A tragedy occurred in Texas today:
A pastor was killed and two people were injured in a shooting at a Texas church on Sunday…A suspect is in custody, Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith said.
This was a classic story of a good guy with a gun…with a catastrophic rewrite to the ending many gun-advocates imagine for such tales.
The shooting, at Starrville Methodist Church, about 100 miles east of Dallas, occurred just after 9 a.m. when only about four people were in the church, authorities said.
The pastor found the intruder hiding in a bathroom stall and drew his weapon, Smith told reporters. The man lunged at the pastor, disarming him, shooting him and injuring two others, Smith said. Smith declined to name the pastor or other victims, but said at least one of the wounded was hospitalized.
A sane and decent human being would feel sorrow for the pointless loss, regret at the event, compassion for the dead man’s family, and would note the terrible tyranny of the gun. The firearm has no conscience, and does not care who pulls its trigger.
The local sheriff, however, has a different view:
[Smith County Sheriff Larry] Smith said he believed the pastor was correct in arming himself.
“They did everything we would tell them to do; they were carrying,” Smith said of the church. “But the thing about it is, and I don’t want to get off into it, but if you are going to carry a firearm, you got to be willing to use it.
This is blame the victim taken to an odd (read, grotesque) state of perfection: the murdered man is responsible for his fate for failing to be a focused enough killer himself. There’s just this much truth in that, of course: if a gun appears in a situation, the odds that it will be fired go way up, and that’s the prospect the armed person made the moment his weapon cleared its holster. But the key phrase here is Smith’s first thought: the paster “did everything we would tell (him) to do.” Asking citizens to rehearse violence as a regular facet of their daily lives, just to be ready when the bad guy shows up is no way to lead a life, either an individual one, or that of a society. It’s the ultimate surrender to the tyranny of the gun.
And (a) it’s hard for even properly and regularly trained folks to get this right at any random moment when the skill might be needed and, more (b) there’s no way that your preacher, your teacher, your ER charge nurse, your grocery store asst. manager, your whoever, should be expected to do the impossible. What the sheriff said of this situation–”I don’t want to be second-guessing the pastor by any means. You got a much younger person, a much more agile person,” he continued, referring to the suspect–is always going to be true; there is always someone faster, meaner, luckier.
Accepting shit like this as mere collateral damage in the cause of unfettered access to guns is no way to live. And Sheriff Smith is an asshole.
Image: The Moloch Idol, with 7 chambers or chapels (illustration from Johann Lund, Die alten jüdischen Heiligthümer., p. 564
Well that goes without saying.
A Texas sherriff being an asshole? Do tell!
Why does a man of God feel the need to carry?
The article is mum on whether the pastor was seeking out the intruder or not. I know I’m just a big city, northern libtard but who pulls a gun when finding a bathroom stall occupied?
As a preacher’s kid, I found it extremely odd that only four people were in a church at 9 a.m. on Sunday. Maybe they’re closed due to Covid?
My dad would have prayed over the guy and invited him home to lunch; we had some very odd guests at times.
West of the Rockies
Pistol-packin’ padres… seems like a bad idea. WWJBA?*
Who Would Jesus Blow Away?
You know, like Jesus would have wanted. Crap like this is why I will never set foot in a church again. My will actually stipulates that any services be held in a secular locations with no preachers allowed to speak.
Pulling a gun is an escalation, period.
You pull a gun, you are declaring this to be a life & death situation, and that you are ready (and willing) to kill the other guy. If it wasn’t a life & death situation already (which this may not have been) then you have just made it so.
The other guy may not have been thinking in terms of life & death before, but he will be now. There is no telling what a person may do under those circumstances.
Do not pull a gun unless you absolutely have to. If you are not sure, then you don’t have to.
Turn the other cheek, unless it really matters.
I’m kind of inured to gun murders in Texas. That sheriff is a nasty piece of work.
They’re magical thinkers, and they play with ugly violent toys.
The Moar You Know
The sheriff is right. If you’re going to carry one, you better be ready and willing to use it. The victims probably made the mistake of trying to use their guns to obtain compliance. The shooter, who realizes he is in a life or death situation, knew they couldn’t react in time.
What’s the lesson to be learned here? Well, if you’re rational, it’s that most people simply aren’t physically or mentally equipped to own a firearm, never mind carry it around with them, so they shouldn’t do that. Some idiots, however, seem to think the answer is “moar gunz”, which is exactly analogous to putting out a fire with “moar gasoline”.
