I spent this past Saturday with 30-some Christians who are forming a church security organization for mutual support and training. Besides administrative things, we learned skills to deal with disturbed people from a police hostage negotiator and licensed professional counselor.
We also heard two accounts of recent good work by church security teams. The first was a near-hysterical woman who approached team members saying that her ex-husband, who had been stalking her, had just entered the auditorium. She showed security her restraining order which required that he stay at least 300 feet from her. She said he carried a gun. She was taken upstairs while other team members asked him to step outside, showed him the order, and gave him a trespass warning. He left.
The second suspect was spotted by team members in the parking lot during services. He was taking pictures of the buildings, especially entrances and exits. When approached, he appeared to be Middle Eastern and spoke with an accent. He was calm until they started to take his picture, objecting strenuously that doing so was illegal (it’s not). Cops who are part of that church’s security set-up arrived and issued a trespass warning. They also took pictures of the man’s car and license plate. When the cops ran the plate, it came back as a rental. The cops reported the man to the FBI, as he had all the classic characteristics of a terrorist scout.
Now ask yourself this: Does MY church have anyone trained and in place that would have been able to help this woman or would have even noticed the scout in the parking lot? Or is everyone in my church inside, not on alert, doing “churchy stuff”? These are but two of many incidents that occur at houses of worship each day in America. Examine the incident tables at www.carlchinn.com, where criminal acts committed on religious property are catalogued. You’ll be alarmed and informed by the information found there, such as, most criminal acts on church property stem from domestic violence. Many are surprised that violent crimes (rape, kidnapping, robbery, murder and attempted murder) occur as well. It should raise every thinking person’s antenna.
Remember Pearl Harbor: Japan’s sucker punch that started us in WWII, galvanizing the nation as one to destroy tyranny in less than four years? Remember 9-11? We got fired up for a couple years, but there was no nation-state to blame and conquer; just shadowy religious nut-jobs that are hard to kill and harder to find. So we got the Department of Homeland Security, pretending that searching Grandma and Brownie Scouts was making us safer. They told us not to worry, with a “Don’t call us, we’ll call you” attitude. They said, “Everyone go back to sleep. We got this.” Except they don’t. They failed from Boston to San Bernardino to Orlando and a dozen other places.
I train armed church security teams for the same reason that I go armed every day, because the private citizen, as target and victim, is therefore the First Line of Defense in this world. The victim is THE first responder, whether it is a robbery, a revenge killer, or a terrorist attack. If you haven’t realized this fact, Buckaroos, it’s high time you did. Billy Graham once said, “If the Devil considered Job, don’t you think he considers you, too?” (Job 1:8-12). Our Dept. of Homeland Security has to bat 1.000 to keep us all safe. “But NOBODY can bat 1.000!” you say. My point exactly. WHO stops the Bad Guys if the government fails? Who keeps them from the sheep until the professionals get there? The victim dying from stab wounds in the church foyer doesn’t care if the motive was murder or terrorism that killed him. He’s only going to be asking, “Why me? or” Why my wife, why my daughter?” The Good News is that being ready for one type of attack is being prepared for another.
So what can we do? Alert church leaders of the situation and then form and train a team. If you see something out of the ordinary, alert someone! In Nehemiah, the Jews rebuilt Jerusalem’s wall with each man wearing his sword, half of them working while half stood guard, fully armed and armored. “But we prayed to God, and because of them we set up a guard against them day and night.” (Neh. 4:9, 13-23).
Get your church, synagogue, temple, mosque to realize that it is a potential target. Train church members in traumatic wound first-aid and have trauma kits posted around the building. Don’t assume that your 80-member church in the country is safe. Terrorists are out make folks feel scared and reluctant to go out. Your remoteness means far longer response times for Emergency Services and better chances of escape for the Bad Guys. Many colonial and early state laws REQUIRED that pioneers take their weapons to church because of danger of “Injun attack.”
Finally, convince your state legislators to allow armed trained teachers in schools, along with state trained militia. Get them to eliminate gun-free zones wherever possible. When the Bad Guys’ scouts see alert, armed guards, they’ll take their business elsewhere. The Devil IS considering you and yours. Act accordingly!