I have now been teaching, lecturing, presenting, writing, and yes, preaching on school and church security for well over twenty years now. And, as the carnage continues in one form or another, I am not seeing near the same level of progress as I would have hoped. Yes, we are seeing a greater emphasis on improving safety and security in both schools and churches.
On the school side, police school resource officers (SRO) are now much more common. But sadly–including what we all saw transpire at Robb Elementary in Uvalde—I am also seeing the same issues coming up again and again. Moreover, with all the woke, anti-gun, anti-police and frankly, anti-law and order mess, I am frankly seeing things get worse.
So, what is the solution? (I’m talking about the REAL solutions!) With the understanding that I’m using an example from Hollywood, the solution can be found in large part through a line from the film, The Untouchables: “What are you PREPARED to do?” (added emphasis mine). I’m serious: What are you PREPARED to do? And THEN what are you prepared to do?
Here’s the deal: many today want to talk about what they “would” do, but frankly, most are not PREPARED or even willing to be prepared to do all that is necessary to legally (yes, legally) and morally stop evil, including but not limited to active threats and attacks in our schools and churches. Frankly, I ask the same two questions when it comes to making a real impact on lawlessness in general.
Before moving forward with “the answer,” let me explain what I’m NOT talking about:
- Gun control: Taking guns away from law-abiding Americans and security personnel is NOT the answer. We have this thing called the Second Amendment and the God-given right to defend ourselves. We already have a plethora of laws on the books that are not being enforced, and criminals are, well, criminals! They are not going to obey gun laws. In fact, what passes for “gun control” will only take life-saving tools away from those who need them most.
- Unarmed “security”: Unarmed security is not security! As my friend Lt. Col. Dave Grossman rightly states, “Never call an unarmed man ‘security.’ Call him ‘run-like-hell-when-the-man-with-the-gun-shows-up’ but never call an unarmed man security.”
- Arming teachers: If you can find the right people (think retired cops, former combat military) who truly have a warrior (yes, WARRIOR) mindset, then sure. But frankly, just arming the wrong kind of people is not going to work – most will curl up or otherwise fail when evil comes.
- Technology: “Tech” is great. I’m all for increased technology (cameras, IT, intel, etc.). But that “stuff” is not going to truly stop evil when evil comes.
- Policies and procedures: These things are needed but having a policy or procedure in place that you’re not truly PREPARED to follow—NOW—is not going to stop an attack or threat. Period.
- De-escalation: We already do this! But tragically, what now passes for “de-escalation” is essentially like being required to “hug” the threat instead of engaging and stopping it. Waiting to “de-escalate” as many now define it will result in more dead children, dead congregation members, dead citizens, cops and more. STOP IT!
- More police: Waiting for the police is NOT the answer. We can’t wait for the police. We must not wait. We must be PREPARED to GO – NOW – to engage and stop the threat.
I could go on but let me get to the point. The way we can stop the carnage in our schools and churches comes down to two things:
- SHUT and LOCK the DOORS! Really? Yes. The one issue that keeps coming up again and again is open, propped open and unlocked doors. The bad guy intent on evil will almost always gravitate to unlocked/open doors (Robb Elementary just being the latest). In my own experience teaching and leading safety and security teams I keep getting the same complaint: Locked/shut doors are not “welcoming” or are “inconvenient.” Folks, until we are truly PREPARED to shut and lock doors (and not just talk about it), we will both “welcome” and make it more “convenient” to threats.
- WARRIORS: Not “guardians” (as I’ve shared here before, warriors can and will do “guardian” stuff, but a guardian will NEVER be a warrior when a warrior is needed). So, what—for the purposes of this discussion—is a “warrior.” A warrior is that person who loves the sheep but is called, PREPARED and even longs to take on the wolf when the wolf comes (see Lt. Col. Grossman’s famous essay, “On Sheep, Wolves and Sheepdogs”). We simply MUST be willing and PREPARED to infuse our schools, churches and yes, our police departments again <sigh> with trained, armed, genuine servant-WARRIORS. Warriors who are physically, mentally and yes, spiritually PREPARED and equipped to do ALL that is rightfully (lawfully, Constitutionally) necessary to stop evil in its tracks.
Let me expand a little more on what it means to be PREPARED:
Being PREPARED means that administrators (pastors, school leadership, chiefs of police, prosecutors, etc.) are fully PREPARED (not just talk) to fully back their warriors. Back them in their jobs, back them in their agencies, back them in court, back them with training and equipment. And it does not mean just throwing us under the proverbial bus!
Being PREPARED means having prosecutors, judges and yes, VOTERS who will once again put dangerous offenders behind bars where they can’t hurt our kids and citizens.
Finally, being PREPARED means that the true servant-warrior is regularly TRAINING – physically, mentally, and yes, spiritually. Is that you? God help us, it must be!
In closing, and on the subject of “spiritual” PREPARATION, most who follow me know that I am both a cop and a chaplain/pastor. I both minister to my own and PREPARE (training, if you will) personally through regular prayer, Bible study and regular fellowship with others who share my worldview. And I am dedicated to being PREPARED to be used by God to lead my fellow warriors to a saving faith and then mentoring (discipleship) then to be spiritually prepared to both survive and thrive in our unique world. For more on this, you can find me on social media or through the Centurion Law Enforcement Ministry.
To paraphrase Jimmy Malone in The Untouchables, “What are you PREPARED to do? And then what are you PREPARED to do? If you want to truly protect our school, churches and yes, our society in general, you must be willing to go all the way.” Well?