Last Wednesday, April 18th, 2007, two days after the worst campus shooting in US history, the President of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, addressed male students. He told them that in a situation like the Virginia Tech shootings, he would expect them to charge the assailant, sacrificing their lives if necessary.

What?

Dr. Paige Patterson stated in an address to male students “All you had to do was have six or eight {students} rush him right at that time, and 32 people wouldn’t have died.” In a statement issued later, Dr. Patterson said he wasn’t criticizing the conduct of any of the survivors, and in fact praised Liviu Librescu, the Israeli Professor and Holocaust survivor who gave his life barricading the door to his classroom so that students could escape.

“Since I was not at Virginia Tech when {the shootings} occurred, any judgment on my part would be inappropriate, ” Dr Patterson said. “But it is not inappropriate for me to ask my students and faculty to be prepared to act as courageously as the Israeli professor. We cannot bring back the dead, but we can determine in our hearts if there is even the slightest chance we ever find ourselves in such an unfortunate situation, we will be prepared to prevent some of the carnage to the best of our ability”

He went on to elaborate why Christian men should rush an assailant in such a situation:

“My own perspective is that Christians – who believe that Heaven is their real home and that they are prepared for eternity as a result of a life changed by Christ – are even more obligated to act courageously and sacrificially. And I am still just old-fashioned enough to believe that men are responsible to protect women and children.”

Sgt Allen Barron of the department of Security and University Police at Texas A&M University would not recommend that someone without training charge an armed assailant.

However Bruce Prescott, a moderate Baptist minister who has often been at odds with Dr. Patterson supported Patterson’s ridiculous ideas. Prescott said: “I do think it wise for persons who are willing to voluntarily sacrifice themselves to be prepared to respond aggressively if they find themselves confronted by a gunman like the one at Virgina Tech”

So according to these two morons, unarmed men should rush a nut-job armed to the teeth to protect women and children? While the idea sounds chivalrous on the surface, it is idiocy if you think about it. Suppose you rush a guy who is armed, and you get shot, then he gets pissed and kills even more people. Seung-Hui Cho was already deranged. Do you really think he could have been subdued by unarmed students without training, and protective gear? Why do you think SWAT teams don’t go running into a building where hostages are being held? When the opportunity presents itself, they toss in tear gas, or flash-bang grenades, to distract or blind the gunman so the can go in and disarm him.

Consider this possibility also. Suppose male students had rushed Cho as Patterson suggests. Suppose further that he was not acting alone. What if there were two or more assailants at Virginia Tech? Wouldn’t that have likely gotten more people killed? What if Cho had wired the campus with explosives like Klebold and Harris did at Columbine? What do you suppose would have happened then?

I don’t have an answer for the best way to act in a situation like this, but having unarmed people rush an armed assailant is foolish at best.

Of course the conversation must turn to Flight 93. Several passengers rushed the terrorists and brought down the plane in a field, rather then allowing it to crash into the White House or the Capitol, or another heavily populated building. Lives were saved. However, passengers on that plane had been in touch with loved ones who had told them of the WTC attacks. The knew they were going to die, and they wanted to try to save lives on the ground. Their willing sacrifice was one of courage, knowing full well they would not survive. That is the difference.

To suggest that men should have rushed Cho and to suggest that if they had 32 people would still be alive diminishes those who died, and those who survived, regardless of what Patterson says. I pray that Dr. Patterson will think before he opens his mouth again. His comments are nothing short of pouring salt in a tragically raw wound.

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