Sunday, August 12, 2007

Who was there to protect them?

NEOSHO, Mo. (AP) - A gunman opened fire in the sanctuary of a southwest Missouri church Sunday, killing three people and wounding several others, authorities said.
About 25 to 50 people were briefly held hostage at the First Congregational Church until the gunman surrendered, Neosho spokeswoman Desiree Bridges said.

About four or five people were wounded, Police Chief Dave McCracken said, and several others who were injured fled the scene.

Officials removed two covered bodies from the brick-and-white trim church into a waiting funeral parlor van Sunday evening.

"This is a terrible tragedy which was made worse by the fact that it happened in a peaceful place of faith and worship," Gov. Matt Blunt said in a statement.

The shooter was being held at the Newton County Jail, but police were not releasing any information about him. Bridges said he was related to someone in the church, but declined to elaborate. No charges had been filed Sunday, McCracken said.

McCracken said the gunman had two small-caliber handguns and one 9 mm semia
utomatic machine pistol with a large magazine.

Two observations. One is that the gunman being "related to someone in the church" means an estranged husband of a church member or a daughter of a church member.

Two, I'll lay any odds you want that the killer didn't have a "machine pistol". A machine pistol is a small, lightweight (handgun sized) machine gun which fires a pistol round. An example would be the Scorpion Vz 61 (shown at the right).

What the chief meant was that the killer had a semiautomatic handgun which happened to look somewhat like a machine pistol. Something like the incredibly poorly made Tec-9m for example.

As a deacon in my church I know more than the average member of the congregation what type of situations exist within the church community which could lead to this kind of tragedy. This is why I always arm myself before stepping into church.

I do not intend to allow a man or woman who was so irresponsible or insane that they forced their spouse to take the kids and flee from them for the safety of those children to enter our sanctuary and murder people I care about without a fight.