A man walked into a church in Wisconsin two weeks ago and shot dead seven people before turning the gun on himself.

He fired a total of 22 rounds from a 9 mm handgun.

He wounded four others.

No one knows exactly what set off this nutcase, Terry Ratzmann. It doesn’t really matter.

The bloodbath is sure to evoke new cries for gun control in America. No doubt some so-called “Christians” will even embrace this draconian, freedom-destroying solution to random or planned violence in this country.

But let me tell you why this is exactly the wrong prescription.

There were about 50 to 60 people attending the service at the Church of the Living God that day.

All they could do was plead with the murderer to stop. All they could do was pray he would stop.

Ratzmann even dropped a magazine and reloaded another.

If just one other member of that congregation were carrying a gun, lives would have been saved.

And that’s the real answer to this kind of murder and mayhem.

Oh, I know, some of you are saying to yourself: “Farah, are you suggesting packing heat at church?”

Yes, I’m advocating it.

I’m advocating that law-abiding people carry firearms wherever they go – especially in places where guns are thought to be unnecessary, especially in schools and other “gun-free zones,” especially in the high-crime cities where guns have already been banned.

It’s a matter of life and death.

The only person safe in a “gun-free zone” is the criminal, who doesn’t care about such rules and regulations.

This time it was a lone nut who shot up a church.

But you might also take note of the news report last week, the warning that al-Qaida operatives are planning to attack “soft targets” in the United States – schools and movie theaters, for example.

Why would terrorists target schools and movie theaters? Because they know the likelihood of receiving return fire is minimal.

I would submit to you that church services are an even likelier target for terrorists who hate Christians.

It has happened before – though not in America as yet.

The date was July 25, 1993. The place was South Africa. The event would become known as the St. James Massacre.

“Grenades were exploding in flashes of light,” wrote Charl Van Wyk in his book, “Shooting Back.” “Pews shattered under the blasts, sending splinters flying through the air. An automatic assault rifle was being fired and was fast ripping the pews – and whoever, whatever was in its trajectory – to pieces. We were being attacked! Instinctively, I knelt down behind the bench in front of me and pulled out my .38 special snub-nosed revolver, which I always carried with me. I would have felt undressed without it. Many people could not understand why I would carry a firearm into a church service, but I argued that this was a particularly dangerous time in South Africa. …”

Van Wyk did what he had to do. He returned fire. He shot back. And he minimized the death toll, chasing some of the terrorists out of the church before they could empty their automatic weapons into more innocent victims in the congregation.

I would suggest to you that we are living in dangerous times in America, too.

The answer is not disarming.

The answer is arming.

That way, when the next inevitable attack comes – whether it is at a movie theater, a school, a church, a shopping mall, and no matter who the perpetrator is – there will be return fire.

That’s called deterrent. That’s called civil defense. That’s called common sense.

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