Oh, hey, by the way, there was a mass shooting at a church in Tennessee yesterday morning.
A Sudanese immigrant named Emanuel Kidega Samson murdered someone in the parking lot and then walked into Burnette Chapel Church of Christ and started shooting indiscriminately. The victim who died was a 39-year-old woman and mother of two named Melanie Smith. According to her family members, she was a Godly and compassionate woman. She was killed for committing the crime of attending church on a Sunday morning.
Samson wounded six other people, including the pastor before an usher stopped him. The hero, 22-year-old Caleb Engle, was pistol-whipped in the face during the confrontation. He struggled with Samson until the terrorist, by the grace of God, accidentally shot himself. Engle then went out to his car to grab his own firearm, and stood guard over the wounded shooter until police arrived.
Perhaps I’m giving you details you already know. Maybe you read about this story on page 14 of the newspaper. I’m not exaggerating, either. The New York Times put this mass shooting on page 14. The front page was dominated by athletes kneeling. Or perhaps you heard it mentioned in a 12-second blurb at the end of a cable newscast last night. I flipped through a few different channels and didn’t hear it even mentioned one time, but maybe they got around to it. Of course, in a 60-minute broadcast they had to allot at least 59 minutes to cataloging the posture of NFL players. If you managed to sit through all of that, you may have heard the “P.S. There was a mass shooting at a church today okay that’s all goodnight” at the end. I don’t know.
Most likely, though, you didn’t hear much about this story. I wasn’t aware of it myself until this morning. That’s because a terrorist attack at a church, which was cut short due to the incredible heroism of an usher, is a minor and insignificant event compared to political demonstrations of millionaire football players, according to the media and a large portion of our society.
I’m embarrassed on behalf of all of America. Consider how the members of this church must feel. First, their place of worship is attacked by a terrorist, and then they look around and see that nobody really cares. We’re all too busy arguing about the correct physical positioning for football players during the national anthem. I’m sure media coverage is the least of their worries at the moment, but it’s still shameful. There is no excuse for putting these stupid NFL antics on the front page and burying a story that by any rational measure is approximately one billion times more relevant and important.
Of course, I realize that the media has additional motivations here. Not only is the NFL story sexier and more watchable, but it’s also vastly more politically convenient. The church shooting does no favors to the liberal narrative, so it must be ignored. The shooter was black. He’s a Sudanese immigrant. He killed a white woman. He was stopped by a good guy with a gun. If the races were switched and you removed the pesky pro-Second Amendment element of the story, perhaps it may have fighting chance to compete with choreographed protests in professional sports for airtime. But the details being what they are, the outcome was predetermined. This was destined to be buried. The NFL distraction just made it that much easier.
But those of us who do take a second to reflect on Sunday’s truly newsworthy event will come away with, among other things, a riveting picture of what real courage looks like. If you were to compare the minutes the media has spent slobbering over the heroism of kneeling athletes compared to how many minutes they’ve spent even acknowledging the heroism of the guy who tackled and neutralized a crazed gunman in a Tennessee church on Sunday, I’m guessing it would be about 9,000,000 to zero. But I’m of the radical opinion that the ratio should be exactly reversed.
It requires no bravery whatsoever to participate in a trendy form of protest, especially when the protest is guaranteed to win you admiration. Granted, it will also earn you contempt from some corners, but they are corners populated by exactly the sort of people that a liberal-minded millionaire enjoys antagonizing.
On the other hand, one must possess a breathtaking amount of courage to charge into the midst of gunfire and attempt to neutralize a terrorist with your bare hands. A man of ordinary or slightly above average fortitude would run for the exits. Even the most dutiful and dependable church usher probably would not consider detaining terrorists to be a part of his job description. But this was no ordinary man or church usher. This was a hero. A real hero. Just don’t tell him that he’s a hero. The NFL players kneeling for the anthem will gladly accept your applause and admiration. But Caleb Engle, the hero of Burnette Chapel Church of Christ, has tried desperately to shutdown such talk. He issued a statement labeling the police and first responders as the true heroes. Then he asked for prayers for the victims and the gunman.