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Protecting Your Church In An Age Of Terror

Singing Hymns in Church

Most people believe they’re safe in church, but times have changed

Like it or not, Americans have to face the reality of today’s real-world threats right here on our own soil. Some of these threats come from abroad or are influenced by foreign fanaticism. Unfortunately, as witnessed in recent weeks, we must also face increasing threats from within our own communities.

Of course, the liberal side of the house including many media outlets, would suggest that we all be good victims and lay down to wait and be executed. I even read recently where one ignoramus suggested that the after shooting police investigation that occurred in a suburban Denver Wal-Mart was impeded because several armed patrons drew their side arms in the midst of the attacker’s shooting and killing of three innocent patrons. The inference was that police had to slow their investigation because so many folks pulled guns…I’ve got one word for that thought:  TOUGH! This commentator went on to suggest that it is a rare event that a good armed citizen can or will stop an attack. What’s rare is publicity focuses on such events. An exception is the armed citizen, Stephen Willeford, who’s been widely recognized for stopping the church attack in Texas as we all know.

Many churches and businesses have developed security teams and measures and I applaud these efforts. Police were on scene in the recent church massacre in Texas in four minutes. As I have long said, the police want to get there, they yearn to stop the carnage, but in reality, it just takes too long in most cases. Four minutes is an eternity when people are being methodically killed.

So, that leaves you, the determined and defiant citizen who will take action to stop the threat. Texas. This decision is not to be taken lightly. Since you are already carrying concealed or open, perhaps there are some considerations you haven’t thought of.

I am a supporter of our 2nd Amendment, a past law enforcement officer, and currently a fulltime firearms and tactics trainer. Consequently, I believe in solid gun training. If you and your church members or business associates are developing a security program that includes a potential armed response, give some thought to the following.

Avoidance or escape

If you can, always opt for avoiding an armed confrontation. If not, can you escape? Can you evacuate all innocent persons without compromising their safety? Any of these are a better option than engaging in a gun fight, but of course be prepared to take decisive and aggressive action if that’s what it takes to save lives. Your security team needs to train to this level and be prepared if the need arises. Being constantly aware of the environment around your church, any anyone approaching, is critical as well. In other words, remain vigilant.

Concealment options

A security team for a church or business is probably best served by keeping sidearms concealed. Can you conceal your chosen handgun and then efficiently access it in an immediate threat event? This skill set needs to be practiced and refined continuously.

De-escalate force when appropriate

You need to consider that not all confrontations are related to immediate use of deadly force. Intermediate use of force options may be a consideration. Verbal skills are part of this. Have your team work with a good trainer who provides scenario based training. When done with proper planning and good safety measures, it’s an excellent way of training for reality based situations.

Marksmanship fundamentals and tactics

If you intend to be part of an organized security team and intend on carrying, your shooting skills must be top notch. Practicing basic gun manipulations such as drawing from concealment, reloads under stress, shooting from cover, shooting with movement, dim light shooting (carry a flashlight!), precision shots, and clearing malfunctions are all critical skill sets. What if you need to move from one part of your church to another in the case of an active shooter? Tactical movement and not running past blind corners may be important.

Emergency medicine

Perhaps some of your security team wants to focus on other areas of training. Not to exclude your armed team members from emergency medical, but others who choose not to be armed can get involved in this way. The Tactical Combat Causality Care model (TCCC) or last ditch medical as I like to call it is an excellent example. Based on stopping major blood loss (tourniquet and quick clot use), dealing with penetrating chest wounds and airway issues as well as some tactical considerations.  Add CPR and AED use, and you have the basics for preventing or minimizing deaths in the case of an active shooter or other emergencies. Remember, in a major event like an active shooter, the responding officers have to be concerned with stopping and or locating the threat first, not providing medical aid.

Legal system

Don’t leave out training that addresses your local laws and concerns with civil liability. Remember too that law enforcement and other emergency services are on the way. Their response may be immediate or it may seem to take forever based on your location or availability of emergency personnel. When they arrive, someone on your team needs to be ready to communicate calmly with them, and not with a gun in hand! Also understand when it’s in your best interest to remain silent.

Bottom line, it is not unreasonable to have a plan and practice it. Utilize any willing individuals in your church or business who already have a skill set in these areas.

Someone once said, “Only a fool confuses preparedness with paranoia”. I couldn’t agree more.

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