A day with S.W.A.T.

I had a great day today with Minneapolis S.W.A.T.

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This was built around a Ford F550.

As it happens, this here blog is known to a member of the S.W.A.T. unit of my native place.  I had an invitation when in town to visit and get a little coaching and time at the range.

How could I pass that up?

One of the other members, a trainer, gave me some pointers while using sim rounds.

We identified two problems I had, one with arm position and one with my trigger pull.

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After lunch (Thai) we headed off to the range.  We were originally going to go to an outdoor range, but … hey… it’s winter.

I took my own Glock 19 (.9mm) and got it nice and warm, but I also had a chance to shoot a Sig P220 (.45) and this HK USP (.45).

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Doing some double-taps, alternating to different targets, at 15″.

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I know… I should have had my arms locked out straighter.

I haven’t done a lot of shooting for a very long time.  It came back.

At 21 feet, isosceles stance with the Sig.

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I pulled a little left on the first three in the first mag, and I started compensating on the second mag.  But I don’t think I have to hang my head in shame.

And, yes, I know that the heart is the middle, not to the side.  Just using more areas on the target, is all.

My friend caught the Glock’s muzzle flash in this one.

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I am so grateful for what these guys do.  When they are not dealing with the really big incidents, they are still dealing with bad guys and ne’er-do-wells every single day.  It was wonderful to spend time with them, get the great coaching, and put a couple hundred rounds through my 19.

In time, I may post some pics of some of the equipment I saw, including very cool robots!

UPDATE:

The 19 has been cleaned.  I could get used to Compline with the lingering scent of solvent… in the absence of incense.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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113 Responses to A day with S.W.A.T.

  1. Kerry says:

    Men in black, of both kinds, with guns. What’s not to like? CZ P-01 dittos!

  2. Sieber says:

    O.K. Let’s sees some pictures of the take down & proper cleaning :-)

    [Yep. That’s coming up next after cleaning up my email nightmare.]

  3. AnAmericanMother says:

    Fun! Love the Sig P220, also its little sister the P245.
    Very nice groups, just crank that pulley out a little more and keep practicing. Like to hear more about your day with the cognoscenti . . :-)

  4. thickmick says:

    Prayers for those SWAT guys and thanks for being you, Father Z!

  5. capebretoner says:

    WOW!

  6. kallman says:

    Heart should be a bit lower and left of center, unless the target has dextrocardia. Your shots would be into the upper lobe of the left lung.

  7. Norah says:

    Most of the time I am singing on the same page as the American Catholic blogs I visit but it is when I come across a post about guns or welfare that I realise that there are still differences between us.

  8. Sword40 says:

    Fine shooting. Doesn’t matter where your target is drawn; what matters is that you hit it. Also, some very good pistols you had there with you. My favorite is the Ruger P345. Very accurate right out of the box.

    [I haven’t been back at this long enough to have formed a good idea about single v. double action yet. Years back all I ever shot was revolvers. This Glock is my first experience with the single action. This was my first extended session with it. I am also limited a bit because I have fairly small hands. I might have to try also a 26, though I seem to handle the 19 well. Fast mag changes, on the other hand… well. On another note, the guy from SWAT I was shooting with tried the 19 and wanted to do so some fast mag changes to see how it felt. His hand is bigger and, as it turned out, when he slapped the magazine in, it just caught the meaty part of the bottom of his hand and even drew blood. He knows now that the 19 wouldn’t be a good choice for him. Fabricando fabri fimus.]

  9. Allan S. says:

    Yes, yes…but did you get to fire that “Beretta” you’re always on about? :)

  10. wanda says:

    That ‘world’s most interesting man’ guy has got nothin’ on you, Fr. Z.

  11. frjim4321 says:

    That’s pretty darn good for 21 feet. Bravo!

  12. Clinton says:

    What’s this about cool robots?

  13. EXCHIEF says:

    The “built around a Ford FD 350″ is a Lenco Bearcat…favored by SWAT Teams across the nation including mine [This one was one cool ride. And the interior in the front, where the driver and passenger seats are were left with the Ford stuff, even the in-dash radio. They added some radios and other gizmo’s, of course.]

  14. Ralph says:

    Have you ever had the opportunity to fire any of the Springfield XD series handguns? They seem to fit my grip a bit better than the Glock. I went with .40 sw on mine and have not regreted it.

  15. EXCHIEF says:

    Father, not blowing smoke, but you are one unique Priest. I am a long time cop and you like/sppreciate/practice with cops.That is plus #1 I am a long time ham radio operator which you are about to be yourself. That is Plus #2. I much prefer the TLM and Clergy who know the value of tradition and obedience….and you are Plus 3 on that score too. Any chance of you relocating to a very rural Diocese in the PNW where traditional Catholics are treated by the hierarchly as if they carried the plague? Naw…you’re much smarter than that!

    [You are very kind. But I think you might be surprised. I suspect there are quite a few guys out there who have much the same interests. I just happen to be more visible than most.]

  16. Mike Morrow says:

    Your medium-sized Glock 19 is a very excellent weapon.

    The Glock action is neither single action nor double action. Unique Glock terminology for its action is safe action. It is significantly different from that described by those other two terms…details are found at many places on the web.

    The problem that the SWAT fellow had with Glock 19 magazine insertion hand pinch is easily remedied by use of any full-sized Glock with its longer grip. The problem of hands being too small or large on the grip is remedied by use of the new Generation 4 weapons, which have removable grip back straps to accommodate small, medium, or large hands.

    Glock handgun engineering design is pure genius…after more than 40 years of using and collecting these sorts of essential tools from many different vendors, I’d confidently assert that the 30-year-old Glock design remains state-of-the-handgun-art…one that most of the other big-name manufacturers have attempted to duplicate with indifferent success.

    My favorite weapon is a full-size Glock 31 gen 4 (.357 SIG) with Glock tritium night sights, plus Streamlight TLR-4 LED target illumination and red-dot laser aiming unit mounted on the accessory rail.

    [So, you like the Gen 4 better than the Gen 3? I understand that some strongly prefer the Gen 3.]

  17. FXR2 says:

    Father Z,
    I own a generation 2 Glock 19. Truly the best gun for the money! If you are buying a gun for it’s effectivness I strongly suggest buying a .40 caliber. it was specifically designed by the FBI to be the most effective round with out over penetrating. The FBI’s studies are unclassified but still law enforcement sensitive. If you are looking for something smaller I would pass on the Glock 26 or it’s relatives and look to a single stack magazine .40 caliber S&W M&P 40 single stack or a Kahr .40 caliber. A little more money perhaps but well worth it. If money is a serious issue perhaps a Kel-Tec .40 caliber. I was never a fan of Kel-Tec until my father bought two. They both functioned flawlessly out of the box. They are clearly no-frills but they work.
    Thank you for buying a sword, I pray you never have to use it!

    fxr2

  18. Motherway says:

    SWAT teams fight the good fight. I saw one such team at an event in Los Alamitos, CA recently and I asked how many calls they get. The response was two or three…per year! They were showing off their amazing vehicles and ancillary equipment. Left me thinking of a more efficient way to provide such services. I am certainly not a law enforcement expert but I can smell inefficiency when I see it! Anyway, if we all keep practicing shooting like Fr. Z there would be little need for SWAT! Cheers!

  19. fvhale says:

    Fr. Z said, “I could get used to Compline with the lingering scent of solvent… in the absence of incense.”

    I hope you are using something non-flammable, just in case you decide to light some incense, too!

  20. Sieber says:

    I love the smell of solvent in the morning.

  21. Fr Sean Coyle says:

    I live in a violent country, the Philippines. I have known many people who have been shot dead, including some priests. I know that police and soldiers have to be trained to shoot accurately so that they will never intentionally kill. I can also understand people who shoot ducks, etc, as a recreation. I have read through the Catechism of the Catholic Church’s teaching on ‘legitimate defense’, Nos 2263 – 2267.

    I cannot see what shooting at an outline of a human being and aiming for the heart in that outline has to do with the priesthood. I know it’s only an outline and I know you have no intention whatever of harming people. But as a priest I am shocked at this post. [I can live with that. Father, the targets were provided. Some of the other targets were just circles with numbers. Feel better now?]

  22. Tim says:

    As a Catholic I pray that the renaissance of beauty and dignity in worship may return to our venerable rites and enlighten the whole world. To that end, this blog has been a great source of help, information and inspiration. I am therefore very sorry to see I see this post with pictures of a priest firing a gun at the heart of a model human being. It makes me wonder what sort of company I am keeping in this crusade. “Save the liturgy, save the world” — yes, but practising shooting people in the heart! I think many readers will find these images and the enthusiastic comments profoundly shocking.

  23. Kerry says:

    Recoil maybe, but shocking…? “I think not!”

  24. jflare says:

    “I cannot see what shooting at an outline of a human being and aiming for the heart in that outline has to do with the priesthood. ”

    Seems to me we have a problem of perceptions here. I imagine we’ve all seen scenes of a heroic priest dashing to a victim, even as battle rages and bullets fly by. Unfortunately, a priest won’t always and everywhere face that sort of situation.
    If a priest lives in a violent area, he may have greater need than others to own a gun and know how to use it effectively. You can’t offer safe haven to anyone if a potential assailant knows you won’t shoot him.
    People can become..very strange..when they’re desperate.

    “I know that police and soldiers have to be trained to shoot accurately so that they will never intentionally kill.”

