A Story

One bright and sunny summer day, an old man came walking into town. He was a quizzical looking old man with a dusty hat that hung low over his eyes.

All good stories begin with Once Upon a Time, except the best story ever, it begins with “In the beginning…” Well, I can’t match the Bible’s story so, let’s start out with the classic line.

Once upon a time, in a land that would look very much like America today, there was a small town, in a vastly rural area in which some of the richest people in the world lived. They had so much of everything. Whenever what they possessed broke, they just bought new. They could go where they wanted and, pretty much, do as they pleased. They had to obey the laws and pay their taxes, but they were still very much free to do whatever they liked. One thing was certain, they believed that they were never going to have to answer for anything they did which may have been in some way wrong.  They were masters of their fate.

One bright and sunny summer day, an old man came walking into town. He was a quizzical looking old man with a dusty hat that hung low over his eyes. The only thing you could see was long silver grey beard sticking out from under the hat. His hair was the shiniest silver grey anyone had ever seen. It was disheveled but clean and incredible to look at. His flowing beard was of the same lustrous silver grey and the mustache adorning his upper lip nearly covered his mouth completely, each end coming down and laying gently across his beard.

His clothes were certainly unique. He looked something like a cross between Indiana Jones and a motorcycle cop! His wore a tan shirt and jacket, a dark brown leather jacket to be precise. He carried a pouch slung across his shoulder, much in the Indiana Jones style and he carried along a worn backpack, the straps frayed and the canvas worn almost through in a couple of places. His ‘cargo’ style pants were tucked neatly into a pair of knee-high brown boots, the kind you might have seen a turn of the 20th Century motorcycle cop or maybe a ‘dough-boy’ cavalry soldier from WWI wear. He didn’t so much use a cane, as he did carry a stick that was also worn and well-marked from what must have been years of traveling by foot. His right hand gnarled and thick from hard work and long years clutched the crown of the stick that had the appearance of an eagle in flight.

The old man walked to the center of the city, strolling up to a bench in front of the magnificent city hall. There was just enough breeze to catch the flags and slap them against the wind. As he lay his pack on the bench, he took off his hat, running his forearm sleeve across his brow. He sat down with a sigh and began to gaze out across the city hall courtyard of marbled fountains and intricate stone-work patios. A valiant-looking bronze eagle was perched atop a design of the city’s seal which bore on it pictures of industry, farming and business. Yes, it was a fairly grand looking courtyard, the bushes neatly trimmed, the grass watered just enough and manicured so that no weed would dare poke its ugly head up to the sunlight. After a short time, it seemed the man dozed, but a curious thing was happening as people seemed drawn to come look at him. He had said nothing, was offering nothing; yet folks were hearing about him and coming, even from their homes, to stop by and stare at this old gentleman as he reposed upon the bench in the afternoon sun.

As the crowd grew, a hushed murmur was evident across the group, for it seemed no one wanted to disturb the gentleman in the flowing silver-grey hair now taken up residence in their city center. A slight hint of a smile seemed to cross his face, even as his eyes remained closed and his hands rested, crossed on top of the walking stick’s eagle crown. His eyes opened slowly and the smile grew brighter as he looked across at the crowd which had gathered to gawk at this strange sight of a man. And then, he spoke.

How long will you simple people continue to live in your simple ways? His question caught the townspeople off-guard. “What does he mean simple? We have some of the best technology money can buy!” Another remarked, “How dare he call us simple! Haven’t we got a fine university here and so many of our citizens are well-educated!” The old man was silent, looking out; his blue eyes seeming to pierce into the hearts of those who met his gaze.

“How long,” he said quietly, “will those who laugh and scorn others continue their derision and the foolish ones of you hate knowledge?” The townspeople were not sure whether to be angry at the old man or if he was just a simple-minded old man, off his medications and his mouth uttering whatever entered his feeble mind. The old man slowly began to rise from his bench, his right hand firmly grasping the cane for support.

“You should regret what I must say to you and you must turn from your pride and mocking and beg forgiveness to God for not taking time to understand His ways!”

Now the people began to think the old man was mentally off and maybe he could be dangerous! Someone thought the police should be called to control the old man and take him away if necessary. Still he spoke again. “I will be here and I will teach you the right way to live. None of you will listen, though. You will close off your ears and not pay attention to what I try to tell you. I will have no choice but to punish you for the way you are.” His last statement was said with a mixture of emotions. It was at once forceful and commanding and at the same time, so very sad. It was if his heart was breaking to say it.

Some of those standing near, laughed at the old man. Most laughed in a heckling way, while others, had just a bit of nervousness in their laugh. They called out to one another that the old man was mad and should be locked up and then they, too, laughed.

