A USA Today op-ed stating it was "terrifying" that several parishioners were armed when a gunman opened fire during a church service in Texas was roasted on social media.
The blowback comes after parishioner Jack Wilson shot and killed the gunman at West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, Texas, on Sunday. Two other parishioners were killed in the attack.
"Opinion: Jack Wilson is exactly the type of person you want around with a gun because he's a firearms instructor," reads a tweet from USA Today's official Twitter account on Wednesday promoting the op-ed written by Elvia Diaz. "But we know nothing about the at least six other parishioners who also appeared to draw their handguns. And that's terrifying."
Opinion: Jack Wilson is exactly the type of person you want around with a gun because he's a firearms instructor. But we know nothing about the at least six other parishioners who also appeared to draw their handguns. And that's terrifying. https://t.co/od0vfGftjU— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) January 1, 2020
"Jack Wilson is a hero alright. It took him only six seconds to kill a gunman at a Texas church, saving countless lives. Unfortunately, that kind of split-second heroism has been turned into a PR tool by gun advocates," Diaz writes in the piece. "The church’s volunteer security team member is a firearms instructor, gun range owner and former reserve deputy with a local sheriff’s department."
"The real story here isn't heroism," she later adds. "Have we really reached a point when each of us need to carry a firearm anywhere we go? Gun advocates certainly think so."
The criticism on social media that particularly focused on Diaz's use of "terrifying" was swift.
USA Today Opinion: a good guy with a gun prevented a massacre but at least 6 other Texans drew firearms and showed incredible restraint and didn’t fire a single shot. ... and that’s terrifying— Jason Howerton (@jason_howerton) January 1, 2020
I think you’d find it a lot more "terrifying" if nobody inside the church was armed. Everyone is lucky 6-7 people in that church used their right to carry at church. Had they not, everyone they loved at church might be dead right now. Gross and idiotic to attack their rights now.— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) January 2, 2020
You’re terrifying.— Mollie (@MZHemingway) January 1, 2020
"This thing that didn't happen—and doesn't happen—could have happened, so we're actually right."— Charles C. W. Cooke (@charlescwcooke) January 1, 2020
"This incident is terrifying because it proves our narrative is wrong about gun owners and their ability to stop shootings before police arrive."— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) January 1, 2020
Wilson is running for commissioner in Hood County, Texas.
He took to Facebook to share his perspective on the shooting.
“I just want to thank all who have sent their prayers and comments on the events of today. The events at West Freeway Church of Christ put me in a position that I would hope no one would have to be in, but evil exist [sic] and I had to take out an active shooter in church,” Wilson wrote.
The post has been shared more than 10,000 times.