    I recall hearing a theory that might’ve circulated around the time of Vietnam that we wanted to wound a man, not kill him, because we’d take three or four men out of the action that way: One who got shot, one to pull him out of the action, and one or two more to treat the one who got shot.
    I’ll admit to being skeptical of the virtue of that thought. If we’ve got a major battle going on, I don’t want soldiers OR police to worry about failing to kill someone; I want them to put as many opponents out of action as possible as quickly as possible, preferably before our side loses many men. Whether they’re dead or not, well, that’s almost impossible to dictate in a major firefight.

    If people find this post shocking, ..I’d suggest taking a REALLY close look at what’s going on in the US, in Europe, in Mexico, all over. We don’t like admitting it, but gun violence has been growing steadily worse over the last 30 years or more. Gun control laws have rarely, if ever, truthfully succeeded in halting the bloodletting.

    Don’t forget, here in the ‘States, we’ve been arguing over how much we ought to levy in taxes and how much we ought to spend; some of that spending will need to be for law enforcement. If we’re forced to make cuts, law enforcement may deteriorate as much as anything else does.
    You may have the choice of owning a gun and being able to kill somone..or be killed when they don’t care whether YOU live or die, so long as they can take X from your house.

  25. Phil_NL says:

    Nowadays, many people seem to forget that self-defense, be it against a lone assailant or a group out for blood, is a valuable natural right, and quite legitimate. This goes for laymen and priests alike – should a madmen or your local chapter of boko haram (let’s pray that kind of violence grows no further than Nigeria, but I’m very pessimistic on that) try to kill you or others, a double tap through the heart may be very appropriate indeed. And frankly, a Cristeros-kind of scenario isn’t that far fetched either. Don’t forget that fighting in that war was no objection at all on the path to sainthood.

    Shooting is a legitimate skill to have, and like all skills, it requires practice, especially for armed self-defense, as shown above. I see no problem with that at all (I’d like to refer Tim and Fr Fr Sean Coyle to two earlier threads on this topic in the past week or so). In fact, it’s lamentable that outside the US, many countries have all but eradicted any rights to bearing arms and sometimes even to self-defense. Here in the Netherlands, for example, you basically have no legal tools at your disposal except your fists, and no right to use even those unless you’re severly beaten up first – clearly an inferior situation. I hope that much of the rest of the west comes to its senses and posts like these would cease to raise eyebrows.

  26. Jenelle says:

    I am so very sorry Father but this post is one of the most disturbing and saddest posts I have ever read on your blog and to be honest it has truly ruined my day.

    I wholeheartedly echo Tim’s sentiment – he said exactly what I am feeling but could not work out how to say it.

    I am so very, very sad. :( :( [Okay.]

  27. introibo says:

    I live in the town next to Sandy Hook, so the talk of Sigs and Glocks leaves me a little queasy. I firmly believe in the right to bear arms. But the idea of a priest training to shoot to kill is a bit much. I tell my kids, in explaining the catechism and the 10 Commandments, that one has the right to defend oneself legitimately. Shoot to disable and injure an assailant, if at all possible. Not to kill, unless it’s the most extreme circumstances. I agree with Tim and Fr. Coyle.

  28. Maltese says:

    Nice group, Father!

    Yes, it is all about the trigger-pull. I spent years in the FBI perfecting this, and have had Glocks 22 and 27s. The Ruger LCP, with a wallet holster from Uncle George’s, is my preferred carry-and-conceal combination, but I digress.

    To hit center mass takes skill and training. Holding the gun right is important; but more than that is trigger-pull. You want just the tip of your finger on the trigger. Some people can almost shoot better with their eyes closed! The worst thing you can do is ‘jerk’ the gun. Just pull that trigger back smoothly, and don’t be afraid of of the sound and recoil!

    Btw. I tried out for SWAT, but couldn’t do the pull-ups!

  29. fvhale says:

    Dear Fr. Z,

    In the recently made film about the recent persecution of the Church in Mexico, “For Greater Glory,” there are priests who become unarmed martyrs, and there are priests who become armed combatant martyrs. You have to discern your own path, of course. But holiness is not dependent on whether or not you take up arms in defense of yourself (or the faith). I have lived my entire life in California, and one of the most thriving Carmelite communities in the state arrived here because of the persecution south of the border. A sweet Carmelite nun in her full habit recently exhorted my parish to watch “For Greater Glory.”

    For myself, I have not fired or owned a pistol in over 40 years, although I was raised from early childhood in the use (and cleaning!) of firearms. During most of the period when I was in more active ministry (sometimes in dangerous places), although not “packing” I was trained in unarmed self-defense methods (I know a few clergy who are black belts). Now my white whiskers and bald head, and prudence seem to be enough defense for me. Over the decades I have lived in several dangerous cities and found that violence is very localized in time and space, and my internal “danger” alarms (street smarts) usually work to keep me away from such settings (although I have had to make an occasional quick change of direction when shots were fired nearby, or riots broke out).

    I do not plan to criticize your target practice or gun ownership. Why should I? If you own a gun you better practice! And I think it is good to be honest and “up front” about it, if that is your conviction. But I wonder if “clerical garb” (going about in a cassock with SWAT) would be a better self-defense? Just asking. Of course, in other places (such as Italy), the Carabinieri carry the heavy arms, and I have seen them right outside of churches at weddings, etc. (I think there is a station right between the Benedictines at Sant’Anselmo and the Dominicans at Santa Sabina, with an armored vehicle parked out front most of the time.) If you ride with SWAT (as chaplain?), you might need to be armed.

    I continue to pray for you and your readers, both those who are happy to see your candor on this topic, and those who are “shocked.”

  30. MattH says:

    “Shoot to disable and injure an assailant, if at all possible. Not to kill, unless it’s the most extreme circumstances.”
    In proper self-defense, the object should not be either to injure or to kill; you don’t intend either. Rather, the moral object is stopping someone else’s unjustified aggression. If the means you use is shooting them, you are accepting the known possibility they might be killed. However, the fact is that shooting center of mass or “at the heart” with a handgun is more likely than not to be survivable. The article “Lethality of Firearm-Related Injuries in the United States Population” in Annals of Emergency Medicine 35:3, March 2000, suggests only 20% of the people shot by another actually die. Shooting center of mass is actually the most reasonable way to “shoot to disable.”

  31. benedetta says:

    Interesting, Fr. Z. I’m glad you had a good day out. Knowing little about these matters it has been interesting to hear from my son the different steps of his rifle and shooting training at camp. I hadn’t known that there is a discipline to it all. Quite interesting indeed.

  32. Anabela says:

    I agree with Tim and Fr. Sean. I find this disturbing. Surely there are more important things for a Priest to be dealing with such as saving the souls of the ‘ne’er do wells’.

  33. EXCHIEF says:

    Having spent most of my adult life as a cop I have followed this thread with interest. While I respect those who are put off by the prospect of anyone owning, much less using, a firearm I have spent too much time in the “real world” to not understand the necessity of at least some people being proficient in the use of tools which sometimes must be used to protect innocent human life.

    In the Professionalism and Ethics classes I teach to new police recruits one of the points I emphasize is that they are among the small percentage of people who want to be, and are qualified to be, the “Sheepdogs” who stand between innocents and those who would prey on them. It is an awesome responsibility and one which demands much of them. That is why I consistently urge them to pray to our Patron Saint, Michael the Archangel, for both protection and guidance.

    A handgun is nothing more than a tool for, hopefully, very rare use in protecting innocents. It is the user of the tool who determines when and how to use it. Experience tells me that in those rare instances where it must be used it needs to be used accurately and quickly. The decision to use a tool which can have lifelong ramifications is a decision made in micro-seconds but which will be second guessed for years.

    The handgun as a defense tool is not very efficient as others have noted. A rifle or shotgun is much preferred but from a practical perspective it is the handgun that is usually most accessable when the proverbial bad stuff hits the fan. The objective of the use of any potentially deadly weapon is to neutralize the suspect–that is, as quickly as possible render him/her incapable of continuing his life threatening actions towards innocent others. Given such factors as distance, the rush of adrenaline, fear, and the potential for the suspect to have little if any threshold of pain (due to the ingestion of chemical substances or mental state) “shooting to wound” is not a realistic option. The objective is not to kill or wound…the objective is to incapacitate as quickly as possible.

    To accomplish what must be accomplished generally requires hitting a portion of the anatomy which will disrupt the suspect’s ability to continue his life threatening actions. Under the best of circumstances that is not an easy task to accomplish. Without going into gory details I have seen people survive headshots and even shots which struck the heart.

    My point? Proficiency and accuracy are critical in the use of this tool to preserve innocent human life. The more practice the better…and the more prayers for those entrusted with this sort of responsibility the better.

  34. mlmc says:

    it is amazing how many people think ANYONE is trained to wound with a handgun (sorry Fr Coyle, your information is not correct)- that is a hollywood myth. In a life and death confrontation armed with a handgun you are trained to shoot for the center of mass-ie the mid torso. Handguns are not that accurate & with adrenaline etc you are likely to miss shooting at anything smaller-not to mention shooting a limb will not likely disable an attacker quickly- so he will stab, shoot you or his intended victim. Furthering this misinformation is a real disservice- many people blame cops when they “shoot to kill” and not to wound. The police do not agree to suicidal rules of engagement- and that is what “shoot to wound” is. We must all recognize that in life and death situations. the military & law enforcement MUST “shoot to kill”(ie shoot at vital organs). To ask them to do otherwise will endanger their lives & those they strive to protect. While their are many arguments about handguns this is one with no basis in reality. [I believe the point is to stop the threat. The intent is not simply “to kill”.]

