Never enough information!

On Monday, I attended a Sheepdog training seminar in Peoria IL. Some of you may be wondering why someone who has tens of thousands of hours of research over 14 years would go see a competitors seminar.

Well, let’s start of with the word competitor. In our business, we are not competitors, or at least we shouldn’t be. We are missionaries looking for the same end, protecting the flock. We should be working together, just like multiple Pastors work together to save souls.

How true is this? While there, I talked with Jimmy Meeks, and when he realized who I was, he asked me if I had enough business cards to hand them out to everyone (I believe the final count was 402 people). Notice he didn’t revert back into a hole and try to be defensive, he wanted me to be active in teaching the principles to save peoples lives. Those of us that are in this for the right reason want to work together to protect God’s Children. You can see some of what Jimmy teaches and preaches by watching this video.

The second thing that I want to point out, I went there to gain more knowledge! Maybe they were teaching something new, something that I was not aware of, something that could save a life! I learned several things, but what was most telling to me were the actual testimonies, such as the one by Carl Chinn.

Carl was involved with two incidents, at two separate venues. The first incident in 1996 was a mentally disturbed gunman, who brought a bomb and firearms into Focus on the Family ministry. Carl and two woman were held hostage for hours. The second incident occurred in 2007, at New Life Church in Colorado Springs CO.  A gunman who had killed two people at a ministry the day before, waited until hired law enforcement left the church, then he began killing people. He started in the parking lot, and then worked his way inside. Carl talked about the way chunks of concrete pillars seemed to explode from the gunman’s shots, and how Jeanne Assam was in the right place at the right time, and she shot the perpetrator. Here is a brief video of Carl being interviewed about this incident. Carl is an advocate of tactical training for church security teams.

I should point out that Saving Lives and Souls does not advocate for, or against, using firearms to protect the church. We do however believe that that the right type of firearm in the hands of a well trained individual can save lives in the event of a church shooting. The decision is ultimately up to the church.

The third and final speaker was Lt. Colonel Dave Grossman. Dave talked about preparing yourself bulletproofing your mind. Dave, who has a graduate degree in Psychology, spoke about the mindset we need to have. Dave told many stories and provided a lot of information. One my favorite stories he shared was about World War two, and can be seen in this video.

In the end, I walked away with more knowledge about how to protect the flock. That is the reason I went to this and will go to other seminars. You can never have too much knowledge when it comes to protecting God’s flock. That is why we all encourage you to attend more than one training on protecting the church. I also invite you to look at materials that these men of God offer. Don’t forget the tourniquet, which can save lives! Until next week, … Mark

 

Another Active Shooter Last Week

We saw last week that an active shooter, a 15-year-old boy, caused more death and destruction in a school in Kentucky. According to the Kentucky State Police, the teachers and several students had recently undergone active shooter training. Unfortunately, it does not appear as if the entire school received the training.

Looking at this from my perspective, the lack of training to every student is a downfall in many school (and church) active shooter plans. Every person should be trained in what to do when an active shooter (or bomber) makes it to the parking lot or crosses the threshold of the doors. If one person does not know what to do, they become more vulnerable than those that have had the training.

It is for this reason that I implore churches and schools to make plans, to train everyone, and to practice that plan. The more it is trained and practiced, the more likely that those involved will not only act, but they will take the proper actions that will save not only themselves, but others too.
I think I hear some voices out there saying “We have layered security and a security team: Do we really need to disturb people with what to do, and then practice it?” The answer is YES you do! Why? When you practice something, you build up muscle memory and brain memory. If you have trained their brains and muscles to do something under calm conditions, it is more likely that they will do the right thing when trouble comes through the doors. Secondly, are you 100% confident that your layered security and security team can keep a shooter or bomber outside? I have known some of the best public safety officers and soldiers that have been surprised by active shooters and bombers! What makes you think that your team is superior to all active shooters or bombers?

