Crisis on the Sabbath Day
- By Ralph C. Jensen
- Dec 01, 2017
Should more parishioners carry
guns in church? Texas Attorney
General Ken Paxton says
yes, because as he sees it: “This
is going to happen again.”
Following the mass shooting at the Sutherland
Springs Baptist Church in early November,
Paxton suggested more guns should be in
church to thwart the next massacre.
“We need people in churches, either professional
security or at least arming some of
the parishioners or the congregation so that
they can respond…when something like this
happens again,” Paxton said.
Who would have ever thought this level
of security would be needed in The House
of the Lord?
Again, the unthinkable, a 26-year-old
man (who will not be named in any issue of
Security Today) entered a Baptist church in
South Texas with the desire to kill other human
beings. Would security have made a difference?
Maybe only in the final analysis, but
this person was set on pure evil.
Gun control? Not so fast there, buddy.
The problem does not lie with security,
or a lack thereof, or with guns, in general.
The problem is set within the man and his
pedestrian lifestyle of harming others. The
question is how this person was able to buy
these weapons in the first place, or why the
system faltered in allowing him to purchase
a gun. His name should have been entered in
a federal database when he was dishonorably
discharged from the Air Force three years
ago. Air Force officials missed the mark by
not getting his name on that list.
Red flags should have been surrounding
this person for the past three years. Why? Because
he was discharged from the military for
domestic disputes with this wife and child.
He applied for but was turned down for a
Texas right-to-carry permit. It was after that,
that he was able to purchase the gun he used
Nov. 5. Questions remain as to how he was
able to purchase two weapons in Colorado
and two guns in Texas.
This event is absolutely a wake-up call no
matter where you are in security planning.
Travis Hayes, CEO of Redemption Church
in Greenville, S.C., said they have armed and
unarmed guards on their campus, and work
closely with the Greenville Police and the
county sheriff’s office.
On the other hand, The Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints in Utah, where
more than 60 percent of Utahans affiliate,
and the Utah Jewish Congregation Kol Ami
have taken steps required by state law to prohibit
guns on their premises.
Houses of worship are relatively unprotected
sites, and many churches are rethinking
security measures where people should
feel the safest. In Sutherland Springs, Texas,
dozens of people likely never thought about
security the morning they went to church
services. Children as young as 18 months
and grandparents up to the age of 77 are
gone from this life. Not because of lack of
security, but lack of attention from a system
that blames the gun, and not the deranged
There is a fine balance in having armed
security on every corner versus and opendoor,
come-as-you-are House of the Lord.
We have to identify that balance.
This article originally appeared in the December 2017 issue of Security Today.
Ralph C. Jensen is editor-in-chief of Security Today magazine.