Posted by: Hugh Hewitt at 5:54 PM
Here is a story on some of the victims of yesterday's shootings in Colorado. Pray for the Works family, and for the families of the missionaries murdered in Arvada.
The Demver Post has an account of what happened yesterday at Colorado Springs' New Life Church:
Bourbonnais yelled at the gunman to draw his attention, he said.
"First, I called him 'Coward' then I called him 'S---head' " Bourbonnais said. "I probably shouldn't have been saying that in church."
That's when the shooter pointed one of his guns at Bourbonnais and fired, he said.
Bourbonnais ducked behind a hollow, decorative pillar and was hit in the arm by a bullet and fragments of the pillar.
At about that moment, a female guard with a drawn handgun turned a corner and walked toward the gunman and yelled "Surrender!" Bourbonnais said.
The gunman pointed a handgun at the woman and fired three shots, Bourbonnais said. She returned fire and just kept walking toward the gunman pressing off round after round.
The female guard fired off about a dozen shots.
After the gunman went down, Bourbonnais asked the woman, who has only been identified as a volunteer security guard with the church, how she remained so calm and focused.
Bourbonnais said she replied:
"I was asking the Holy Spirit to guide me the entire time."
Read the whole thing. Had their not been armed guards on the church campus, the death toll would be exponentially higher.
COLORADO SHOOTING UPDATE: The "security guard" who stopped the shooter was actually a volunteer parishioner who used her own gun, not a rent-a-cop. Much more from David Hardy, who notes that press coverage tends to obscure this point. Meanwhile, it's more evidence that people don't stop killers, people with guns do.
Plus, was this a "hate crime" by a man who "hated Christians?".
UPDATE: More here:
Assam worked as a police officer in downtown Minneapolis during the 1990s and is licensed to carry a weapon. She attends one of the morning services and then volunteers as a guard during another service.
Boyd said Assam was the one who suggested the church beef up its security Sunday following the Arvada shooting, which it did. The pastor credited the security plan and the extra security for preventing further bloodshed.
Boyd said there are 15 to 20 security people at the church. All are volunteers but the only ones armed are those who are licensed to carry weapons.
The security guards are members of the church who are screened and not "mercenaries that we hire to walk around our campus to provide security," Boyd said.
Still more here:
Jeanne Assam, a church member who volunteers as a security guard, shot and killed Murray, who was found with a rifle and two handguns, police said. The pastor called her "a real hero."
"When the shots were fired, she rushed toward the scene and encountered the attacker there in a hallway. He never got more than 50 feet inside our building," he said. "There could have been a great loss of life yesterday, and she probably saved over 100 lives."
Boyd said the gunman had a lot of ammunition and estimated that 40 rounds had been fired inside the church, leaving what looked like a "war scene."
Compare this to Virginia Tech.posted at 10:42 PM by Glenn Reynolds
I actually have to disagree with several of the remarks made in these posts. First of all, this morning it was made clear on the news that the gunman in the Colorado shootings killed himself. He died of his own gun-shot wounds according to this morning's report. The security guard may well have shot him, but she was not the cause of death. But that is just a matter of fact.
The comment by Glenn Reynolds (above) which I certainly do want to discuss is the comment that "people don't stop killers, people with guns do." This I suppose is meant as a justification for having guns in church, and more guns in society in the hands of law abiding citizens, in order to deal with the sickos who can get guns anyway. Never mind that there have been plenty of times in living memory that people without guns have stopped and disarmed people with guns, and in plenty of others where less than lethal force stopped the disaster.
First, I doubt any of us would dispute the notion that much of our society is frankly not well, indeed more unwell today than at any time I can remember in my lifetime. Between the mall shooting in Nebraska and the Colorado shootings it must seem like open season on innocent people, including Christians. Let me be clear however--- THE SOURCE OF THIS PROBLEM IS NOT THE LACK OF GUNS IN THE HANDS OF GOOD PEOPLE. The source of the problem is the sickness in our society, as it becomes less and less Christian, and thereby less and less human or humane. And all of us who have failed to share the love of Christ with mentally ill people, and get them the psychiatric help they need must accept some responsibility for what happens as our society goes south.
What deeply troubles me about this situation is the response of some Christians which amounts to--- 'praise God for more killing, as long as it stops sick people from killing us good folks'. Let's analyze this for a minute. Here are things we do not know:
1) the killing of this sick young man will stop killings of this sort, or at least make those sorts of people hesitate. Wrong. Less availability of 'weapons of mass destruction' could help with that, by which I mean much stricter gun control laws on guns capable of rattling off a huge number of rounds in very little time without much reloading, could help. But as long as we continue to have the loose gun control laws we have for such weapons, we will continue to have these sorts of problems. And sadly, even with much stricter gun control laws, we would still have some of these sorts of problems when it comes to criminals. This much I know. I have lived in countries with much stricter gun control laws, and it certainly helps in regard to this problem, though it does not prevent them altogether.