The same principles we teach for churches, can be used in schools. Let me plainly state that if you do not prepare for an active shooter or bomber, and revisit your plans regularly, you are setting yourself (and all those you protect) up for failure. Do you want the next headline to be “20 dead, 18 Injured in Church Shooting” or do you want it to be “Would be Shooter Taken Down and Detained Before Hurting Anyone”? The decision is yours, and complacency and/or procrastination will not help you if, and when, the time comes, … Mark

Personal thoughts-Cleo Warnick

I asked my wife to write down her personal thoughts about filming the active shooter video we are producing. I have also asked others to do the same, so you will likely see more of these in the near future. I find it amazing that even though this was a bunch of simulated scenes, with specific breaks between shots, it still brought about some serious emotions. Please ponder this account, and enjoy it, … Mark

Cleo Warnick’s thoughts and feelings-

As the day of videotaping began, I tried to bring myself back mentally to the days of secondary school drama club when I tried to imagine to be in a real situation we were about to act in.  There, the similarities between the two end.  On the day of filming, we were about to try and show what may happen, how we may feel and react, based on being unprepared and uninformed on what to do or expect, while hoping to maintain some safety…

…It seemed like a normal day as part of the congregation; a few greetings were exchanged; a little light-heartedness in quick chats before settling into the pews.  Everything was as it usually is.  Aware that cameras were already rolling, it occurred to me this sameness was how many disastrous and tragic days often begin when an active shooter situation occurs.  Empathy for those who have suffered a active shooter or bomber situation engulfed my thoughts.  Unremarkable, indistinct beginnings of a day, can turn to horror and terror at the blink of an eye, lives never to be the same, or worse, lost.

While listening to the opening of the morning’s messages, I felt vulnerable, because I clearly knew why we were all gathered.  The speaker continued, and we listened to his words. It was a pleasant day, and the weather was good.  Good friends had joined us, which is always a blessing.  Suddenly, a commotion broke behind me and was increasing; I, in the middle pews, I became aware of an individual storming past me down the narrow aisle towards the pastor, strangely holding his arm up with something in his hand!

Shock; disbelief; unreal; people screaming.  What do I do? What do I do? In church; he has a gun! Everyone was scattering in different directions.  Do we try to get out?  We are helpless.  Fear; overwhelming fear was my primary response. I told myself that I needed to remove myself, yet I felt frozen to the spot. Not asleep. This is my worst nightmare.

Okay, cut!

Dr. Warnick who was directing, stopped us and explained all that we could have done to lessen the impact of this individual on the church, and its people.  We needed to work together, identify our available resources, and have select people be prepared in the ways he suggested.  We needed to be more vigilant, or observant, of unusual behavior, and its implications.  Dr. W surprised us by showing us how many ways to exit, and made me realize the importance of uniting in our efforts to prepare ourselves and in so doing, strengthen our defenses.  There are actions people can take, as opposed to being sitting frozen to the spot, that can help them and others stand a greater chance of survival.  To be honest, never in my wildest dreams would I have thought about crawling under the pews for protection, or as a way to escape.

Someone knowledgeable in emergency preparedness can work with the regulars to pinpoint all that can be done with greater safety, in the face of adversity to facilitate a better outcome.  We can understand inner turmoil and horror while witnessing horrible events, but would we not sooner have had some training and instruction on improving the situation?

An example is where we would not go out in pouring rain without a waterproof coat, and are therefore more likely to stay dry.  A raincoat helps to keep us dry and avoid colds.  At work, in the event of a fire or other emergency, we look to the trained individual(s) who have been prepared to work with employees in such difficulty.  Usually, there are practice fire drills.  It makes sense to know what to do.  The ‘its not going to happen around here’ is an ideal, not a guarantee.  Preparation strengthens the individual and the group.  Not knowing what options there are, or what to do for the best under the circumstances, creates fear in itself.

The above are some thoughts, feelings and visualizations that I experienced during filming an instructional video under the guidance of Dr. Mark Warnick, emergency management specialist.  He has spearheaded and is producing this video to help others be better prepared for the purpose of saving lives.

 

Cleo Warnick

Master’s degree learner in Clinical Psychology