anyone getting shot up by some mass shooter is instantaneously going to get all the help they need on all levels from everyone in the parish and far beyond.
The reality is that we have the second amendment, and people need to use it. That’s the duty of care: respect and use the second amendment.
Do we have a security team? Yes. Do we instruct the congregation how things are likely to go down and what they are to do in our little tiny church, in our own unrepeatable circumstances? Frequently. Do we consult with law enforcement and have guys on hand who know what they are doing. Yep.
But the massive program of the bishops? No.
Again, no one who is competent will want anything whatsoever to do with such a program. It is made for bureaucrats who are scared of themselves, who want to congratulate themselves with more bureaucracy, that they’ve “done something.”
Doing something also includes prayer, the Rosary, the Guardian Angel prayer, a Saint Joseph prayer…
Mutual aid risk retention groups of Catholic bishops are coming up with education for establishing, sprucing up of church security teams. Do you trust anti-second amendment bishops to do that for you? Do you trust pro-abortion bishops who literally genuflect to terrorist groups do that for you?
Unsolicited, such a program, complete with video and document, was sent to me by email, all official, all verified. I’m guessing the same was sent to all pastors in the United States and Territories. The upshot, so to speak, was to be afraid, very afraid, and to buy into their program, you know, with money. Wait… what…?
I’ve spent about a week writing a detailed analysis of all this, erasing most all of it. In frustration, I’ll write about aspects of the program, then realize that It’s all too long, book length, and therefore guaranteed to have about zero effectiveness. Meanwhile, there are so very many mass shootings.
But, stay tuned. I’m narrowing down on just one discernment list of the bishops regarding who might be considered a likely mass shooter. Their discernment with that list is guaranteed to go a long way in creating mass shooters. Yep.
It’s all so very clever. Such social engineering. Such lies. And innocent blood is being shed.
My estimation of Taylor Marshal just went up. He knows Jiu-Jitsu, like, really well. Very impressive. My own health isn’t good enough right now. I’ve been putting off an operation and there are other things. But out of interest I looked up Jiu-Jitsu and found that one of the best instructional schools in these USA is right close to my parish – https://www.fxselfdefense.com/ – boasting of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Israeli Krav Maga Maleh, Muay Thai, Okinawan Karate etc.
In daily life I enjoy exercising situational awareness (noticing how to get out of or deescalate situations) along with my “force-multiplier,” but Catholic churches full of parishioners attending Holy Mass is now set to be a favorite target of the pro-abort anti-SCOTUS terrorists. And, as Taylor points out, the priest at Holy Mass that is offered ad orientem has zero situational awareness and is the perfect unobstructed first target, the fiddleback vestment with any embroidered “decal” making it all the more easy target-wise for the terrorist:
So, security teams are all the more necessary. My own diocese has been insistent on having security teams. The advice about 2nd amendment possibilities for these security teams is extremely carefully not provided, with absolutely nothing said for or against, insisting, in fact, on making sure that no parish offers any advice one way or the other. In court, people will hold you liable if they are hurt because you’ve limited their rights or because you didn’t and someone was hit by, say, a ricochet. So, you let the 2nd amendment speak for itself.
We do have neutral signs on the doors of the church and social hall proclaiming that concealed carry is just fine by us. In North Carolina, concealed carry permits involve extensive local, state and federal background checks to such an even exaggerated extent that we enjoy reciprocity with most any State. I proactively invite any on-duty law enforcement officers to attend in full uniform, which includes, of course, their open carry. We’ve even had the Chief of Police attend Mass in such manner. Great! They’re an exception to the only-concealed-carry rule (if you wish to carry).
But when terrorists are looking for soft-targets in a region and see such small signs discreetly posted on church doors, that’s not the church they are going to go to first. They will want to go to the softest target, a church which is militantly anti-2nd-amendment, regardless of whether congregants agree with SCOTUS or with the stated interests of the terrorists themselves.
Just to say, terrorist groups (imnsho) having a history of arson, assault, murder, level-of-war damage to real property, assassination of police officers… they are also gearing up to join in the new Summer of Love.
