There are some funny albeit profound “commandments” about combat and warfare. My favorite was always “remember, your gun was made by the lowest bidder”. Another one is “ don’t bring a knife to a gunfight”. Sounds extremely crude and simplistic, but the idea behind it is to be prepared for a situation where you are not unprepared or overwhelmed by the odds of losing because you did not come properly supplied and prepared for the type of battle. Now America’s faith based community is grappling with security team preparation after the Texas Massacre at the Sutherland Springs Church.
Many churches have now, or are considering armed security teams to prevent a tragedy like the ones at Sutherland Springs and Charleston. Bringing the idea of guns into churches has raised some red flags, particularly among the more cautious members of various houses of worship. The response has been very diverse among the various Catholic, Jewish and Protestant leadership. At Counter Threat Group, we make recommendations to corporations, churches and any organization that has questions and concerns about safety and security. But the problem goes deeper and more complex than just deciding to have or not to have a security team. There are more threats to face than just active shooter scenarios. There can be all kinds of situations, including medical, fire, inclement weather, just to name a few that security teams need to be trained up to deal with at a moment’s notice.
So after the decision is made to have a security team, a house of worship has only complicated the matter of how to deal with emergencies. The next critical step is making sure the leadership has a comprehensive training plan in place so that the team knows exactly what is expected of them if a need to respond arises. An active shooter in a sanctuary or childcare area would be one of the worst scenarios a church might face. If you have a team in place, you will want them to be trained by professionals, and that training should be ongoing. I know men who have served in combat who say they are not confident enough to take a pistol shot at someone holding hostages in a church. They just do not train enough anymore to be confident to deal with an active shooter. One group for tactical training, The Shooting Institute, has combat veterans who are all members of churches, and all of them would confidently take that shot. They train constantly for active shooters.
It is not enough to just have a “Security Team” if they don’t know what to do, or better yet, what is expected of them to do by their leadership. Training, constant training must occur, for all kinds of emergencies, not just an active shooter. After all, if your team cannot respond effectively to the situation, they simply brought a knife to a gunfight, and they will lose.