An ugly job, but it’s a living

I’m not sure I understand this…

Larry Bourbonnais, the guy who was extensively quoted in the Jeanne Assam story, is no longer allowed to come to services at the church where the shooting happened. When he showed up at the Church this last Sunday, the officers of the Colorado Springs Police and the El Paso County Sheriff were waiting on him. Bourbonnais has been extensively interviewed, and I guess he has been telling the same story – in which two other armed church member/volunteer security guards did not fire their weapons at the shooter.

The church has been quiet about why they didn’t want Larry coming to worship, except to mention his statements to the media and say they made church officials feel “uncomfortable” or something along those lines.

A more recent story released today mentioned that the officials claim Bourbonnais mentioned something about packing heat when he came back. Given his other, earlier statements, I guess that Larry said he didn’t feel to safe with the quality of the church’s security (except for Jeanne Assam of course), and he didn’t want to find himself in the same boat he was in weekend before last.

You would think adults involved in this sort of disagreement could have worked things out in private and not in the media. But these huge churches with thousands of members have never made sense to me. They just feel like a corporation rather than a group of people who want to study religion together. But then I am a simple sort when it comes to religion. All the churches I attended over the years were small and simple. Most had one minister whose wife was the music director (which meant she played the piano or organ and the rest of us sang). They knew everybody and everyone in the congregation knew each other. And amazingly enough, there was no coffee/snack shop or bowling alley.

I’m stating to feel like an anachronism.


3 responses

  1. foofoo5

    This is a most fascinating topic for me in that I was not in the military nor law enforcement, nor have I even so much as held a handgun. An aside: I awaited a flight home from San Quentin once, and forgot that I was wearing my corrections ID around my neck. An airline ground employee came up and whispered, “Are you flying armed today?” When I told the story at work, a colleague said, “Who in their right mind would give you a gun?” Think as you will.

    I am reminded of Gunnery Sargent Hartman in Full Mental Jacket:

    If your killer instincts are not clean and strong, you will hesitate at the moment of truth! You will not kill! You will become dead Marines. And then you will be in a world of shit! Because Marines are not allowed to die without permission! Do you maggots understand?

    In my occupation, my continued safety lies – dependently – in the hands of others. This is not to say that I am by any means “cavalier” or stupid about the inherent dangers of my environment (I unfailingly scan an examination room for objects that might be used against me, or iI might use in my defense), and have changed my way of thinking from “restraining a patient” to “disabling an inmate.” Likewise, I have never hesitated to align myself with a CO if I sensed they were in need (and trust that this is not bravery, but rather I am a confirmed dumbass). But ultimately, I must trust that the man or woman above my head holding the automatic weapon will, indeed, respond according to their training and not according to their emotion and/or (you brought it up) religious feelings. And I emphasize here that I have not researched this issue of the “killer instinct,” but, in effect, speak as a potential “consumer,” a beneficiary of the ability of another.

    I have been posed theoretical moral questions such as, “Would you shoot to kill in defense of family?” and I believe the answer is “yes.” But having spent considerable time interacting with far too many murderers, my fear is that it would be far too easy to sublimate their malevolence and psychopathy, and merely identify with “the act.” And I believe I would fear living my life to the mantra, “I am not one of you.”

    Apparently, the choice to not give me a gun is more complex than I had originally imagined.

    19 December, 2007 at 1:49

  2. As best as I can recall – at the top of the batting order for biological imperatives is survival. Being hard wired like that, when suddenly faced with a threat to survival we will fight to live. It’s when we have time to think about it and debate the issue that we sometimes make moves that are counter to our continued existence in the face of danger (see Congress, U.S. 110th edition, and Chamberlain, Neville).

    Hartman, played by R. Lee Ermey, was dead spot on in character once you removed the crap that Hollywood threw in because they think everyone in the military are barely restrained homicidal maniacs. Near the end of training, my Drill Instructors told some illuminating stories about combat (they were all Vietnam vets). One night after we had returned to Mainside from the Rifle Range, one of them talked about the importance of marksmanship in combat. “Privates, the objective is not to kill the other guy – but to keep him from killing you and your fellow Marines. If you don’t master these skills you or another Marine is going to die.”

    When a sane person finds himself fighting for his life he has to become violent or lose the battle for survival. You have to stop the guy trying to hurt you, and the only way to do that is to hurt him first. And to be effective at that, you have to really want to hurt him. After it’s all over you can go back to being a decent person who feels bad that another human being got hurt. But if somebody was going to get hurt, you have to believe that it’s better that it was him rather than me.

    19 December, 2007 at 13:50

  3. foofoo5

    That why I like peace officers. Where I’m from it’s called “state the obvious.” I’m hardwired like you, but trained to “examine the data.” I strongly suspect the original notion had the added disclaimer, “from a safe distance.”

    So, my odd affinity for the persistently mentally ill carries me into dark settings (the CO’s Union motto is “Walking CA’s toughest beat”), where my colleagues tend to be considerably more disinterested and “crusty” than myself, there is negligible respect for psychiatrists as a whole, but I do occasionally feel like I’ve actually done some good. This exercise of my training, of course, is facilitated by people who will protect me according to the exercise of their training. My respect is enormous because their “duty” includes decisions I am thankful not to be forced to make. And God knows neither of us are paid enough.

    Best of holiday wishes to you!

    20 December, 2007 at 0:07

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