What kind of preacher pulls a gun on someone sheltering in their church?
@Evil_Paul: Indeed. If you pull a gun, you should be prepared to kill. If you carry a gun, you should be prepared to draw it and kill with it.
I’m not very willing to kill. I don’t and won’t carry a gun.
Just One More Canuck
@West of the Rockies: The Lord giveth, and the Lord bloweth away
So he did not pull a gun in response to having a gun pulled on him first? Does it not occur to people like this that pulling a gun will instill so much fear that the other person might feel like they are the one acting in self-defense by disarming and shooting you instead?
Well I’m definitely not mentally prepared to shoot another human* but I am mentally prepared to harvest my own food with them. That’s why I don’t own any AK’s or side arms.
* That’s why I have told my wife is you hear someone downstairs at night dial 911 then yell “who’s there” and work the action on the pump shotgun! The cops can identify the perpetrator by testing the trail of shit leading to the door.
Is that all?? Maybe they can charge him with sedition and insurrection and treason, also too.
This is hard to read.
my best friend in Nashville (who is a Texan) woke up New Years day to learn his brother had died in a shooting. It was self defense—his bro was a mean drunk, started a fight, left and returned to escalate, with predictable results—and now my friend’s brother is dead.
Guns, man. Bad news.
The WaPost. If the pastor had not drawn his gun, it turns out the suspect did not have one.
Mike in NC
We watched ABC News tonight to see the GA story and there were multiple references to Texas shootings (in Houston, Fort Hood, and some other army base).
@Another Scott: Doesn’t he have a legitimate stand-your-ground defense? He wasn’t even armed to begin with. And the only thing he was guilty of at that point was trespassing.
Tom: that’s an incredible illustration.
Moloch, yes. But when I see a cow, I think of Devin Nunes. Strange …
David ??Merry Christmas?? Koch
@Mike in NC: this was bound to happen once Yosemite Sam moved down there.
@Citizen_X: Woolen is very black and the pastor is very white.
It’s rather a shame that weapon technology outpaced shield technology.
@elm: There’s an expression I heard in the army “Harry Potter Syndrome.” It’s where you think your weapon is a magic wand, and all you need to do is wave it and bad people just run away.
The guy who told me about this was a Bosnia Veteran. He said once in a rare while things work like this. Most of the times things will get worse before it gets better. If you’re not ready for worse, then you’re better off not starting something in the first place. If it’s not worth risking your life and the lives of your buddies, then it’s better to hang back because you’d be amazed how fast the odds can turn against you.
-The Big Sleep
@elm: Well, there goes your stand-your-ground defense. Or, y’know any other defense other than lay face-down on the ground spread-eagled and hope the po-po aren’t angry that day.
@Chetan Murthy: Also, usually committing any crime at the time negates such a defense.
I’ve mentioned my late father, a homicide detective in Chicago during the 60s and early 70s. He was also a tremendous marksman, top gun in his class at the police academy. And always reluctant to pull his gun for just this reason: a tense situation gets worse, and someone could end up dead. And he knew very well it could be a citizen, or a fellow cop, or even him. Most important lesson he taught us kids.
Edit: along with another lesson, don’t have a gun.
Mai Naem mobile
My first thought is its a church and what kind of pastor is armed at the church. My second thought is an acquaintance of mine who told me at the beginning of COVID that he was thinking of getting a gun because the world is going to turn into a Mad Max/Welcome To The Jungle nightmare. Maybe that’s what this pastor thought. Still not smart.
On some level, sure it can go without saying.
But the guy who is supposed to protect the citizens is saying he can’t do that and this is the old west where you have to kill or be killed. Everyone be armed to the teeth, everyone shoot first and we’ll maybe ask questions later.
What I’m saying is that he may be an asshole, but that isn’t even close to what he really is. He’s the turd that fell out of the asshole. He’d have to go back to where he came from to get close to asshole.
Apparently, there’s an evening “victory rally” on Trump’s schedule. I don’t think I’ve ever seen “defeat” spelled that way.
@AnotherBruce: You may have meant to reply to someone else, but Trump should face charges in Georgia. Unfortunately, he only needs to request a jury trial and get a handful of white jurors for a guaranteed acquittal.
@Just One More Canuck:
OK not trying to make fun of a situation that surly doesn’t call for it is my first thought but damn if that wasn’t funny.
