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Jack Wilson accepts an award and handshake from Gov. Greg Abbott this week. Courtesy Facebook.com

Seems a good guy with a gun taking out a bad guy with a gun is political gold in Texas. Jack Wilson went from being an underdog in a four-person race for a Hood County commissioner position to becoming the man to beat with one pull of the trigger. On December 29, the 71-year-old Granbury resident was in the congregation at West Freeway Church of Christ when an armed intruder stepped into the Sunday service and opened fire. The attacker shot and killed two church members in a few short seconds before Wilson killed him with one shot. Conservatives such as Wilson might be pro-life when it comes to embryos, but they’re pro-blow you to Kingdom Come if you’re a deranged shooter.

Wilson knows his way around guns. He is a former reserve deputy sheriff in Hood County, a concealed handgun permit owner, a license-to-carry instructor, and former owner of a gun range. Wilson’s quick response at the church – six seconds from first shot to last – saved lives and earned him kudos nationwide, including receiving the Governor’s Medal of Courage from Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday in Austin. It’s the state’s highest civilian honor given for putting oneself in danger to help others. Wilson certainly put himself in danger. The first security member to try to draw down on the attacker was shot dead. The attacker then assassinated a deacon before being felled by Wilson, who fired one shot into the gunman’s head. Abbott described Wilson as “a hero to the entire state of Texas.”

Prior to the shooting, the guy to beat in the commissioner’s race had been Mike Lang, a two-term Republican state representative and chairman of the Texas Freedom Caucus, a group that focuses on right-wing issues such as the Second Amendment and unborn babies. Lang was expected to win re-election to the House in 2020 and had been endorsed by Abbott in the previous election. Still, in September, Lang told the Texas Tribune that he decided against seeking re-election to the House and would run for county commissioner in his hometown of Granbury instead. He wanted to lead at the local level, he said.

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Now Lang is facing a candidate hailed as a hometown hero with super name recognition and online hero worship. On the evening of the shooting, Wilson posted a thank you note to well wishers on his campaign’s Facebook page and received 3,700 comments and 10,000 shares. Many comments came from people who lived in other counties and states and were expressing sorrow that they were unable to vote for Wilson.

The chairperson for the Hood County Republican Party doesn’t endorse candidates but told us that Wilson’s “publicity and popularity has gone way, way up.”

Hero worship has its pitfalls, however, particularly when mixed with politics.

After the shooting, Wilson posted a statement on his online campaign site addressed to “individuals who are making negative comments about my campaign signs.” Wilson’s campaign literature urges voters to “make sure your vote is on target” and includes a bull’s-eye for a graphic.

“The signs were designed and printed the first week of December and have nothing to do with the tragic events of December 29th,” Wilson wrote. “Have a blessed day.”

Other candidates seeking election to the county commissioner post are Jacque Gordon and Terry Stamper.

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