Determined to draw exactly the wrong lesson from the church shooting in White Settlement, Texas this weekend, USA Today columnist Elvia Diaz penned a missive on New Year’s Day to tell us that even though in this instance, it was a damn lucky thing that there were some good guys with guns in that congregation, it is still “terrifying” that we should see anyone bring a firearm to church.
“Jack Wilson is a hero alright. It took him only six seconds to kill a gunman at a Texas church, saving countless lives. Unfortunately, that kind of split-second heroism has been turned into a PR tool by gun advocates,” she wrote.
“The reality of Wilson’s heroism is a lot more complex,” she continued. “He wasn’t just an ordinary parishioner, as gun advocates may want you to believe. The church’s volunteer security team member is a firearms instructor, gun range owner and former reserve deputy with a local sheriff’s department, according to a New York Times detailed account.
“In other words,” she wrote, “he’s exactly the kind of man you want around with a firearm.”
Diaz says all this to get to her real point – that the other men who pulled their weapons at that fateful moment should not have been armed.
“But we know nothing about the at least six other parishioners who also appeared to draw their handguns at West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, Texas,” she wrote. “And that’s terrifying.”
Is it? We found it the opposite of terrifying, actually. We found it quite encouraging. It shows that, at least at one small church in Texas, people are awake to what’s going on in this country. They’ve seen the destruction that one lone psycho can do with a weapon when the police are minutes away. Even if response times are getting faster, a mass shooter can pick off dozens – or more – individuals in just that tiny window of time. Especially when those individuals have absolutely no sense at all that something could happen at any moment.
The power of this story is not just that Jack Wilson saved lives, though he most certainly did. The power is that, if things like this continue to happen, psychopathic killers looking for easy prey might have to think twice. No one gets to go down in the Hall of Infamy for killing one or two people before getting shot in the face. If these killers begin to realize that there IS no such thing as a “soft target” anymore, we might finally move on from this unfortunate chapter in American history.