A man was acting oddly in the church during the service. The church had some trained people at the service who noticed him and then watched him. They were situationally aware. I heard in one interview that they even put a camera on him. When the man eventually opened fire with a shotgun, the trained people were not entirely taken off guard. The perp was stopped by a trained congregant with a hand gun.
A USA Today article says that the parishioner, Jack Wilson, was a reserve deputy sheriff “with extensive training who has taught shooting at his own range”.
- Stricter gun laws would not have stopped this. The perp was a felon who, by law, was not to have a gun.
- There are already laws against murder.
- Stricter gun laws would more than likely have resulted in far greater loss of life in that church. Not long ago, Texas’ law changed to permit conceal carry weapons in churches. Hence, there were armed congregants who stopped the perp from doing greater harm.
The thought of a perp with a hand gun and intent to do harm in a church is pretty scary. A perp with a shotgun is terrifying. An empty shotgun can be dropped and a handgun can be used. Depending on the gauge and load, a shotgun at close range can cause devastation.
As I spend a great deal of Mass facing away from the body of the church, I really want someone to have my six, and the overwatch of the boys in the sanctuary who are focused on the altar.
What I have to offer is solely my opinion. I can’t and don’t claim to speak for anyone else but myself.
I’ve written quite a few times on this blog that everyone should take firearms training. This training includes an introduction to the all-important situational awareness as well as conflict avoidance and reduction. Those aspects in themselves make the training worthwhile, even if you never intend to carry a gun or even touch one again. This is, in my opinion, especially important for women. To my female readers I say: your handgun is your equalizer.
While in some places it may not be possible to organize, it seems to me that if there are congregants who are active or retired LEOs they might be organized as a security team at Masses and other events, just as this Texas parish seems to have done. It is also possible that there are some level headed candidates in other walks of life who could be trained up to join that team. Trained. Trained. Did I mention “trained”? Let me add: professional. This isn’t “Spanky and Our Gang”.
The training involves skills that are perishable. Therefore, the training has to be serious, repetitive, regular, and ongoing. When things happen, people generally regress to their level of training.
Another thing for every reader out there.
Situational awareness is not merely knowing where you are right now and who is nearby and doing what right now. Situational awareness includes going over in your head various scenarios and developing some idea of what you might do. Sure, when things go sideways, plans tend to go sideways too. However, having something in your head is better than having nothing in your head. Know where your exits are. Know where the obstacles are. Know what and where your weapons are. Develop habits of perception about your environment, comprehension or recognition of what you perceive, and anticipation of possible events.
I warmly suggest that parishes contact their local sheriff or police department and ask for someone to come to do an active shooter examination of the property and a presentation.
Some additional reading.
The Telegraph has a lengthy piece about spotting suspicious people in airport security. HERE
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