Church Grapples With Mass Shooting In Its ‘Back Yard’


“It just makes me angry that we as a country haven’t been able to do more,” Greenville Oaks member Chris Macon said. “I’m an advocate for gun control, and I think it’s ridiculous — the one party that doesn’t want to do anything about it and stokes their constituents through fear.”

His wife, Paula Macon, said she recently traveled to Uvalde, Texas,  where 19 students and two teachers died in a school shooting last year. 

She fought back tears as she spoke.

“We were there to celebrate a family wedding. But we would drive by and cry for the pain that the community felt and continues to feel,” she said. “And now, we’re in our own community, and we see this (the outlet mall shooting). It’s just such darkness. It’s evil.”

Church member Sarah Stirman, a sixth-grade public school teacher, said Saturday’s shooting — sadly — did not shock her.

“My initial reaction was all of them: I’m angry. I’m sad. I’m so tired of hearing about this kind of horror,” Stirman said. “So I have a lot of reactions. I don’t know that I’ve really processed any of them.”

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