Of a hand-held radio, a US Senator, a concealed hand gun, and a cri de coeur

When I got interested in Ham Radio, I discovered on YouTube some video offerings from “USNERDOC“, a fellow in Oregon who was in the Navy and is an emergency medicine doctor.  He has gotten into Ham Radio, in part, to participate in a civilian emergency response team.

This fellow’s desire to participate in the life of his community, to be prepared to help and volunteer, is appealing.  As a matter of fact, if I can work things out the way I’d like, I may try to get involved with a civilian emergency response team, but I have to be educated about that a little more.  Moreover, it was because of one of his videos that I did some research and then put a Yaesu radio on my wishlist (which is sitting right next to me, as a matter of fact – thanks MZ!  You are not forgotten!).  I used it several times to catch the ISS during a flyover!  They have fueled my continued interest and my resolve in this new year to get that license.  I will be looking around for some basic paramedic courses too.  No matter what, such training is good. But that is another kettle of beans.

USNERDOC posted a cri de coeur about the 2nd Amendment and then reminds us about something longtime-Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) did once upon a time.


Lest it be forgotten.  This post is as much about thinking about the future as it is to remind you about who has said what in the past when it comes to owning guns.

Anyway, check out some of USNERDOC’s videos on YouTube.   He’s a mensch.  He makes great gadgets.  He explains equipment.  He goes to cool places.  He does great things with his son.  You may be inspired to get into a few new activities.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Cri de Coeur, Ham Radio, Semper Paratus, The future and our choices and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. acardnal says:

    Fr. Z, if you posted a video about Sen. Feinstein, I am not seeing it. Only white space.

  2. wmeyer says:

    As to emergency response, I commend your attention to Civil Air Patrol. They perform over 95% of domestic search and rescue, and also step in to assist in whatever way possible after natural disasters such as Katrina or Sandy. But in addition, cadet squadrons provide training to teens in emergency services, aerospace education, leadership and moral leadership. My own cadet squadron has no chaplain, and that is true, unfortunately, of many. Fr. Daniel Mode, late of the CG Academy, is also a CAP member, and chaplain, and told me that qualifying as a chaplain took over a year. But the value of CAP is without a doubt huge for cadets, who gain access to experience with aircraft, both powered and gliders, as well as growing in their understanding of what it means to be a responsible citizen.

  3. rodin says:

    Fr. Z, happily the video worked on my computer, if that tells you anything of value. It was a very informative video and I would like to impress on people that there is training available in the use of firearms. Some years ago when I was looking into this issue I learned from a local sheriff that the NRA offers very thorough training in preparation for the use of firearms and also that most of his officers had first learned how to use firearms through the NRA. If I thought I could ever use one I would probably get one, but with the physical disability I have no doubt my feet would be in instant danger not to mention anything in the vicinity. But I will be happy to assist and rely on those who can use firearms responsibly.

  4. JohnW says:

    Father I would suggest that you take an EMT B course instead of a paramedic course. Paramedics in the large city fire department where I’ve worked 32 years can do almost any thing an ER doc can do. An EMT course to day is about like a WWII medic. I’ll will pray for you

  5. JohnW: Thanks for that suggestion. I have a lot to learn about this.

  6. Andy Lucy says:

    As a former Firefighter/EMT, I would recommend getting your feet wet with CPR training, basic then advanced first aid from the American Red Cross. Then, depending upon your needs, either training as an EMT-FR (First Responder) or an EMT-B (Basic). The FR course if from 40-45 hours and covers basic life support skills, as well as things like childbirth, oxygen administration and support, packaging a patient for transport, and things of that nature. The EMT-B course is a minimum of 125 hours, and is much more in-depth than the FR course. It also covers areas such as automated external defibrillators (AEDs), assisting with medications, spinal immobilization, vehicular extrication, and things of this nature.

    The EMT-P (Paramedic) is actually the level to which most combat medics and corpsmen are trained. Paramedic training lasts anywhere from a year up to two years, depending on how often the classes meet, and how often you are able to get into an ER or onto an ambulance to get practical hours. It is a very in-depth course, and likely is not something that you would have need for.

    If you would like some advice from an old smoke eater, start out slow. You are a very busy man, and starting out with CPR certification and basic and advanced first aid would, IMHO, be a good way for you to start. I would recommend the First Responder course, and if you really enjoyed it, possibly the EMT-B, but only if you really wanted to maybe volunteer a bit with your local EMS service or fire department. FWIW, most departments are usually looking for a chaplain, especially to assist with casualty notification and, in your case, to minister to the dying, especially in mass casualty incidents.

