In “How One Church Faced a Gun Threat” (Blog, Feb. 1), both Pastor Larry Wright and writer Chuck McKnight show their lack of understanding of training and people trained in self-defense. There are at least a couple of misconceptions: First, we cannot assume that no one in the congregation was prepared to defend themselves. Second, we cannot assume that gunfire would have been exchanged if there had been a person who was prepared.
Trained and prepared people do not automatically react with force. There are two main lines that all credible instructors will teach. First, the following items that must be present to use force: You must be an unwilling participant; retreat is not an option; you must be in fear of your life or great bodily harm; no lesser force will do. Second are life and situation standards: alert, aware, avoid, de-escalate, evade, retreat. All of these items must be used or considered before a person reacts with force to stop a threat.
Pastor Wright appears to have followed these lists, and even though the article talks of nonviolence, he was prepared to use force by tackling the gunman. The writer also asks why we don’t have a first instinct to trust God. I believe, practice and teach the lists, and I believe that the only way to meet these standards is to trust in God’s guidance, reassurance and gift of clear mind.
Mountain Lake, Minn.
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