  35. An American Mother says:

    To all of you who are hyperventilating over firearms — please, just relax.
    A firearm is a tool, nothing more and nothing less. Familiarity and competence with any tool, from an 18-wheeler tractor to jeweler’s pliers, is never wasted.
    Our news media has a tendency to be hysterical over everything because it sells papers and ad time. There is this undercurrent of thought that firearms have some sort of magical power over people, or some strange ability to act independently. Nonsense. Cars, gasoline, baseball bats, or rocks have no occult power over human beings. It’s the human being and his free will that’s the problem.
    I was introduced by my father to shooting at the tender age of 7 or so. I am still a very active sport shooter and hunter (birds and deer). I have never, ever had to shoot a human being and I’m very glad of that. My dad had to shoot some Germans during WWII and has shot one burglar — he is the sweetest, most tender-hearted man alive but, as he says, “You do what you have to do.”
    But if, God forbid, it should ever come to that, I have been trained in the knowledge, judgment, and skill to do so and do so with reason and justice, as a last resort.
    And God bless Father for acquiring knowledge that he can put to good use if it is ever necessary.

  36. Deacon Tony says:

    This is disgusting beyond words. Thank God for real priests like Fr Coyle. [ROFL!]

  37. An American Mother says:

    I agree with those folks who are scotching this Hollywood “shoot to wound” idea.
    The doctrine I was taught was “shoot to stop” — i.e. end the threat. Which is basically what Exchief and mlmc are saying.
    You have to keep your mind on your objective, which is to stop whatever is about to harm you, your wife, your children, students in your charge. And like my dear old dad says, you do what you have to do — unhappily, with regret and sorrow — but you do what you have to do.

  38. OrthodoxChick says:

    I’m not sure why everyone is so upset by this. Father’s not training to become a sniper or an assassin. In addition to the HAM radio and the EMT classes, proper use of a firearm is just another aspect of first responder preparedness. When you’re invited to train in the use of firearms with SWAT officers, or even just go target shooting with them for recreation, you use their gear and train their way. They’re an elite group and it’s an honor to be accepted among them and invited to hang out with them for a day.

  39. anachy says:

    Father Z., I very much enjoyed this post, so am sorry to hear that it was disturbing to some readers of the blog. I, too, know priests who are avid shooters and who recommend, especially now, that good people arm themselves. Indeed, I just heard from a friend whose confessor has encouraged him to acquire proper firepower. I am quite excited about helping him to shop for his new firearm, something I have long been encouraging him to do. Looks like it took encouragement from his confessor, though, to finally get him moving on it! I often wish, though, that the Church would give more clear direction to all of us on such things in times like these. We really need some guidance from our shepherds, particularly on the more ambiguous situations.

    How did you like the P220, Father? I love the Sig, and both my P220 and P229 fired beautifully right out of the box. As for the Glock…no offense intended, but I loathe it. It is such an ugly thing, and like many others I have had trouble with it causing blisters on my hand. Nasty, nasty thing, IMO. (Sorry, that is my determined position!).

    Finally, I might also mention that in many situations, the easiest and most practical defensive firearm is the lowly pump-action shotgun. I often recommend it to people as a self-defense tool; I think no home should be without one. Doesn’t take an inordinate amount of practice or skill and the sound of the action racking a shell is usually enough to deter all but the most suicidal of assailants. Indeed, the research (see, for instance, Kleck, Lott) bears it out that the DETERRENT effect of the firearm is most efficacious in preventing harm to potential victims. By far, the vast majority of defensive uses of firearms do not result in a shot even being fired, but in the firearm simply being present and its presence known to the potential assailant. Of course, anyone carrying a firearm must be prepared to employ it, but it is shown for defense much more often than it is actually fired for defense.

  40. wmeyer says:

    AAM, well said. Those of us who do not live a solitary existence must also consider our responsibility to family members. It is one thing to decide never to use a weapon to defend oneself, but quite another to decide that with respect to spouse and children. Further, as AAM said, a gun is simply a tool. It is inconsistent to eschew the use of guns, but remain open to using other weapons. Finally, being opposed to using of weapons in defense of self and family, yet being ready to call 911 so others can use weapons in your defense is rather like being opposed to abortion for yourself, but open to it for others.

  41. Brian K says:

    “……Christian reflection has sought a fuller and deeper understanding of what God’s commandment prohibits and prescribes. There are in fact situations in which values proposed by God’s Law seem to involve a genuine paradox. This happens for example in the case of legitimate defense, in which the right to protect one’s own life and the duty not to harm someone else’s life are difficult to reconcile in practice. Certainly, the intrinsic value of life and the duty to love oneself no less than others are the basis of a true right to self-defense.”

    -EVANGELIUM VITAE, Pope John Paul II

  42. StWinefride says:

    fvhale says: In the recently made film about the recent persecution of the Church in Mexico, “For Greater Glory,” there are priests who become unarmed martyrs, and there are priests who become armed combatant martyrs. You have to discern your own path, of course.

    Sound advice.

  43. dominic1955 says:

    First things first, kudos to Father Z. I need a day like that! ;)

    Next, much of the trouble we have in this country (not to mention the rest of the world) is all this pantywaisted handwringing and emotionalism touted as “thinking”. Hint: the two are VERY different. Folks, breathe into a brown paper bag a few times and then go educate yourselves. I don’t think its too much to ask to be properly knowledgeable about a subject before shooting one’s mouth off (pardon the pun) and casting aspersions towards our Reverend Blogmaster. At the least one should be able to intelligently comment or know when to shut their mouths when they cannot.

    Shooting to “wound” is a completely asinine idea. You use the gun to stop the agressor, the intention is neither specifically to wound or kill. If you are in a position in which you are using a gun for self-defense, you shoot center of mass. You don’t try to pull off crazy Hollywood tricks, neither head shots or trying to shoot ‘em in the leg. You don’t have the leisure to shoot as if you were just punching paper to see how small of groups you can get.

    The battlefield yarn about some guns being designed specifically to wound is also garbage. That started back in the ’60s with the introduction of the M16 and its smaller 5,56×45 round compared to the previous 7,62×51 cartridge for the m14. Both the 5,56×45 and Soviet 5,45×39 were adopted to lessen the battle load for soldiers, provide more control in FA fire, and to provide improved terminal ballistics. A full power round like the 7,62×51 or 7,62x54R generally punches right through a soft targer (i.e. a person) and so does the 1st Generation of intermediate rounds (7,92×33 Kurz and 7,62×39). Long story short, the 5,56 and 5,45 rounds tend to destabilize quickly on impact, i.e. they tumble. When a bullet tumbles it creates a much bigger wound cavity, making the wound more leathal.

    A wounded soldier might take more effort to care for, but it also depends who’s fighting. Not everyone operates like the U.S. Army. Look at how the Soviets handled it in WWII-treating the wounded was certainly not a primary concern. Also, depends on his wounds, but a wounded soldier can still pull a trigger so he might still be in the fight.

  44. Theodore says:

    Fr Z. Thanks for the post. I enjoy all of your writing. As a physician, I can tell you and your readers that I also train in firearms without disturbing my conscience.

    Minor quibble, your Glock 19 is 9.0 mm and not 0.9 mm.

    Keep up the good work. I always maintain that if you train hard you will not have to use your training.

    T

  45. Geoffrey says:

    I am afraid that I have to agree with those who are shocked, disturbed, and saddened by this post.

    I am no stranger to guns. My father is a retired police detective and used to hunt. However I never had any interest in them, due primarily to a family tragedy, causing me to find the apparent American obsession with the glorification of guns rather disgusting. I very much regret to say that as of late, visiting this blog has become a source of unease and queasiness…

  46. MWindsor says:

    When I was in the service 30 years ago, we were told, “two shots center mass, if they’re still moving, empty the magazine. If you ever draw a weapon on another human being, you’d better be prepared to kill.” There was no shoot-to-wound.

    I don’t own any firearms myself. I don’t begrudge people who do, but I don’t feel the need. For those that are uneasy about a priest using a pistol, consider that various types of target shooting are Olympic sports. This is nothing different.

  47. MWindsor says:

    Oh, and give me an old 1911 any day.

  48. LisaP. says:

    One point on shooting to wound, it seems to me that if you go into a confrontation believing you can scare someone off by just showing a weapon, or deter them by shooting an ankle or some such, you are fooling yourself in a manner dangerous to both body and soul. There is the obvious result that you are looking at the situation unrealistically and therefore not preparing yourself correctly to act. But it also seems to me, from a moral point of view, that if I think I can pull a gun on someone and “get away” with protecting myself but not really doing harm to someone else, I’m *more likely* to pull the gun — and therefore in the heat and fog of the moment far, far more likely to unjustly take a life I had no intention of taking.

  49. benedetta says:

    I probably once would have registered shock and horror along with others here to this thread, however things change when you or loved ones become crime victims. No one wants to have to be put in the position of defending those whom one is responsible for, but when it comes down to you, if you crumple up and cower others suffer, that’s how it is. At a certain point you have to decide that a threat isn’t going to get the best of you or those whom you are responsible for, you own up to it.

    I will say also that as an orthodox Catholic I have been quite used to getting bullied into thinking or believing certain canards foisted upon us over the years, that we should or should not be this or that thing…and I’m sorry but orthodox Catholics come in many forms, and some are like Fr. Z and some might not care to learn to properly defend one’s self. But it’s not for others to dictate what we should or should not be, as in “you sit down and shut up” from the liberal dictatorship that many of us have had to endure, to great cost to ourselves and others over the years. So I am not going to chime in, though I was not raised with weapons, and say that Fr. Z is any less a Catholic priest for posting on this day out. I’m tired of the you can’t be this or that or you can’t like this Mass or do that…guilt and shame trip. Yes, as a matter of fact, we can. And we are Catholic.

