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Only Two Murdered In Texas Church Shooting Hailed As Second Amendment Christmas Miracle
About as much as they could hope for.
A man with a shotgun opened fire in a church in White Settlement ( yes, really ), Texas, yesterday, killing two parishioners before two members of the church's armed volunteer security team shot and killed the gunman. Police and state and local officials praised the quick response by the security volunteers for preventing a far worse massacre, and advocates of guns everywhere triumphantly pointed to the incident as proof guns save lives, at least after some lives are already lost.
Jack Cummings, a minister at the West Freeway Church of Christ (yes, really), told the New York Times that even before the shooting started, the shooter had been "acting suspiciously," so the security volunteers were keeping an eye on him.
The team, he said, has existed for at least 10 years and is made up of members of the church's congregation who are licensed to carry firearms and practice shooting regularly.
"They saved a lot of lives today," Mr. Cummings said. "Because this thing would have been a massacre otherwise."
One of those killed in the shooting was a member of the security team, Cummings said. Authorities said the entire incident played out in just six seconds.
The church livestreams its services, so the shooting was captured on video. Here's CNN's description:
The video, obtained by CNN affiliate KTVT, shows the shooter seated in a pew toward the rear of the church during the service. The shooter, dressed in dark clothes, approaches someone in the back corner and appears to talk to them. That individual gestures toward the center of the church.The shooter pulled out a long gun and opened fire on the man before shooting a second man. It appears that a man, toward the left of the screen, draws a handgun and fires. The shooter falls to the ground immediately. Three muzzle flashes are seen on the video.
The Dallas Morning News offers a more detailed description of the video, which notes that the gunman killed one man who was reaching for a gun; another man in the church then killed the shooter with a handgun.
The shooter was described by FBI Special agent Matthew J. DeSarno as being "relatively transient with roots to this area." The man had been arrested multiple times in several different municipalities, although further details, including the shooter's name, haven't yet been released. The FBI is leading the investigation.
The shooter was not on any sort of "watch list," DeSarno said, but investigators will try to determine whether he was driven by any sort of ideology. Authorities said the motive is unknown, and nobody knows yet whether the shooter targeted the victims.
The church's pastor, Britt Farmer, was just one of many crediting the Second Amendment and Texas's firearms laws, which were recently changed to explicitly allow concealed carry in churches, for minimizing the bloodshed. At a press conference, Farmer said,
We lost two great men today, but it could have been a lot worse, and I am thankful our government has allowed us the opportunity to protect ourselves.
Tarrant County Sheriff Bill Waybourn also praised the quick action of the security team:
"Today evil walked boldly among us," he said. "But let me remind you, good people raised up and stopped it before it got worse."
Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick called attention to revisions to Texas law enshrining the right of concealed carry permit-holders to have guns in houses of worship, which were passed after the last big shooting in a Texas church, in 2017. He too praised the volunteer for "saving untold number of lives." Gov. Greg Abbott said much the same .
This really does appear to have been an ideal "good guy with a gun" scenario, in which a potential massacre was stopped by an armed citizen, and we're sure it will be used as proof that we need a lot more people carrying concealed weapons in schools and churches and shopping malls and movie theaters, because look how well this worked, with only two people dead.
But even with the armed security volunteers on alert and watching the guy, he managed to kill two church members, one of them a security volunteer reaching for his gun. Whole lot of guns in that church, and because they all knew each other, nobody accidentally fired on another good guy, thinking it was a bad guy (which almost happened, you'll recall, in the Gabby Giffords shooting in 2011 -- an armed bystander saw someone holding a handgun and considered shooting, but it turned out to be another good guy, who had taken the shooter's gun).
So with all the good guys already prepared for trouble, the bad guy with a criminal record and a shotgun still killed two people (no word yet on whether he had any felonies that would have shown up in a background check). "Success" is now defined as limiting the body count.
But in New York, this weekend's horrific machete attack on a Hanukkah celebration in a rabbi's house, where nobody had a gun, ended when one of the unarmed celebrants threw a coffee table at the attacker and called police when the guy drove off.
It's almost as if the problem is the guns, just maybe.
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