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Eight years ago, I met the pastor of my brother’s church in Northern Wisconsin. Pastor Phil and his wife, Kathy, had answered the call when the church had gone through some hard times. His career had started in Chicago where his parents were called to the ministry. His father had also been a Marine.

The streets that he grew up on in Chicago had an international flavor. There were Greeks, Polish, and Germans, and they generally got along. His family didn’t have any guns, and his lone experience with firearms was an informal couple of shots with a .22 at twilight in, of all places, Maryland. The relative who supplied the rifle was also a Marine.

My mother lived on the land that my parents had purchased before I was born, a couple of miles from Pastor Phil’s Church. She required someone to be with her 24/7, and I was one of those who stayed with her, in her home, cooked, helped her in and out of bed, and did all the necessary things that children do for elderly parents.People who have been in this position will tell you that any assistance can make a big difference.

Pastor Phil, and his wife Kathy went far beyond what could be expected. They cheered my mother, brought over food, spend considerable time with her and me. There presence was always appreciated, a bright spot in my mother’s life. They have said that she was a bright spot in theirs.They may have spent more time with my mother than I did during those years. They were rich in spirit, but materially, not much better off than, well, church mice.They taught me about Christian charity.

I would take a little time while my mother was sleeping to sharpen my shooting skills. I shot from the deck of her house, with a monitor nearby or in my pocket. A long barrelled .22 with standard velocity ammunition is pretty quiet.

Pastor Phil and Kathy had a garden at their Wisconsin home and the rabbits would raid it. I arranged to give Phil an old Remington 550. It was old enough to not have a serial number. It worked well, and we soon had the factory sights dialed in. I supplied a few hundred rounds of .22 ammunition and at some point, a member of the church donated a brick of .22 to pastor Phil.

Phil and Kathy took to the gun culture as if they were born to it. Phil has taken a fearsome toll on the rabbit and squirrel population. At last count, he had stopped the garden predation of 35 of them.

As their modest income increased, Phil purchased a Ruger American rifle and put a scope on it. They acquired two carry handguns and Wisconsin concealed carry licenses. The class for the carry licenses was given at the church by my brother where twenty-one people attended. Kathy has been as enthusiastic about their entry into the gun culture as Phil has.


I’m delighted to have helped introduce pastor Phil and Kathy to the American gun culture. Northern Wisconsin is a rich center of that heritage, far more so than bloody Chicago, which was considerably more peaceful when Pastor Phil was growing up in the 50’s and 60’s.The centers of the gun culture tend to be more peaceful than the urban centers whose political leadership wishes to disarm the rest of us.

Pastor Phil and Kathy are part of that great surge in gun ownership that’s happened during the Obama regime. Neither had owned a gun before…now they both do. It’s far less likely that they will need to use their pistols for defense of self or others, than Phil’s use of the rifle to further defend their vegetables.

Phil was happy to have the address of the Calvary Baptist Church included in this story. It is 13713 W. Thannum Fire Ln, Hayward, Wisconsin, 54843. If you’re in the area, feel free to stop by. Services are from 10 to 11 a.m. on Sundays.Pastor Phil’s email address is [email protected].

2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.
Gun Watchh

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  1. “Pastor Phil and Kathy are part of that great surge in gun ownership that’s happened during the Obama regime.”

    Strangely, I have yet to run into anyone who has decided that firearm ownership is horrible and given up all their guns during the Obama regime.

    • Can you cite even 1 case of a troll such as , 2asux, lunchmeat willy, more dead soldiers etc. causing 1 person to sway to their way of thinking? Even 1?

      It just doesn’t happen. We, on the other hand, turn people onto the gun life on a regular basis. When Mosins Nagants were dirt cheap I gave a bunch of them away to people who got the bug afterwards.

      • Mosins might be a bit “much” for the total noob, but they make an excellent 2nd rifle, when you are ready to step up from a 22. My first rifle was a 22. The second was an M44 Mosin.

        • All the mosins I gave away were after a number of range trips. Sort of a graduation gift. All the people who were gifted bought other weapons.

          I’ve found mosins to be the perfect “gateway” drug.

        • Speaking of Mosins, just this afternoon I found a nice M38 at my favorite local gun store. I wasn’t looking to buy a rifle tod_a, but had to jump at the chance of an M38. I prefer the carbine Mosins, but feel that the folding bayonet on my M44 is a bit cumbersome for normal use.

          In other words, I’ve always wanted an M38! Now my M44 has a friend.

        • $200

          I know that is a little high for a Mosin, but the prices seem to have been creeping up, it seemed like a pretty nice one, and I rarely see the M38 model. They also had a nice 91/30 for $139 (and I probably could have talked them down $10-20 on either model if I tried). Of course my M44 was only $79 at Big5 back in 2004.

    • Except then you need .22 ammo. I swear, more and more I think we need a cheap plinking rifle made in 9×19. A savage or rolling block type that could use the crap load of 9×19 available.

      • Something tube fed, and semi-auto (like a scaled up Marlin 60) would be a lot of fun.
        Of course the Ruger and Marlin 9mm carbines (discontinued) and the Hi-Point 995 serve a similar function.

    • 22 rifles really are a great way to get started. I didn’t grow up around guns, but one of my old high school buddies got me started by taking me out to shoot 22 rifles, as a college student. I loved it. One of the first things I did after getting a full time job was to buy a Marlin 60.

      Nearly twenty years later, I have many more firearms, but still love 22 rifles.

  2. I recognized that rifle in the blink of an eye. My father gave his 550 to me on my tenth birthday in 1963. Still have it. Purchased a second, much nicer 550 in the mid-70s to give to him because he kept borrowing it back and we lived 75 miles apart. Still have it, too.

    Must be a little dusty in here.

  3. Uh, i think my reply got deleted? Surely it couldn’t have been the revenge of the turtles? 😮


  4. A pastor by definition would not want to kill for any purpose except to put food on the table – in the absence of any other food?
    Killing for fun makes Phil into Nimrod – and we know what happened to him?

    I’m sure there are other ways of chasing rabbits away – perhaps a infrared/laser ‘gun’ that targets a buzzer close to where the rabbit was would be as satisfying and effective?

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