Layered security is inexpensive, and it protects more than one area. To this point, we’ve talked about the first and second layers of security. The first layer includes security cameras, and electromagnetic locks. The second layer is security film on glass doors and posting trained security, ushers, or greeters at the front door. The third level of security could be a group of individuals that are either follow suspicious individuals into the Sunday School classroom and/or the sanctuary, which we will explain today. I should mention that I am of the opinion that if there are enough able bodied people in a church, then creating a security team is preferable to hiring one. The reason? Hired security usually changes who they have in place (different person every week), and they have no more knowledge on security than the average person when it comes to church security. In most instances, they also do not know the building layout well, nor do they know the regular congregants versus visitors, but I digress.
Most churches want to portray a welcoming atmosphere, but by the same token, they want their parishioners safe at the same time. The third level of security addresses the visitor that you are not sure about. In most instances, there is nothing to worry about. You don’t want to drive the new visitor away, or even the troubled person that may need God’s divine intervention. The third level of security is more of a clandestine level of security, so that you do not drive these individuals away.
Before service (or Sunday School) ever starts, you should have an individual or a group of individuals that will sit next to, or behind, the individual in question. This holds true in Sunday School rooms or in the sanctuary during service. In most instances, behind them is the best place to sit, if possible. In the event they do pull a gun, or start acting out in any way, this security team member is within striking distance.
Let me say VERY PLAINLY that I am not telling you that these methods will always work. I am only providing ideas that may work, which will be dependent on the circumstances. One method that can be very effective in this situation is to pull them backwards, over the pew (or seat).
Another method that can also be very effective is to grab the arm with the gun, and pull it straight up, or pull it backwards behind the pew. The arm method is more difficult to do without the shooter getting off a round or two, but at least they will not accomplish their entire mission, and hopefully nobody will be shot.
If the visitor or person in question sits in the back row, the security team member may have to sit in a folding chair behind them, or sit next to them in the pew. If sitting next to them, they could grab their arm straight up (unless there are rooms with people above the sanctuary), or shove them sideways and/or trip them to make them go off-balance and force them to the floor. If they do go to the floor, and they still have the gun in their hand, stomp on their hand until they let go, then kick the gun away. If two people are trying to do this, one can kneel on their neck or small of their back, while the other stomps on their hand.
Whenever possible, force them face down and kneel on their neck if it is only one security person/ parishioner. If more people are available to help, they can kneel on the spine, legs, and arms. There are multiple ways to hold someone, and this blog should not be considered proper training to take these actions. These methods are only being shared to show you that more can be done. It is also provided to give you ideas on what can be done until you receive professional training.
Tomorrow, I will discuss what every congregant can do to help everyone to survive an active shooter in church. Until then, may God Bless you, … Mark