My rant!

I read Carl Chinn’s guest blog this week, and it was so obvious how prevalent violence in the church has become. If you haven’t read it, you might want to. The statistics are almost unbelievable. It just goes to show how far our society has declined, and the true hold that Satan has on much of our society! I will stop here, and leave it as the end of my first rant, even though I could write pages on it. Something tells me I would be preaching to the choir.

As is common, I also looked back over the news and information that I found or was sent this week. I couldn’t help but wonder if some people haven’t lost their ever-loving mind because of mass shooters, and the fears that they have about them. Some of this news just made me shake my head. I especially am shaking my head about putting a bucket of river rock in each classroom for students to throw at a mass shooter.

It seems that a school administrator in Pennsylvania has come up with a bucket of rocks in each classroom as a “last ditch” effort to defend themselves against a mass shooter in their school. Now don’t get me wrong, using anything against someone actively trying to kill you, or someone else, is better than laying down and dying. Of course we can also look at David and Goliath; it seems a rock did help David out.  I mean, we do teach the Run, Hide, Fight (fight as a last resort) and the ALICE training, but books would do the same thing as these rocks to distract and/or hurt a shooter, if needed. Still, is it really that smart to provide teenage boys and girls a bucket of rocks against someone wanting to kill them?

I don’t know about most of you, but when I was growing up, I thought I was invincible. As a six year old, I jumped through a  garage entry door (that had windows from top to bottom) while playing batman (I was not the brightest child).  That caused me to have numerous stitches, and from what I am told, it was touch and go for a while from all the blood loss. The worst part was I didn’t learn from that experience. When I was 11 or so, and my family was building a house, When we were sheathing and shingling it, I would regularly jump off the roof, a 10-12 foot drop. Why? Because it didn’t take as long as climbing down the ladder. I look back and think of the many times I pulled stupid moves similar to this, including working on my three wheeler and making it run almost 90 miles per hour at the ripe age of 15. I also think about others, people that have good common sense today, that used to build ramps and jump an ATV over power lines on their farms, and the kids I knew as teenagers that used to play with fire and gunpowder. If any of today’s teenagers have the same mentality I (and others) did when I was that age, then they have played it out in their mind how they would save the rest of the school from a shooter because of their pitching arm. Unfortunately, that will likely get several killed.  Perhaps it would be better for the school to have fundraisers and provide some better security measures. On the other hand, at least they aren’t ignoring the situation. Still, I believe that they are putting their students at more risk.

My final rant is based on the recent rash of explosives. A few months ago, I predicted that bombs would start to be an issue. I also predicted that they would eventually work their way into our houses of worship. We only need to look at the past two weeks to see how this is beginning to come to fruition. Over the last few weeks, we have seen a bomber in Austin, a man that sent explosives to 11 military bases, a teenager who brought a bomb to school, and various other incidents related to explosives. These types of incidents only leads me to believe that we will see more of these types of incidents, and they will begin to filter into our churches. Please be vigilant, and look for anything suspicious in our houses of worship, whether a person or a package. The devil and his minions are unfortunately alive and well. Let’s try to thwart their success. Until next time, … Mark

Suspicious Packages-Part 3

Good morning and Happy New Year. Most of us make New Years resolutions, and I hope you and/or your church will make the resolution to use the information I (and other credible consultants) provide, to help make your church more safe and resilient against active shooters and bombers. Today, I am going to continue to share information on placed devices for active bombings.

Placed devices can be a package device or an explosive device that has no package, or is encased in something that creates a package. A placed device can have multiple types of triggers, including wired to a light switch, telephone, door, or fire alarm. It could have a trip wire, a hand contact, or a cell phone which detonates it.

Placed devices can be in mailboxes, out in the open, hidden in closets or under chairs or pews, or they can be in plain sight. The best way to prevent, and perhaps even mitigate, a placed explosive is good surveillance and situational awareness.

Bombers prefer the path of least resistance, what individuals in the homeland security and public safety field identify as soft targets. The church should try to deter bombers through hardening, or at least giving the appearance hardening to their church.  Something as simple as signs posted which say “All backpacks, briefcases, suitcases, and other packages are subject to inspection” might deter a bomber, especially if they have never been to your church before. This signage itself may, or may not help, nobody really knows for sure. It could be compared to a bluff in poker; can you fool the bomber into thinking they will get caught before they ignite the explosive? If so, they may choose an easier target.

If inspecting packages is an avenue your church wants to pursue, you should have a plan, and individuals who are trained to inspect items that are considered suspicious. It is important to note that inspecting packages without proper training is a recipe for disaster.

Also, should the church decide to inspect packages, those inspections should be in an area where it is less likely to harm others or cause damage to the church. It is at the churches discretion whether they want to post signage, or even inspect packages. There is no research that conclusively identifies or disputes signage or inspection of packages in a church as a deterrent, although there is data in war zones which indicates that this does work. While there is no evidence that it is a deterrent in churches, common sense tells us that the inspection of packages and individuals outside of the building will reduce the death over letting that explosive device into the building, where people are congregated.

The final, and perhaps the most difficult placed explosive to identify, is a car or truck bomb. It is however the least likely type of bomb delivery method. If a vehicle is placed in close proximity to the church, this may provide a clue that it may have explosives in it. If you come to church, and there is a strange car or truck parked in close proximity to the building, then it could potentially be a vehicle loaded with explosives. The first thing you should do is to keep individuals away from the vehicle and contact law enforcement from a safe distance, immediately!

If the rear end of the vehicle appears to be heavy (like it is loaded [based on the fact that it sits lower than the front]),  this too could be a sign of potentially being loaded with explosives. While some may say that this car (or truck) may be loaded with Bibles, or even books, you need to ask yourself “When was the last time someone delivered a truck load of Bibles or books to the church?”

Of course, you also need to use common sense. Are you expecting a new pastor and this might be their moving truck? Are you expecting a load of blankets to pass out to homeless individuals? Are you expecting a load of tracts and/or Bibles? If any of these fit, then you should probably not call the police unless there is something else suspicious.

If a suicide bomber is using a vehicle as a delivery device, then there are some precautions that could be taken. Of course, just like all of my recommendations, these are left to the discretion of the church as to whether they want to take security to this level. Gates could be put up to prevent someone from placing the vehicle when nobody is there. When people are at the church, rather than let any vehicle pull up to the front door, a safety and security team member could be placed at a portion of the driveway to allow only those that meet the churches protocols, to drive to the door. Those protocols would be regular members, elderly individuals, disabled individuals, known individuals, or something similar.

Again, this is up to the church, and should be based on the potential risk of a vehicle bombing. While it is unlikely that a security team could stop a car bombing, it may be a deterrent for someone with evil intentions. Seeing this type of security may cause them to never consider your church as a target, or they may detonate the explosives further from the building, which could result in less people getting injured.

As with any other explosive incident, law enforcement should be called as soon as possible if it is believed that there is a threat. Tomorrow,  I will discuss little known facts about how to survive an explosive device, should it get into your house of worship. Until then, … Mark