Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Blessed José Sánchez del Río

Update: On January 21, 2016 Pope Francis approved a miracle attributed to Blessed José Sánchez del Río allowing for his canonization to take place sometime within the year.

[Originally published February 10, 2013]

Today, February 10, is the anniversary of the martyrdom of Blessed José Sánchez del Río. On this date in 1928, this 14 year old boy was killed for refusing to renounce his Catholic faith during the Cristero War. The story of this period of Catholic persecution led by Mexican President Calles was told in the movie "For Greater Glory".

After José was captured by government forces, he was forced to witness the torture and execution of fellow Catholics, yet he never wavered in his resolve. He was himself was tortured and urged to shout "Death to Christ the King" with the promise his suffering would be over. On the day of his torturous execution, the soldiers cut the soles of his feet and he was made to walk barefooted to the grave they had dug for him. He was repeatedly stabbed with bayonets as he made his way to the place of his martyrdom.

Even after he had been shot he continued to cry out "Viva Cristo Rey!" ("Long live Christ the King!") The commander of the soldiers was so furious that he was able to resist the government barbarism, he finally shot the boy in the head. As he died he is said to have drawn a cross on the ground with his own blood. Blessed José Sánchez del Río was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI on November 20, 2005.

During the Cristeros War many Catholics were killed by the Mexican government for their faith. This tragic part of recent history is pointedly ignored by the history books in both the United States and Mexico. It is a story that needs to be told and learned by all free people. The people of the United States shared in the tragedy, as our own government supplied both arms and air support for the Federales in their battles with the Catholic faithful.

As the attacks on the Church increase in the United States, with the aggression led by our own government, we would do well to remember the resolve of this strong young man, and pray that we too will remain faithful through whatever trials await us.

Blessed José Sánchez del Río, Pray For Us!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Monday at the Range

Until the days start getting longer, shooting indoors is better than not, so Monday I headed back to the indoor range. After spending two days sitting in a classroom learning about guns and self defense, it was fun to go out and actually shoot, even if only a little.

It's a bit of rush, but I can get to the range, shoot 100 rounds, and be back in the office in about hour. And folks there think I just took a rare lunch break. For this week's outing I had packed two firearms. Since neither had night sights, I shot with the overhead bench light turned off just to simulate some low light shooting. As a bonus, I even had the place to myself.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Still Life: Hotel Room Dinner

We attended an amazing self defense-related class this weekend (more on that soon) which meant spending 10 hours a day in a classroom. After the long day, dinner out seemed like to much effort so we opted to eat in.

A carry out sub and can of beer never tasted so good. The second can tasted even better.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Snow? Enough Already!

I walked out to get the paper this morning, saw snowflakes and thought I was seeing things. Alas, WeatherBug confirmed my vision.

I don't think it will amount to anything, but still, I'm so very ready for Spring.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

It's a Game of Inches

There's been a lot of discussion the past few days regarding the recent "compromise" on gun rights in Virginia. While nothing has yet been signed, and legislation is still in the works, the details are starting to emerge. While most gun owners are seeing good in this, some gun rights activists are upset at the notion of ANY compromise. Unfortunately that attitude could also mean no progress. It's also become quite apparent that the anti-rights contingent on the left is absolutely livid. (That in itself gives me pleasure and is a positive sign.)

If the governor keeps his word, Virginia will honor concealed carry permits from ALL states. This is an improvement over what we had before the Attorney General and State Police Supervisor plotted to rescind reciprocity agreements with 25 states. If all the legislation involved moves forward, and if McAuliffe signs it, Virginia permits could probably possibly be accepted in most other states which allow concealed carry. It will likely take some time before those additional reciprocity agreements are hashed out across the country.  (I'm keeping my Utah permit nonetheless.)

During his press conference last Friday, Governor McAuliffe spent a lot of time hyping the closing of the so-called "gun show loophole" and fighting domestic violence. Some 2nd Amendment rights advocates have argued that forcing these "fixes" was the intent all along of McAuliffe and Herring. If that's the case, the governor is an extremely poor negotiator, or just not very smart. Or both. The "fix" for the "loophole" is to require the State Police to be on hand at all gun shows to perform VOLUNTARY background checks for sellers who want to do them before selling a gun. Private sellers have ALWAYS had the option to do that. The proposed regulation regarding Permanent Protective Orders simply models law that already exists under federal law.

