- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 2, 2020

USA Today felt the wrath of the Twitter ratio Wednesday after tweeting an op-ed declaring it’s “terrifying” that multiple people were able to respond to Sunday’s Texas church shooting with their own firearms.

The column by Elvia Díaz, originally published by The Arizona Republic, credited parishioners at the West Freeway Church of Christ in Tarrant County for taking down the gunman in only six seconds, but lamented that the incident had become a talking point for gun-rights advocates.

“Jack Wilson is a hero alright. It took him only six seconds to kill a gunman at a Texas church, saving countless lives,” Ms. Diaz wrote. “Unfortunately, that kind of split-second heroism has been turned into a PR tool by gun advocates.”

During Sunday’s attack, parishioners Richard White and Jack Wilson sprang into action after a gunman opened fire at the church in White Settlement. The attack lasted only six seconds before Mr. Wilson, a former reserve sheriff’s deputy and Army veteran, fatally shot the gunman. White, an armed member of the church’s volunteer security team, drew his weapon and fired a shot into the wall before he was fatally shot by the gunman, Mr. Wilson said Monday. One other church member was also killed in the attack.

The shooting shined a light on a new law passed by the Texas legislature in response to the 2017 attack on a church in Sutherland Springs that left 26 people dead, allowing anyone with a concealed carry license to carry firearms in places of worship. Mr. Wilson, who owns a shooting range in Granbury, said he started training fellow members after the law passed to be a part of the church’s volunteer security team.



Gun-rights advocates and conservatives, including President Trump, have pointed to the incident as an example of a good guy with a gun saving lives.

But Ms. Diaz said Mr. Wilson’s heroism is “a lot more complex” because he was formally trained to operate a firearm.

“In other words, he’s exactly the kind of man you want around with a firearm,” she wrote. “But we know nothing about the at least six other parishioners who also appeared to draw their handguns at West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, Texas. And that’s terrifying.”

“[H]ave we really reached a point when each of us need to carry a firearm anywhere we go?” she asked.

“The Second Amendment gives Americans the right to bear arms. And that isn’t going anywhere. But that constitutional amendment doesn’t spell out the types of firearms Americans should bear, nor does it give Americans the right to sell them to anyone to carry anywhere,” she continued. “The gunman at West Freeway Church of Christ, 43-year-old Keith Thomas Kinnunen, apparently had a long criminal history, including aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Authorities say they’re still investigating the motive of Sunday’s shooting, and there were no immediate details about how he got the firearm he used at the church.

“We know firearms are readily available to anyone who wants one, really. And that’s part of the problem. Sunday’s shooting isn’t just about Jack Wilson’s heroism. It’s about how Kinnunen got a hold of a weapon in the first place, given his criminal record,” Ms. Diaz concluded.

USA Today’s tweet promoting the piece only fetched about 1,000 shares but amassed a whopping 10,500 replies as of Thursday morning. One commenter was Andrew Pollack, the pro-gun father of one of the students killed during the Parkland, Florida, school shooting.

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