@satby: Your father was a very good cop. We need so many more of those. I still own an old duck hunting shotgun my father bought before finding out duck hunting was the most boring activity on earth (Pro tip: Over time, ducks have definitely learned the lethal range of the shotgun). I should turn it in, but it’s so old and corroded now I’m afraid to touch it. It’s next to my children’s old ’80s action figures in the basement, safely breached and on a shelf.
@Mai Naem mobile:
Familiarity breeds contempt, and after growing up west of Fort Worth, I assumed the pastor was some sort of Southern Baptists nutter. But no, he’s a Methodist. I woulda thought they were, y’know, saner, but ah, well.
Why didn’t the all-powerful Lord of the universe step in and help this preacher fella before it came to shooting? Knows all, sees all, does nothing. Odd.
Sunday is his day of rest, don’tcha know.
So the sheriff is saying that the pastor should have 1) noticed someone in the bathroom, then 2) should have opened up with both barrells sight unseen until the person went red lake on the restroom floor?
Castle Doctrine is now Crapper Doctrine? Castle Doct-urine?
Mike in NC
@Amir Khalid: “The war has not necessarily developed in Japan’s favor”
@NotMax: they was busy making sure certain football teams were going to win. Or was tired from all the basketball teams winning. Auto sports? Winter sports? I know they’re really busy during this time of year making sure sports teams win.
@elm: They caught Woolen alive so…progress?
Just like there are Southern Baptists, there are also Southern Methodists. The Methodist Church also split in two just like the Baptists in the years before the Civil War so that “God Fearing” southern Methodists could keep their slaves in good conscience. They just came back together in 1968 to form the UNITED Methodist Church. Main difference USED to be that the Methodists trended wealthier and more upper class than the Baptists (Think Laura Bush). But that distinction has pretty much long ago faded in rural TX.
The only real difference between Southern Baptists and Methodists in a small bumfuck town in east Texas like that one is who your grandparents were. I doubt they diverge much in terms of MAGA Trump culture war bullshit and gun humping.
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
Your father sounds like he was very wise
Tom Cotton backing away slowly from the crazy caucus:
@Mary G: Rat abandoning a sinking ship, though comparing Cotton to a rat really is unfair to rodents everywhere.
@Mary G: That can’t be for real, can it???
@dmsilev: What? You’ve never heard of a cotton rat (Sigmodon hispidus)?
Escalation kills. Of all people, you would think a pastor might have some training and inclination toward *de*escalating situations, instead of pulling a gun and practically guaranteeing a bad outcome no matter who ended up getting shot. Can’t help but wonder what this so-called pastor was teaching to his flock.
@Mary G: Cotton is nasty and devoid of charm or charisma, but I guess he’s not stupid.
@Kent: I’m pretty sure the main difference is over the question of “sprinkle vs. dunk,” but you are correct that they mostly agree on the question of Trump. And probably on whether slavery should be legal.
Enhanced Voting Techniques
Some one should ask the Sheriff how Jesus would clear a room.
@Achrachno: Maybe we should just call him Senator Sigmodon from here on out. Simple and unambiguous.
The Dark Avenger
Gun advocates get pissed when I point out that cops, trained professionals, get shot every year, so the best a gun-carrying civilian can do is expect to be as much, if not more, at risk than a gun-carrying LEO.
Enhanced Voting Techniques
@Mary G: Somebody pointed to Cotton the obvious problem that that election was rigged then most of Congress has a problem.
OT: I saw Jimmy Carter was trending on Twitter. I start thinking, “Aww FUCK!” It turns out CNN has a documentary about him airing tonight. I’m gonna go hunt it down after the sportsball contest.
@Enhanced Voting Techniques:
Rep Roy is a Republican. In fact, he apparently used to be Ted Cruz’s chief of staff. The objection was voted down by the vast majority of the House, proof positive if any was needed that a broad swath of the Republican Party knows Trump is full of shit, they just don’t care and are supporting him anyway.
In the meantime, one of our new congresspersons is ever so proud of her firearm (Glock no less) that she will be defiling the institution with– per Shannon Watts, Lauren Boebert has been arrested four times and is under investigation for “unlawfully providing a handgun to a juvenile…”. I read Watts’ take, couldn’t bear more than a few seconds of Boebert’s three minute self-aggrandizing video.
A very large portion of this country is fucking insane.
Mike in NC
@Yutsano: Jimmy Carter was an OK president. Out of his depth as a southern governor, like Dubya. Was done in by the Arab Oil Embargo and the Iran Hostage Crisis. Nobody could have survived that.
