Last night 9 people were killed at a church in Charleston, SC and police are calling it a “hate crime”. Regardless of the race of the shooter or of his victims, the term “hate crime” certainly applies. The congregation of Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church was gathered inside to worship and to love, and nothing could ever justify the actions of the gunman.
Author, war correspondent and former Army Ranger Chuck Holton, who’s father was serving as Associate Pastor at Wedgewood Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas at the time of the mass shooting in 1999 that left 8 people dead and 7 wounded, said in an article he wrote in December of last year he said “Churches are meant to be sanctuaries from all the evil that happens in the outside world. But for many reasons, churches in America today are becoming targets for protests, predators, and maybe even terrorists. From small country churches to the megachurches that see thousands of worshipers every week, violence in the sanctuary happens far too often.”
Holton has been working as a consultant for Lionheart International Security Group, an organization that provides security assessments, training and support to churches across America. “Attacks on churches happen literally every week, but most of them do not get any attention,” he said. “This exact situation is something I have been talking about for years. Given the state of racial tension in this country, I have said that all that needed to happen was for a white person to walk into a black venue and kill people to set off a chain of violence. I just hope and pray cooler heads will prevail. Evil is evil regardless of race.”
According to Holton, churches are increasingly becoming targets “not just for crazy psychopaths, but for terrorists and criminals as well”. He believes every church should have a security plan and a church security team. “If your church does not have a security team, it’s time to get one.”
According to news reports, the alleged gunman stopped to reload five times during the shooting. It is possible, and even likely, that a security team would have been able to stop this shooting much sooner.
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