Updated: Jan 5
This is a guest post from a woman I am very, very blessed to call my dear friend, Alyssa Duvall. Alyssa is a wonderful writer and I was so excited when she offered me this piece since it is a topic on which she and I share many passionate opinions. Please check out her blog at A Good Courage!
There is plenty of room under the tent of Christianity for all manner of brotherly disagreement. It happens, it's usually healthy, and we don't need to kick each other out of the kingdom over every little trifle.
That said, it's pretty shocking to find that a surprisingly large amount of Christians apparently oppose the use of lethal self-defense by members of the West Freeway Church of Christ in the nation's latest church shooting.
In case you live under a rock, armed parishioners of the church, located in White Settlement, Texas, were able to stop a gunman just six seconds after he opened fire on the congregation last weekend.
The church member credited with the legendary shot that took out the attacker from across the sanctuary is Jack Wilson, a veteran firearms instructor.
"The events at West Freeway Church of Christ put me in a position that I would hope no one would have to be in, but evil exists and I had to take out an active shooter in church," Wilson wrote in a Facebook post about the incident. "I’m thankful to GOD that I have been blessed with the ability and desire to serve him in the role of head of security at the church."
Surprisingly, however, there are plenty of otherwise seemingly reasonable Christians who feel that "turning the other cheek" applied in this situation and that Wilson and the other armed churchgoers were wrong to defend the other men, women, and children present in the service with lethal force.
Like this guy:
In short, it was not Christlike to stop an immediate, deadly threat to a room full of innocent people. Because Jesus, the same Jesus who laid down his very life to save his people, would totally have just stood there waiting for the proper authorities to respond.
Needless to say, the sentiment, and others like it, got the blast-treatment it deserved by the fine People of Twitter™, most notably by BlazeTV personality and podcast host Allie Beth Stuckey.
"Right. The godly thing to do would have been to watch his friends be slaughtered, some suffering slow, painful deaths as they desperately try to hang on long enough to tell their babies, husbands, wives, sisters & brothers goodbye," Stuckey responded. "That definitely sounds like loving your neighbor."
"If this person has a family, would he really stand by if an intruder held his wife & kids at gunpoint?" Stuckey continued. "Would that be the Christlike thing to do? If I recall, Eph 5 calls husbands do love their wives like Christ loves the church. (Reminder: Christ died for the church)."
Stuckey took it a step further, asking the dude if he'd apply this same rationale to a real-life situation in which his own ethos was put to the test and he had to defend his family against an intruder. His response? He'd try to "come up with a way to stop [the threat] that didn't involve killing the assailant."
So, like, a series of Home Alone-style booby traps, or what?
As a former pacifist, I used to believe in shooting an attacker in the leg or the arm as a means of stopping the threat without taking a life.
It wasn't until a community of armed, well-trained moms with little families like mine set me straight and taught me that not only is it hilariously naive to think you'd be a good enough shot under any kind of pressure to nail a thin, moving target like a leg, it's a fundamental misunderstanding of self-defense philosophy.
According to the NRA, several law enforcement agencies, and basically anyone with actual experience beyond a thought experiment on social media, anyone using a firearm for defense shoots to stop the threat. Different from shooting to kill, stopping the threat seeks simply to do just that: eliminate the threat. And, as Ivan Drago so eloquently put it, "if he dies, he dies."
"We shoot to stop the threat, we don’t shoot to kill," said Lt. Chris Halloran, a 28-year veteran of the Wichita, Kansas Police Department. "Sometimes when a person gets shot when we're trying to stop the threat, he or she may die. ... We're just trying to keep other people from getting hurt, or ourselves from getting hurt. We don't shoot to wound."
"We train our officers to shoot upper center mass — No. 1 it's the biggest target — if we have to use lethal force," Halloran added. "If we have to shoot at somebody, it's hard enough to hit this, because very seldom is someone just standing there."
Folks, if I can barely slap a diaper on a wiggling one-year-old, I don't think I'm going to be able to peg an active shooter in the leg with any kind of accuracy. And, you know, there's the pesky fact that we don't shoot with our legs, and the attacker could still carry on his merry killing spree with his perfectly functioning arms. So there's that.
Ultimately, I share Stuckey's opinion that this extreme pacifism is naive at best, and the result of a selective understanding of scripture at worst.
"I cannot imagine what kind of exegesis interprets taking up our crosses & following Christ as allowing our friends, spouses and children to be murdered when it is within our power to help them," she concluded. "Sounds like cowardice masked as righteousness."
It is simply shameful that men, tasked specifically with protecting the weaker women and children around them, would abdicate this duty in favor of an ideology that is clearly more influenced by naive leftist pacifism than Scripture itself.
Alyssa is a freelancer, homeschooler, planner addict, amateur theologian, devourer of cheese, chief sandwich maker, and diaper-changer extraordinaire. I also have an awful lot to say about the beauty and madness going on in the world today.