Identifying potential bombers

Bombers, just like those carrying other weapons, will usually do things that indicate they may be up to no good. In most instances, a bomber in a house of worship is much easier to spot if you know what to look for. The key to spotting someone carrying an IED into a house of worship is to have situational awareness.

Similar to active shooters, bombers have specific psychological behaviors that tell us that the individual may have bad intentions. This can include nervousness, twitching, fidgeting, and profusely sweating. They may have no facial expression, they don’t smile or laugh when most people would, and/or something may not seem quite right. These are all behaviors that can be linked to a “fear of discovery” by criminals or terrorists

We can sometimes identify the physical behaviors of those carrying an IED or someone that might be a suicide bomber. In most instances suicide bombers  have certain looks and mannerisms. One or more people with a keen eye can in many instances spot these individuals in the parking lot, or as they enter your church.

Signs that someone may be wearing a suicide vest include wearing clothing that is uncommon for the season, such as a large jacket on a warm day, or they may be wearing a coat, suit jacket or windbreaker that appears to be too large to match their face and legs. As can be seen in the picture below, the person is wearing a large coat, much bigger than his frame. He is also wearing shorts, which is unusual.  He may be a homeless person, or he may be a bomber, but this is an uncommon behavior. No matter what the uncommon behavior is, it should raise red flags with the safety team and be investigated.

Another sign of explosives is that they may be walking uncharacteristically gentle, walking in a robotic manner, or they may be acting nervous and/or sweating. They may have controlled or shallow breathing, and in most instances they will not look anyone in the eye. They will usually stare straight ahead, sometimes as if they are looking right through you.

In cases of radical terrorists, you may see light skin on their face where they recently shaved a beard, or they may be mumbling prayers . They may keep one or both hand inside their pocket, or in the case of a backpack or bag bomb, they will be especially careful not to bump it.

There may be wires that can be seen running from the backpack or jacket back into their clothes. In many instances they will keep their hand their pocket or the bag, so they can keep their hand on the detonator. In some instances, they may keep the detonator outside of the pocket, especially if it is a dead man switch that triggers the IED when they let go of the trigger (see the second image).

 

While the vast majority of suicide bombers are male, it should be noted that there are female suicide bombers too. This holds especially true with religious zealots. If your church has trained safety and security personnel, there is an increased chance that they may be able to identify these individuals and isolate them from others, or exclude them from the church altogether. Either action will save lives!

Over the next few days, I will be blogging about the types of IED’s and how they may be delivered. As much as I dislike doing this, some of these posts may be discussing the same subject over multiple days, simply because there is so much information to share so we can keep you, and your church, safe. Until then, … Mark

Bombings: Could they be coming to a U.S. church?

Some of you are looking at the title of today’s blog and asking “Is he nuts, that isn’t a problem!”. Well, it may not be a problem in the United States yet, but I firmly believe it will be in the near future. Much like I predicted in 2004 that active shootings in churches would increase, I am predicting that we will see active bombers in the churches sometime in the near future.

We only need to look at the trends of the past to see some aspects of the future.  Specifically, I am look at the bombings in Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Egypt (each a separate link) to understand how these bombings could be in our future. I also looked at the most recent attempt to bomb the New York City subway system. With the availability of how to make Improvised Explosive Devices (IED’s) being easy to find online, it also leads me to believe that this type of escalation is not far-fetched.

It is important to note that not only Christian Churches may be subject to these bombings. We need to also consider the possibility of bombing attacks on Jewish Synagogues, Muslim Mosques, Sihk Gurdwara’s, and many other types of houses of worship. To be quite honest, no house of worship should be excluded from the possibility that an IED may be used to cause death and destruction.

The individuals who will commit bombings in houses of worship (in my opinion) will be religious zealots. Several have come to mind when using this term. On both sides of the Muslim religion (Shiite and Sunni), radicals have caused death and destruction using IED’s in the name of Allah. They have instigated bombings and shootings against what they perceive to be infidels. If they did it in other countries, what makes us think that they wouldn’t also do the same to houses of worship in the United States?

Let me PLAINLY state Not all Muslims are radicalized!!! 

Only a small amount of Muslims have violent tendencies, and in almost every case they have been radicalized by specific groups, or they are supporting those groups by “Helping them out”. We should not judge all Muslims based on the actions of a few: this would be prejudicial, and it would not be based on the Word of God (love thy neighbor)

Zealots come in all types of religions. Think about the church bombing (and many others types of bombings) in Birmingham, AL during August of 1963. This was a zealot group causing death and destruction against a race, and based on zealot religious beliefs. In most of those bombings, the KKK and their religious followers were thought to be responsible for most, or all, of the bombings. As we look at zealots, we could see the potential for bombings coming from other groups that hold religious, racist, or governmental beliefs (e.g. Timothy McVeigh and the OKC bombing).

The point I am trying to make is that there are a large group of zealot organizations that are escalating their rhetoric. Data suggests that not only will active shootings will continue to increase, but also bombings. Instructions to create IED’s are a dime-a-dozen, and houses of worship are soft targets. Often, they can walk in and nobody will confront or question them.

While the aforementioned zealots are the most likely to commit bombings, we also cannot discount those with mental or psychiatric disorders. They too can cause death and destruction using IED’s, and more than a few individuals with these conditions can be capable of building bombs. In fact, the list of individuals who could cause death and destruction could go on, and on. Almost anyone can be the bad guy, even that nice man at the grocery store.

As I close for today, I wanted to let you know that throughout this week, I will be sharing how you can protect yourselves from bombings and bombers. I will also share strategies on how to increase your chances of survival should they get past you defenses. As we head to the New Year, this information may come in handy. Until tomorrow, … Mark

Share, share, share!

Merry Christmas! As we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, I am reminded that some of the best gifts are free. We can share the free

message of how Christ died for our sins to give us eternal life, and we should give this gift all year long. We can also share the knowledge that will help keep his children safe. Both of these gifts can be worth more than any other gift you can have. I am reminded of several verses that apply to this mentality.

 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 (NIV)

Of course, John 3:16 refers to saving souls. There are many verses in the Bible that talk about the saving grace of our Lord! There are also verses that talk about saving God’s children. One that comes to mind is:

“With their mouths the godless destroy their neighbors, but through knowledge the righteous escape.” Proverbs 11:9 (NIV)

Saving Lives and Souls is the name of our charity, and it is our mission in life. You can give the gift of eternal salvation through sharing God’s word, and you can give the gift of living on this earth by sharing our message about  church safety. By sharing the gift of Jesus, you help to ensure that someone’s soul is written in the “Lamb’s Book of Life”. By sharing this blog, you could save the lives of many who may benefit from the information. It is important to remember that almost anyone can benefit from this blog, even businesses, other houses of worship, and government and non-governmental entities. Similar to the analogy that Christians should not hide their light under a bushel, the information shared in this blog should not be hidden from others, it should be shared!

Because this is the celebration of our Lord’s birth, this blog was short today. For the remainder of the week, I will focus on surviving church bombings. Until tomorrow, … Mark