Armed churchgoer prevents slaughter 'History and common sense prove that gun-free zones are dangerous'
by BOB UNRUH
Bob Unruh joined WND in 2006 after nearly three decades with the Associated Press, as well as several Upper Midwest newspapers, where he covered everything from legislative battles and sports to tornadoes and homicidal survivalists. He is also a photographer whose scenic work has been used commercially.
Charl Van Wyk, who carried a gun to a church service, shot back at terrorists bent on mass slaughter and ultimately was credited with saving hundreds of lives, says politicians should rise above the “politically correct” and do what’s right to save the lives of children and teachers.
Weighing in on the current debate in America over the public’s access to self-defense, he told WND that only in a “sheer utopian fantasy” would people expect that “homicidal maniacs” would follow gun laws.
“In Israel teachers and parents, serving as school aides, are armed at all times on school grounds, with semi-automatic weapons. Since this policy was adopted in the 1970s, attacks by gunmen at schools in Israel have ceased,” he said.
“In 2004 Thailand adopted a similar approach for safety of children. It may be politically incorrect, but it does have the advantage of saving the lives of innocent children and teachers. The policy? Encouraging teachers to carry firearms.” he continued.
“On 27 April 2004, the Associated Press reported, ‘Interior Minister Bhokin Bhalakula ordered provincial governors to give teachers licenses to buy guns if they want to even though it would mean bringing firearms into the classrooms when the region’s 925 schools reopen May 17 after two months of summer holiday.’
“Though Thailand’s government is extremely hostile to gun ownership in general, it has recognized that teachers ought to be able to safeguard their students and themselves,” he said.
“Maybe we can learn something from these countries.”
Currently, the Obama administration is offering numerous proposals to ban certain weapons, certain types and generally make the public’s access to firearms more difficult.
Van Wyk’s own story of self-defense – and the defense of the innocent – dates to July 25, 1993 – the day that would become known as the day of the St. James Massacre. That was when terrorists invaded the St. James Church in South Africa with automatic weapons. About a dozen members of the congregation were killed, and dozens more were injured.
But the terrorists fled when Van Wyk, who was carrying a handgun with him, returned fire, injuring one terrorist.
Van Wyk was recognized by authorities with a commendation for his actions, which likely saved dozens, if not hundreds, of lives.
His story is told in “Shooting Back” The Right and Duty of Self-Defense,” both book and DVD versions.
Van Wyk notes that the commander of the church attackers, Letlapa Mphahlele, later said, “There we thought that the church was a ‘gun free zone,’ but boy did he (Van Wyk) have a surprise for us!”
“U.S. school shooting incidents prove that proclaiming gun-free zones at learning institutions does not prohibit homicidal maniacs from entering these premises. In fact, expecting such an individual to honor a law prohibiting firearms is sheer utopian fantasy,” Van Wyk told WND.
“History and common sense prove that gun-free zones are dangerous,” he said. “Do mass shootings ever occur in police stations, on shooting ranges or at gun shows? Mass murderers select soft targets for their acts of violence.
“Declaring gun-free zones, risks leaving potential victims defenseless,” he said.
“Gun-free zones merely make the working environment of the criminals safer.”
He said any move to eliminate Americans’ access to self-defense should be opposed.
“We need to refuse to support any laws that leave us defenseless against murderers, robbers, rapists and arsonists.”
“We, as Christian gun owners, do not put our trust in our guns, but in God. A firearm is merely a tool that can be used for righteous purposes, like the protection of life, or negative i.e. violent means. ‘Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the Name of the Lord our God.’ Psalm 20:7,” Van Wyk said.
He noted Oliver Cromwell’s advice to his troops at the Battle of Edgehill in 1642, “‘Put your trust in God, my boys, but mind to keep your powder dry.’”
Van Wyk said it is “by God’s grace” that he has survived two violent attacks with guns.
The first was the terror attack on the church, and the second an attempted car-jacking.
“In both cases the gun in my hand was far more useful than a cop of the phone,” he said.
He also said the simple logic of self-defense supports access to weapons.
“People often blame guns for crime, as if crime did not exist before guns were invented,” he said. “I’d far rather be armed and never need my gun, than need a gun and not have one.”
And he said the suddenness of such attacks leaves only one option for protection.
“The only person who can make any difference when faced with a violent attacker is the person who is right THERE, right THEN,” he said.
In a letter to the editor Van Wyk wrote after he fended off two armed robbers who were trying to carjack him, he said, “Some believe that an armed response to this type of tyranny will only escalate the violence. Not so – an armed response actually diffused the attack and my two passengers and I are, by God’s grace, blessed to still be alive.”
“Instant response to a life-threatening situation is always best – ‘the clean-up team’ are just that, ‘the clean-up team’. The police cannot be everywhere, all the time, to protect you,” he continued.
He previously noted that self-defense is Biblical.
“Sometimes we also read into Scripture that which is not taught, e.g., ‘But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also’ (Matthew 5:39). This is dealing with our response to a personal insult. It should not be read to mean: ‘If someone murders your wife, let him murder your child too.’ The Bible clearly teaches, ‘A righteous man who falters before the wicked is like a murky spring and a polluted well’ (Proverbs 25:26). Surely we would be ‘faltering before the wicked’ if we cannot protect worshipers in a church!”
“Besides the mother’s womb, gun-free zones are the most dangerous places on earth,” he said, and he argues strict gun control actually lead to more crime.
“At the end of the day, we need to be prepared to defend ourselves. The only person who can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun; nobody else will be of much help,” he said.