The Uncomfortable Truth Behind A Gun-Toting Christian Who Stopped A Massacre


When some people see a mass shooting like the one at the church in Charleston last week, they see death and horror.

Others see opportunity… the ‘others’ in this case being your average gun-toting American conservative.

For the past week, a meme has been doing the rounds on social media, headed Liberal Logic 101 (Liberal, in the US, also being an insult, but for different reasons). The meme attempts to promote the story of Jeanne Assam, a woman who halted a church massacre in 2007, courtesy of her own skills with a gun.

The story has some truth to it, but it’s more notable for what the conservatives left out.

“This is Jeanne Assam. A deranged man entered this woman’s church and began killing people. She pulled out her legal, concealed gun and shot him several times. Realizing he could not proceed, the gunman then turned his gun on himself. At the time, she was declared a hero. But you will never hear her name mentioned by the Liberal Media, because she is an inconvenient fact in their war to disarm America”.

Yeah… not really. You hear Jeanne Assam’s name quite a bit, because media covered the story widely when it happened, as any simple Google search will attest.

The same Google search reveals that the meme leaves out a few very important facts.

Jenny Assam did stop a gunmen. But she wasn’t some innocent gun-loving, church-going middle American mum who happened upon a massacre.

Assam is a former police officer, and volunteered to work at the church in Colorado Springs as a security guard, following a mass shooting at a nearby church earlier that day.

Obviously, the ‘Liberal Media’ in America aren’t arguing against well-trained, licensed, armed guards. Just unlicensed, un-trained gun nuts.

And here’s some more facts the meme leaves out. The earlier shooting was at the Youth With A Mission training centre, and was perpetrated by a 24-year-old man named Matthew J Murray.

Murray managed to kill two people and injure two more, before fleeing. Later that day, he turned up at the New Life Church, where Assam worships, and killed another two people (and injured three), before Assam shot him multiple times. Murray took his own life before police arrived.

Murray, a white man like the Charleston shooter, was mentally ill, and was hell bent on killing Christians. He’d developed a hatred for the religion after being a strict adherent to it. In the early hours of the morning, he’d been turned away from the Youth With A Mission centre, after telling them he was homeless and needed a place to stay.

The differences to the shooter in Charleston – Dylann Roof – couldn’t be more stark. He was white, not mentally ill, and hell-bent on killing blacks… just because they were black.

The conservatives also don’t mention that while Assam was hailed a hero, not long after the shooting she came out to her congregation as gay… and was promptly asked to leave the church.

Launched in 2004, New Matilda is one of Australia's oldest online independent publications. It's focus is on investigative journalism and analysis, with occasional smart arsery thrown in for reasons of sanity. New Matilda is owned and edited by Walkley Award and Human Rights Award winning journalist Chris Graham.