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

See Something Say Something Revisited

There remain too few persons willing to share the insights they have into other persons and their planned nefarious acts than we need. Law Enforcement Officers have a responsibility to be out and about developing relationships with people who may eventually know something they shouldn’t. Those folks need an outlet for the information they are carrying. They become acutely aware that to keep it to themselves might make them an accessory to the crime and facing legal trouble. They also may realize that what they know could put them in jeopardy with those about to perform said nefarious deeds and now they (our ‘good citizen) finds himself between the proverbial rock and the hard place.

Most of the time it is not a world-changing theft of nuclear weapons, though, if it is, by all means speak up! More plausibly, it will be something of a more local level concern such as an upcoming burglary at a local gun shop. On behalf of all small business owners in the world, please Strike a chord for justice and help those of us who truly cannot afford a rate increase in our insurance because of a theft and the hassles of replacing everything which was stolen. Think about it from my side… a security company. We have never been burgled. We, specifically, as a security company – how can we ever that live that down! We can’t even keep our own stuff safe! So, if you know something, if you see something, if you hear something; for goodness sakes SAY SOMETHING!  

The direction is probably most important for our teenagers. First, they are in a great environment for hearing all kinds of things and it being open about who is involved. The environment I’m talking about is the fishbowl of schools. Everyone is in everyone else’s business and social media takes it to the nth degree. What I am most concerned about here, though is not so much the thief or the drug deal, don’t skip them, they are important.

What I am referring to is two-fold. First, the most prevalent, suicide. It is happening in numbers that are just absolutely not appropriate.

According to a June 2019 U.S. News and World Report,HealthDay Reporter TUESDAY, June 18, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Suicide rates among teens and young adults have reached their highest point in nearly two decades, a new study reports.

Suicides among teens have especially spiked, with an annual percentage change of 10% between 2014 and 2017 for 15- to 19-year-olds, researchers said.

“It really is an unprecedented surge,” said lead author Oren Miron, a research associate at Harvard Medical School in Boston. “You can go back decades and you won’t find such a sharp increase.”

Suicide rates for 15- to 19-year-olds and those between 20 and 24 are at their highest level since 2000, Miron said.

The surge is particularly strong among teen boys, up 14% a year between 2015 and 2017.

Suicide rates for teenage girls, meanwhile, rose 8% annually between 2000 and 2017.

“Parents and teachers need to be aware that the rates have reached their highest recorded level, and they need to be on the lookout for both boys and girls,” Miron said.

He said the opioid epidemic might be fueling part of the rise, and social media is another likely contributor.

“It’s much easier to bully,” Miron said. “The apps are getting smarter and smarter at providing anonymity and hiding activity from grown-ups.”

The second is ‘active shooters’ – those who make threats, even off-hand comments about how easy or how fun it would be to walk into Algebra class and annihilate everyone in there.

The idea that a friend never rats out a friend is so untrue. A friend will do everything in his or her power to keep his or her friend toasty warm in a cold world. If that means telling authorities about a planned shooting or suicide and your friend is locked away until he or she can get some help, that’s Okay.

What is more likely for you, in your day to day environment, to hear about? Other than idle gossip (that is NOT the talking that goes on between cars stopped at a red light waiting for green) is it of a nature that someone in the police or animal caring services needs to know about? Don’t wait for a law enforcement officer or other person to invite you to coffee. Instead bring them a coffee, talk to them for a few minutes and find out if this is someone you feel comfortable talking to. If so, do some talking!

SCI is not trying to recruit a bunch of ‘Gladys Kravitz’ – see BEWITCHED of the 1964-66… but we need those who care enough to care enough. A short fun link back in time is attached to the photo!

https://binged.it/2NW7q7i

ACTIVE SHOOTER or OVER ACTIVE IMAGINATIONS

Social media, the busy-body spinster of the millennial age, spreads news faster than even my mother used to (but no, I am not calling my departed mother a busy-body spinster!) We used to say the fastest way to get news out was to telephone, telegraph or tell-r-mom! The morning of Nov. 15, we found proof for us locally that one addition to our ‘tela’ list is tela-Facebook! The fiasco involved a report of an active shooter at the federal building in Canton, Ohio. It stemmed apparently from an alarm set off from inside the building and although there was no confirmation of an actual shooter, the massive police response outside had everyone all aghast and panicking on-line. Posts of “my daughter and son-in-law are in there!” and other such private concerns that are immediately blasted on social media for all to see were the order of the day!

