shooter NOT killed by church security guard!

UPDATE: The last bullet was his own. But the security guard still deserves credit for stopping the rampage with her deadly force.

Here is the quote.
The black-clad gunman who attacked worshippers at New Life Church in Colorado Springs, initially killing one and wounding four, was killed by “a courageous security staff member,” Colorado Springs Police Chief Richard Myers said.
update: Security guard is Jeanne Assam, see post for more info.

Conflicting emotions well up when I read this. The first is "Whew." The second is "who?" The third is "why?" Then guilt, for being glad someone was killed, then justice, for being glad a random murderer was stopped forever, then satisfaction for the innocents that were protected. It is a fact that some churches have security teams that carry concealed weapons for protection. Large churches, especially, are an attractive location to pychopaths who want to go down in infamy, just like malls and school are. And like malls and schools, churches have been locations of shootings in the past. In this rare case, security got to the shooter before he could empty his magazine's last shot on himself.

But should Christians just lie down and paint targets on their chest? Is that Jesus's ethic?

Jesus's ethic includes protecting the innocent. The guy was shooting the church up at the end of the service when families were walking out. It's not Jesus's ethic to let children be undefended in the presence of deadly violence. It's not just children who are worth defending. Every congregant's life is worth protecting. Perhaps, ideally, the security guard would have been able to shoot the gun out of his hand, but pistols are dreadfully inaccurate and the best chance of a stopping force is at the largest target, the chest. The security guard wanted to stop the threat and not kill someone. Her intention was protection not murder, unlike the shooter's.

In summary,
  • it is good the church's security team is armed, 
  • it is good the arms were helpful in stopping the violence, 
  • it is not ideal that the shooter was killed, 
  • but it was justified in my understanding of the Kingdom of God.

For further research see these four posts (a, b, c, d) on the 6th commandment, do not murder.


Doug said…
"Active shooter" must be put down fast as possible. Does not matter how....yes, it is justifiable homicide. I am in favor of everyone who has a concealed license to go ahead and carry at church. More the better; even have meetings every month to update and coordinate. Build the Member Armor Team from there (also called a Chaos team). Add a combat nurse or RN if possible; they will be team members if they want to be.
Anonymous said…
I find it hard to believe that you have suggested that it is justifiable for church security guards carrying guns. This is the type of mentality that makes educated Christians in other parts of the world wonder about the socialisation process that goes on in American evangelicalism. Your logic is flawed by first of all excluding some of the more macro issues that need to be analysed in respect to gun ownership and licensing procedures.

I note that someone who responded to an article in Christianity Today about the Arvada shooting asked (tongue-in-cheek), "What kind of gun would Jesus carry?” However, in respect to this event no one of Christian ilk seems to have raised the serious matter of US gun laws. The National Rifle Association’s philosophy espousing the so-called right of an individual to own and carry a gun has not been brought into question. I ask, "Why on earth does anyone need to carry an automatic, or indeed semiautomatic handgun or rifle?" I think Christians and the general populace in the United States need to seriously rethink their views on gun ownership and take the lead of some other Western democracies (like Australia) that have chosen to limit the type of gun that people can carry, introduced stringent screening of applicants for gun ownership licences, as well as requiring strict locked storage of weapons in special steel gun cabinets in the gun owner’s home. Do people realise that the majority of firearm deaths that occur with weapons owned by private citizens end up being used to kill a member of family, either by suicide, murder or accidental shooting. I can remember visiting Colorado from overseas with my family to ski at Snowmass some years ago. We happened to be sitting in a restaurant with Americans who staunchly defended their right to own and carry a gun. My two teenage sons respectfully questioned their point of view as I have always encouraged them as christians to use their brains, think analytically, and not be afraid to ask questions. Of note was the fact, that after dinner, one of the American teenagers just happened to receive a telephone call from friends in PA who informed her that a school friend had just suicided using the family handgun. Uncanny, but a tragic, true story. I myself work in forensic mental health and let me tell you, there is even greater potential for devastation when gun laws are lax and when a floridly psychotic and paranoid individual has access to weapons, particularly automatic weapons.
John Umland said…
I fully agree with more gun control in the states, which is why i support trained security, not any ol' boy bringing his firearm to church, just as i support the police force carrying firearms.
thanks for commenting
God is good
Doug said…
When chaos breaks out in church, the Active Shooter has unlimited targets. Are you a lamb for slaughter, a pointlessly, needlessly taken lamb, or are you going to stop the predator (predation: a sign of the times, oui?) if you can? Robere, with your apparent attitudes, you would make a great democrat in America, and I for one don't give a %&#! what the rest of the world thinks.

The FACT is that I am very highly trained, Active Shooter response is not a position that I alone hold, and I think more people need to be FA trained -- and carry with dedication and maturity. Maturity, like statesmanship, is a rare commodity in this country; a propos your comment about socialization, I am saddened by pervasive ignorance here. Indeed, we concur that continuous FA training for any proposed application is crucial.

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