Instructor Notes: "Well that just makes me feel uncomfortable"

I’ve been hired by a handful of businesses and churches to step up their security on a permanent basis as well as just for the Christmas and New Year Seasons. Part of this is creating an EOP (Emergency Operations Plan), which is a comprehensive plan that covers all aspects of “house of worship” and small businesses.

The HOW’s have proven to be a bit of a challenge. As part of this EOP the major top tier topics are Deterrence, Protection, Response and finally Mitigation. The most recent church was all on board with the entire EOP, we were into our 5th meeting and had created an internal EOP team from congregants and elders. They were very enthusiastic, we had already ordered, received and installed a security system with multiple panic buttons, and camera’s that transmitted a live stream in the event of a DCI to a call center. We had ordered, received and installed Trauma IFAK 's in select locations and had training on their use.

The next part of the plan is where things imploded. “We just aren’t comfortable with implementing the rest of the plan, the congregants being told what we’re doing will scare them. Telling them where to go and which door to evac to! We’re just going to have Sam sit in the back of the church because he carries a gun.”

A congregant in the back with a gun! Wow! What formal training has he had, will he go to a knee to reduce the risk of a penalty of a miss, will he close the gap, be aware of a second shooter, be able to watch the main exit door in the event the second shooter is outside the church watching for congregants to rush out the front door in a panic?

Now, this same excuse is what I’ve heard from some of my students, "I’m not going to carry even though you just taught me CC or and I am getting my license from the state. I don’t think it will happen to me. I’m not traveling to scary parts of town.

In both scenarios I understand it’s not a comfortable topic to think about. Even my own son-in-law, after “loaning” him a firearm will NOT get a LTC or formal training from me (free of course). It’s like, “If I don’t get a colonoscopy I won’t get colon cancer, it’s too scary to think about”.

In conclusion, make a plan and commit yourself to following through with the plan however uncomfortable it may be. Don’t be the guy sitting in the back of the church with a gun.

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Some folks just don’t want to face the enormity of reality.

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Well said! I’m not a trainer for the money, I really enjoy trying to help people and it’s just mind boggling sometimes where people stop in the “process” of firearms and self defense ownership.

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I’ve helped a few churches and have found it always gets uncomfortable when it comes time to talk about the difficult stuff. My technique for breaking the ice is a straight forward approach, I ask if they only teach the easy parts of the Bible. Then I tell them I would be doing them just as much disservice if I only talked about the comfortable stuff.

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This is exactly where patience is a key strength, my degree is in disaster management and emergency response. In the Air Force worst case scenarios real and exercise were expected! Planning, training, deployment, mitigation on extreme levels of threat were expected. After retiring and reaching out to my church…offering assistance in developing a emergency disaster plan. I quickly became aware of the amount of fear there is associated with real world threats. And the avoidance that develops into out right resistance. So the tough part is being the liaison between those wanting to do things full blown and right away with those who want just to come to church and worship then go home to Sunday dinner.

Most importantly start slow, baby steps, little bites, motivate in small ways. They do not have our passion or skills. Excellent start you got a security system installed, next cameras so the ushers can watch on a computer in a back area of the church…areas around the church and property while service is going on. Next maybe work on first aid supplies, who is a trained RN or MD. Offer a family CPR class on a Saturday.

Do not go in concerning a active shooter scenario, right away. Civilians are just not ready yet, Start with getting the local police involved with some training on different threat scenarios and what to expect from them. I know that this something you can teach but you are building a community connection hear between the church and Emergency Response.

Next tackle a written guidance sheet for church employees, the pastor, elders, to keep around the church. Remember the telephone bomb threat sheets that guided one through what to do? Well build one to cover all threat possibilities, with good phone numbers. Be sure it is simple but comprehensive for each scenario.

Next have the leadership find anyone in the church who is a gun enthusiast or LE or a shooting instructor, then engage them to make an after church planned fun event for other gun enthusiasts to go to the range for a casual shooting event for anyone interested. Make it a fun family event…now we know who in the church is trained, and how much training. Learn who is licensed to ccw, take it slow; but people will quickly want to learn more about your emergency plan, then taking it to the next level will be easy. Just some thoughts I hope they may help. But please know you are not alone, our plan is still evolving and there’s always some resistance. Keep the faith and God Bless.