  50. Sword40 says:

    I’m really disappointed to see some folks being “sad” at this post. I think its great. My whole family is U.S. Marine, except my Dad who was U.S. Navy. One son is a career Marine, CWO4.

    Pistols and calibers are strictly a matter of “likes or dislikes”. There are very few “truisms” when it comes to pistols. The important thing is that you can hit where you aim. Its not “what you shoot’em with but rather where you shoot’em.

    Now that is going to make someone else upset.

  51. Banjo pickin girl says:

    LisaP. you are correct. That is one of the legal issues that the classroom part of the concealed carry class deals with in Ohio.

  52. wmeyer says:

    The Church in its wisdom clearly distinguishes “legitimate defense” from “intentional homicide.” And in doing so, I see nothing in the Catechism which denies legitimate defense to a priest. An individual may find these notions abhorrent; a Catholic, however, is bound to recognize Church teaching.

    In CCC #2265 is this sentence: Legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for one who is responsible for the lives of others.

    As I comprehend it, a husband and father has such a grave duty. Not an option–a duty.

  53. acardnal says:

    Those who stand on the sidelines with their hands in their pockets are only letting evil prevail and multiply and so do harm to other innocents. Bullies need to be stopped no matter their age.

  54. dominic1955 says:

    Geoffrey-I don’t mean to pick on you, but what you wrote is a perfect example of what I was talking about.

    “I am no stranger to guns. My father is a retired police detective and used to hunt.”

    Doesn’t this sound a lot like when some anti-Catholic apostate starts out their screed with, “I am no stranger to the Roman Catholic Church, I did 12 years of Catholic school. My aunt was a nun and…” It gives no weight to your opinion whatsoever and only acts as a sleight of hand to give the illusion of being “moderate” or having “experience” with the thing in question.

    “However I never had any interest in them, due primarily to a family tragedy,”
    Money quote, note below-(I’m sorry for whatever bad thing happened, FWIW)

    “causing me to find the apparent American obsession with the glorification of guns rather disgusting.”

    Causing you? Really? Note also the emotionally charged words “obsession” and “glorification”. So, you will have us think that our legitimate hobbies and interest in being prepared for life are disgusting? Why is that? Cue “money quote”- Ah yes, your own emotional baggage.

    We would all be much better off if people did not interact in the world (i.e. vote, or advocate, or protest, etc.) based on their own personal inadequacies, emotional baggage or scars, and other sundry neuroses. At one time, people at least had the common decency (generally speaking) to keep such things to themselves and not act so ungraciously as to insult or to try to overturn the legitimate norm.

    Don’t like guns? Fine with me, don’t own any. Just do everyone a favor by not projecting irrational fears into the public square and Chicken Little-ing our liberty way.

  55. acardnal says:

    Remember, even the Pope has body guards and an “Army” of Swiss Guards to defend him.

  56. Laura98 says:

    One of our favorite field trips with our homeschool group, was to visit the Phoenix Support Services which included meeting the SWAT team (though they call themselves something else, and I don’t remember what now). The kids got to put on a vest and armor stuff, look through a sniper scope, crawl through the SWAT Armored vehicle, look (but not touch) the unloaded weapons, take a gander at their water recovery gear, and some more cool stuff too that I’m forgetting, and even climb into a couple of their helicopters. Personally, I think the parents were just as excited as the kids about that field trip. I know I was! It gave all of us (kids and adults) the chance to really talk to the Police in a non-stressful situation and to learn about their work.

    For those who find the original posting sad: Is it because Fr. Z posted it? Or because it is about guns in general? Do you not understand that there are “evil” people out there who would be willing to hurt you without a second thought? Having worked in the AZ Dept. of Corrections for a number of years… I can tell you that even kids as young as 9 or 10 are capable of horrible, despicable acts. Sure you hear about it on the news every once in a while… but you don’t get all the details. This is why we have a God given right to defend ourselves and our families and this right was put into our Constitution as the Second Amendment.

  57. dominic1955 says:

    Thank you Laura98. Unfortunately for this conversation, people do not get to see some of the more drastic parts of reality like you have in Corrections.

    We aren’t in the Garden anymore folks, bad things happen. We can either 1) prepare for life or 2) play dumb and hope nothing bad happens (and cover up our failure in duty in sanctimoniousness, in this Catholic context). Do the second if you wish, but don’t try to make everyone else follow.

  58. Jenelle says:

    Guns for protection against the ‘bad guys’?

    If guns protected us, why do we have police memorials all over the world for police that were killed in action? Policeman who are skilled and amazing at what they do and protect us. They carry guns, are alert and trained. They still get gunned down and killed.

    Nancy Lanza no doubt thought she was safe and her gun collection would protect her from danger. She was a responsible gun owner. She is dead.

    Keith Ratliff was very responsible gun owner, could use weapons and protect himself. He is dead.

    You would think I would feel like I would need protection from a gun. After all, my mother has been held up and gun point and only a few years ago brother beaten from behind with one king hit and left to with a bleed on the brain and shattered skull.

    I also live in a VERY high crime urban area. We have shootings on a weekly basis and just a few days ago a father and his baby were shot in a park three blocks from our house. I don’t need a gun so I am quite frankly shocked when people in middle America feel the need for protection.

    Guns will not protect you and it is a very false sense of security if you think that they will. If someone wants to kill you and wants to kill others, they will do so.

    We talk about a culture of death in allowing abortion to happen. It isn’t just in those clinics that this is happening. We want to make sure people see photos of babies before and after abortion? Why not show the photos of the children after they were blown away in the classroom? One of the sweet angel’s mom had to have the bottom of the child’s face covered in the coffin because his whole jaw was blown off.

    The culture of death may be prevalent in abortion clinics but it is also staring us right in the face when we go to Walmart and now, when we visit Father Z’s blog. Enough is enough.

    I agree wholeheartedly with Geoffrey on the tone of the blog. I will pray for you Father Z.

  59. wmeyer says:

    Guns will not protect you and it is a very false sense of security if you think that they will. If someone wants to kill you and wants to kill others, they will do so.

    Studies show that guns do protect us. Jurisdictions in which concealed carry permits are readily obtained enjoy lower rates of violent crime. What is absent is balanced coverage. We hear endlessly of the tragedies perpetrated by deranged individuals, and little or nothing of the many occasions on which quick thinking by a licensed owner of a personal firearm saved lives.

    Like other aspects of the Church, the Catechism is not a cafeteria.

  60. Fr., I am saddened by this post. Why does a priest need a gun? :-(

  61. nykash says:

    wmeyer, I’d add: the Bill of Rights isn’t a cafeteria, either. If you don’t like guns, don’t use or own one.

    While I like the Glock 19, the M&P fits better in my hand. It was a hard decision (add in the XD and FN to the mix). As I learned at a very young age, using and owning a firearm is a very serious matter. Increasing legislation will not keep them away from the bad guys. In fact, all it does is vilify legitimate owners – but perhaps the intent.

    Father Z’s blog as another outpost of the culture of death? Please.

  62. Geoffrey says:

    dominic1955 said: “Geoffrey-I don’t mean to pick on you, but…”

    Well thank you for doing it anyway! Thank you also for your veiled (and no-to-veiled) insults, for twisting my words, and for attempting to align me with “anti-Catholic apostate(s)”.

    You presumed a lot and read far too much into my comments. As many others here, I was simply expressing my feelings of unease on seeing such a post on the blog of an excellent priest that I visit daily for spiritual nourishment. And yes, this is Fr. Z’s house and he can do whatever he wants in it. Many of us are just… disturbed? I think Jenelle said it very well: “The culture of death may be prevalent in abortion clinics but it is also staring us right in the face when we go to Walmart and now, when we visit Father Z’s blog. Enough is enough.”

    I also believe that “freedom of expression” is still guaranteed by that same piece of paper that guarantees the right to bear arms. Picking apart my words seems just a little immature and selfish, but I am sure you will find me in the wrong again.

    You said that “we would all be much better off if people did not interact in the world (i.e. vote, or advocate, or protest, etc.) based on their own personal inadequacies, emotional baggage or scars, and other sundry neuroses”.

    It must be so nice to be so perfect!

    It is only natural that a person’s life experiences would form their views and opinions, but you call this “emotional baggage”. There is a tremendous amount of suffering in the world, which inspires people to work to change the world for the better. I pray you never experience what my family experienced due to guns, which for reasons that really should be obvious, I will not broadcast to a virtual world of strangers.

    The funny thing is: I never said I was opposed to guns, etc. I actually have no real position on the issue. I believe the Culture of Vengeance and Death in this country includes not only abortion and the death penalty, but is also beginning to include what I called an “apparent American obsession with the glorification of guns”. This differs from “legitimate hobbies” and “being prepared for life”—although I personally enjoy hobbies not associated with death and I am trying to prepare for eternal life!

    I currently have no interest in owning a gun, but I probably wouldn’t want to be told that I couldn’t either. I am not a fan of politicians telling me what to do, so you and I just might be on the same side.

  63. mlmc says:

    jennelle- would the police officers be any more alive if they were shot while they were unarmed? Good planning does not prevent problems- it just makes it less likely- but I still save for retirement, look both ways before crossing the street etc. There is little doubt that law enforcement & the military need firearms, we live in a fallen world .

  64. wmeyer says:

    wmeyer, I’d add: the Bill of Rights isn’t a cafeteria, either. If you don’t like guns, don’t use or own one.

