What can we Learn From the Texas Church Shooting?

A lot of social media buzz has been created by this terrible murder of Texas church members. Some major media covered it, but most only for a brief mention. The reason for the brief mention of course is because one, there was not a mass murder (he was stopped before he could kill more people), the victim count was not high enough. Two, the murderer was stopped in literally six seconds by a legally armed citizen. Those two things make this against the mainstream media playbook for a mass murder they can use to push the agenda of “gun-control”.

The attack on the church was caught on live stream video unlike any others we know of, so while a true tragedy, it is a great opportunity to learn from it and maybe make a few changes that could help prevent or lessen attacks in the future. So let’s break down the attack as seen on the video.

The murderer was sitting buy himself in the back row of the sanctuary. He gets up and moves to the rear where he appears to engage one of the ushers in a very brief conversation. That is when you can see him pull a short shotgun from under his jacket/ coat. He initially points it at the usher he was speaking to.

Just before subject stands and moves to back of sanctuary.

At the same time several things are happening. There is an armed member of the church security team sitting just a few feet away along the back wall. He sees the subject pull out the shotgun and stands and begins to draw his concealed handgun. Also a few more feet away a group of men also along the back and already standing seem to notice the commotion and one drops out of sight, and one moves off camera and the third draws a handgun. From the video it’s hard to tell if it was concealed or openly carried.

8 seconds into incident.

The subject seeing the security member reaching and attempting to draw his concealed firearm turns the shotgun on him and fires one shot, striking him. The security member is seen to fall to the floor. The subject then turns back to the usher and fires one shot at him. This takes just a couple of seconds.

The other church security member, identified as Jack Wilson later, had during this time drawn his firearm and according to Mr. Wilson’s own statement he could not fire for a second or two because of church members between the subject and him in his line of fire. On the video you can see someone standing what looks like half crouched over and possible in Mr. Wilson’s line of fire.

The subject turns and begins to move forward in the direction of the stage in the church and takes one or two steps. Mr. Wilson appears to illuminate the suspect probably with a weapon mounted light. A second later the light goes off, and Mr. Wilson fires one well aimed shot at about 40- 50 feet striking the subject in the head. The subject falls to the ground.

At this point Mr. Wilson begins to move in the direction of the subject. At this point several other armed members of the church appear.

The entire situation from the time the suspect stood up and moves to the back of the church until he was shot by Mr. Wilson was 18 seconds. After the situation was deemed safe and over, people began to exit the sanctuary.

So what lessons can we learn from the video and the information shared by Mr. Wilson and other members of the church?

1. The subject was already acting suspicious and has been identified by the security team members. People acting suspiciously or dressed inappropriately (fake beard, hair and over coat in this case) bear watching and maybe even making contact with them.

2. Reaction is always going to be slower than action. Once the subject had his shotgun out drawing from concealment puts you at a serous disadvantage. Especially for those that do not practice it.

3. Distance is good and bad. Good in that you are not the sole point of attention, and may give you more of a chance to bring your firearm to bear. Bad in the the greater the distance, the more skilled a shot you will have to be. Practice is key here.

4. Move!! Standing still and trying to draw on an already aimed firearm is impossible. Move and draw! A moving target is much harder to hit. This is NOT a negative critique of the security team member who was shot while drawing from concealment, but a training lesson to learn from the tragedy.

Practice shooting at distances other than close range only. I see many people at the range I teach at and I never see the target go past the 7 or 10 yard distance (21-30 feet.) While yes the vast majority of defensive shootings happen under 21 feet, that does not mean you should not practice and be able to hit targets accurately at greater distances. I regularly work at distances up to 50 yards with handguns. There is a great feeling of accomplishment at hitting a target at those distances.

There are few other things that I noticed that might make good training topics from this incident, but those could be completely separate topics on their own.

So whats the final overall take away form this? That armed, trained, and ready lawful firearm carrying Americans CAN and HAVE stopped mass murderers. And that if these citizens had been prevented by laws from carrying in the church (aka gun free zones) more people would have died.

I am thankful that Mr. Jack Wilson and the other members of that church were there and ready and trained for this incident. We must learn from these incidents if we are to be ready for the next, and sadly there will be more.

It Happened Again in Santa Fe, Texas, and We Could Have Done Something!

With today’s shooting in Santa Fe Texas, it brings to the forefront once again that the people of the United States are not looking at these issues with logic and experience in how we can help lessen these types of incidents or at least minimize the damage done when they do happen.

Wake up America. Criminals, as the name applies, commit crimes. They violate the laws already on the book and any others that may be thought of. What then can be done to stop these types of attacks? We should look at what has worked other places and in other types of places.

The military has a specialty called “physical security”. It is used to provide security for anything the military considers important. Things like nuclear weapons, specialty equipment, and locations that need protection are “hardened”. Rings of various levels of security measures are put in place to make things secure and safe.

My specialty in the U.S. Army for half my time in the military was as the training coordinator for the security forces in charge of the physical security of several hundred nuclear weapons in what was at the time, West Germany.  We, of course, had fences, alarms, and various other physical barriers, but also had armed security on the sites. These were trained and equipped soldiers that took the security of these special weapons very seriously. We could be up and out into the fray in 30 seconds or less on these sites. We trained daily for it.

While I am not recommending that we place military units in our schools, I am recommending we take some of the lessons learned by the military and by other countries that have school security (Israel comes to mind) and look at what has worked and what could be implemented to protect our schools. It is simple really. As long as have no or little physical security measures in our schools, they will remain a target for depraved minds and those wanting to cause mass casualties. Armed response to an armed attack is also another thing that must be thought about. Why do you think you call the police when something like this happens? Because they are bringing guns to confront the armed suspect. Again I call it common sense.

I train law enforcement for a living. I teach law enforcement firearms and have for over 2 decades. I will be the first to tell you that police for the most part (not including specialty units like SWAT Teams) are not any better at using firearms than many civilian firearms owners and carriers. Putting law enforcement officers in the schools, called school resource officers can and has been effective at stopping mass school shootings. Just this same week in Illinois a school resource officer, Ofc. Mark Dallas, confronted a 19-year-old who was armed and started shooting at Dixon High School in Dixon, Il and was able to stop the shooter, by confronting him with an armed immediate response. Yet that, of course, did not make much in the way of news, because the only casualty was the criminal himself.

So let’s stop panicking and becoming emotional and trying to pass laws that only affect law-abiding citizens, and takes away the rights of regular citizens to be able to protect themselves, and we need to make some changes to the physical security in our schools, and allow or place armed security in the schools. For heaven’s sake, we require fire extinguishers in schools. fire alarms,  and fire education. Yet we do not require bullet resistant glass in the doors, or entry control points with armed security or officers or other easy things that can absolutely reduce or mitigate the damage for these types of things.

America, stop listening to the media, stop listening to the right or left, stop getting emotional about things like this and let those with the knowledge and ability of those that know about these types of things help make “common sense” changes to our schools and the security that they have.

There are many things that we can do in the short term to help secure the schools until physical changes are made to help also. Police Officers placed it he schools is not a negative thing, it’s positive. An armed immediate response is what is needed to stop these types of criminals.

Until America realizes that you don’t stop these things with just laws and emotion and demonstrations, we are doomed to continue to repeat it over and over. They say that doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome is the definition of insanity. So America, let’s stop the insanity, and give our schools the armed security they need and realize you fight fire with fire, in this case, it is you fight an armed attacker with an immediate and armed response.

Get over it America, stop arguing over “common sense gun safety” and focus on the real things that will make a difference. Making changes to our schools and the security we provide them.