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@Jerry1 , your post is spot on.
The thing with the last church (all the others were on board and fully implemented) I think it turned internally political somewhere as we were about 5 weeks into the process. Everything you mentioned we had done… Re-reading to make sure I didn’t read your post like a guy… … … … yep all of that… the CPR was actually CAT, Compression, bleed, chest…
We had id’d LTC folks and had reached out to them, Guidance sheet, that was our 30 page EOP.

The only thing we hadn’t done is “make it fun”.
Believe it or not, local LE was the guy sitting in the back in a chair playing with his phone the entire service. I had spoken with him in the past and the last training he had was 5 or 6 years ago and it was book training.

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Ah yes, the best laid plans of mice and men often go asunder :grinning::grin: What is also interesting is its not just with emergency planning we run into resistance. Churches have been struggling with volunteers and support for centuries!!!

It is always sad to hear about LE who…well are not focused!

Wish I could be of more help, keep at it you are definitely doing God’s work and you are making a difference! :wink:

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Our church is Northeast of Dallas and the church shooting was West of us near Ft Worth. It had impacted us on our thoughts about safety. Our pastor brought it up in a special "if you are interested/ concerned) meeting. He explained that we already had armed members who were in contact. and other measures taken for security.

We are not just letting so and so who carries watch from the back. We do have 5 or 6 officers or retired officers as members.

I passed.on the book that was offered here a while back to the lead security person and had to replace it for myself.

I hope those you reached out to help realize it could happen in their quiet city as well as anywhere

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In the end, it’s their decision. You got them thinking, but you aren’t going to be there every Sunday. They have to figure this out on their own. You can lead a horse to water…

If they want Uncle Joe sitting in the back with a shotgun, well, ok. Maybe that’s still a step up from a “Gun Free Zone” sign on the front door. If they decide Inshallah and they don’t need any protection except their God’s, well that their decision, too. If they want to go full David Koresh… well, hopefully you don’t hear about them on the news anytime soon. No matter what they decide, it’s their decision.

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I don’t know if our church is unique in their view on guns or not but I think we probably are. We are in northern Arkansas and about 80% of the people including the women and children as young as 6 are active hunters for anything that has a season but turkey and deer are the biggies. We have had 8 year old girls bag trophy bucks so it goes deep to say the least.
On any given Sunday I would estimate that at least 60% are carrying and that includes most of the older men and women. It is just something that is there. We have a security team for the outside and one for the inside plus we have emergency medical available at all times so we are covered there. At last count we had 4 police officers and 19 RN’s in the church. The people are prudent in their approach to safety and I would really pity anyone that tried anything there. We are gentle people and love the Lord but you are not going to be able to do much damage if you try. I don’t know why Christians sometimes stick their head in the sand and say we don’t need to protect ourselves as God will do that. Well God also said he will protect those that help themselves. C hurch leaders need to wake up to the fac t this is a different world than it was 30 years ago and these really are very dangerous times we are living in. Bot foreign and Domestic.

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I understand this feeling of resistance. It happens when I read too much about self defense, when I watch too many real life action films and when I discuss how I will take a life and and when I will take that life. I have always been a peaceful person and would rather avoid trouble and angry discussions that escalate into an air of impending doom and violence.
But I live in a world that is full of Left wing and Right wing extremists empowered by the threat of potential violence to reach their objectives and goals. So I am licensed and I train and I carry full time with the prayer I don’t have to face a life and death confrontation.
I would offer my suggestion that helping this church overcome that resistance and hesitancy will be more successful with a less aggressive /forceful approach than telling them them their ignorance will get them killed. Remember they are coming from an environment that preaches Love and Hope with Understanding. Help them understand that they are at a crossroads and they need to make the hardest decision (easy for us to understand) to accept that evil doesn’t respect a Kind and Loving environment. This is your challenge as a great teacher.

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Interesting that a Christian church should avoid something just because it makes them uncomfortable –

I didn’t go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.
C.S. Lewis

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Try being a member of the CTholic Church. No Gun signs up everywhere until a contracted security firm recommended taking down the signs. But the bishop still says no guns. We carry anyway. In fact we suspect one of our deacons carries at mass.

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Our pastor said he feels safe because they lock all the doors except the main entrance, and a police officer is usually stationed at our church.

This is taken over a safety team. Our church even had no gun signs until they were recommended to change them.

I told my wife, both of those steps are great. Having an officer is great. BUT if a bad man came to kill people, he could conceal
Past the Officer, OR his first target would be the Officer. The officers are no longer present now either. (I bet it’s money or Covid, or both).

