Thursday, May 28, 2015

How To Achieve Security At Church

“Suspect killed by police after shooting at Mormon stake center”
May 24 2015
“Mormon bishop fatally shot in California chapel; gunman killed”
Aug. 30 2010
“Woman shot to death outside church”
January 6th, 2008
“Police: 2 Shot In Parking Lot Of West Side Mormon Temple”
February 26, 2013
“Woman shot outside of church in South Salt Lake”
October 17, 2014
“2 Shot Dead In Mormon Library”
April 16, 1999
“Son of judge killed himself in Las Vegas LDS temple courtyard”
Nov. 20 2013
“Mormon temple parking-lot shooting: Man who killed wife dies, too”
April 12, 2013
“Police shoot armed man outside LDS temple”
December 26, 2010
These headlines are starting to be more and more common. What does this mean? Is there a conspiracy against Mormons? No, I don’t think so. But what it does mean is that we as members of the Church must be more vigilant and not so lax the way we are at church. Most members feel very safe at church. I believe they should feel relatively safe and secure in an LDS building. Most people there are there to work or worship and are peaceful. The problem is, churches in general used to be a safe haven and a place of refuge. They are mostly, but from the above headlines we can see that there is cause for greater situational awareness.
Most of the incidents are pointed toward specific people and most have been outside of the building. It would not take much for that to change. The problem comes with the sign outside “Visitors Welcome”. I don’t think that should be taken down, but that means there may be people we don’t know outside and inside our buildings. Most chapels have multiple entrances and exits. I know that this can be controlled somewhat with doors kept locked, but I know that would be limited.
This means our security is up to us as leaders and members. The Church’s policy on carrying a gun is that it’s not “appropriate.” In Utah, the law backs that policy up. Outside of Utah it depends on the state laws. You should follow laws and follow the spirit on policy. I know that many law enforcement in my ward carry but because of their shift work, I can’t depend on them. I do not advocate carrying in church, but I do advocate following the spirit in this thing.
At the very least we should keep security in mind and be aware of what’s going on around us. There are weapons other than guns. I always carry my tactical pen and a knife. But I’m afraid those weapons are only good if I can close and engage. A gun can reach out and touch someone. My wife has practiced and had our kids practice escaping the chapel if the need arises using the pews as concealment. That’s not a bad idea. Know how to get out of the room and the building. Always have a cell phone, many church buildings are getting rid of the hall phone.
Leaders should be aware of what is going on in the building and even outside the building. Assigning “security guards” for the parking lot may be a good idea. If there is another ward in your building this could be assigned to them and vice versa when they are in meetings. If this is the answer, find someone with some law enforcement or security experience to brief the guards on what to do and what to look for. Also, ensure they have a cell phone and know the difference between concealment and cover.
I think that there should be some training regarding being a priesthood holder at a women’s event. Most men think if they are in the building that they are doing enough. I would have one point of entry and be near that door. At the very least he should have a cell phone. Depending on the area and the time, women should be escorted to their cars. Maybe two men should be assigned. That’s my thinking anyway.
We can ignore the headlines at the beginning of this post or not. Being a sheep has never appealed to me. There is evil in this world and it does touch the lives of good people. If you agree be active in trying to get others to see the importance of preparedness in this area. If you don’t agree raise your head and say “Baaaaa…”
Semper Paratus
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