"If only...."

Unfortunately it's the age we live in and not even a house of worship is exempt--especially synagogues. This time it was not a synagogue but two praishiners lost their lives at the West Freeway Church of Christ in Texas. Fortunately--if that's the right word--there was a former police officer and now reserve deputy sheriff who was also in charge of security at the church along with several others who had been trained by this gentleman--Jack Wilson. Thank God for Jack Wilson. Some dirtbag came in the church a couple of Sundays back in a long coat and hoodie (which should have been a "red flag" then and there) and after a few minutes, got up, approached an usher, said something, whipped out a shotgun and began shooting. Two men were fatally wounded before Jack Wilson drew his firearm moved quickly to a position to keep his fellow church members out of the line of fire and promptly put a bullet in the perp's head, ending the threat immediately. Elapsed time start to finish? SIX SECONDS! And as you can here in Wilson's words, it was a "...long six seconds."

Just recently while on vacation I picked up my copy of Dr. Robert Ballard's Titanic search and discovery. The forward was written by Walter Lord who wrote one of the first books on the most famous--or infamous--maritime disasters in history, A Night to Remember. And in it he asks those agnizing questions which can never be answered, "...what if?' "What if the iceberg had been sighted a minute sooner? What if the several warnings in the sea lanes had been heeded? What if the captain had ordered the ship to slow down since she was running pretty much at full speed? What if...what if...what if? The same questions can be asked about these church shootings. What if someone at the church in Charleston had been armed besides the monster who murdered nine members of the congregation at a Wednesday night Bible study had a firearm? There is such a thing as evil and that's what we're dealing with. Wilson said he was resolved to the fact that he did not kill a person--he stopped "evil" and saved lives.

But again, look at the timeline. Start to finish, six seconds. It brings to mind the saying, "When seconds count, the police are only minutes away." What if no one except the the shooter had a gun at West Freeway Church...police were called and they were there in a matter of minutes. How many would now be dead in those very few minutes? We can't prove a negative, of course, but in the Texas church shooting a year or so ago, 26 people were killed before a man nearby ran in with his gun and ended it. I hate the fact that I feel the necessity to "carry" these days--even in church. And I say a prayer every day that I never even have to think about drawing it much less using it. God forbid so to speak. But God bless Jack Wilson who, like all heroes doesn't think he is one--just doing his duty.

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