    Agreed. I am puzzled, as I don’t think anyone I’ve read, here or elsewhere has glorified guns. I don’t, any more than I glorify my hammer. Tools are tools. I do not currently own a gun, but I am seeing a significant increase in reasons to buy one. Increasingly, my wife urges it, as well.

  65. ecs says:

    I am shocked and appalled that so many wusses read Fr. Z’s blog. To find any offense in what Fr. Z has posted is both irrational and pathetic. All you people need to get a grip and keep your irrational fears and hatred for an inanimate object to yourselves.

  66. OrthodoxChick says:

    wmeyer,
    I’m puzzled right along side you. I don’t think that owning a gun and training with professionals in order to make certain one can use it properly for hunting, or for self-defense contributes to the culture of death. Father wasn’t even hunting. He was shooting at paper, for crying out loud.

  67. EXCHIEF says:

    Jenelle
    There is another way to take your comments and look at it from the opposite perspective. Last year we lost 127 law enforcement officers in the line of duty. About 40% of those were murdered with firearms. If they were able to be killed with all of the training which they have think about how vulnerable the untrained and unarmed are. Police officers go, willingly, into harms way so that you don’t have to. To expect anyone, cop or otherwise, to confront someone armed with a deadly weapon without being armed him/her self is a ridiculous expectation.

    The politically correct (at an absurd cost) “executive orders” by the Marxist will only penalize the law abiding. Take it from one who has dealt with bad guys for over 40 years as a cop–the crooks will not comply with any of Obama’s feel good orders.

  68. wmeyer says:

    Oh, but wait! Wasting paper! An eco-crime!

    I’m still struggling to understand what part of Legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for one who is responsible for the lives of others people do not understand. Abortion is wrong, intentional homicide is wrong, and failure to protect those for whom you are responsible is wrong. All per the Catechism.

  69. CatholicMD says:

    Dominic – Right on with your comment about emotionalism as a substitute for rational thinking. Several of the posters are saying they are “saddened”. That is an emotion separated from rational thought. Also, liberals LOVE to use the phrase “I’m saddened by…” for anything that doesn’t go their way (see the recent vote to not allow women “bishops” in the Church of England) so I would caution orthodox Catholics from falling into that habit. Fuzzy emotional thinking can get you into big trouble fast ( i.e. if two people really love each other why can’t they get married?). As a husband and a father I have a moral obligation to protect my wife and daughter and the fate of my eternal soul is tied to that obligation. If someone tries to harm my family I will stop them. Period.

  70. wmeyer says:

    The politically correct (at an absurd cost) “executive orders” by the Marxist will only penalize the law abiding. Take it from one who has dealt with bad guys for over 40 years as a cop–the crooks will not comply with any of Obama’s feel good orders.

    In England, where the police do not carry weapons, and where citizens cannot carry firearms, police officers are killed in the line of duty, by gunshot. So much for gun control.

  71. An American Mother says:

    jennelle,
    In point of fact, jurisdictions with the strictest gun control also have the highest crime.
    One can argue chicken-and-egg about that, but also in point of fact, jurisdictions with the most expansive concealed carry permit laws have lower crime, and crime rates fall when CCP laws are enacted (Florida is perhaps the most obvious example).
    The police, like the military, are at very high risk because they walk with open eyes into very dangerous situations. On your behalf, because you have relinquished your duty to protect yourself and your family over to them. And that’s fine: your choice.
    If we talk about fact and not emotion, firearms are simply another tool to keep you and your family safe. You may make a reasoned decision that firearms are not for you. That’s fine: your choice.
    But investing all sorts of emotion in an inanimate object, to the point of demanding on the basis of emotional blackmail that others not only adhere to your choice but condemning others as evil (“the culture of death”) is neither rational nor wise.
    I used to investigate automobile accidents and arson fires, and I can tell you from personal observation that the wounds inflicted on innocent little children in those circumstances often mandated a closed casket funeral. But I do not wave those horrors in your face and demand that you ban cars or gasoline, because the people who drove recklessly or burned houses for the insurance money are who killed those kids.

  72. Rachel K says:

    I am reassured to see that others were shocked by this post too. I agree with the comments by Geoffrey, Catholic Coffee, Jenelle, Fr Sean Coyle, Anabela and Tim. I was especially sickened by the photo of the human cut-out with the heart drawn on. Even if people feel they can justify this kind of activity, the discussion could be more moderate, the positive comments seem to have a rather gleeful and triumphant tone. [How dare Fr. Z shoot at PAPER!]

    I still see this as an American issue. You have to understand that here in the UK some people who have protected themselves and their property have been prosecuted and punished for harming the criminal involved! Clearly this is very wrong and I am appalled when seeing such cases in the news, but it illustrates the distance between attitudes and experiences in our respective countries.
    I believe the right to self protection lies between these two positions, both of which I consider extreme.

    I too come, usually daily, to Fr Z for good spiritual guidance and have benefitted greatly from his blog. The recent “gun” posts have really disappointed me and this topic seems to be aired too much.
    Perhaps it could be left for a while, please Fr ?

  73. dominic1955 says:

    “Well thank you for doing it anyway! Thank you also for your veiled (and no-to-veiled) insults, for twisting my words, and for attempting to align me with “anti-Catholic apostate(s)”.”

    The phrasing was the same, not the position. Sorry for not making it clearer that I was using your comments as a spring board. That is why I said I wasn’t picking on you-and I meant it.

    “You presumed a lot and read far too much into my comments. As many others here, I was simply expressing my feelings of unease on seeing such a post on the blog of an excellent priest that I visit daily for spiritual nourishment. And yes, this is Fr. Z’s house and he can do whatever he wants in it. Many of us are just… disturbed?”

    Why? If you deign to visit this blog for daily spiritual nourishment, why, praytell, are you going to be “disturbed” by Father’s very legitimate interests and him sharing them with us? Either he isn’t that excellent of a priest for advocating/supporting/whatever the “culture of death” or I would think that I would reasses my position on the matter of guns/shooting/SD vis a vis the “culture of death”.

    “I think Jenelle said it very well: “The culture of death may be prevalent in abortion clinics but it is also staring us right in the face when we go to Walmart and now, when we visit Father Z’s blog. Enough is enough.”

    Guns/self-defense is part of the “culture of death”? That’s part of the problem-and it isn’t Fr. Z’s problem. I think both of you need to go back and figure out what “culture of death” is.

    “It is only natural that a person’s life experiences would form their views and opinions, but you call this “emotional baggage”.”

    We must make the distinctions. Yes, our experiences form our views but some are healthy and some are unhealthy. If I was scarred by a garter snake when I was 5 and now I won’t set foot outside near grass and trees, I need to not let that experience hold me hostage and taint my views irrationally. That’s a small example, but the analogy holds for anything.

    “There is a tremendous amount of suffering in the world, which inspires people to work to change the world for the better. I pray you never experience what my family experienced due to guns, which for reasons that really should be obvious, I will not broadcast to a virtual world of strangers.”

    One of my ancestors was in the Bataan Death March and saw some horrific things and it certainly affected him. Guess what he never did-hold grudges against Japanese folks. That’s the kind of thing I’m talking about. As the Bataan Death March wasn’t the fault of all Japanese, neither are all guns at fault for your situation. Matter of fact, you didn’t experience anything “due” to guns. That is like saying my uncle’s experience was the fault of the guard’s Arisakas. Inanimate objects do not have the ability to be at fault for anything.

    As to the rest, you say you have no position but you align “obsession (sic) with guns” with “culture of death”. Then you say you don’t like hobbies associated with “death”. We’d say that guns help to preserve and foster life. The Devil is in the details and while I certainly believe you, there are many who say things like this and are more than willing to let politicians tell us what we can and can’t have w/ nothing more than emotionalist nonsense to back it up. Catholicism is no stranger to precision and distinction in communication.

  74. Rachel K says:

    Also disappointed to see those expressing opposing views described as “emotional”.
    We need to use both head and heart when making decisions about morally weighty issues, otherwise we end up as rationalists with utilitarian ethics.
    Far from being an “emotional” thing, the heart is seen as the seat of wisdom and understanding in the Bible.

  75. Rachel K says:

    Dominic1955, please can you explain how guns “help to preserve and foster life”?!
    That is an outrageous remark !

  76. Mary Jane says:

    I don’t understand why some readers are upset by this post. Knowing how to shoot a gun (and going to the range to do so) is not the “culture of death staring us right in the face”.

    I do not know what rules dictate whether a priest can own a gun or visit a gun range (or if he can/does, whether he should make that information publicly known).

    But if someone broke into your house and threatened you, wouldn’t you do whatever it took to defend yourself (or your family)? Wouldn’t you want to know how to defend yourself (or your family)? A gun is merely a tool do to that, the same as any other weapon you could lay your hand on for the purpose of defense. My dad used to carry a baseball bat when we went on family walks – he meant to use it for large dogs that might threaten us, but I bet he would have used it on a person as well, if we were so attacked. Is my dad part of the “culture of death staring us right in the face” because he carried a baseball bat and would have used it as a weapon if needed? What about the friend of mine who like to fence? What about my brother, who was into archery for a time? Is any sport that could be deadly if you aimed at someone part of the “culture of death staring us right in the face”? If that is the case, then the TSA is right: no nail clippers allowed.

  77. dominic1955 says:

    RachelK-

    What is outrageous is that I have to explain it. I’ll go more in depth later, but next time someone tries to invade your little island, us Cowboys should just sit back and watch while you flower and glitterbomb your way to freedom.