Now standing, his arm outstretched, the cane pointing menacingly at the crowd. “I will laugh,” he said, “when disaster, which I bring upon you, strikes you down and fills you with fear!”

Some of the people now backed away, but none could seem to just leave. They remained drawn to this old man dangerously threatening to strike them. He called out in a strong voice, “When disaster comes and blows away this majestic city and you cry out to me to protect you, I will not answer you.” The old man turned his gaze heavenward, then returning his eyes to the crowd, he declared, “You will search for me but you will not be able to find me.”

It was, as if, the sunny summer afternoon with the light breeze had turned ominous. The sky was now grey and clouds were gathering. The sun was blocked by growing clouds.

The old man looked, with pity, upon the young children standing there. As if to explain, he spoke gently to them. “They would not listen to me. They hated the knowledge I tried to share and they refused to even acknowledge how God has blessed them. Now, they must face what comes to those who do not know, honor and share God. It is their own foolishness that will destroy them.”

The children, unafraid, came closer to the old man as he sank back to the bench, exhausted. Some climbed up and sat next to him but all were staring longingly into his tired eyes. It was as though they hoped for good news from him after such bad.

Gently, the old man placed his hands on the heads of the children closest to him, leaning down, he spoke reassuringly to them. “Whoever listens to me will live safely and never have any fear of harm.” As he spoke, a hint of sunshine broke through the clouds and brightened the bench with its strange occupant and all the children sitting near. The old man slowly rose, slinging his pack onto his back, he started walking away.

“When will these things be? When will the disaster come?” some of the men hollered after the old man as he walked away. He just kept walking. Some of them laughed even more loudly, calling out insults to the old man as he left. Many more stood silent, lost in their thoughts as the figure of the old man faded from sight.

(The preceding was an adaptation of Proverbs 1:20-33)

AN OFFENSIVE DEFENSE: Church and Business Security

A good defender is always on the offense, looking for ways to stop the evil before it can erupt.

Charles Edward Greene, coming out of North Texas State College, in 1969 was to be the NFL’s First Round #4 pick. Unheard of for a small school? It didn’t take long for the school and Greene to be heard of. By his second year in the NFL, Greene was in the Pro Bowl. He received the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year award twice between 1969 and 1982, his time spent as a Defensive Tackle with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Charles Edward is better known as, “Mean Joe”, “Number 75” part of the STEEL CURTAIN of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defensive line. Married to Agnes in 1968 until her death in 2015, he honored her in 2018, setting up the Agnes Lucille Craft Greene Memorial Scholarship. Of his defensive role, he said, “The kind of role I play is like an offensive lineman: doing a good job but not being noticed.” [i]But noticed, he was, and he was noted for his leadership, fierce competitiveness, and intimidating style of play for which he earned his nickname.[ii] It was his character, for which he credited his mother which earned him a nomination for the 1979 Walter Payton Man of the Year award. Greene said, “Above all, there is Mother. She taught me how to love, how to have respect for other people.”

The PITTSBURGH-CLEVELAND Rivalry

Okay, I’ll say what has to be said. Having spent more than a few years attached to an Air Force Reserve Unit in Eastern Ohio near the Pennsylvania border and a torrential mix of Browns and Steeler fans, I am a tried and true Brown’s fan. That makes, for me, the Steel Curtain an offensive defense. That is not the nuance you must take from the title, however!

Here we will discuss SECURITY from the viewpoint of a man like Mean Joe. He sees the defense a place to be on the offense. With thirteen seasons to his credit, Greene is widely considered one of the greatest defensive linemen in National Football League (NFL) history.

DEFENDER Security, Ltd., a subsidiary of Security Consulting Investigations, LLC has as part of its new logo, a shield with crossed swords. Defensive weapons and offensive ones. It isn’t enough to be defending if your mindset is, I’m here, let ‘em come at me… they won’t get through. That’s good; but, it’s only half the strategy. A good defender is always on the offense, looking for ways to stop the evil before it can erupt.

The PATRIOT missile system is a defensive system which is strategically deployed in the places it is most expected to be needed. It remains on high alert, continuously probing  the sky, looking for the incoming trouble. And then, when deployed, it goes out to meet the trouble, head-on; literally.[iii]

Patriot Missile System

CHURCH SECURITY, or any professional security really, is programmed to be on the offense for their defense. It isn’t enough for a uniformed police officer or security person to be standing gallantly in the narthex of the church, there to wipe out the evil doer as he presents himself. What he is doing, when that is his total plan of action, is being the blue canary.

