In Texas this weekend, a gunman took a firearm into a church service intending to shoot up the place. He killed two people before the church’s head of security killed him.
The Lone Star State has a law, passed in 2017, that explicitly allows for churches to have armed volunteer security teams. (A separate law, passed this spring, guaranteed Texans the right to carry weapons inside houses of worship unless church leaders specifically prohibited them, according to WFAA, an ABC affiliate in Dallas.)
After Sunday’s attempted mass murderer was stopped in his tracks, one would say the security team law worked pretty splendidly, right?
Of course not. That’s why Beto O’Rourke and other prominent gun-grabbers are saying that Texas’ gun laws aren’t working.
In case you haven’t been paying attention, the shooting happened at the West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, Texas. A man disguised in a beard, wig and concealing clothing opened fire during services before being stopped cold by a single shot fired by Jack Wilson, the church’s volunteer head of security.
According to The Washington Post, Wilson is an Army vet and former reserve sheriff’s deputy who runs a shooting range. A member of the West Freeway Church of Christ’s congregation, he started the church’s security team after the 2017 law was passed, according to The Post — and it’s hard to think of someone with better qualifications to do it.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton got it right: “If there is any church in this state, in America, that was prepared for this, it was this church,” he said at a Monday news conference. “They had done their training. And I think that you could see it in the results.”
It was, according to Paxton, a “model of what other churches and other places of business need to focus on.” Not everyone would agree, of course, because any pro-gun action automatically draws fire from the left.
The two loudest voices railing against Texas’ laws in The Post’s article were twice-failed major-office candidate/beard-and-wine enthusiast Beto O’Rourke and Shannon Watts, founder of Bloomberg-astroturfed gun scolds Moms Demand Action.
Just after the shooting, he declared that gun laws needed to change without actually mentioning any specific changes he would make. (Assumedly, it would include hell yes, taking your AR-15. Not that an AR-15 or equivalent was actually used in this shooting, but still, the laws aren’t working.)
“So saddened to hear about another church shooting in Texas, this one in White Settlement near Fort Worth,” O’Rourke wrote in a Twitter post. “Clearly what we are doing in Texas, what we are doing in this country, when it comes to guns is not working.”
So saddened to hear about another church shooting in Texas, this one in White Settlement near Fort Worth. Clearly what we are doing in Texas, what we are doing in this country, when it comes to guns is not working. https://t.co/krwcpL1lih
— Beto O’Rourke (@BetoORourke) December 29, 2019
Except the laws did work, something he still didn’t acknowledge after the facts became clearer.
“Our representatives in Texas have left us open to these kinds of attacks,” O’Rourke wrote in a New Year’s Eve retweet of Watts, his most recent tweet as of Thursday morning. “Time to change our representatives.”
Our representatives in Texas have left us open to these kinds of attacks. Time to change our representatives. https://t.co/IE2etGtcmx
— Beto O’Rourke (@BetoORourke) December 30, 2019
How have they left Texans open to those kinds of attacks? Which representatives? Why should that matter? Vote Democrat. How this hack-tastic empty shell of party-approved platitudes managed to wheedle his way into the hearts of enough liberals that he could plausibly be considered presidential timber will always baffle me.
At least Beto hasn’t been Twittering like no one’s business about this. Like any good member of a failed 1990s alternative band, O’Rourke doesn’t exactly have the kind of determination that lends itself to doggedly pursuing an aim. Watts may not have the name power that Beto does, but what she does have is the initiative to continually publish misleading tweets about Texas’ laws.
“@KenPaxtonTX shouldn’t be shocked by the church shooting in White Settlement. As Texas Attorney General, he specifically made sure that guns are allowed inside churches in the state,” Watts tweeted Sunday.
.@KenPaxtonTX shouldn’t be shocked by the church shooting in White Settlement. As Texas Attorney General, he specifically made sure that guns are allowed inside churches in the state: https://t.co/wBlzuBpGZt #txlege https://t.co/lLGfMgYD2S
— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) December 29, 2019
What she’s saying here is that, if the Texas pro-gun laws didn’t exist, the killer wouldn’t have gone inside the church with a gun. The logic seems to be that a man who’d already decided he was going to commit mass murder in a church would be deterred by the fact that there was a law against bringing a gun into the building to do it.
