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Ed Delfin talks about Weapons of our Warfare on the Elevate Hope Podcast. April 20, 2021

The Book: Video
The Book: Image


Not all cops, but a lot, share a nightmare: 

They have to fire their weapon to live, and the trigger won’t move. Sweat pours, they grunt and grimace, a sick feeling rears up in their stomachs. Putting both index fingers on the trigger, they pull for their lives . . .  nothing. The bad guy grins broadly. The trigger creeps a little. The cop feels it slipping so slightly . . . . No bullet comin’. Close but no cigar. More grunting, grimacing, and all-out muscling the trigger. Frenzied. Nada.

They wake up.

Good morning.

Dan Bautista is caught in a waking nightmare. A life-defining moment he wished was a dream and wasn’t. Chasing Emilio Aguilar into a gang-controlled barrio. Bautista stands on the dead lawn in the backyard of a ramshackle tan stucco house. A giant prickly-pear cactus crushing the back fence. Norteños all around who’d love the street creds for popping one of La Hura.

Emilio’s revolver was drawn.
It’ll turn out to be a .357 magnum. 

Dan with the drop on Emilio. Has every justification for firing. Emilio raises his revolver towards Bautista, baiting him. “Go ahead! Shoot! What-you waitin’ on? Shoot!”  

The white dot of his front sight squarely on Emilio’s chest, Bautista took up the trigger-slack. The Glock 19 had a honed butter-smooth 8-pound pull, nothing like the nightmare. But he froze just the same. Couldn’t do it. Couldn’t pull that last fraction of an inch.

He only saw the 12-year-old Emilio. The little boy Bautista and his wife treated as their own. The kid they’d driven to basketball practices, school dances, and the mall. Come the holidays, they’d brought over pancit and lumpias as Gloria, Emilio’s mom, slaved over a huge pot of pozole. Emilio was family. It wasn’t happening. Bautista saw right through the facial tear-drop tattoo on this norteño. 

The gangster.

The murderer.

The kid.

Weapons of Our Warfare reveals the inconvenience of knowing people. Really knowing them. It’s about the beautiful complexity we find in every encounter we give a chance to mature. 

The riddle of violence and the need sometimes to do evil for the ultimate good, is revealed in this story inspired by real people the author has come to know and love. These are real people whose actions go far beyond the typical stereotypes, into the realm of heroism, and insensate evil, often within the same person. Pastors, street cops, investigators, drug dealers, informants, and murderers. Bad guys and good guys wrapped in one skin. People who’ve taken a stance, and find others on the same side of their line, unsure how they got there, even less sure how others they love got on the other side. And through it all, the worst brings out the best they have. The best any of us ever have.  

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