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
@Mike in NC:
Makes me wonder if Reagan had won the GOP nom and was elected in 1976, the damage he did might’ve been reduced if he lost in 1980
@Spanky: I can’t understand a UMC* minister carrying a gun in his church, but maybe he armed himself after several shootings in other churches in Texas. I also don’t understand why he drew on the guy instead of figuring out if the guy was a threat. If he hadn’t been armed he would still be alive.
*United Methodist Church. There are other churches calling themselves Methodist but they’re usually aligned with a very conservative sect of Wesleyans, and have very little to do with Wesley’s teachings, and even less with Christ’s.
You don’t have a right to stand your ground if you’re trespassing. You can’t legally stand your ground if you’re breaking the law by occupying that ground.
@Mary G: The UMC in our conference has advised their pastors to be closed due to Covid-19. I don’t remember if Texas is part of our conference, but it’s interesting that they only referred to it as a Methodist church, as opposed to a United Methodist Church.
Why is Texas so crazy obsessed with guns? I don’t get it. I don’t want to sound heartless but why is a preacher pulling a gun on someone inside his church?
May the victims RIP. I feel so sorry for their families.
I think you’re getting out over your skis a little there!
You are confusing northern urban UMC churches with their rural southern TX counterparts. I’ve been to UMC churches in TX. The are essentially indistinguishable from Southern Baptist from what I can see. Theologically on paper there are of course, differences. But not really in any practical way when you attend the services.
He was smart not to jump in on that hot mess. The rest? They have fucked themselves. There will likely be more leaks and other things and if Trump starts an international incident – it’s gonna get much much worse.
They don’t use the term “United” much in TX for some reason. Maybe sounds to Yankee or “union” or something. This is the big UMC church in Waco (at least I think it’s UMC). But doesn’t use United in it’s name: https://firstwaco.com/
My assumption is that the minister had heard about the attempted drive-by shooting and the police chase, and was worried about a wanted criminal on the lam in his area. It’s totally understandable he’d be worried and want to arm himself if he heard about that. He just wasn’t really up to dealing with a dangerous and desperate criminal, and it cost him his life.
He was wearing a holster. Casual gun owners don’t do that. Only the concealed carry and open carry fanatics do that. This was a man who was accustomed to carrying his weapon.
@Kent: This pastor was UMC. Some of the Southern Methodists came back and joined us in the UMC, But the word “united” was insisted on by the United Brethren when they joined.
I know of some very conservative congregations of the UMC; the one on the main drag in our town has a liberal pastor who is afraid to preach like he is. We checked it out ten years ago when we moved here and we were stunned. There’s another church that’s more familiar, but the only time I tried to attend, half of the congregation was out with a really nasty flu that was going around, and I hadn’t gotten my flu shot that year, so I backed out of the sanctuary.
They need to insist harder. This is the biggest UMC church in Waco and one of the biggest in TX. I defy you to find the word “United” anywhere in their web site. I double checked and the are UMC, or at least show up in the UMC church directory on the main UMC web site: https://firstwaco.com/
@Kent: That’s so disappointing, but I’ve met some very conservative UMC members from rural areas in Oregon, and right here in King County
The UMC is risking a massive schism over LGBTQ issues because of some of the very conservative member churches. they haven’t split yet, but after that last conference the result was devastating to those of us who are in the other camp, and they slightly outnumbered us.
In my experience living for over a decade in TX the only real difference between Southern Baptist and Methodist in places like Waco is that the Methodists tilt more affluent. Or at least more “old money” to the extent that the term makes any sense in TX. But they are every bit as conservative as the mainstream Southern Baptists. SMU is located in the wealthiest “old money” part of Dallas, for example. But it is most definitely not any sort of liberal place.
@Kent: Yeah, that’s how I located the UMC designation for Starrville Methodist. It was on their page but not as part of the name.
There was a Wesley Methodist church just outside Riverside, CA and we would get new members from March AFB who had been shocked when they visited it. They talked about what hard-line pulpit pounders that group was. They didn’t require their pastors to have attended a theology school, let alone having a doctorate.
@Obdurodon: In a fair number of churches, the only training a pastor has, and needs, is how to cash checks.
re: the White House schedule announcement for Trump (above) — apparently is real. The juvenile language hails from the White House.
Here’s an earlier similar one.
Which Daniel Dale tweeted with : “Trump has arrived at his golf club in West Palm Beach, Florida.”
@Enhanced Voting Techniques: “The Lord sayeth ‘thou shalt avoid the doors and corners,’ for they are full of woe unto thee, and shall be thy downfall.”