These two news stories, which happened over the weekend just hours apart caught my attention. They are similar in many respects but different in the victims' response and the event's outcome. (See image and links below)
Suspect shoots 2 at Texas church before parishioners fatally shoot him
(CNN)A man shot two people during a church service in White Settlement, Texas, on Sunday before two armed parishioners shot and killed him, White Settlement Police Chief J.P. Bevering said.
One person who was shot at the West Freeway Church of Christ died and another victim has life-threatening injuries, Bevering said.
5 stabbed in 'act of domestic terrorism' at Hanukkah party; suspect held on $5 million bail
MONSEY, N.Y. – A man was ordered held on $5 million bail Sunday after a knife-wielding attacker stabbed five people during a Hanukkah celebration in a rabbi's home, the latest in a string of assaults apparently targeting Jews in the region.
For NRA types, the reaction of churchgoers who returned the gunman's fire, is evidence that it "takes a good guy with a gun to stop a bad guy with a gun". I applaud the quick-thinking churchgoers who returned fire and killed the shooter. But I suspect that a stout and sturdy doorman with a staff or a tall crucifix could have also dispatched the intruder. In the Hanukkah party attack, the man who answered the door to the machete wielder threw chairs and tables at the attacker. He wasn't entirely successful in warding the man off.
Personally, I wouldn't be comfortable in a house of worship knowing that my fellow congregants were packing heat. The magical thinking required to subscribe to any religion doesn't give me confidence that all the parishioners will behave rationally. Too many mass killers have announced that they received their instructions to commit murder and mayhem from their god.
In areas and situations that are prone to be targets for lunatics bent on killing--which includes too many places and events, I would be more comfortable knowing who is carrying a gun and they received proper fire arms training.
We can take some assurance in knowing that concealed carry permits are not give to just anybody--at least that's the plan. The concealed carry laws vary be state in the United States. Some states require concealed carry applicants to certify their proficiency with a firearm through some type of training or instruction.
According to a Wikipedia article A 2013 study of eight years of Texas [where the church shooting happened] data found that concealed handgun licensees were much less likely to be convicted of crimes than were nonlicensees. The same study found that licensees' convictions were more likely to be for less common crimes, "such as sexual offenses, gun offenses, or offenses involving a death." A 2019 study in Applied Economics Letters examining concealed-carry permits per capita by state found a significant negative effect on violent crime rates. A 2017 study in Applied Economics Letters found that property crime decreased in Chicago after the implementation of the shall issue concealed carry law. A 2014 Applied Economics Letters study found states with more permissive conceal carry laws had lower murder rates than states with restrictive laws.
In 1996, economists John R. Lott, Jr. and David B. Mustard analyzed crime data in all 3,054 counties in the United States from 1977 to 1992, finding counties that had shall-issue licensing laws overall saw murders decrease by 7.65 percent, rapes decrease by 5.2 percent, aggravated assaults decrease by 7 percent and robberies decrease by 2.2 percent. The study was widely disputed by numerous economists. The 2004 National Academy of Sciences panel reviewing the research on the subject concluded, with one dissenting panelist, that the Lott and Mustard study was unreliable. Georgetown University Professor Jens Ludwig, Daniel Nagin of Carnegie Mellon University and Dan A. Black of the University of Chicago in The Journal of Legal Studies, said of the Lott-Mustard study, "once Florida is removed from the sample, there is no longer any detectable impact of right-to-carry laws on the rates of murder and rape".