Drama driving emotions, which are over the top, act as flames fanned by everyone who desire to get noticed for a few minutes. These are regular Facebook fare. No one stopped to consider the nature of the federal building. Armed federal agents meet anyone entering the building and there stands a state-of-the-art metal detector that you must pass through before going into the court area. If someone gets to someplace like Social Security because you can get there without the body scan, armed private security is standing there as well. It may be possible to get a shooter inside but the amount of damage that could be done is very limited. Rather then bemoaning that the police response is blocking the roads or that neighboring buildings are keeping people inside, the general public should be pleased at the effective response and its speed.

There is another area of our society in which drama drives emotions and, sadly, some who claim to be in the business of protecting others are fanning the flames to make a name for themselves or to make an extra buck. Training for the unlikely event of an active shooter has become the feed of less scrupulous companies or, at least, the unwise. They hunt for schools, churches or other areas where there is a need but those doing the hiring aren’t prepared to properly vet the “trainers”.

The probabilities of your child ever having to face an active shooter are very small. There a few true shooters, regardless of how some sites quantify a ‘school shooter.’ If you think about the number of schools in our county and multiply that by the number of schools in Ohio and those nationally, the number of actual shootings are even smaller. Should we prepare the kids, just in case? Absolutely, just as we do for fires, tornadoes or… back in my day, for nuclear attack!

However, school boards need to vet the people who are coming in to do active shooter training. I personally know of one company whose owner brags to everyone about his combat exploits and highly secretive training with the military even though he was NEVER in the military. He also has stolen from a client he was hired to protect but that, too, got white-washed away to protect the ‘security expert’ who hired him. That guy is now hired to “protect’ an entire school system in a southern Ohio county. That guy, I am afraid, is just the tip of the iceberg.

Recent stories coming to us in the media about the bizarre, if not harmful or even criminally negligent methods being used by “experts” is horrifying. Some examples:

A SURPRISE active shooter drill so no one in the school, no teachers or staff knew it was a drill and here come the bad guys! Let’s terrify the children. Or, the one where the ‘role-player’ made an elementary school child call her mom on the cellphone and tell her good-bye – for real! Then we have the student who was put into a kneeling position for execution and the students had to watch him go through this horrific ‘exercise’! Don’t forget the copious amounts of fake blood pouring from the ‘victims.’ Some of these exercises are being done on small children and I, for one in the field of law enforcement and security training for over 45 years, can tell you this is stuff straight off the stable floor! The companies that pull this kind of garbage should be criminally charged with child endangering. I am completely serious about that. They should lose their licenses, if they even bothered to get one and the school faculty that hired them without previewing what they intended to do should be disciplined accordingly.

What is the key element missing from both these stories, common sense. I have become known for using movie lines in my posts and here fits another one. From the first Men in Black as ‘K’ played by Tommy Lee Jones tells James, later ‘J’ (Will Smith) about the aliens visiting earth and James wants to know why people aren’t just told about it, why was it being kept secret. K replied, “A *person* is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and you know it.”  I don’t know I would go quite as far as Tommy Lee Jones does, but if you wonder if that could be true, take an hour and read some FB posts and you will know that common sense has left the building. (My posts excepted, of course!)

Even two-headed aliens know when it’s best to close their mouth1

“UNATTENDED BAG!” Surviving the Terror of an Active Shooter

The ONLY person who is absolutely, positively, guaranteed to be with you when danger threatens is YOU. You must prepare yourself to be Situationally Aware, Mentally Ready to Act, and Know Your Options.

“The world is a dangerous place. ‘Although there is danger in the world, one does not have to become resigned to fate and passively wait for acts of violence to occur. There are some simple steps ordinary people can take to help them avoid danger – or at least to mitigate its impact.’”[i] Those simple steps begin the process, or better, the lifestyle called SITUATIONAL AWARENESS.

