It never gets any easier.
Although it seems that every few months we hear about yet another mass shooting, the American public has not become desensitized to the heartbreaking reality that evil people exist. The assault on the First Baptist Church in San Antonio, Texas is another reminder of the problems Americans are facing today.
As with other situations such as this, we are asking why these incidents keep happening. As we watch journalists describe the gruesome details, we wonder what we can do to prevent these types of attacks from taking place.
Predictably, we end up having another national conversation about firearms. Many believe that placing more restrictions on guns will solve the problem. Those who are more realistic see that keeping law-abiding individuals from owning weapons will only make the problem worse. But in this case, we can see that in this situation — as well as several others — a decent man with a weapon can save lives.
Shooting At First Baptist Church
It happened on Sunday afternoon when Devin P. Kelley walked into First Baptist Church in San Antonio wearing combat gear and opened fire. He shot almost everyone in the building — killing 27 churchgoers and wounding at least 25.
Among the victims were pregnant women and young children. The 14-year-old daughter of the pastor was also killed in the attack.
The New York Times reported that the shooter parked his vehicle at a nearby gas station, then entered the church and began his attack. Representative Henry Cuellar told The Times “He went there, he walked in, started shooting people and then took off.”
As the shooter walked outside the church after the attack, an armed resident shot at Kelley with a rifle. The gunman dropped his weapon and fled in his car while the resident gave chase. He continued his pursuit until Kelley crashed his vehicle. The assailant was found dead of a gunshot wound — it is not yet known who fired the fatal shot.
Who Is Devin P. Kelley?
Not much is known about the assailant yet, but according to The New York Times and CBS News, Kelley served in the U.S. Air Force and was court-martialed three years ago. He was from Comal County, which is right outside San Antonio.
According to ABC News, Kelley is a white male in his 20’s, and law enforcement is looking at his social media accounts. On Facebook, the shooter posted a photo of an “AR-15 style-looking gun.”
Kelley is reported to have been somewhat involved in the church. He taught Bible lessons in the children’s church during the summer. His social media accounts indicate religious belief, but he also liked several posts promoting atheism.
The Daily Beast reported that Kelley was married and may have had children. They also state that the shooter enlisted in the Air Force in 2009 and was dishonorably discharged in 2014 for bad-conduct. Reports suggest it was for domestic battery.
After his court-martial, the judge sentenced him to 12 months confinement and two reductions in rank. If Kelley was dishonorably discharged from the military, it might have been illegal for him to own a firearm.
What Will Happen Next?
There are many unknown factors in this horrific event – law enforcement has not yet discovered a motive. In the coming weeks, more information will surface. However, what we do know is that Kelley would likely have murdered more victims if it hadn’t been for the armed resident who chased him down.
This mass shooting — like most others — will ignite another national debate over gun control. No doubt the establishment media will use this incident as more evidence demonstrating that we need to make it harder for law-abiding Americans to obtain firearms. Tragedies such as this often have people looking for solutions. However, depriving individuals of the means with which to defend themselves is not the answer.
We have seen that the cities with the strictest gun control laws have some of the highest rates of gun homicides. If Kelley obtained his weapon illegally, then no legislation would have prevented this horrendous event. Furthermore, in this particular incident, it was an armed citizen who ensured that the shooter was unable to take more lives. If we are going to live in a free society, we cannot make it easier for people like Devin P. Kelley to commit these types of brutal acts.