My solution is to conceal carry and take care of my family. (Discouraging carry is not the same as it being a crime to carry).

People like a false sense of security. The sermon today involved how masks protect us and anyone who challenges it are spreading conspiracies :roll_eyes: (I go to Church for God, not cause every sermon is good :joy:)

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@Patrick69, Gotcha, good points. I approach groups such as these with a firm but tactful approach. Yes, there has to be a balance of “love, hope & understanding” but at the same time these places, in this case HOW have come to me so they don’t want fluffy butterflys and buttercups… (I just like using that analogy. :slight_smile:

I went back there today, and attended their service. It was very nice and inspiring. But, yep, here’s the but, they had installed a big 15x15 Christmas Photography Booth/Set right in front of the EVAC/Emergency door that was part of their EOP. The MAIN evac door!!! I politely told one of the elders after service and he said he wondered about that too. We both went to the pastor and he said, yep you’re right we’ll have it relocated in the next couple of days.

@OldGnome funny you mention this…
Today is the birthday of writer Clive Staples (“C.S.”) Lewis, who was born in 1898 and died 22 November 1963.

Also, they wanted to put up 30.07 signs, no open carry. I told them that no one is going to come to church with open carry, and if they do then they have an LTC which means they are FBI background checked and are actually one of the good guys. All you’ll do is upset most of the congregation thinking you are anti 2a. They agreed with this.

@KillJoy I am a former, or non-practicing cath… in exchange for non-denominational bible churches now. After I literately got called out in the middle of mass and reprimanded by the bishop, who was over the Austin area back in 2007, we have never gone back.

@Scoutbob Your points are spot on. With 1 officer, on display, he will be the first one shot. Same with the guy who sits in the back of the church with his shirt hoisted up to display his firearm. Not all LE has mass shooter training, an example, LE is trained to create distance and find cover/concealment in a DCI. In a mass shooting incident you are trained to close the distance and maneuver so as the penalty of a miss does not harm anyone, regardless of potential personal injury to your self.

The shooter in White Settlement concealed until after a bit of time through service, when he stood up and advanced on targets. If there was a Sleepy Joe in the back of the church without training in charge of security, it would have yielded a different outcome than the heroics that saved lives that day.

LE not present any longer could be a money thing, at work when we hire in off duty LE they are between $35-$50 per hour with a minimum of 4 hours. So, at church, that’s like $200 for service, just on 1 single security dude. Unless it is one of those mall cops with a radio, they are far less $$.

Yes American’s like a false sense of security. Don’t you feel so so much safer getting on a plane now that granny over there had to take her shoes off and do palm swabs.

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I got threatened with excommunication. By our Bishop for pushing for a church security team.

That’s beyond dumb and completely out of line. I left the Catholic Church for 17 years after a series of priests trying to illicitly groom me. One priest even tried. When I met my wife I fled to her church after being heavily proselytized. Long story short, I found out that people are people no matter where you go.

We used to joke that any group of 10+ people will have at least 1 a-hole.
That doesn’t mean the whole group is a bunch of a-holes, but we’ve all got at least one in our circle of friends, family, and associates. As the saying goes, if you don’t know who it is, it’s probably you.

I joke, but I find it to be fairly reliable, as well. Whether we’re talking about a religious group, a political group, or even a fine group of people like we have here, there’s always “that guy” that will tarnish the reputation of the rest.

One of my favorite, serious George W. quotes applies:

Too often, we judge other groups by their worst examples - while judging ourselves by our best intentions.

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Does the church have some sort of fire evacuation plan? Not to downplay or pull the wool over their eyes, but discussing an evacuation plan doesn’t need to be just about an active shooter situation. That might be a good next step in their planning and keeping the congregation informed and prepared.

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Yes, believe it or not it is the same exit as the MS evac route.

Depending upon the church and their perceived comfort level, I will be in attendance during the announcement to the congregation or I have been enlisted to speak as a professional to the congregation. Based upon what this comfort level is, the evac/escape route is either referred to as it is an “Emergency Evacuation Exit” and/or a “Fire Exit”. Obviously the latter for the more, “sheltered”,m a pastor or elders think their congregation is.

PS. This is the same church that didn’t have a single smoke detector in the whole place. Now they have smoke/fire/CO all tied into the security system that will alert a call center.