Canary in coal mine

My grandfather worked all his life in the West Virginia coal mines. He would come home in the early morning, the only visible white was in his eyes. Every other part of his exposed skin was as black as the coal he had been mining all night. Eventually, too, his lungs were just as black. In those days, they used canaries in the coal mines to determine if the oxygen level was too low. When the canary dies, time to leave. It was widely held that they used parakeets. Actually, the miners used canaries, rather than parakeets for several reasons. 1. Canaries metabolism makes them very susceptible to methane and carbon monoxide poisoning. 2. They give an audible warning. They sing most of the time, when they stop singing, it is an indication that they are being overcome by the gas. 3. They give a visual warning. When they start to sway and fall from their perch, it is another indication that they are losing their ability to function, due to the poison gas they are breathing.[iv]

So, there is our blue canary. A well-groomed appearance, sharp uniform, shiny badge; he is standing in the open foyer, the most susceptible to the on-slaught of evil. He’ll likely give an audible warning when he is shot first and, visually, others will see him fall from his perch. If a single officer is the only option a church or business can afford, then there must be a plan in place to keep him or her from being the blue canary!

I met a blue canary once, who truly understood he was a blue canary. That was his job. I’d just come out of the Tower of David in the Old City of Jerusalem. Friends of mine wanted to visit a nearby bookstore. I headed for the police station. Outside the station, where the razor wire was strung was a singular, phonebooth style guard post. In it stood a young police officer wearing two sidearms, a bandoleer full of ammunition and an automatic rifle. We spoke for a bit and he learned I was a retired police officer from the U.S. He recognized, somehow, I was a Christian and, discreetly showing me a crucifix under his vest; told me that he was a Christian, too. He then admitted that, for whatever reason, his youth or his faith, he was there as a blue canary. When things hit the fan and he was overwhelmed by attackers, those inside the barricaded walls and bullet proof glass would know there was trouble. So stands our stoic ‘Church Security Officer’ ready to defend; but, having no offensive plan whatsoever. That must change. Again, if the only affordable option is a single security officer, the church or business would be better off having him monitoring a security video system. It isn’t the best option, but it is better than having an officer sacrificing themselves as a target. Plans can be put in place using volunteers and team strategies to make it possible to view the security monitors and keep your security officer moving.

Israel has a couple of steps up on the U.S. when it comes to security, such as we need for houses of worship, regardless of faith. The principle is an offensive plan to their defense. The evil must never get close enough to do harm. It must be, and can be, stopped before it ever enters the narthex or the foyer, or coffee shop, or youth center. Certainly, it’s warmer inside, especially in February in Ohio; but evil is going to come inside from the outside. Don’t you think we should be there to meet it?

Roving patrols in parking lots have merit and challenges. The merit is they can be the first to see the evil before it enters. If they are looking, truly looking and not sitting in a corner of the lot checking their cellphones. They are visible, so there can be the possibility that evil never attempts to enter. It comes by, sees proactive ARMED security and goes off to find weaker prey. Being visible, though, it can also be circumvented. That is why there must NEVER be just one ring of security, but multiple, over-lapping rings.

The second ring, which is an over-lapping one, is the video monitoring system. Cameras, OUTSIDE, pointing in varying directions watching for evil to come within reach. Lots of churches have video cameras. That’s great. Some are also recording. That’s good, too. Most are not being manned. That is a mistake. What you have, if you have a recording video system not being monitored, is something the police will try to look at AFTER the carnage, bloodshed and death left by evil as it disperses back to the place from which it came. I believe evil comes and goes. It may arrive inside a demented mind of someone battling demons of their own; but should that person succumb to wounds on the scene, the evil within slips silently out, looking for its next victim. In 1 Peter, the Bible says, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”[v] The, be alert and of sober mind, that’s an offensive strategy for your best defense.

Security Surveillance keeping the evil on the outside
https://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&ccid=VFnloFva&id=0B768220A946A

If you think, when you take your shift as a DEFENDER, you are only going to battle against the punks of the neighborhoods within which you work, remember Paul’s admonition to the Christians in Ephesus. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”[vi] If you are planning a great offensive strategy, it’s a must to begin and end with prayer.

In future writings, we will be reviewing more offensive defenses. We hope you’ll join us. Look for future topics at www.docriggs.com and at www.defenderltd.com under SECURITY NEWS- Church & Business Security or click on: https://www.security-consulting.us/church-business-security 

Until then, be vigilant, be prepared, prayed-up and don’t be a blue canary!


[i]  https://www.bing.com/search?q=mean+jjoe+greene&form=EDGTCT

[ii] https://www.bing.com/search?q=mean+jjoe+greene&form=EDGTCT

[iii] Video available at: https://www.bing.com/search?q=patriotmissilelaunch

[iv] https://www.answers.com

[v] https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Peter+5%3A8&version=NIV

[vi] https://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?quicksearch=+flesh+and+blood&qs_version=NIV