WTVM Editorial 1-7-20: Worship with a plan

Published: Jan. 7, 2020 at 5:01 PM EST
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(WTVM) - After a responsible, armed churchgoer in Texas took down a deranged shooter in a matter of seconds, it should now be obvious that every church and every synagogue needs an active security plan.

The hero in Texas was Jack Wilson, a firearms instructor, more than qualified to protect his fellow church members. Though two parishioners lost their lives before Wilson’s quick action, that number could have easily been multiplied by factors of ten if no one was armed that day except the shooter.

Around the same time as the Texas church shooting, a crazed man with a machete viciously attacked a New York rabbi’s Hanukkah celebrations, causing massive injuries to five. It was one of 10 antisemitic attacks in just 18 days in December.

These are senseless attacks and merely being armed doesn’t always ensure a positive outcome.

But it should be the top priority of every house of worship, just as it is for every school and every large public venue, to have a security plan that acknowledges that dangerous people exist everywhere.

Worshippers want to feel safe, and they can if a common-sense safety plan is created, one that includes a means of self-protection.

It should be a proactive plan focused on being alert to potential peril before it happens.

It also means having competent people, either paid armed security guards or armed responsible citizens, capable of neutralizing a deadly threat.

It used to be that police at churches were only there to handle traffic flow.

Now we know there are much greater risks, and not just in big cities.

It’s been said many times, but police simply cannot be everywhere. That’s why every church needs a plan.

That might include having their own Jack Wilson, or another sheepdog like him, not afraid to protect the lambs from the wolf.

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

WTVM Editorial Committee

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Columbus, GA 31906

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