In The Wake of Texas

In The Wake of Texas

On November 5, in Sutherland Springs, Texas, twenty-six people were gunned down and at least twenty more were injured when a young man in black wearing a ballistic vest walked into a Baptist with an assault style rifle, and opened fire on the congregation, as reported by the WSJ.

The primary suspect in the investigation is a young man named Devin Kelley, who was an Air Force veteran, and, as reported by ABC News, escaped from a New Mexico mental hospital in 2012 according to a report from the El Paso Police Department. The report also stated that he had made death threats against his military chain of command and was attempting to carry them out. According to the police report, a witness stated that he "suffered from mental disorders and had plans to run from Peak Behavioral Health Services ... and take a bus out of state.” When Kelley served in New Mexico, he had been caught trying to sneak firearms onto Holloman Air Force Base. An Air Force official confirmed the police report as well as the fact that Kelley "suffered from mental disorders." Kelley faced resistance from Stephen Willeford, an NRA instructor who was in the midst of the shooting, and was able to conceal himself from Kelley, while firing shots at him, as reported by TWP.

In the wake of the Texas shooting, many liberals have called for ceased prayers and more gun control. Representative Pramila Jayapal from the 7th district of Washington tweeted the following in the wake of the shooting: “They were praying when it happened. They don’t need our prayers. They need us to address gun violence crisis and pass sensible legislation.” This tweet was in response to Speaker Paul Ryan’s tweet calling for prayers for Texas in response to the shooting. Representative Jayapal quoted Ryan’s tweet, adding her own commentary. Sensible legislation is good and necessary on issues of mental health but not on more gun control, which is simply a knee-jerk emotional reaction that happens every time one of these shootings occurs.

Similar to Representative Jayapal, a Star Trek actor, Will Wheaton, also quoted Ryan’s tweet, adding his own thoughts: “The murdered victims were in a church. If prayers did anything, they’d still be alive, you worthless sack of sh*t.” Many other celebrities quoted Ryan’s tweet with similar sentiments of their own, demonstrating their ignorance not only of faith, but of knowledge of gun laws and gun crime as well.

It’s a cliché argument but still remains true, that gun control isn’t going to do anything to stop the mentally ill. . Background checks are good and necessary before purchasing a gun, but if the crazies can’t get their hands on a gun, they will use whatever they can get their hands on. Better mental health screening and care for those with mental disorders are the only thing that is going to cut back on the epidemic of mass shootings that I have seen take place in the last five years, starting with the Navy Yard shooting in 2012.  Kelley had a history of mental illness as did the Sandy Hook shooter. This is also the second time in recent years that a church has been the target of the shooting, the last one being the incident in Charleston,SC.

So perhaps rather than calling for the ceasing of prayer,lawmakers should realize that the best way to effect real change and to decrease mass shooting is to focus not on gun control but on mental health legislation.


Follow this author on Twitter @katierzehnder

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