WTVM Editorial 1/15/18: Be prepared at church

(WTVM) - Church shootings like the devastating ones in Charleston and Texas have captured the attention of pastors here in West Georgia and East Alabama.

Worshipers are becoming more pro-active in arming themselves to protect the faithful. Some places of worship have armed employees at every service.

We encourage every church to do everything it can to deter active shooters from targeting their congregations.

We applaud Columbus Police for recently sharing their expertise with local churches who want professional advice. It's never too late to think about protection.

While most clergy and law enforcement officials know that the chances of a church shooting here are slim, they also know the smart thing to do is to be prepared anyway.

Houses of Worship in every form everywhere must rise to the challenge of defending themselves and that means arming responsible members of the congregation or employees.

It includes specific hands-on training to help them defeat an active shooter who would come to a peaceful church service to cause havoc, pain, and death.

The lunatics who target churches do so because they believe anywhere people worship is a gun-free zone. And as the recent past proves, they are not wrong.

Devin Kelly killed 26 people in Sutherland Springs Church in Texas, which he made a target for his mental illness. He knew no one would stop him. The Charleston Shooter, the racist coward Dylan Roof knew a bible study group in the church basement was no match for his bullets.

There are even more church shootings that happened just in the past few months, shootings you've probably never heard of, like one in September in Antioch Tennessee, near Knoxville, that killed one person. And another church shooting in Fresno last November, when a man killed his ex-wife as she left church.

We know church shootings have happened and they are still happening.

It's clear that houses of worship can no longer afford to be gun free zones.

Now is the time for churches to preach about learning the best tactics for armed defense because just preaching love and understanding will not be enough to neutralize the evil of an active shooter.

General Manager Holly Steuart brings two editorials a week to WTVM. If you would like to respond to an editorial, e-mail your response to hsteuart@wtvm.com or write to:

WTVM Editorial Committee

1909 Wynnton Road

Columbus, GA 31906

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