The video above has a lot of good advice for larger congregations. But in my tiny parish it comes down to this: quite simply, the violence of aggressors will not be tolerated by anyone. Our entire parish is our security team. If any of our parishioners is aggressed upon, the aggressors can be politely escorted out of door. I’m told in casual conversation with one of our officers that it is likely illegal to detain anyone, but violent aggressors can certainly be escorted out the door.
At the Spanish Mass, any actively violent people crashing into church – whatever that violence happens affecting others happens to be – would be instantly dogpiled until the threat was escorted outside. And I do mean that this would happen instantly. Most of those attending the Spanish Mass are from the same town in Mexico, an extremely violent town. They have seen it all before and are instantly ready to smack it all down here. That’s not what they want to see here. They will protect their wives and children and each other. To our Mexicans, who know all about suffering the violence of being thrown into vats of acid, dismemberment by chainsaw, beheadings, gunfire, whatever, a handful of SCOTUS protesters is not what is going to freeze them in fear. You know why? Because my parishioners believe in God, in Jesus, and will lay down their lives for each other, instantly. You think my parishioners are afraid of phone-videos while they are being assaulted or worse? No.
At the English Mass we have plenty of people who carry. Also, and this changes from week to week, but we have a constant flow of well trained military and law enforcement, often Federal law enforcement on vacation, frequently FBI, intel groups, etc. They’re all ready to instantly take care of any eventuality in such manner that Holy Mass could and would continue without missing a beat. I love that.
At the TLM, you can combine everything said for the other Masses above. :-)
But when I saw something I didn’t say anything because the body armor I saw was perfectly legal to wear anywhere you want. This college is just down the road from the parish. I’m guessing this is the same guy who was in Andrews the other month.
I saw him making a beeline to the supermarket in his ballistic vest. So what? I was frequently wearing a ballistic vest with POLICE CHAPLAIN written all over it, and was carrying, when accompanying our officers as police chaplain. However, since there were a number of suspicious things about him I circled back and parked near the main doors and watched him go in. I knew a retired cop was doing the bagboy thing at the registers and I could see that he wasn’t particularly worried. But I waited until the guy left and went on his way, just a few minutes, with no one caring about it. This is, after all, WNC. All good.
It did look, however, like he was holding on to a pistol chest-level under the ballistic vest as he walked. That’s totally possible. There are certain muscles you use to do this. The more you know… But it was all good. And now I don’t feel foolish knowing that (extremely probably) this is the same guy with a felony warrant such that the police actually chased him (and that kind of chase is, like, really rare). But I suppose his going on campus with body armor looks a bit too suspect, more than a supermarket, and I imagine it’s against campus law.
Anyway, this is one of a thousand examples I can give of being happy to be at the ready with proper tools to help out if need be, you know, when seconds count and police are only minutes away. That’s not vigilantism. It’s just being neighborly. Bad things do happen and when they do, it’s all very immediate. People are still in denial about the fact that something bad can happen to them. “Too bad that happened, but it will not… cannot… happen to me.”
I can’t imagine leaving home without my carry.
So, when’s the last time you cleaned and oiled your carry?
Sassy, now with 153,000+ miles, is sitting at the shop for the next week or two, waiting for a used transmission. That’s a story in itself. The crowd where I was had not one single new vehicle for sale. And used vehicles are through the roof. A new transmission would cost all-told more than $9,000.00, more than the vehicle is worth. So, a used transmission will hopefully work out. Always a gamble. That brings the full price including labor down to 2 or 2.5k, but no guarantee. It is what it is.
While waiting for a friend to come pick me up (some hours wait), I wanted to run an errand. A “driver” was employed to assist me. Being chatty, I asked what the prerequisite background checks and driving history checks are like. He said there are absolutely no checks, zilch, nothing at all. Sorry, but this, for me, was red flag #1, a huge red flag. As I found out later, what he said was either an outright lie or he was misled by his own crowd.