    If you have any questions that you do not wish to put on the forum, I would be glad to answer them via email. My address is andylucy (at) reagan (dot) com. I am glad that you are interested in increasing your skillset for emergency situations. If there is anything I can do to assist you, do not hesitate to ask.

    BTW, if you do not already have one, get an “Elmer” to help you with your Technician license for Amateur Radio. There has to be someone in your neck of the woods to guide you and help you out. Checking the FCC website for licensees in your area might be a way to start.

  7. AnAmericanMother says:

    I second everything that AndyLucy has said.
    I only went as far as the Red Cross Advanced First Aid and AED courses, with the addition of the BSA Lifesaving and Wilderness Medicine courses because I was a BSA Venture leader while my kids were in Scouting. I’m still the First Aid Officer for my floor at work.
    That took a good deal of time and I never went on to the EMT level — but I am able to assist reasonably well and was able to help stabilize the victims of an auto accident on a rural interstate while we were waiting for the EMTs to arrive, and to assist them in their work.

  8. acardnal says:

    wmeyer, interesting that you mentioned chaplain Fr. Daniel Mode. He is a priest from my former diocese of Arlington, Virginia. He was at one time a chaplain in the Marines, I think. Now you mention he was also at the USCG Academy. Wasn’t aware of that.

    He is also a big promoter of the canonization cause for the late Fr. Vincent Capodanno, USNR, Vietnam chaplain, and Medal of Honor recipient. Fr. Mode wrote a book on Capodanno, too.

  9. frjim4321 says:

    The EMT training sounds like a great idea.

    I’ve been warming up to the idea of going back to school for something, and that is a worthy consideration.

    Enrolling in the local public college would also qualify for amenities such as the gym and the po0l for free. All good opportunities!

  10. frjim4321 says:

    As I understand it there has always been a line of demarcation with respect to which sorts of firearms were permitted by the public. For example automatic “machine guns” have not been allowed, nor are mortars, bazooka, TOW rockets and the like. Thus the amendment (like all amendments) is not absolute.

    I haven’t heard anyone seriously floating the idea of preventing law-abiding, qualified citizens from having appropriate weapons for self-defense. For example I have my Remington 870 under my bed and a box of 00-buck hidden within reach. (Remington also makes a great home defender round.) Nobody has said anything about restricting these valid and legal uses of firearms.

    There have always been valid restrictions on firearms. For example, I can only saw down my 870 barrel so far. Nobody ever squawked that barrel length laws infringed his constitutional rights.

    The regulations that are being discussed at this time, such as improving background checks, restricting the size of clips, declaring certain type of weapons as “weapons of destruction” and therefore limiting them to official usage, are all within reason and respect the second amendment as correlative to the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all.

  11. wmeyer says:

    acardnal: Fr. Mode is Navy. Also, he is the postulator for the cause of Fr. Capodanno. He was the chaplain for three of the years my daughter was at the USCGA, and he was the priest to baptize and confirm her, only a few years after we brought her here form China. He is a wonderful man who told me his time at the Academy was the hardest service in his career so far, because there was always someone needing his attentions. He is now assigned to an aircraft carrier in Japan.

  12. Andy Lucy says:

    frjim4321, the purpose behind the 2nd Amendment had nothing to do with self defence, nor with hunting. It had everything to do with allowing Americans to resist a tyrannical government. The Founding Fathers knew that had the English treated the North American colonies in the same manner they did Scotland following the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745-6 (totally disarming them, among other bits of nasty cultural genocide), there was no way that the American Revolution could have happened.

    To those who say that the Founding Fathers could not have known about modern weaponry, I say, you’re right. But that is irrelevant… the necessity of the American people to have access to the same weaponry as the standing army (which the Founders saw as a threat) is what is vital, for what force would impose said tyrannical rule? The military… and if the people are not at parity in access to those weapons used by the military, then the people have zero chance of overthrowing tyranny.

    And to those who say, “Hogwash. America will never become as tyrannical as the British Empire we overthrew to win our freedom,” well, I ask you this. Look back 100 years. Are we more or less free now, than we were in January 1913? It doesn’t take a MA or PhD in History to see that the answer is an unequivocal, “No, we are not nearly as free.”