I’ve seen plenty of bad arguments that gun-free zones work, but this is one of the most thoughtless and tossed-off: Let’s disarm law-abiding churchgoers so that those who don’t obey the law can do as they please.
Here are more facile and misleading arguments from Watts just after the shooting, all in 280 characters or less:
3,500+ Texans are killed by guns every year: a life lost every 3 hours.
If more guns and fewer gun laws made Texas safer, it would be the safest state in the US. Instead, it has high rates of gun suicide and homicide, and is home to 4 of the 10 deadliest mass shootings. #txlege pic.twitter.com/qnHrbTIBJW
— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) December 30, 2019
“3,500+ Texans are killed by guns every year: a life lost every 3 hours,” she wrote. “If more guns and fewer gun laws made Texas safer, it would be the safest state in the US. Instead, it has high rates of gun suicide and homicide, and is home to 4 of the 10 deadliest mass shootings.”
First, Texas is the second-most populous state in the nation, so simply dropping the net firearms deaths number because it’s big and scary means nothing. Even The Post acknowledges that Texas “ranks in the middle of the pack nationally for gun deaths, according to federal data.”
When it comes to the “4 of the 10 deadliest mass shootings” number, that comes with two asterisks. First, one of these incidents is the University of Texas Tower shooting in 1966, somewhat of an outlier when you consider the time period in which it happened. The other asterisk comes from the 2017 Sutherland Springs First Baptist shooting — which inspired the 2019 law that allows concealed carry in Texas churches.
After Sunday’s events, where a good guy with a gun kept the West Freeway Church of Christ from potentially joining this list, that’s the argument Watts wants to go with?
Rep. Veronica Escobar, a Texas Democrat, used the old “when will someone act?” canard, which is always comforting in situations like these.
“Another tragic deadly shooting in Texas. In a church. Where congregants had guns,” she tweeted.
“My prayers & condolences go to the White Settlement community members who have to endure this awful pain. [Texas Gov. Greg Abbott] and [Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell] – when will you act?”
Another tragic deadly shooting in Texas. In a church. Where congregants had guns.
My prayers & condolences go to the White Settlement community members who have to endure this awful pain.
— Rep. Veronica Escobar (@RepEscobar) December 29, 2019
But Texas lawmakers did act, and it’s part of the reason more innocent members of the church congregation weren’t killed on Sunday.
O’Rourke, Watts and Escobar may be three big names, but they’re not the only ones being critical. Then again, as is its wont, the media is blowing up the controversy in typical fashion.
The Post’s article is a prime example; for instance, did you know that the church’s senior minister wrote a novel with a sensational theme?
Apropos of absolutely nothing in the story, this tidbit about Britt Farmer appears quite a few graphs in: “Farmer recently self-published a work of fiction, set in Texas Hill Country, about an attack on the United States by Muslim terrorists — an event, he writes in the book’s introduction, that he hopes ‘never comes to pass, but, there is always that possibility.’
“As the story begins, a group of Texas ranchers worry forebodingly about the presence of terrorists in the United States. Later, as an Islamic State flag is hoisted atop the Empire State Building, they are glad to have stockpiled guns and ammunition.
“‘Guns needed now,’ the main character thinks as the crisis gets underway.”
By the way, Farmer isn’t the guy who organized the self-defense classes or took down the shooter; that’s Wilson.
The subtext — it’s really just text at this point — is that Farmer wanted the guns in his church because he wrote a novel about an Islamic State group invasion of America.
Considering The Post aims its writing at a liberal readership, this somehow is supposed to diminish the fact that state law encouraged members of the church to take up self-defense, which ended up taking out a wannabe mass shooter, because — well, I think there are a few steps missing in this logical syllogism, but hey, let’s just try to make the senior minister of a church that just suffered a tragedy look ridiculous for no good reason.
The law worked. The mass shooter was stopped. No liberal arguments, such as they are, disprove those two things.
Deal with it.
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