Right after that, this guy told me he had spent his life working with our State Department’s Embassies and Consulates for their Fulbright program. This isn’t the first time I’ve had “accompaniment” informing me of their academic prowess specifically with the Fulbright program, right up to the top council. What are the odds on that? People should get a different story. He kept apologizing, saying that being a driver was just for fun-money, but that Fulbright is where it’s at. But if he retired out from a field-op job needing extensive academic and linguistic and travel-viability qualifications, he wouldn’t be wasting his time like this for fun-money. The retirement for that I’m guessing is about $135,000 a year. It’s all just coincidental, but even coincidences can be red flags. You just notice them, and basically ignore them, unless further red flags come up. I’ll call this red flag #2 just because this most unlikely of stories has been repeated too much over the years with yours truly.
Excursus which might well be the point of this post ;-) — Just my opinion, but the Fulbright program of the taxpayer funded ECA flagrantly manipulates academics in various countries, adjusting cross-cultural paradigms of perspective that those might be brought into closer conformity even if not to the best interests of these USA, at least to the political weirdness of whatever “diplomacy” is temporarily in vogue. Fulbright is a program which gives operators an entirely “insider” view of all players in whatever country, with full access to anyone, anywhere, any time. If someone’s a player in an economy, military, intel community or essential industry of whatever kind in the milieu of 160 participating countries, those individuals were surely a student of the ones with whom the Fulbright program field officers get to know as their targets of manipulation. Those who know what I just said know what I just said. ’nuff said. ///
Anyway, with my little errand accomplished, with the car already in motion, instead of bringing me back to the shop where Sassy was, the guy, out of the blue, went out of his way to bring me elsewhere (red flag #3, I quickly noted), namely, to the lower deck of an expansive and dark parking facility (no GPS signal?) of a shopping mall on Black Friday (red flag #4), instructing me with insistence that he wanted me to go to the food court, even though he knew I already had lunch (red flag #5) and then insisting many times that I surely wanted to go to [a named store], almost like an assignment (red flag #6). I kept refusing. Frustrated, he got out of the vehicle saying he had to make a phone call. It’s always a phone call. But he just quickly darted among other vehicles nearby. This was creeping me out, so I got out of the car to step slightly away, to try to take stock of the weirdness. He continued to go in-between cars, not on his phone, and also going in front of me and his own car (red flag #7). Having gone by some twenty feet, he then suddenly turned around and came back laughing and apologizing, saying he forgot where he left the car (just a few minutes previously) and having just walked by (red flag #8). He insisted again a couple of more times that surely I wanted to go to [that certain store again] (red flag #9). I refused again and again, and said that I just wanted to go back to where Sassy, my-car-under-repair, was in the shop. He brought me back, but then instructed me not to tell anyone of the strange detour (huge red flag #10).
I was creeped out by all of this, but always played it cool throughout, complimenting him, giving him a tip, super friendly. When this kind of stuff happens I usually just try to let it play out as much as possible to see where it goes. Of course, many will say that I therefore should’ve gone to see what would happen if I sat in that food court – 100% nothing, and all seats would’ve been taken anyway on Black Friday – or if I did head toward [that certain store] – 100% nothing, just big crowds, and I hate that store anyway – all just too boring.
The rest of the story: I’m sure you’ve caught on by now. He was likely just running the time up if that’s even possible; I wasn’t paying for the time or trip. But someone was, right?
Moral of the story: Don’t do errands with a driver claiming Fulbright status.
Fine. I get it. That’s a poor attempt for the moral of the story. We always have to do errands, regardless of someone’s all-too-coincidental life story.
It’s just that it’s good to find some little bit of humor in just about anything. Too much dismalness these days methinks.
Also, when this kind of behavior goes on – kind of dangerous because way too entitled and narcissistic in my opinion – I would rather discover this and not let it continue for someone less capable. And yes, having seen something I did say something.
And now, Advent is upon us. Joyful expectation of the one who is Irony Incarnate, who brings justice and mercy together upon the Cross in His own body, for our redemption, please God also for our salvation. Jesus changes the paradigm from hell to heaven for those who want this, not with the cleverness of the Fulbright “diplomacy” that puts people off, but with the wisdom that is truly love, as Jesus is God Himself, and God is love.