2) we absolutely do not know what was going to happen next, if the young man had not taken his own life.
3) we do not know what would have happened if the woman security guard had wounded and disabled the young man, and the young man had not taken his life. We do not know.
In my view the braver person was the unarmed young man who distracted the shooter, not the security guard who had lethal force in her hand.
These recent incidents should have led us to say-- "well society is getting sicker, and accordingly it makes sense that we would do all we can to prevent weapons of mayhem from getting into the hands of the mentally ill." Instead, what we are saying is-- "well it's time for good people to start packing more weapons".
One of the problems with that whole scenario is that more people seem to die in America from accidental shootings than from intentional ones. More people apparently die from careless firing of fire arms than careful ones. Just yesterday I read the report of a wedding in which the bridegroom and bride were being given a multiple gun salute right after the vows were said. One of the guns misfired and killed the bridegroom on his wedding day!!! Yikes. And this may not have even been an example of carelessness! Guns are not always reliable, and people are often even less competent and reliable.
What happens with guns in our society is simply a mirror of the larger malaise in society. For example, if you have a culture now heavily in the fear mode, you are going to continue to have tragedies involving weapons. When you are afraid, it is 'shoot first, ask questions later', and behind all of this is the attitude that my life is more important than the life of the other person, especially the maniac with the gun. I disagree with this whole premise. Every person is a person of sacred worth, and every person is someone for whom Jesus died. Period.
What about the argument that a person who kills an innocent person intentionally, does not deserve to live, and has forfeited his right to life? I understand this attitude, especially in the light of tragedies such as that at Virginia Tech. My question is--- who gets to decide this question? Do I get to decide that this person's life is forfeit? Does a law enforcement official get to decide that issue? Does a private security guard get to decide this? I think this is the sort of ethical question we need to discuss. I don't think we should simply assume an answer to the question, especially if the answer is-- 'because of this ugly sin, this person doesn't have a right to life or deserve to live anymore'.
I entirely understand the lesser of several evils arguments. A good case can be made that it was a lesser evil to take out the sick gunman than to let him continue on his rampage. This makes very good sense, but we need to understand what it implies. It implies we know for a fact that he would and could have gone on killing, or at least we know this with reasonable certainty. To know something like this for a fact requires either omniscience or clairvoyance-- take your pick. I don't have either one.
What would I have tried to do, had I been in the situation? No one knows what one will do under extreme pressure and danger in advance of it happening. I would hope I would have been brave like the young man who tried to distract the killer. Were it possible, I would like to think that I would have tried to get behind the young man and tackle him and bring him to the ground, so he could be handled by the authorities. I would not have tried to take the law into my own hands, and act like Rambo-- a type of character we glorify far too much in violent films and video games. As a security guard I would hope I would have tried to disarm the young man before trying to kill him. But again, I do not know what I would have done 'in extremis'.
The more important question is not what would I do but 'what would Jesus do, or have done?' And here I think there can be little doubt. He would not have attempted to kill the sick young man. He would have been prepared to sacrifice his own life if need be to stop the disaster.
This is exactly what the cross is in part all about. It is an attempt to bring 'peace on earth, good will to men (and women)' by self-sacrifice, not by the taking of other people's lives. By peace is meant, not just internal feelings of peace, but peace between human beings, and between human beings and God. This implies and requires the cessation of hostilities. There is a reason why the prophet spoke of beating swords into plowshares and the lion lying down with the lamb in the messianic age. And here is where I say, that Christians are supposed to live in such a way that the world gets a glimpse of the messianic values and age-- a glimpse like we got in the Amish tragedy in the killing of the school children, when the Amish responded as they did.
The question is-- how much are we called to emulate this approach? The call to discipleship does not say-- take up your weapons and follow me. Indeed, Jesus ridicules such an approach at the last supper in Luke's account. The call to discipleship says 'take up your cross and follow me'. As Bonhoeffer said in 'The Cost of Discipleship'-- when Christ calls you, he calls you to come and die. I would hope my response would be the same as Brother Elliott in the movie 'the End of the Spear'. The young man in Colorado was no more brutal than the Waodani Indians Elliott had to deal with.
Ours is a sick society. And until we realize that more guns are not the answer to the problem, we have not owned up to the sickness, nor what really makes for a cure. Jesus came to spread God's love and grace-- 'as far as the curse is found'. At a minimum, this should make us think hard as Christians how we ought to respond when senseless violence is done to us. It was Jesus who prayed from the cross about his very crucifiers-- 'Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.' If this can be said about soldiers crucifying Jesus, why exactly can it not be said about a sick young man shooting ordinary innocent people in a church? The soldiers at least were apparently in their right minds and carrying out what they saw as lawful capital punishment as agents of the state. Clearly, this young man was not in his right mind, and had no right to take arms into his hands. Think on these things.