I happen to believe that McAuliffe was never fully supportive of Herring's action, even if he agreed on principle. This week the Governor even admitted "But we have no record of anyone in the last 25 years being injured or hurt with (sic) someone who came into our state with a concealed weapon." Once he saw the fallout from his Attorney General's decree, he became downright scared. He has come to recognize just how strong the pro-rights support is in the legislature, and learned that gun rights is not a strict Republican/Democrat issue. "Pro-gun" bills have been moving forward, and some possibly with veto-proof majorities. As a friend termed it, McAuliffe made a "tactical retreat." It's telling that while McAuliffe was touting this "historic" compromise, while heaping praise on Mark Herring for helping to initiate it, the Attorney General was conspicuously absent from the stage. A planned strategy or a mistake, the end result is the same — the leftists took another beating and freedom won. Although the politicians are apparently not allowed to admit it.

My impression is there is national trend towards the restoration of 2nd Amendment rights, despite the occasional setbacks. There are losses at times, but net change seems to be happening for the good. Those fighting for gun rights with an "all or nothing" attitude will be disappointed and, I think, may even hurt the fight. I strongly believe we should ask permission of NO person, or state, to exercise a right and to provide for the defense of our families and ourselves in the best means possible. Unfortunately the rules imposed on us by the power-hungry elite have reduced our expression of certain rights. We must fight continually to have the recognition (not granting) of those rights restored. It seems, for now, patriots in Virginia are making steps in the right direction.

Great Minds Think Alike

Yesterday afternoon I made an spur of the moment run out to the local beer store to check if my favorite late winter release, Tröegs Nugget Nectar was in stock. A successful beer run made, I returned to my desk and within a few minutes received a text message from Colleen, who happened to be out running errands at the same time.

That's Hardywood Sidamo Coffee Stout and Blue Mountain Dark Hollow Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout in her cart. Looks like we both had the same idea! We'll have plenty of good beer to enjoy this week.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Virginia Executive Office Debate

Attorney General Mark Herring (December 22, 2015): "Strong, consistent enforcement of Virginia's laws and safety standards can prevent disqualified people who may be dangerous or irresponsible from utilizing a concealed handgun permit, and it's what the law requires."

Governor Terry McAullife (February 1, 2016): "I appreciate the work the attorney general did on this. But we have no record of anyone in the last 25 years being injured or hurt with (sic) someone who came into our state with a concealed weapon."

Ground Hog Day Trump

Déjà vu, but not.

I trust him about as much as I trust a rodent to predict the weather.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Fixing Monday: Range Trip

Despite the near 70° temperatures today, the outdoor range remains closed. Since I've been itching to get in some trigger time, I had to break down and make a lunch time visit to a local indoor range. I'm typically weary of the indoor facility due to not being able to see what the other folks are doing. Fortunately there were only two other lanes in use, and both appeared to be occupied by experienced shooters giving lessons to new shooters. I was able to concentrate on enjoying the distraction of shooting.

Looking through my shooting journal, I realized it had been almost a year to the day since I last visited this range. This would be the first time shooting indoors since I put the fiber front sight on the gun. It was also the first time shooting indoors since I stopped wearing the Rx shooting glasses. Both of these changes could have an effect on shooting in the low light conditions. Despite the target itself being blurry, I was pretty happy with how I shot. I was drifting to the left a bit, but that's not an unusual issue, otherwise the groups were passable. (More dry fire would probably help with that.)

After firing off 100 rounds, in a very short time, it was back to work. The quick lunch time run was a bonus to what was otherwise just another Monday. Perhaps I should make this a regular thing — I hardly ever leave my desk for lunch so any excursion would be a treat.

Feast of St. Brigid of Ireland

Today is the Feast Day of St. Brigid of Ireland, one of our family's favorite Saints. The quote below has long been attributed to St. Brigid.
"I'd Like A Great Lake Of Beer For The King Of Kings. I Would Like To Be Watching Heaven's Family Drinking It Through All Eternity."
Our family has long had an affection for this great Saint. During our trip to Ireland a few years ago, I came to realize just how popular she is in that country, second only to St. Patrick it seems. Her legendary association with miracles involving beer often overshadows her deeds of charity and compassion.

Beyond her prayer for a "great lake of beer" this revered Saint had other interesting connections with beer. According to tradition, Brigid was working in a leper colony when they ran out of beer. Since beer was an important source of safe liquid refreshment and nourishment, this was indeed a serious issue. Brigid is said to have changed her bath water into beer to nourish the lepers and visiting clerics. In another miracle attributed to St. Brigid, she provided beer to 18 churches for an entire Easter season, all from a single barrel of beer in her convent.

St. Brigid Statue, Knock Shrine, County Mayo, Ireland

St. Brigid, ora pro nobis! And cheers!