    And with regard to your shotgun, and why it is illegal to shorten it below 18″, I would encourage you to read up on US v Miller, 307 US 174. The arguments in this case (as well as the procedural irregularities that kept the defendant AND his counsel from attending oral arguments) are very illuminating, especially the government’s 3rd point, which is summarised as basically that the Second Amendment protects only the ownership of military-type weapons appropriate for use in an organized militia. This was the government’s argument… not the defendant’s. Seriously… research it… it might enlighten you as to the true meaning and intent of the 2nd Amendment. God bless.

  13. cyejbv says:

    @Andy Lucy- excellent, accurate, clear and even-keeled post to frjim.
    In particular, you said

    “To those who say that the Founding Fathers could not have known about modern weaponry, I say, you’re right. But that is irrelevant… the necessity of the American people to have access to the same weaponry as the standing army (which the Founders saw as a threat) is what is vital, for what force would impose said tyrannical rule?”

    and that is spot on; I’ve not heard it expressed quite like that. If I knew how to make memes, that section of your post would become such. I shall tweet the text of it anyway!
    Again, and in all caps: EXCELLENT and WELL PUT.
    God Bless.

  14. OK – this matter involves a debate in another country and culture but it does raise issues elsewhere so like a fool rather than an angel I thread on.

    I come from a family where my father and two uncles were active members of the IRA and fought the British – so they had access to guns and used them. They are all gone to God now and have faced particular judgment but I pray God had mercy on them because they were good men, especially my father.

    Yet I live in a country where guns are very much restricted and licences are hard to get (no handguns, rifles and shotguns alone are legal). Apart from Special Branch detectives and members of the Garda (police) Emergency Response Unit the Guards are unarmed. I have only seen a handgun once and other weapons in the hands of the military only. That makes this American debate both interesting and disturbing. It is interesting to follow the struggle to see your Constitution upheld and your rights protected but disturbing to find Christians so devoted to weapons.

    cyejbv said “the necessity of the American people to have access to the same weaponry as the standing army (which the Founders saw as a threat) is what is vital” – does this include nuclear weapons, bio-weapons, etc?

    Surely Christian resistance to unjust government has traditionally sought to follow a path of non-violence unless violence became the only way to protect the innocent?

    In the 1920’s during our War of Independence and our Civil War the Republican side were excommunicated by the Bishops because they continued a conflict that could have been solved by others means. Until a few years ago one could still find men and women who would only go to priests from the Religious Orders of Pontifical right (Franciscans, Capuchins, Dominicans, Jesuits etc) for these priests could absolve those excommunicated by the Bishops. Although both sides of my family were on the hardline Republican side I think the Bishops were probably right. Certainly tradition would seem to support them. I think Christians should be loathe to become involved with weapons or to engage in violence unless they are forced to do so.

  15. Andy Lucy says:

    Br Tom Forde OFM Cap- “…I think Christians should be loathe to become involved with weapons or to engage in violence unless they are forced to do so.”

    Of course. However, if the government has taken from you the means to “engage in violence,” then what option is left? Do you believe that once a government has started down the path to tyranny, that said government will, in a burst of fair play and equanimity, return weapons to the people? Why allow the government to acquire that power over you in the first place? Si vis pacem, para bellum.

  16. AnAmericanMother says:

    Br. Tom Forde,
    The major difference between Ireland and America, I think, is that (at least until recently) Ireland was pretty homogenous. Even with the Civil War and related conflicts (and husband and I had relatives who were “out” in ’16) there was still a basic agreement about social rules and behavior. That’s how your garda can go unarmed.
    We are such a melting pot (or really a salad bowl) here, there is absolutely no basic social compact that’s common to all. Back when intact families were the norm and the schools taught civics, you had a prayer of imparting those rules, but no longer. That creates a problem on two levels: criminal violence and civic oppression. Both result in unacceptable use of violence (mostly by socialists, secularists and of course the feral among us).
    So even middle-class persons like myself who live in “safe” suburbs have encountered significant violence from time to time: my dad had to shoot a burglar; my sister was murdered; I personally have had 3 ‘close encounters’ with robbers or burglars which fortunately did not require actual shooting (which by the way is the case in most instances — the mere display of a firearm and the will to use it causes the felon to leave quickly). This kind of chaos has already caused many police in Britain to start carrying sidearms – may that day be far distant for Ireland!
    Even if you feel that you must forswear violence for defense of self (as is your right) there is the question of defense of the helpless – children, the elderly, the handicapped. They are the first to be victimized.

  17. Hidden One says:

    As a Canadian, Br. Tom’s post is the first time I’ve ever heard of modern police not carrying around firearms when on duty.

  18. abasham says:


    Community Emergency Response Teams. Maybe worth looking in to.

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