Imagine you’re sitting in your place of worship, and some psychopath comes in and decides no one gets to leave. His intentions are unclear, but there’s no doubt he’s dangerous. After all, he’s armed and is threatening, if not in words, then in mannerisms.
That’s the reality we saw unfold for some people in the Texas synagogue standoff over the weekend.
The FBI and local police said at a news conference Saturday night that three hostages who were held in a Colleyville synagogue for nearly 11 hours are unharmed and the hostage-taker is dead after a hostage rescue team breached the building.
Authorities said the hostage-taker was killed in a shooting but did not answer a question about whether he was shot by law enforcement or if the gunshot was self-inflicted. The man claimed to have explosives, according to statements he made on livestreamed video, but police have not commented on whether any weapons were found.
Exclusive video taken by WFAA-TV photographer Josh Stephen shows at least some of the hostages running out of a door at the synagogue just before FBI agents enter the building. The footage, shot just before 9:15 p.m., shows a man who appears to be holding a gun following the hostages as they escape, then almost immediately going back inside.
Officials said the rescued hostages are being interviewed by the FBI and will be reunited with their families as soon as possible. Authorities did not release the name of the hostage-taker or the ages of the hostages, but did confirm they were all adults.
Absolutely horrifying, to say the least.
As noted, the hostage-taker is dead. He’s also been identified by police.
The FBI on Sunday identified Malik Faisal Akram, a 44-year-old British national, as the man who held four people hostage at a Texas synagogue in an hours-long standoff Saturday before a rescue team entered the building and killed the suspect.
An FBI Hostage Rescue Team killed Akram after the hostages were released around 9 p.m. local time, the agency said. Crime scene investigators at the Beth Israel Congregation in Colleyville, Texas — about 15 miles from Fort Worth — recovered one firearm they believe belonged to Akram, a spokesperson for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives told CNN.
Malik Faisal Akram. Clearly a case of Amish extremism.
Of course, the FBI says it doesn’t know the motive, seemingly trying to deflect from this being a case of terrorism.
And, in theory, it may not be. I don’t think that’s likely, mind you, but whatever.
However, what isn’t being talked about is how there are still people who see this who think guns shouldn’t be allowed in our houses of worship, regardless of religion.
Some will somehow delude themselves into thinking that if Texas didn’t permit guns in churches to any degree, this wouldn’t have happened. We know this to be true because the laws against taking hostages worked so well. I mean, how can you have a synagogue standoff if there’s no standoff possible? Too bad this jackwagon decided to ignore all those laws.
So, if he’d ignore them, why wouldn’t he ignore the ones saying he couldn’t bring a gun?
Yet, there have been some unconfirmed reports floating around that Beth Israel Congregation’s rabbi didn’t permit firearms in the synagogue. If that is, in fact, the case, then none of the hostages were legally allowed to carry a gun because Texas law allows places of worship to decide for themselves whether to permit firearms or not.
Had one of them been armed, the situation may have turned out very differently. Malik could have come in just the same, of course, but he may have ended up dead hours earlier, and all that would have been left for law enforcement was to clean up the mess.
That would have been a win for everyone there.
Instead, it seems they weren’t allowed to.
But again, that’s based on reports I haven’t been able to confirm just yet. If those aren’t true, well, then it’s still a stark reminder of why people need guns in churches, synagogues, and any other place of worship you care to name. This synagogue standoff was unpleasant for all involved, but we’ve seen far worse committed in places of worship.
This is bad, but I’d much rather experience a hostage situation than a mass shooting. Even if you go home, the trauma of talking about being inside during the synagogue standoff is nothing compared to the trauma of seeing people gunned down before your very eyes.
However, both can be prevented by carrying a firearm. It’s just that simple.