My wife, Gena, and I extend our most sincere and heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the nine victims – including a pastor and senator – who were gunned down by that cold-blooded and cowardly murderer at the Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Our hearts break for them and our prayers go out to them all.
While we grieve and lay those loved ones to rest, we must also press forward courageously and learn the lessons glaring at us yet again through another American tragedy.
I concur that racism is still at the heart of far too many violent crimes, and we need to continue to address the issues revolving around it. At the same time, there is more to be addressed here beyond prejudice, like also preventing more church shootings, which have been on the rise over past years and haven’t been addressed yet by the mainstream media in the wake of this tragedy.
A decade ago, there were roughly only 10 church violent crimes across the U.S. In 2007, there were 41 incidents. In 2009, there were 108. In 2012, there were more than 135. In 2013, there were 132. In 2014, there were 176.
Despite those increases, there is nothing unique in these statistics among other fatal incidents. Violent crimes are increasing everywhere: in schools, on military bases, at government buildings and in other locations once considered relative safe zones.
President Obama was dead wrong when he immediately took advantage of the tragic South Carolina massacre to promote his anti-gun agenda. He placed the blame of those brutal murders upon the lack of gun restrictions and laws. Obama noted: “Innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hand on a gun.”
When will Obama and other progressives learn that increasing government gun control and legislation won’t keep them out of the hands of bad guys? They will further disarm honest, good Americans who need that protection against murderous thugs like the parasite who walked into the Emmanuel AME Church.
Imagine once again, if just one of those Christians who held a Bible in their hand at that AME church also packed a pistol via a legal concealed weapons permit. Souls could have been saved.
If Obama really wants to reduce firearm power, he should consider stepping out of office, because his presidency has increased gun sales more than any other. As the management of gun maker Smith & Wesson just explained Friday, “We experienced strong consumer demand for our firearm products following a new administration taking office in Washington, D.C., in 2009.”
Indeed, reducing the number of guns or increasing rigid laws will not reduce massacres, and there’s global evidence to prove it. On Fox’s June 18 edition of “The Kelly File,” Dana Loesch from the Blaze, who has researched the issue of guns and violent crimes around the world, explained two critical facts:
1) Fewer guns don’t equate to fewer violent crimes: “Honduras has 21 times the gun murders that we do and 14 times fewer guns.”
2) Stricter gun laws don’t equal fewer violent crimes. Proof is found right there in South Carolina law and with the Charleston murderous thug himself. Loesch explained: “In South Carolina, all you have to do is be charged with a felony to be declared illegitimate to carry, which he was in February of 2015. He was charged with a felony for drug possession. It was methamphetamines and cocaine. His father purchased a firearm for him for his 21st birthday, April 4, 2015. That could have been a straw man purchase, which is also a felony. He reportedly told someone that he stole the gun that he used in these murders. That’s also a felony. Felony, felony, felony.” No increase of gun laws would have stopped the AME church killer from getting a gun, just as in the case of the Sandy Hook tragedy.
I do agree with the president on one point he made after the massacre: “There is something particularly heartbreaking about a death happening in a place in which we seek solace and we seek peace, in a place of worship.”
That is why I have a challenge for pastors and church leaders. With all due respect, it’s about time that they woke up to the idea that providing for and protecting God’s flock means increasing church security, from children’s classes to main sanctuaries and fellowship halls.
Faith is not an excuse to bypass self-defense. That’s not my original idea or position. It’s found in the Good Book.
As one verse says in the Jewish Scriptures: “But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat”(Nehemiah 4:9).
Even Jesus said when instructing His disciples: “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one” (Luke 22:36).
It reminds me of the sign near the front door of my Texas ranch. It has an engraved picture of a gun with the words next to it: “We don’t call 9-1-1.” Maybe it’s time a few churches put that sign on their doors, too.
Of course, I realize there’s much more to congregational safety than posting guards or bearing arms. As Carl Chinn, church security expert and proprietor of CarlChinn.com, which is a website “to help churches and ministries recognize the need for intentional security and to provide simple concepts for starting or improving security programs,” explained: “I have never allowed the message to be wrapped around that axle. I believe in our right to defend ourselves with a gun. When it comes to defending others, I believe in that as well, but strongly believe there should be training for that level of protection. A conceal carry license should not be the only affirmation of one’s ability to protect others in a deadly force situation. … To have folks who are intentionally ready is the best thing any organization can do.”
Most of all, whether to global terrorists or domestic criminals, we must never give in to their intimidation and fear or allow them to restrict our thoughts, freedoms and actions. Indeed, congregants everywhere need to remember that church remains one of the safest places on the planet.
Here’s how your sanctuary safety measures up to other stats, according to Christianity Today:
- “The chance you will die in the next 12 months from an injury are about 1 in 1,681.”
- In a car accident, the odds are 1 in 6,539
- In a plane crash, 1 in 502,554
- From a hornet, wasp or bee sting, 1 in 3,615,940
- From a lightning strike, 1 in 6,177,230
- From church violence, 1 in 18,393,327
(For further assistance, I recommend a few great resources: Dana Loesch’s “Hands Off My Gun: Defeating the Plot to Disarm America.” Also, check out Carl Chinn’s website CarlChinn.com and book, “Evil Invades Sanctuary,” Chapter 4 of which provides sound guidance on setting up a faith-based safety and security operation. Another great book and DVD is “Shooting Back: The Right and Duty of Self Defense,” which detail how one person saved many lives in a congregation gathered in prayer. Please also see my 2013 syndicated column, “Tis the season to increase church security” for more helpful security tips.)