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One would think that men and women of the cloth would devote themselves to God’s principles — chief among them, a devotion to peace. But in some cases, a bit of leeway is both allowed and appreciated. This is one of those cases; if it wasn’t, then a bad situation could have been much worse.

Pastor Bob Carswell and the rest of his congregation were in the middle of service one Sunday in East Selma, Alabama. What should have been another peaceable meeting turned violent in an instant; James Junior Minter attended the service, and went on the attack with gun in hand. He fired shots that injured his girlfriend and his month-old son; even then, Carswell tried to intervene and wrestle the gun from Minter, though it led to the pastor himself getting shot in the leg. Thanks to Carswell and other members of his congregation, the gun was taken and Minter was arrested after an escape attempt.

Despite the violence, all three injured victims are in a stable condition. It’s unfortunate that Carswell’s church had to see so much violence, but at the very least, the pastor and his cohorts managed to be their congregations’ guardian angels.