Church shooting too close to home


Nick Wagner - Austin American-Statesman via AP

Carrie Matula embraces a woman after a fatal shooting at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

Shalene White, Staff Writer

Even though Nov. 5 started out like a regular church Sunday, it was far from it. Families across the country were enjoying the last day of the weekend; some were worshiping in their churches. One irate man decided to change all that for many families in Texas.

In Sutherland Springs, a small community located 30 miles from San Antonio, a lone gunman entered Sutherland Springs Baptist Church clad in tactical gear and a ballistic vest. The man, 26-year-old Devin Kelly, opened fire as soon as he stepped out of his vehicle. Kelly continued to fire on the unsuspecting parishioners as he walked into the church.

The chaos left 26 people dead and injured 20 more. Then, he took his own life, Time Life reported.

The mass shooting rocked the community of Sutherland Springs. Some people think small communities should be exempt from the ‘big city crime.’ In fact, many people live in rural areas, opting to commute into the big cities for work, because they believe living in the smaller communities are safer.

Misty Allsup, a sophomore double majoring in English and Psychology, said she heard about the shooting, but has not been watching the news coverage.

“I am not particularly surprised by the shooting, to be honest, so my feelings are directed to the victims and their families – the innocent bystanders. I feel tremendous sadness and concern for how the tragedy will affect the survivors,” Allsup said.

Emergency personnel at the scene of a fatal shooting at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

She continued saying she believes “tragedies, like the shooting, shatter the myth of the safety and security of small, rural communities.”

Some communities still have the safety that allows kids to roam free, doors to remain unlocked, and everyone knows and respects their neighbors, Allsup stated. Yet, moments of violence, as in the church shooting, dispel the idealistic notions that small towns are safe from tragedy.

Southeastern is considered a smaller college in a small community. Allsup said that without a doubt, she believes something as tragic as the church shooting could happen at Southeastern. “It is not that I feel Southeastern is unsafe, but I don’t believe any place is safe from this sort of attack.”

Situations like the shooting shake communities, big and small, to the core, and make citizens wonder if there will be a time where no place will be considered safe enough to call home.