    Let’s see how that turns out…

  78. MichaelJ says:

    Rachel, I do not presume to speak for Dominic, but his remarks make sense to me although they could seem counter-intuitive at first glance.
    One reason that guns “foster and preserve life” is because we live in a fallen world. Sometimes, the only thing that keeps me from sinning is the fear of negative consequences. As imperfect as that is, sometimes that’s all I’ve got. I can easily imagine that for a person with a “criminal bent”, whose situation is likely far more dire than my own, the “sometimes” becomes “often”.

    Don’t you think that an individual who intens to rob, rape, or kill another will think twice if he believes it likely that his intended victim is armed? I do, and the statistical evidence cited by others seems to support this conclusion.

  79. nykash says:

    Oh, but wait! Wasting paper! An eco-crime!

    lol, plus a lot of heavy metal flying around. Oh, the horror!

    Does Fr. Pacwa of EWTN hunt? Does that make him an agent of death, too? There’s a BIG difference between a responsible gun owner – regardless of who it is – and someone bent on serious, grave action.

    As for the culture of death, let’s not let that get hijacked: Abortion, euthanasia. Otherwise, as Mary Jane mentioned above, we might as well start listing things that could harm someone else.

  80. LisaP. says:

    “Nancy Lanza no doubt thought she was safe and her gun collection would protect her from danger. She was a responsible gun owner. She is dead.”

    No disrespect to the memory of Mrs. Lanza, we all make mistakes and I cannot know the specifics of her circumstances through news reports.

    But the idea that keeping guns in the residence of a young man you are making plans to *commit* is responsible gun ownership is outlandish.

  81. Supertradmum says:

    Bravo, Fr. Z for this post. I wish there were more MEN out there willing to learn defence like you.

    Do people know there was an entire order dedicated to fighting in our history of the Catholic Church: the Knights of St. John Hospitaller, the Knights of Malta?

    They were a real order, celibate and here is a list of their engagements-incomplete. We have a duty to defend ourselves, not merely a right.

    The Crusades
    Siege of Ascalon (1153)
    Battle of Arsuf (1191)
    Siege of Acre (1291)
    Siege of Rhodes (1480)
    Siege of Rhodes (1522)
    Battle of Preveza (1538)
    Siege of Tripoli (1551)
    Siege of Malta (1565)
    Battle of Lepanto (1571)
    Barbary Pirates (1607)
    Other service in European navies. (wiki)

  82. MAJ Tony says:

    Jenelle: If guns protected us, why do we have police memorials all over the world for police that were killed in action? Policeman who are skilled and amazing at what they do and protect us. They carry guns, are alert and trained. They still get gunned down and killed..

    Well, hmmm…yeah, of COURSE they still get gunned down and killed. How is this an argument for not being armed? As to cops getting killed in the line of duty: they’re human, they make mistakes, they get careless (look at the Challenger disaster, they call it “normalization of deviance” when you get careless and take shortcuts because they work), and MOST OF ALL, they’re walking targets. You put on a uniform, you become a target.

    Jenelle: Nancy Lanza no doubt thought she was safe and her gun collection would protect her from danger. [b]She was a responsible gun owner.[/b] She is dead..

    Not so much. If she really was responsible, and better yet, THOUGHTFUL, I don’t think firearms would have been her method of instilling discipline in someone with severe social phobias.

    Jenelle: Keith Ratliff was very responsible gun owner, could use weapons and protect himself. He is dead. .

    Yeah, and John Noveske too. AGAIN, how is this a valid argument for not being armed? People get killed when other people get the jump on them. It happens. Doesn’t mean you should improve your killer’s chances of sucess by being – as GEN Honore (aka the “Ragin’ Cajun) so eloquently put it – “stuck on stupid.” After all, the FIRST RULE of a gunfight is “Bring a gun.”

    Jenelle: You would think I would feel like I would need protection from a gun. After all, my mother has been held up and gun point and only a few years ago brother beaten from behind with one king hit and left to with a bleed on the brain and shattered skull. .

    …and you still don’t get it. Most prudent people would at least be prepared to deal with the nasties up to and including lethal force. Sadly, many Americans do not afford themselves such protections.

    Jenelle: I also live in a VERY high crime urban area. We have shootings on a weekly basis and just a few days ago a father and his baby were shot in a park three blocks from our house. I don’t need a gun so I am quite frankly shocked when people in middle America feel the need for protection.

    Back to the Challenger disaster: you have “normalized deviance” from realistic self-protection practices (being prepared to defend yourself with lethal force if necessary) because SO FAR, your coping strategies have NOT YET FAILED. No prudent, objective person with any experience in law enforcement, military or security fields would operate in the manner in which you self-describe. They would think it foolish. I’ve been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Been blessed to never have had to fire any shots in anger. I am having a very difficult time with your rationalization of “I don’t need a gun” when you live in a high crime area where people are shot weekly. Yet you are “shocked when people in middle America” decide to act in a prudent manner as insurance against something you know happens regularly in your back yard.

    Jenelle: Guns will not protect you and it is a very false sense of security if you think that they will. If someone wants to kill you and wants to kill others, they will do so.

    Foolishness. Again, that may be true, but I darn sure don’t intend to make their job easier by not being able to at least shoot back in self-defense. Back to that FIRST RULE OF GUNFIGHTING.

  83. AnAmericanMother says:

    Dominic1955, please can you explain how guns “help to preserve and foster life”?!
    That is an outrageous remark !

    Hey, I’ll take a shot at it – from my personal experience.
    It was a dark and stormy night (no, really, it was). I was around 12 years old and sound asleep in my bedroom when a strange noise woke me up. I eased over to the window and peeked under the drawn curtains – a man was prying the window open with a jimmy. I did my best belly-crawl to the stairs. That’s where my nerve broke and I ran the rest of the way, yelling “Daddy!Daddy! There’s a man on the back porch!”
    Dad grabbed up his shotgun and ran around the house and shot the guy, who fled screaming into the night. We never saw him again, nor did any hospital (it was just bird shot, dad had been shooting crows).
    Postscript: even with “shots fired” it took Atlanta’s finest forty-five minutes to arrive. The lone officer did tell my dad it was a good thing he had the gun, and that Mr. Perp would tell all his lowlife friends that the house was armed and dangerous. Apparently the word got out because they lived there about 30 more years and were never bothered again.
    Instead of cowering in my bed to be molested or worse, I knew that my dad could and would protect me if I could raise the alarm. And he did. So I am still safe and sound, and maybe Mr. Perp gave up a life of crime to boot.
    So yeah, dad preserved and fostered life, with the aid of HIS dad’s trusty firearm.

  84. Supertradmum says:

    Maybe all the really brave and courageous people came to America from Europe, which is why the Europeans cannot understand our sense of justice and our love of freedom.

    Defence has always been taught in the Catholic Church as a good.

    I am convinced that if a person cannot fight physically, they probably cannot fight the unseen armies of evil, either. Evil must be fought, not merely allowed. We are both body and soul, not disengaged spirits. Our bodies are sacred and belong to God. We can defend ourselves and we must defend others in our care.

  85. Supertradmum says:

    Um, in the St. Michael prayer, which I would assume most of us say daily, do we not say,

    Defend us in battle?

    cast into hell?

    OOO, strong words smacking of a war.

    If St. Michael, the Prince of the Heavenly Hosts can defend and fight, why can’t Fr. Z.?

  86. jflare says:

    If I find anything shocking, horrifying, or saddening at all about this entry, it’s not the fact that Fr Z has a gun and knows how to use it. I find it more sad that so many people have begun howling about the idea that a priest would dare own a firearm or be willing to use it.

    I truly don’t know how else to explain this: I have never met Fr Z in person, but the content of this blog tells me a great deal about who he is. I can’t imagine him ever firing so much as a BB gun at someone without a definite need. ..And by the way, by virtue of having spent some time on a range with SWAT guys, I’d bet he’d be better enabled to shoot someone in self defense, but enable the culprit to live after the threat has been handled. ..And if the culprit’s life cannot be saved, who better to offer last moment forgiveness–and last rites, if appropriate–than a priest who’s now on the scene due to the culprit’s choice of target?

    I truly don’t see lethal intent coming from Father.
    ..Not even for the liberals who make life..interesting!

    I can recall having wished I had a firearm with me on one occasions. To get where I needed to go, I needed to either pass some questionable-looking young people near a door..or cross the street. I did not precisely expect anything untoward to happen, but I had to admit that odds of 5 against 1 usually aren’t good when the 1 has no arms for defense.

    I would contend that these sorts of situations–the ones you don’t expect from daily life–most likely would be the sort of thing that Fr Z, another priest, or any of us, might choose to be armed to handle.

    “You have to understand that here in the UK some people who have protected themselves and their property have been prosecuted and punished for harming the criminal involved!”
    Such incidents have occurred here in the US as well. I find it ludicrous, but people have actually convicted gun owners of manslaughter–or worse–because a gun owner shot a house intruder and the intruder didn’t survive the encounter.
    I have heard “It wasn’t worth his LIFE!” on several occasions. I still haven’t made sense of why the wanna-be thief didn’t need to consider that in the first place.
    In many ways, this almost implies that a person has a right to steal something.

    I simply don’t see how this can be reconciled with serious Catholic faith.
    If you violate moral tenets and break into someone’s house with the intent to steal or commit other “mischief”, I have to think you summarily compromise your own right to live.
    It’s not fair that anyone should die for stupid reasons like this, but it’s not fair to require others to allow you to steal property either.

  87. Supertradmum says:

    Rachel K.

    We have a list of soldier and warrior saints in our Church, East and West, including,

    Martin, Longinus, Boris, Gleb, George, Joshua, the Maccabees, Sebastian, Joan of Arc, Demetrius, Edmund (King), and many others.

