Our hearts go out to the people of Sutherland Springs, Texas. The First Baptist Church of this town and the entire community was ambushed in what resulted as the worst mass shooting in Texas history.
Twenty-six people are dead and many others are currently fighting for their lives in intensive care. This is heart crushing for this Texas community, and all of America, as we must conclude no place is safe in America anymore.
My hometown church in Inez, Kentucky kept the backdoor of the church unlocked during most of my high school years. The church was a place where anyone could enter and pray, and seek refuge from the problems of the world.
A little Catholic church around the corner from where I once lived in Louisa, Kentucky kept the front door unlocked the entire time I lived there. My sons and I went in there a couple of times to just be quiet, think and pray.
While growing up as a kid, my family attended different churches and there was never a thought of anything being unsafe about our worship.
Times have changed.
Sutherland Springs, Texas again reminds us that evil is everywhere and no place is perfectly safe. Worshippers in this quiet Texas town gathered to sing, pray and hear a good sermon Sunday. They never dreamed their lives would end in church at the hands of sick and evil gunman. We don't know his motive for sure but it seems to me based on various reports that Devin Patrick Kelley was there to kill his in-laws.
Kelley's past was filled with troubles that included domestic abuse and a dishonorable discharge from the military. Unfortunately, Kelley needed mental help that might have saved 26 lives and carnage that this Texas community will never overcome.
Too bad a good deacon in the foyer or vestibule area of the church did not shoot Patrick Kelley dead. I know my good moderate Christian friends frown on me for this line of thinking. However, maybe several lives could have been saved if the church had a game plan for reacting to terrorism.
This has been a hard concept for my religious friends to embrace. Many have ignored the times of this world and simply sloughed it off. Some have said, "God will take care of us." Others want to brush off today's crisis with, "Something like that would never happen here."
Wake up, reader. Bad stuff happens everywhere. This is our world. Walkers on a bike path in New York City are not safe. Concertgoers in Las Vegas are not safe. People shopping in Colorado are not safe. Moviegoers and schoolchildren are not safe. Quaint café wine drinkers on sidewalks in peaceful neighborhoods in Paris, France are not safe. Busy people trying to earn a living in prestigious skyscrapers are not safe.
We are all vulnerable. If we do not take a position of defense, we are more vulnerable. People sitting in churches, concerts, movies and many other places are in danger of being attacked by surprise. It's very difficult to survive an ambush. This is why there must be a defense plan in place for all churches, civic groups, businesses, factory work places, offices and families.
When I was child, I remember when my mother started locking the front door. We had not always locked the front door but my mother had heard about people walking our road late at night and decided it was time to do so. We also had shotguns.
Today, of course, people with common sense lock their doors.
America has changed. We still have a great country. I love America. America mostly has good and decent people. Sadly, there are Devin Patrick Kelleys scattered throughout our country. There may be one in your state or even your community. You have to be ready to confront him or them.
By the way, Kelley was denied a gun permit. He still managed to obtain guns. Evil people will find ways to rent trucks, obtain guns, knives or make bombs. Please think about this and live — and, sadly now, worship — defensively. Even church is not safe anymore.
Glenn Mollette is an American syndicated columnist and author.
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