“Bis Mortis, Semel Sepultus.”

“Twice died, but buried only once,” this inscription translated from Latin to English is on the tomb of Duns Scotus, AKA, John Dun Scotus, 1265-1308.

John was definitely Scottish as you gentle readers can readily tell by his name.  He was a Catholic Franciscan Priest, a university professor, as well as a philosopher, and a theologian.  He spoke to the faithful as well as to the secular in his writings and homilies.

Gumshoe took some time to ponder this epitaph and arrived at some personal insights.  At face value, we all eventually die and we are buried.  It’s that “circle of life” thing as the song goes from “The Lion King”.  R.I.P. period.

Now just stop and really contemplate the “dying twice” statement from the late Friar Scotus.  What was he getting at?

Gumshoe surmised that we all “figuratively die” for something during our mortal existence. Case in point, all of you folks have heard the expression, “. . . to die for!”

You can insert anything your pea-picking heart desires before that hyperbole saying.

History reflects countless individuals willing to actually die for their beliefs.  Gumshoe loves that line shouted by Mel Gibson portraying, William Wallace in Brave Heart:  “They may take away our lives, but they’ll never take our freedom!”

Now at the other end of the spectrum, Gumshoe also loves the quote attributed from one of his personal heroes, General George S. Patton, “No dumb bastard ever won a war by dying for his country.  He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country.”

All told, everyone has a hill that they are willing to die on. In the previous examples, a person was willing to die for freedom.  Another person was encouraging other folks to have the enemy die for their country.

Gumshoe thinks that it is noble to die for your freedom as well as for your country. However, Gumshoe decided that he would put his life on the line to protect other folks while enforcing the law.  This might be also be considered to be noble.

All of you would undoubtedly are willing to die for your loved ones; whether they are old or young, they are beloved.  That’s noble and selfless.

Okay, let’s come back to that dying twice conundrum?  Was it just a riddle, wrapped inside an enigma within a mystery? (To paraphrase Sir Winston Churchill)


Gumshoe believes that the old late Scott meant to die to self was indeed the first death.

This voluntary death permits one to put things in an eternal perspective.  Denying oneself (dying to self) puts God first in all of our thoughts and in all of our actions while we are still on the sunny side of terra firma.  The worms will have to wait their turn after our second physical death.  Bon appetite!

Gumshoe says to always love the ones who love you and try to love the ones who don’t.

Coram Deo!


Danny Pitocco
Danny Pitocco
RETIRED (as a Detective with the Snohomish County Sherriff’s Department, Washington State), Danny has over forty years of law enforcement experience across city, county, state and federal levels of government, including service as a Special Agent for the DEA, US Department of Justice. He’s a decorated law enforcement veteran, and recipient of the "Detective of the Year" award for Snohomish County, Danny is a certified composite artist and has testified as an expert witness in the field of narcotics and modus operandi of particular crimes in state and federal courts in California, and has given testimony before federal grand juries. Danny served four years of active duty in the US Marine Corps and loves Jesus as his personal savior.

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  1. Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24) Dying to self in the spiritual (and very practical) sense that the apostle Paul meant when he (led by the Holy Spirit) wrote this is not a natural thing for us to do. Yes, many would give up their lives for family…..and some for a friend……and some would risk their lives even for a stranger (first responders do this daily). But the secular world does not understand much of what the Bible has to say on this issue…….in speaking of non-believers Scripture indicates that (the gospel) is foolishness to them – the Word of God must be spiritually appraised……that can only happen if/when we are ‘born again’, as we have the Spirit of the living God indwell us. Then we can truly say along with the apostle “to live is Christ and to die is gain”! Good writing as always brother.

  2. Danny as usual you planted the seed for thought. So I would like to add my dying quotes I learned in the good old USMC—-

    “Semper Fi, Do or Die” and my favorite “Death before Dishonor”.
    When I was a young “gung ho” Marine across the pond fighting a “war” we all thought was for the right thing I never gave either one of those sayings a second thought.
    I guess when one gets a little older and you really start to think what that really means, you ponder the thought that you were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice, but then again would it have made a difference????

    • Thanks Tom for your take on my posting. Yes, indeed my fellow Jarhead, I remember all of my Marine buddies getting their buzzard, beach ball and fish hook tattoos with the “Death before Dishonor” by line. Gumshoe thinks that when he was young he was “invulnerable” and that dying and death was for the old and the infirm. Gumshoe’s epiphany abruptly arrived when his fellow state police friend, Dave Jack, who was only 21 years old, was summarily executed while on duty. His murder was documented under Gumshoe’s posting “A Flip of the Coin”. All of our lives matter and sometimes we loose them not by choice but by circumstance. Semper Fi!

  3. Your correct my friend. Personal reflection in Gumshoe’s book is a blessing especially since it can lead to spiritual growth. Not to insult the pygmies, but Gumshoe was definitely height-challenged in relying only on self before learning to reach out for God’s hand. Now that was Gumshoe’s “to die for!” Thanks Ken for your encouragement.