    Hey, they had to kill people.

  88. fvhale says:

    Since we have been discussing warrior saints, self-defense, and, dare I say, coming at times to the subject of Spiritual Warfare, please let me add one of my particular irritations with the Forma Ordinaria of the Office (a.k.a. Liturgy of the Hours): the “excision” of verses and sometimes entire Psalms because they might offend delicate sensitivities, being, perhaps, “violent” parts of the Bible.

    Aargh. Yes, in obedience, I use the “censored” Psalter of the Liturgy of the Hours when reciting the Office in a community that uses them. Otherwise, forget it. Why hide the violent bits of life (and the censors only removed part of them, anyway)? I usually substitute the “whole” Psalms in my private recitation of the Liturgy of the Hours. Of course, this is not a problem with the Extraordinary Form Office, the Breviarium Romanum, which follows the ancient custom (at least back to the Rule of Benedict) of reciting the whole and entire 150 Psalms each week–no cutting out the “harsh” bits.

    I consider it a bit of 1960’s “excessive optimism” on the part of Ven. Pope Paul VI and others who revised the office. Clearly leaving out bits of the Psalms from the Psalter (breaking very significant tradition) has not produced a more peaceful world. And, perhaps, it has resulted in less of an understanding of the violence, grief and evil in the world, and how to deal with these real aspects of human life which will not go away if we just pretend they are not there (hence this discussion).

    Nice academic paper on the topic:
    http://www.academia.edu/386076/Becomming_Peaceful_Praying_the_Imprecatory_Psalms_as_a_Violent_People_Being_Redeemed_from_Violence

    A new bumper sticker suggestion: Pray the Psalms–all of them!

  89. Matt R says:

    St Martin probably did not fight in battle as a combatant.
    Also, someone brought up the priests in the Cristeros War. Their actions were not right, though very understandable, and were not supported by the Holy See, who preferred that the priests merely provide spiritual support to the rebellion.
    I have no problems with Fr. Z shooting for sport, at targets, whatever. I certainly have concerns with him carrying a weapon. Since the 1983 CIC is unclear, perhaps someone could write to the proper authorities in Rome, and ask for a clarification on whether priests can carry firearms for self-defense in those countries where it is legal.

  90. Suburbanbanshee says:

    A well-educated man or woman knows a few subjects deeply, many subjects broadly, and has enough physical skills to stay healthy and do what needs doing. For hundreds of thousands of years, that has included knowing something about weaponry and how to use it.

    It has also traditionally included knowing how to sing and play instruments, sports, how to read and write classical languages and poetry, and how to dance gracefully. I bet most of you folks who disapprove of learning guns haven’t learned the peaceful arts, either.

  91. dominic1955 says:

    “Also disappointed to see those expressing opposing views described as “emotional”.
    We need to use both head and heart when making decisions about morally weighty issues, otherwise we end up as rationalists with utilitarian ethics.”

    What orders and keeps the passions in check (aside from grace)? The intellect. Rationalism is (despite the misnomer) not rational. Thus, emotively casting aspersions towards Fr. Z and others because folks like you don’t want to face reality (hearts on targets “sadden” you-really, come on…) is neither intellectually sound or proper use of “heart”. It is exactly what I said it was-emotionalism, an abdication of our intellectual capabilities and duties to what “feels” good.

    “Far from being an “emotional” thing, the heart is seen as the seat of wisdom and understanding in the Bible.”

    That’s because it isn’t the same thing you are trying to make it. The way the Bible uses it, the “heart” is akin to the totality of the person’s being, i.e. intellectual and spiritual and temporal.

    “Dominic1955, please can you explain how guns “help to preserve and foster life”?!
    That is an outrageous remark !”

    As I said before, I’d expand. Others have done a good job with this as well. Think of a plow, it turns the earth and in the process it kills the plants that were there (plus sometimes bugs, worms, rodents, etc) but it does so-BY HUMAN AGENCY-to bring about a desired result-the growth of a particular crop plant to sustain our life or by a slightly different impliment, to break ground in order to build on it. Either way, destruction happens but in order to bring forth and sustain life. It can be misused (Dust Bowl, for intance) but the foolishness or ignorance of the human worker is not the fault of the plow/sodbuster.

    Guns are tools, they also provide enjoyment. There is nothing about them (even the “scary” ones!) that make them objectively death machines, that is just more emotionalism. I have never shot anyone, and I hope I never have to. Probably 99% of gun owners can say the same. I’ve shot game, I’ve shot lots of paper and cans and pumpkins etc. Should the situation present itself, protecting myself and/or my family from dangers of the two or four legged variety is a protection and fostering of innocent life. Obviously the applies to each and every responsible person. Same with police and soldiers (assuming they are acting according to legitimate authority and right reason).

  92. Okay… this is getting silly now.

    I’m turning on moderation.

  93. I especially enjoy the way some of you are coming unglued, freaking out, jumping to conclusions!

    “OMG! Fr. Z shot at paper targets! THEREFORE Fr. Z will gun people down in the streets!”

    “I don’t have a problem with Fr. Z doing X, but Y?”

    Unreal.

  94. Kerry says:

    To anyone who is afraid of firearms, guns, why do you want to impose your beliefs on others? That is, “I don’t like them so no one should own any”. Because that is exactly what you are saying, whether in so many words or not. And the fools in Albany, who will pay others to carry their guns for them, while enforcing uncompensated seizure upon the citizens of NY, have made the citizens into felons, and given them a choice of compliance or returning fire. The know quite well this new law will do only one thing, get their ignorant voters squealing with delight at the victory over the evil gun. And there is quibbling here over holes in paper? Some years back a woman and her daughter returning to Ohio or Indiana from the Million Mom March (sic.) were nearly nearly accosted at a highway rest stop. A gun lying nearby on the ground chambered a round of its own initiative, flew threw the air and came to rest inches from the criminals nose, causing him to flee. She still opposes guns. “The gun just introduced another gun into the assault. It cannot protect me. ” Oh, wait…no. It was another citizen with a handgun drove off the crook. A google search may find her “I’m sorry, I was wrong, I’ve changed my mind” story.

  95. dominic1955 says:

    Some will say, with the proper dollop of sanctimonious distain, that we as *CHRISTIANS* should trust God and not guns or whatever. Fine. Next time you’re driving in your car, close your eyes, take your foot off the brake and trust God will bend the laws of nature for your lapse in sanity.

    St. Augustine (or St. Ignatius, I’ve seen them both quoted) said something to the effect of, “Pray as if everything depended on God, work as if everything depended on you.” One can stick their head in the sand and pretend as if we only sang kumbaya everything would be just peachy. As MAJTony correctly pointed out, that’s just “normalization of deviance”. Do not complain when reality smacks you upside the head and the cops, or Big Daddy Government isn’t there to take care of your every second of existence.

  96. fvhale says:

    Dear Fr. Z.,

    I know you turned on moderation, but I wanted to share this with you anyway.

    Do you know about the Possenti Society?
    http://www.possentisociety.com


    The St. Gabriel Possenti Society promotes the public recognition of St. Gabriel Possenti, including his Vatican designation as Patron Saint of Handgunners.

    St. Gabriel Possenti was a Catholic seminarian whose marksmanship and proficiency with handguns single-handedly saved the village of Isola, Italy from a band of 20 terrorists in 1860.

    The Possenti Society offers a variety of materials related to St. Gabriel Possenti and a biblical understanding of self-defense.

    The Savior of Isola

    In 1860, a band of soldiers from the army of Garibaldi entered the mountain village of Isola, Italy. They began to burn and pillage the town, terrorizing its inhabitants.

    Possenti, with his seminary rector’s permission, walked into the center of town, unarmed, to face the terrorists. One of the soldiers was dragging off a young woman he intended to rape when he saw Possenti and made a snickering remark about such a young monk being all alone.

    Possenti quickly grabbed the soldier’s revolver from his belt and ordered the marauder to release the woman. The startled soldier complied, as Possenti grabbed the revolver of another soldier who came by. Hearing the commotion, the rest of the soldiers came running in Possenti’s direction, determined to overcome the rebellious monk.

    At that moment a small lizard ran across the road between Possenti and the soldiers. When the lizard briefly paused, Possenti took careful aim and struck the lizard with one shot. Turning his two handguns on the approaching soldiers, Possenti commanded them to drop their weapons. Having seen his handiwork with a pistol, the soldiers complied. Possenti ordered them to put out the fires they had set, and upon finishing, marched the whole lot out of town, ordering them never to return. The grateful townspeople escorted Possenti in triumphant procession back to the seminary, thereafter referring to him as “the Savior of Isola”.

    Another webpage on Possenti:
    http://www.frfrogspad.com/stpossen.htm

    You also might find the Washington Post article from July 15, 2000 interesting reading. It tells the story of (armed) Fr. Michael Duesterhaus defending himself and his rectory housemates from an intruder in 1993, in contrast to the beating death of Msgr. Thomas Wells in 2000.
    http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=37744

  97. Maltese says:

    [I believe the point is to stop the threat. The intent is not simply “to kill”.]

    Legally, very true. But it can take 6 or more bullets to take down a felonious aggressor.

    But, if I’m against a bunch of gang-bangers wanting to attack my daughters, I’m not relying on one round per gang-banger!

    I’m moving to California, and plan to get Ruger LCL CCP; but extra clips are a must with such a gun!

  98. Maltese says:

    Hollow point, of course.

    If Obama doesn’t take away our bullets!

