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SECURITY!? IN A CHURCH?
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This section is updated every Sunday morning to give church security teams some things to think about as they prepare for weekend services. I wish your team the very best and hope you may find occasional things applicable to your operations.
Truthers / Auditors – an evolving threat.
After significant attacks (like the Synagogue in October), strange people pop up. Like worms after a storm.
Often “truthers” show up after significant attacks claiming the attack never happened.
A new variation of “truthers” is “auditors.” They record confrontations with people trying for a bunch of you-tube hits and donations. They are all hoping for that Crem de la Crem of a recorded violation of their civil rights so they can get a lot of attention (and get rich).
Truthers and Auditors are so alike I just call them “T/A’s.”
On Thursday 2/14/19, a T/A showed up to antagonize a uniformed, contracted armed security guard posted outside a synagogue in Los Angeles. You can view the entire episode at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hk1YBIYB9uM. It is educational on what to be prepared for with these T/A’s.
He is standing on the sidewalk filming a frustrated guard with his firearm in the low-carry position, rocking back and forth on his feet. About 4 minutes in, while the video was aimed away, you hear a shot go off. The T/A starts yelling for everyone to hear that the guard has just shot him in the leg.
Bystanders begin administering aid, calling 911 and yelling at the guard to put his gun away. You can hear the guard claiming that the T/A was trying to break in and that, “I saw him no to get in, no to try, he kept doing that.” The guard is pointing at the wounded antagonist saying “I shot at the floor. He had no shot!”
The T/A is playing it up like a basketball player calling attention to a foul. He yells for everyone to hear, that he got shot for being on the sidewalk.
When police arrive you hear him yelling, “they are going to put me in handcuffs.” Yelling at everyone that, “I got shot for being on the sidewalk and going away in cuffs.”
To make matters worse, he starts proclaiming that he is a transgender female and won’t be handled improperly by the wrong gender. The police ask whether he wants a male or female to handcuff him. He he won’t answer, but just snaps that he doesn’t need their attitude.
Think about it
There is an increasing chance your church security team will encounter T/As.
Watch the video and develop drills for this kind of thing.
The whole thing verifies why it’s not a good idea to use contracted uniformed security. They do not represent your church, but they sure do in the public eye. I like volunteers from the church, but they must be trained for this kind of nonsense.
That security guard is going to flip hamburgers for the rest of his life.
And last week's TAI ...
Sometimes I get questions best answered for the benefit of many. Such was the case with a recent procedural question. Here was their scene and draft procedural response.
SCENE: You (a volunteer armed member of a team) and 800 congregants are in the sanctuary sermon. A killer starts shooting in the sanctuary. Run, hide or fight?
THEIR DRAFT 3-POINT PLAN: 1) Order congregants to the floor or cover as you engage the attacker. 2) Other responders evacuate members in non - scene areas as 3) some responders evacuate any from the scene who can be safely moved.
MY RESPONSES: The inquirer knows this, but I must state the obvious; attacks rarely go down as envisioned. That said, let’s go through this scene, but with a response suitable for variables.
Responses relative to the 3 points of their plan;
1 ): Most victims move to the floor eventually anyway in such a scenario, but authoritative verbal commands should quicken their effort. Roar rapid stunning authority over hell and earth, leaving no doubt to friend or foe. Command innocents to safety, while asserting power over the attacker.
Train and drill for this like you mean it; scaring those training with you.
2 and 3 ): Individual team members are either intervention capable or not, regardless of where they may be on campus related to the scene. When shots are being fired, intervention capable defenders go towards the gunfire. Always. No exceptions. Remember Parkland.
If some team members are not intervention capable, they should get others to safety if possible.
Think About it
I teach the importance of staying at your post and being eyes up for diversions. However, when shots are fired, the scene has changed. Courage is contagious. Intervention-capable defenders who hear shots away from them, shout quick instructions to potential victims around them, then move quickly to engage. There may be a scenario someday for exception, but I’ve not seen it to date.
If anyone recalls a scenario in a church, school or other place where the Parkland model (intervention capable defenders not going into the gun fire) was the right choice, tell me.
If anyone recalls a scenario where intervention capable defenders went immediately towards the gunfire and it was a mistake, tell me.
Non-intervention capable team members command the safety of innocents. Intervention capable members outside of the scene won’t know what those shots are, or if their engaged team members are still alive. Get there.
Run, hide or fight is no sequence. They are choices. Your choice depends on your proximity to the situation and your resolve.
If you are resolved to usher others to safety, do it. If you are resolved and capable to stop the attacker, do it.