I was saddened to hear about the church shooting in White Settlement, TX on December 29, 2019. It was a tragic event where a man with a long criminal history used a shotgun concealed under a hooded jacket to fatally kill two church parishioners before being stopped by an armed citizen who was part of the church security team.
John Correia from Active Self Protection provided an initial analysis on very graphic (not for the feint of heart) YouTube video embedded below:
A post on the Civilian Gunfighter blog, which provides some really good observations as well, inspired me to share some of my thoughts as an armed citizen who is actively seeking to improve his gun handling and self defense skills.
Here are my thoughts in no particular order:
- Gun laws currently on the books, had they been followed, should have prevented this from happening as the assailant was already prohibited from possessing a firearm. They obviously didn’t work.
- To the best of my knowledge, the church security team was comprised of volunteers who prepared and trained to deal with this event successfully. The training and preparedness worked and while lives were lost, many were saved.
- It’s important to point out that the security team was comprised of volunteers. It’s a fine example of what armed citizens can accomplish given the liberty to do so. Government programs were not required or necessary.
- This church was not a soft target. I don’t know if all seven good guys with guns were part of the security team or not, but there was no visible security targets for the assailant to single out and handle first.
- The shot that stopped the incident was not an easy shot by any stretch of the imagination. It appeared to be a long, precise, and deliberate shot in a room full of chaos, innocent by standers, and pressure from real life threat. Perhaps it was a lucky shot, but I highly doubt it.
- The whole ordeal started and ended faster than anyone could have dialed 9-1-1. Six seconds (or so) was all that it lasted and even that was enough to cost two innocent lives.
While events like these have a very low probability of occurring, they are one of the reasons I chose to be armed and continue to improve my proficiency with handguns. I believe it is my duty as a husband and a father to protect the lives of my kids, my wife, and my own (so I may continue to provide protection). That said this tragic event made me think about a number of things had I been a position where I was forced to engage the threat (I prioritize avoiding and evading a threat if at all possible). These thoughts include:
- How should I behave or carry myself to ensure other armed citizens and the security team don’t mistake me for a threat?
- What could I do to make certain I don’t mistake an armed citizen or a member of the security team as a threat?
I think one obvious answer to those questions is to build relationships with people who frequent places one frequents. A church is an easy place to do this. It’s a good idea to get to know the staff and other church goers especially if you happen to frequent the same service week after week regularly. The same could be (and arguably should be) done at one’s local grocery store, convenience store, gas station, etc. Granted this is much harder to do in places with high population densities but it’s can be accomplished to an extent. After all, this is the basic premise in building a community. But it implies that one has to make the effort to get to know your neighbors.
Without a doubt, this was a tragic event. However, things could have been much worse had a security team and armed citizens not been present.