  99. UncleBlobb says:

    Father Z.:

    Just to add balance, I enjoyed reading this post very much! It made me very happy, and gave me great hope. Thank you for posting it, which you must have known would attract a certain type of “reaction”. I don’t have much experience shooting, so I could definitely benefit by your guidance, so I wish I could go shooting with you some day. Thank you for all you do!

    It reminds me of something I had learned about priests in the middle ages: these were often masters of swordsmanship. Just a thought.

  100. chantgirl says:

    I could envision some situations in which a priest might need to physically defend people ( a children’s religion class etc). We are called to lay down our lives if it is for a witness to Christ (martyrs), but we don’t have to let any random thug kill us during a robbery. Fr. Z’s life is precious, too. That said, some people find target practice to be a good outlet.

    It seems we have the Fr. Jeremy Irons vs. Fr. Robert deNiro argument going on here.

  101. deogratias2010 says:

    Great shot group Father!

  102. Medjugorje Man 07 says:

    You hit a nerve Father, you hit a nerve…..lol

  103. EXCHIEF says:

    Maltese
    Sorry you have to move to CA. Took me 56 years to get out of there and nothing could drag me back. Your post said you were going to get a Ruger LCL (I believe you meant LCP since you mentioned “clips”—they are magazines BTW, not clips) If you are looking at the LCP and haven’t handled it yet I’d suggest you do so. Unless you have very tiny hands the LCP is likely not going to feel very comfortable. It is VERY small. The Ruger LC-9 is a bit bigger but very concealable AND it is 9mm instead of .380. In a defense situation I much prefer the 9 over the 380. I have an LC-9 and when I am not in uniform that is what I carry. It will fit in the pocket of blue jeans and not be noticed. Just my 2 cents worth.

  104. Johnno says:

    We live in a fallen world with free will.

    Take the instrument known as ‘The Knife’!

    It is very useful. And it is also very deadly. Having its existence in our world opens it up to two possibilities. One that helps us make fine cuisine and as a useful tool for other purposes. Or one that can be used to harm or kill others.

    You cannot have one possibility without having the other.

    Having more knifes does increase the odds of more harm being done. But it also increases the effectivenss for us to live a 100 fold!

    During the Cold War. It was of necessity that both American and Russia armthemselves in order to deter the other one. In such a circumstance where both sides have the same weapon, a third possibilty arises: Mutual Annihiliation. Does anyone magine for a second that if only one side had the bomb, the the other would play fair? That’s ludicrous!

    Sure it would be ideal to live in a world where neither side has nukes, just as much as it would be ideal to live in a world where there are no guns.

    But you don’t live in that world. And if you want to survive, then you need a deterrent towards the other. And if not, then accept the risk.

    Christ approved of the sword, out of necessity. Not because he glorified the vice of living by the sword, i.e. glorifying violence for violence’s sake. When he chided Peter who He himself requested to be armed, he spoke to Peter’s zealousness to be some kind of ‘passionate hero’ rather than out of real necessity. Jesus was being arrested, they weren’t there at the moment to kill Him or the Apostles. Christs instruction to carry swords was likely twofold: Necessary prudence for self defence on the aprt of the Apostles, and also as a spiritual lesson of preparedness for things to come.

    God commanded the armies of Israel to vanquish their enemies. Nations He judged to be immoral.

    The Church and many brave men led the Crusades against the invading armies of Islam.

    Anyone who frowns upon the idea of guns and weapons out of prudent necessity hasn’t considered the fallen state of the world, is naieve about the state of the world from immediate crime in their vicinity to wartime implications of a greater scale. And also they doubt the existence of pure evil. One that will not be persuaded and which will seek destruction of the other even at the cost of itself.

    The evidence bears out explicitly that:
    1) Yes more gun availability does hypothetically exponentially increase the chances of more criminal activity or accidents related to guns.
    2) In practice crimes rates go down due to the deterrent nature of gun availability and concealment, and also crime prevention increases just as exponentially and practically.
    3) The unavailability of guns in practice does not deter criminals from illegally obtaining them, though it is harder. And crimes rates rise. And anyone determined to kill anyone has a wide variety of options to do so that don’t require guns. Ironically I was reading somewhere that knife related crime in gun free England has a reached a point where some are considering banning certain kinds of kitchen implements.

  105. Banjo pickin girl says:

    “we don’t have to let any random thug kill us during a robbery” That is exactly what Holy Saint Meinrad did, the martyr of hospitality. We are called to be salt and light, not death and destruction.

  106. dnicoll says:

    The Brno cz75 is my pistol of choice. I remember having a wonderful day many years ago on the Royal Hong Kong Police Training School range with my father, who was Head of Ballistics & Firearms there for many years. We got through stupid amounts of 9mm rounds testing various machine pistols. Happy days.

  107. The Masked Chicken says:

    “Great shot group Father!”

    I think I’m having a dyslexic moment. I read that as:

    Great group shot, Father.

    I was looking for the picture of priests :(

    The Chicken

  108. The Masked Chicken says:

    ““Pray as if everything depended on God, work as if everything depended on you.”

    A motto of the Ignatians.

    I think there is a misunderstanding, here. One side seems to think that priests should be in persona Christe and never defend themselves, but leave that up to God, while the other side seems to think this would be tantamount to the sin of presumption.

    In fact, there is little evidence of what Christ would actually do in a situation of physical violence, because it simply never came up in a way that any except the holiest could imitate. When Christ was physcially threatened, he either turned and walked through the midst of the crowd and went away, or he surrendered himself (and only himself – read that) to death.

    Now, unless a priest has the supernatural gift of walking through walls (very rare), he has to assume that the bullets fired at him will not pass hamlessly through him. Secondly, when Christ surredered himself, he asked that his disciples not be harmed and the authorities granted this. That is unlikely to happen with most robbers. The priest surrenders himself and asks that his parishioners be left, unharmed. The robber shoots him and then proceeeds to ignore his request and kills the rest. What witness has the priest’s sacrifice been? What exactly did it accomplish, except to make more dead bodies? Now, if the priest, in the instant before he is murdered gave General Absolution to the crowd, then, sure, why not, let the robber shoot them – they get to Heaven. I can even make the argument that if this were the general response of priests and it were universally known, it might make the families who lost their husbands, fathers, wives, children, sleep easy, knowing that, although these people will no longer be an influence in their lives, they have achieved the ultimate goal of life.

    While such a thing can happen, there are too many variables to say that this is always the best response. The loss of a loved one, even those one has reason to believe will get to Heaven is still traumatic to the poor humans left behind. In the end, what a priest does in such situations is a matter of prudential judgment. In some situations, the offer of self will be best; in others, self-defense will be best. Neither one is morally wrong, per se, but each can be virtuous or vicious depending on the circumstances. Dying when on should defend is as bad as defending when one should die. One should pray, now, for the gift of wisdom, should the circumstance arise.

    The Chicken

  109. Marianna says:

    Father, this post is very distressing. And more than that, you seem to forget how easy it is for a priest, who is such a visible representative of the Catholic Church to the world, to cause scandal. [puhleeze – It would take more time than it is worth to respond to this comment, but I will let it through to public view anyway.]

  110. An American Mother says:

    Dear Chicken,

    Exactly.
    And what’s true for priests is true for the laity as well.
    Get educated. Do not believe the politicians or (especially) the news media. Find out for yourself. [This is one of the reasons why I started to get involved with this stuff again, even before Sandy Hook. I decided to get into the process, go through “concealed carry weapons license” class, read, meet people, … find out for myself.]
    Get trained. Not just in proficiency, but in ‘situation avoidance’ and judgment.
    Then you can make a reasoned decision regarding not only how you choose to defend yourself and your loved ones, but also the manner in which you apply your knowledge, guided by wisdom and grace.
    This is a much better approach to the problem than sticking your fingers in your ears and chanting “OH! Those bad bad guns! Evil! Evil!” That is no defense against the day when evil comes calling to your house.

    Fr Z's Gold Star Award

  111. wmeyer: “In England, where the police do not carry weapons, and where citizens cannot carry firearms, police officers are killed in the line of duty, by gunshot. So much for gun control.” How many policemen in England are killed in the line of duty per 1000 population compared to the US, where anyone can bear arms, wmeyer?

    Yes, I am saddened by Fr.’s post. No, I am not afraid of inanimate objects. I have no problem with soldiers bearing arms. [How large of you.] I would not mind having a go at shooting at a range and am not upset by Fr. shooting at paper targets. What I am saddened by is that he speaks of “saying Compline with the smell of gun-oil around”, which means the guns he tried did not stay at the shooting range; and that – unless I have misunderstood – he would like a permit to carry a concealed weapon. I do not understand why he needs a gun other than at the shooting range. Reading his blog I cannot imagine Fr. Z. being afraid of death. [First, if you cannot understand something in this matter, then I suggest that you refrain from posting. Second, people are constantly falling into the trap of “need”. It is my right to own a gun. In this country we have a Bill of Rights, not a Bill of Needs. Furthermore, you and others are leaping to conclusions about my motives for owning a gun. Start reasoning for a change, everyone, rather than just emoting.]

  112. EXCHIEF says:

    [First, if you cannot understand something in this matter, then I suggest that you refrain from posting. Second, people are constantly falling into the trap of “need”. It is my right to own a gun. In this country we have a Bill of Rights, not a Bill of Needs. Furthermore, you and others are leaping to conclusions about my motives for owning a gun. Start reasoning for a change, everyone, rather than just emoting.]

    ABSOLUTELY THE BEST POST OF THE LOT! Too bad our elected officials don;t understand what Father Z obviously does understand

  113. ScottSenffner says:

    You are the man! keep it up! The 2nd Amendment is not for Hunters! It is for all civilians from a tyrannical Government!