USA Today Op-Ed Complains that Story of Hero who Stopped Texas Church Shooter is Good Gun Rights PR

Well, USA Today made very clear at the top of a news piece written about the recent Texas church shooting that “This piece expressed the views of its author(s), separate from those of this publication.” Despite this, USA Today has taken much flak on social media for the piece being put out at all, giving credence to the idea that publications are indeed somewhat responsible for their op-eds, despite disclaimers. The piece referenced, put out on January 1st, was titled “Armed, even in church: Texas shooting is about a lot more than Jack Wilson’s heroism”. The piece was written by “Elvia Diaz” according to USA Today.

The Washington Times took to their own pedestal today to lambaste Diaz after the articles tries to twist a story about a heroic church-going man who saved countless lives into a way to bash second amendment supporters who tried to make a case that this was a good example of a “good guy with a gun” saving lives, which it indeed was. Nobody can dispute that fact.

“Jack Wilson is a hero alright. It took him only six seconds to kill a gunman at a Texas church, saving countless lives,” Ms. Diaz wrote. “Unfortunately, that kind of split-second heroism has been turned into a PR tool by gun advocates.”

This is in reference to the shooting on December 29th at the West Freeway Church of Christ in Texas. The man who took down the evil shooter with one shot was Jack Wilson, who you’ve likely heard of by now. Wilson has become famous on the internet for his heroics and done a few interviews to tell the tale of what happened and what he thinks of it all. But of course, this story isn’t about that exactly. It’s about the narrative spin by the USA Today op-ed. Diaz goes on in the original piece to say:

The reality of Wilson’s heroism is a lot more complex. He wasn’t just an ordinary parishioner, as gun advocates may want you to believe. The church’s volunteer security team member is a firearms instructor, gun range owner and former reserve deputy with a local sheriff’s department, according to a New York Times detailed account.  

In other words, he’s exactly the kind of man you want around with a firearm. But we know nothing about the at least six other parishioners who also appeared to draw their handguns at West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, Texas. And that’s terrifying.

The next line down was an H2 Tag or “header” that reads, “The real story here isn’t heroism”. It goes on to twist and contort the story of what really happened into a lament for how easy the writer believes it to be to get firearms in Texas. As featured in the original Washington Times piece, some summarizing of the original shooting and then tweets from folks on Twitter who took to their pedestals to leave scathing opinions themselves about the so-called “op-ed”:

During Sunday’s attack, parishioners Richard White and Jack Wilson sprang into action after a gunman opened fire at the church in White Settlement. The attack lasted only six seconds before Mr. Wilson, a former reserve sheriff’s deputy and Army veteran, fatally shot the gunman. White, an armed member of the church’s volunteer security team, drew his weapon and fired a shot into the wall before he was fatally shot by the gunman, Mr. Wilson said Monday. One other church member was also killed in the attack.

The shooting shined a light on a new law passed by the Texas legislature in response to the 2017 attack on a church in Sutherland Springs that left 26 people dead, allowing anyone with a concealed carry license to carry firearms in places of worship. Mr. Wilson, who owns a shooting range in Granbury, said he started training fellow members after the law passed to be a part of the church’s volunteer security team.

Blue check verified Twitter user John Hawkins re-tweeted the USA Today piece captioning it, “It says a lot that the “terrifying” threat isn’t mass murder of a bunch of Christians that USA Today cares nothing about, it’s that 7 legal gun owners acted responsibly and prevented a massacre with guns.” See the tweet below:

Jenna Ellis, whose Twitter verified handle lists herself as “Senior Legal Advisor to @teamtrump and Attorney for @realDonaldTrump let Diaz have it as well. She cited the same article, dropping these harsh words: “What’s terrifying is the tough of what would have happened if no one was carrying. More people should carry and be prepared to defend themselves and others, regardless of what some idiot at USA Today does or doesn’t know about them.” Ouch, that one was tough.

Andrew Pollack said in part, The USA Today has no clue what terrifying is. He goes on to say more in the full tweet below:

According to the Times, the original USA Tweet out of the story by Diaz had over 10,500 replies as of Thursday, many laying out their versions of scathing rebukes to USA Today, and apparently many more rebukes than praises for the piece. Check out the feed for yourself if you feel inclined by clicking the tweet below and perusing the comments section at your leisure to get a sense for yourself what the temperature of the responses is like. While Elvia Diaz’s piece does in fact credit Wilson as being a life-saving hero, the rest of the story seems to do all but discredit the claim with a big old “BUT” sentiment, or downplays it in a big way at best.