Finally, my parishioner friend arrived to pick me up. Great drive back through the mountains. Wholesome conversation. Lots of talk of Jesus. A very pleasant day. Thanks be to God for good friends.
The call came in yesterday morning at 8:30 AM. Jumping in the car, continuing with other phone calls on the road about funerals and then about extracting friends out of Afghanistan, ever more dangerous, ever more frustrating, arrival was soon made in the Sheriff’s Office, always a super friendly bunch.
Why? Recreation with wild target practice, though that’s difficult at this time with the loss of my private range and the high price and scarcity of ammo. One session of practice can entail really a lot of ammo, with so many courses to run through. So, only rarely. But it’s fun when it happens.
Why? Self-defense, and some occasions have arisen when I’m happy to have been at the ready, but always happier when, with the whole “carry” lifestyle of situational awareness as avoidance and verbal deescalation techniques, there are no confrontations at all. This has been a real education.
Why? Defense of others, and some occasions have arisen when I’ve been happy to have been at the ready, particularly during one would-be carjacking incident when I was driving a crippled police officer to the hospital. Given permission to leave the scene by the first arriving officer, we counted nine cruisers from one direction, guessing that there were as many coming from the other direction. Imagine if I had let that crippled officer become a hostage to that guy. Ain’t gonna happen with this transporter. ;-)
Why? To support the 2nd amendment to this democratic Republic’s Constitution.
Why? Because all this prompts wildly wonderful conversations about Jesus all around town and far beyond.
The other day was such a consolation in the life of this priest. The TLM in the main parish church with confessions before and after, a great get-together with some priest friends, my own going to confession, all glorious. I love being a priest. And that continued later with the best “pauper’s funeral…” I digress.
Saint Teresa of Avila upped her situational awareness when all was going well for her on all levels. She totally expected a smackdown. I know how that goes. I’ve seen it uncountable times. And, sure enough…
The FexEx truck was in a rush passing on a double-yellow on a blind curve and wound up right in front of me in my lane. Brakes slammed. Steering wheel spun. But… Yikes! A guard rail and ravine… But, all was well.
Soon after that it was the bat out of hell. The second I saw her – like a half-mile back in the rearview mirror – I plugged in my ThinkWare F770 knowing there might soon be an accident at when a lane would disappear on the road. Either she’s going to crash out or run someone off the road…
I had already nicely pulled over into the left lane, lest I die. She passed in the arrowed right lane then ripped over to the oncoming traffic lane across the double-yellow in front of a blind curve just where the vehicle in front of me totally ran out of road. Was there an entire family in that vehicle? I don’t care what emergency she had; you don’t mortally endanger the general public for your little self.
This is what happened not all that long ago with such shenanigans:
That’s not a tree. That’s the guardrail. The picture’s from the local newspaper.
Back to situational awareness and Teresa of Avila. Yep, just when you think all is going well, do what she did and recognize who you actually are before our Lord and Savior, Christ our God. Saint Teresa would bring a small image into chapel to assist her in not being distracted with niceness, the all things are going well thing. It was the image of “Ecce Homo”, Pontius Pilate’s monitum to the vicious crowd: “Behold the Man!”
So, for instance, I love being a priest of The High Priest. It’s always stunning to see His priesthood in action during, say, the sacraments. But I am fallen like anyone else. I might be having too good a time of it, with a risk of losing sight of why I’m loving the priesthood so much. And then… BAM! A warning to wake up, “smell the coffee” as my mom would say. And then a second warning (because I’m stubbornly the idiot)… BAM!
I thank my guardian angel for alerting me to the warnings or having my reactions be lightning quick. “Guardian Angel” as I call him, has his work cut out for him with me. I know that. I thank him. And I ask that my spiritual situational awareness also be heightened. That one’s more difficult. But not really. Because it’s just a matter of being happy to have Jesus, by His grace, draw us to be in reverence before the Father in all thanksgiving. Jesus does that work, and it cost Him. Let’s see… where’s that picture of Jesus next to Pontius Pilate?
