Mass shootings, sadly, have become a predictable part of every year’s sequence of events. What isn’t predictable, though, is the when and where these madmen will strike. In recent years target venues have included schools, universities, military bases, office buildings, and churches. Churches and synagogues are somewhat newer additions to the venue list and are particularly vulnerable to mass-casualty outcomes. In 2017, the deadliest mass shooting ever at a church happened in Texas where 26 people died.
Parishioners go to church packing scriptures not guns. Yet, in recent years society has taken a deep dive into ways to aggressively mitigate the dangers of mass shootings at churches with some churches arming and training their congregants. Other churches are taking a more benign, public relations-friendly approach by publicly announcing a no-guns-allowed policy in their buildings and doubling-down on rules prohibiting members from conceal-carrying at church even if the person is legally-permitted to do so.
As churches continue to differ in their interpretation of doctrine to keep congregations safe from mass shooters, we at Wolf Security have a few suggestions to at least consider:
- Don’t post “gun-free” signs on your property
Posting a gun-free sign is like posting a sign that says “We can’t defend ourselves, so come on in!” Instead, if you insist on having a sign, consider posting one that says “Our congregation has people who pack pistols.”
- Organize a volunteer security cadre
You likely have security-minded, weapons-trained people attending your services each week. Make a list of congregants you trust who are also veterans or weapons-qualified through other ways. Approach these folks and ask if they would be willing to take turns being on security detail each Sunday.
- Hire a professional trainer
Equip your congregation with valuable knowledge on what to do in the event of a mass shooting by hiring a trainer to conduct a workshop on the topic. More and more organizations are doing this, including churches! Sheepdog Defense Group was highlighted in an article on thehill.com as one such training group providing training for churches to respond aggressively and smartly when faced with an active shooter.
The world isn’t getting any calmer, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do our part to keep ourselves, families, and churches a little safer by getting trained and being more informed on ways to mitigate an active shooter.
In addition to our own efforts to remain vigilant and prepared, we must also remember to thank our police officers for all they do to keep our churches safe. A little thanks to our friends in blue can go a long way to boosting the moral of law enforcement. Consider the example of Melaleuca which immersed their entire building in blue to show support for police officers across the country. Or the example of Chick-fil-A in Texas when it wore blue gear to show support for police there.
We are all in this together. Let’s help each other, thank each other, and stay alive.