News of a shooting in a Tennessee church yesterday had many of us reeling as we got the news shortly after our own church services had concluded. The idea of an armed gunman stepping into a house of worship is something that happens often enough that none of us can discount it happening but is still something few of us really want to think about.
However, it happened.
Luckily for those inside, there was a good guy with a gun to stop the attack.
A Nashville Police Department spokesman said the shooter entered the church after 11 a.m. CST wearing a neoprene ski mask. One woman was shot in the parking lot before the shooter entered the church and opened fire on about 42 people still inside.
One church member, 22-year-old Caleb Engle, confronted the shooter before being pistol whipped in the face. Engle then went to his car to retrieve a gun, which he has under a concealed carry license.
Engle returned to the church to confront the gunman again. The gunman shot himself in the face when the man returned, possibly by accident.
“He’s the hero here,” Nashville police chief Steve Anderson said. “He’s the person who stopped this madness in its tracks.”
Indeed, Mr. Engle is the hero. Once again, a good guy with a gun stops an attack.
It’s a scenario that plays out all the time. Bad guys want to do bad things, but it takes a good guy with a gun to stop them.
Meanwhile, there are those who will invariably try to spin this tragedy into evidence that stricter gun control is needed. However, we still don’t know how the shooter got his weapons–I’m not naming him because I do not see any need to make him famous for his misdeed. We do know he was originally from the Sudan but moved her legally in the 1990’s. It’s not known whether he’s an American citizen or merely a legal resident of the United States nor if there was anything in his history that would bar him from purchasing a firearm normally.
What we do know is that an individual purporting to be a Christian stepped into a house of worship and opened fire in a most unchristianlike manner…until a good guy with a gun showed him that while Christians are often referred to as lambs, not all were willing to be lambs to the slaughter.
In the future, I hope Christians in Tennessee and other places will recognize that while places of worship should be safe places for any and all, they’re not and that it behooves people to take steps to protect themselves. I can think of at least three people in my congregation who are armed at our services, and I pray others will do the same.
The truth, no matter how hard the gun grabbers pretend otherwise, is that bad people will continue to do bad things for as long as they are able. The only thing that stops them before they grow bored is effective resistance. For many people, that only comes in the form of a gun.