Besides your phone tracking where you are especially when you turn off all tracking, shut the phone off entirely, and take out the main battery, with much more accurate tracking than if you just left it all on and enabled, media systems and all their adjunct driving “aids” on cars newer than not also have plenty of GPS trackers.
But more than that vehicles can also be tracked with GPS locators, often placed by the owners of vehicles in high car-theft areas. Car makers often provide an option to have car tracking installed in the factory, providing phone apps to help law enforcement. Remember the Asian guy in the Boston Marathon bombing aftermath? This guy is great.
Trackers can save your life and the lives of others.
And as far as any law enforcement placing a tracker on any car… Great! I love it! The more the merrier! Fill up my car, inside and out!
All that exclamation point excitability is for all things being equal, that is, with the person being tracked not being someone who is discovering untold corruption and racketeering in criminal organizations or criminal cover-up going on where it shouldn’t be happening. We’ll assume the good, so, it’s all good.
I’ve never seen any trackers on my vehicles, not that I ever really searched. For me, it’s like, whatever. Maybe they are there for good. Maybe they are there for other than good reasons. Whatever the case, removing a tracker can possibly be against the law, having you wind up in prison. And – as Hillary once said – what difference does it make? You take one off another more cleverly placed tracker is attached. I’ve no time for such nonsense.
Personally, I like the idea of being tracked. It leaves a computer trail that’s pretty much impossible to erase, you know, what the trails are, who’s doing the tracking. It works both ways, keeping everyone honest. My life is an open book anyway. I just have a more refined situational awareness when stupid situations are going down. And that brings welcome skill sets of how to get out of or avoid untoward situations altogether. De-escalation skills are always good.
Again, whatever. And – hey! – I might just have gone out of my own way to track my own vehicles. You never know. It’s never a bad idea. :-)
TO THE POINT: God always knows where we are, and is registering every thought we have, every move we make: He be watching us (sorry for the musical recall). More than that, our guardian angels are, thank God, doing the same. They see the face of God and us at the same time. You know…
Never mind that. He’s got his eyes open all the time. His situational awareness cannot be beat.
Guardian angels will do whatever it takes to get us to heaven, whether that means saving us from perils in this life, or NOT. They want that we have our souls pointed to heaven, that we are calling out to our Lord, that we long to go to heaven, and be prepared for that at any time.
No, I don’t care about electronic trackers. No fear! We all have something someone much better:
Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom God’s love commits me here, ever this day be at my side, to light and guard, to rule and guide.
Seeing really beautiful sights in the paradise which is Cherokee County in far southwestern North Carolina is so common that it almost amounts to sensory overload. That’s especially the case in my quaint, Really-Good-Town, USA, that is, Andrews. There are Flowers for the Immaculate Conception everywhere. Great!
Oh, I forgot, that’s called virtue signaling, not the bit about Flowers for the Immaculate Conception being everywhere, but the bit about Really Good Town, USA. Could it be that the good Lord had these Flowers for His good mom here in such superabundance because, instead, Really Good Town, USA, is just like any other town USA, or is it actually the most drug filled, den of thieves anywhere, at least that being the reputation far and wide into the surrounding states?
I took this picture from the point of view of the street side gas-pumps here in town just after being really stupid, twice in a row. I’m so stupid.
While filling up Sassy the Subaru for today’s “Day Off” road trip to help in construction of the Communion Rails for our church sanctuary renovation, I was practicing my usual situational awareness, which includes a hobby of memorizing all the cars and license plates in the parking lot of the convenience store / gas station as well as the cars passing by on main street. I get a good look at the walkers and skateboarders and bicyclers and those getting out of their vehicles. It’s good entertainment. This helps in noticing possibilities of de-escalation maneuvers and avoidance of stupidity worse than my own lack of over-the-top skill sets, not that anything is ever going to happen, but it’s just skill sharpening. And it’s good fun.
What happened next – twice – is a good lesson in filling in the gaps of situational awareness. Topping up the gas tank with an extra gallon after it has already clicked off has long been a habit since a “Day Off” will often amount to mileage that will not entirely drain the tank, but will have me running on fumes, quite literally, by the time the return trip is over. Topping off the tank provides a little leeway to burn fuel in the frequent traffic jams on certain highways on the yonder side of the “Day Off”.
The trouble is that when topping off the tank in this way, attention is solidly and only on what you’re doing, lest fuel is spilled onto the car and pavement and yourself. That’s means situational awareness is right at zero. Bad mistake.
While I was doing this topping off, one of the most notorious druggies in town came out of the store (I didn’t know he was in there) and went out of his way to do something I’ve never seen anyone do before. He took a severe detour to slide through the cars on the store side of the pumps, and then squeeze through the space between the pump I was at on the street side and the garbage container / squeegee bucket that was there, just so as to be inches directly in back of me, with my back turned to him, occupied as I was with topping off the tank. I instantly turned. He instantly stopped and froze, hesitating, mumbling unrepeatable things, hesitating, and then slowly walking off, continuing to mumble away. When he arrived to the far side of the parking lot, I went back – oh so stupidly – to doing exactly what I was doing before: topping off the tank, losing once again all situational awareness. Just because one incident is over doesn’t mean it’s over.
The entire scene was repeated again. Another one of the most notorious druggies came out of the store and did the same thing, with me being entirely oblivious. I again turned around realizing someone was inches away in back of me. He stopped, froze, hesitated, and actually started turning around to square off with me. He hesitated again, stopping mid-turn, mumbling unrepeatable things, but then kept moving, mouth yapping away.
Mind you, there was zero threat from me either in movement or in verbiage. I said nothing. I didn’t move from where I was. I was just taking in the scenery.
But here’s a confession: I thought by now any such weirdness would be over, what with two incidents clocked in already. And the weirdness was over. But I didn’t know that. Nevertheless, I continued topping off the tank, again losing all situational awareness. Having said all that, I have to say that once I do learn a lesson, it’s ingrained. I was immediately reflecting on this – post hoc – a learning experience.
Some might say that I should use these occasions as teaching moments of evangelization, but, really, there is a time and place for that – any other time, any other place – but waiting for a lit match to be flicked at your gas pump, hose stuck in your vehicle, blocking an escape route, is not the time or the place. Evangelization at that moment would surely be escalation because it may well be perceived as… virtue signaling…
NOT being aware of the druggies at a vulnerable moment at the gas pumps like this means that I do not perceive myself to be as bad and evil as I congratulate myself to be. If I were to be more honest with myself, who I would be without the grace of God, I would know that this kind of aggressive posturing on the druggies part might be a likely possibility also at the gas pumps. They have already shown their violent aggressiveness, having many times times threatened to beat the brains out of my neighbor’s sweet and ultra-shy-dog (who barks only at the druggies, no one else). But if I were to actually have some honest self-awareness, I would have to have some humility. Oops. I’m guessing I could request some help in humility from my guardian angel. I will ask him to be gentle in the smack downs he might well provide.
Meanwhile… meanwhile… our dear Lord has been providing Flowers for the Immaculate Conception, His good mom, all along. I saw this tree right after the two druggies at the gas pumps experience and, now sitting in the car at the gas pumps, ready to go, I had to take the picture. How surreal, thought I, equally stupidly, with such events being back to back. Not at all surreal.
You know what’s really surreal (so to speak)? It’s the likes of me giving flowers to the Immaculate Conception.
Except that it’s not. Jesus creates these flowers and has us notice them precisely so that we can give them to His good mom. She has interceded for all of us, we who, so oblivious to reality, crucified her Divine Son, the Son of the Living God with our sins following up on original sin. This is God doing this for us, for her, she who stood under the Cross. How could we do such a thing, torturing her Son to death right in front of her? Are we drugged out of our minds, not knowing what we are doing? Pretty much. Yep.
Flowers for you, Mary, right in the middle of Really Good Town, USA, right from one of the worst residents if not but for the grace of God, for which, Mary, you offered intercession. Yes, these flowers for you, dearest Mother of God and ours.