Knowing what is going on around you is the basic premise. Seeing a man wearing a black mask,  body armor, hearing protection and carrying an AR-15 rifle walking into the patio area of your millennial packed bar on a busy street, in Dayton Ohio, is a clue things are about to get ugly. Such was the scenario on August 3, 2019, just about 24 hours before I am writing this blog. In an  El Paso, Texas Walmart, a man wearing all black comes in carrying a long rifle. It is time to act. Situational awareness gives you the advantage, the few extra seconds someone, whose face is buried in their Smart Phone, will not have. Those few seconds can save your life…. IF.

 I intend to answer the IF, but first, there needs to be a true understanding of situational awareness, what constitutes a threat and what it means to be prepared for an event. The third is the first piece of the IF answer.

When I was first asked if there would be a blog about this weekend’s horrific shootings, my intention was to speak to one of the causal elements for why people go out with the purpose of killing as many other human beings as possible, usually people whom they have never met. Most of the answer to this question is dealt with in my book in sections titled, The Battle for Our Homes, Keeping the Faith, Retaking the Castle and Keeping the Drawbridge Up. Please, take advantage of not just what I write here, but go to our website and order the book. It’s a cheap investment which just might save your life or the lives of your family. The link is simply, www.security-consulting.us and from there you can order the book, “Stretching the Thin Blue Line: Policing America in Times of Heightened Threat.”

My intent is to give  you the basic information you need to survive an Active Shooter terror. First, a very short video which will clearly show you, between two cowboys in a cantina, one who is aware of his surroundings and one who is not. You can guess which one is about to die. Go to: https://youtu.be/czb2xfmmJDM

Assuming you viewed the video, provided with SCI’s great thanks to TCM Classic Movies, the clip from El Dorado, you have the basic concept. If the man about to be killed had seen James Caan circling him, he would have had a few extra seconds to act. I’ll give you a spoiler alert, bad cowboy never gets to finish the cigarette he was so intent on rolling. Notice, even the cowboy who watched Caan circle the table did not perceive there was a threat requiring him to act. He read Caan (and, likely, he’d read the script too) and could see Caan’s focus, although worrisome was not on him and, something that was not noticeable in the clip, Caan is not wearing a gun. Our alert cowboy had little reason to act. He was aware enough, however, to act if the need arose. Such speaks to our second point. The question is: “What constitutes a threat?”

Being situationally aware is not limited to seeing the bad guy come in. It is knowing, wherever you are, bar, movie theater or church, where the exits are, where the choke points are, and what your options are. Staying aware of these things, you can gain extra seconds when you can recognize the threat.

The two instances this weekend, El Paso in the Walmart and Dayton at the nightclub patio are obvious threats. The minute they are seen, it is time to act. Not all threats are as obvious. There are a great many profiles on active shooters. The current FBI director was quoted as saying currently, most active shooters in the U.S. are young white males and are often linked to a white supremacy belief system, whether formally or personally.

A couple of years ago, the focus was more on Middle Eastern males with the intent of jihad related attacks. Such profiles can be useful, but not particularly tangible for the average American shopping in their local Walmart, enjoying a drink at a local nightclub or parking in a busy parking garage before a large sports event. You must try to articulate what is setting off your spider senses. We all have them, though not spider bite incurred. We have a God-given ability to sense danger if we tune ourselves into our brain’s proper frequency.

The person who looks so intently focused on where they are going, moving deliberately as if on a mission; unable to make eye contact they seem almost under a spell, for lack of a better term. Those should be watched carefully and, as is always taught in police training, watch their hands. Are their hands visible and what, if anything are they holding? Are their hands hidden? What are they wearing… a long coat in the summer? Something which appears to be body armor? If it is someone you know, have they been  articulating dangerous comments on social media? It isn’t a one answer for the total picture, but more like a puzzle, the pieces you put together as you watch the individual. Is there an air of despondency or virulent anger? Put all your observations together in a very quick analysis and prepare yourself, if your internal alarm starts going off, to act.

A recent shooting incident in our small town of Louisville, Ohio began when a person, known by his wife to be violent and capable of assault threatened to shoot her and others. She knew his violent record and how he previously had guns taken from him because of domestic violence. Since he got the firearms back from the court, he was stockpiling large amounts of ammunition and putting them in large capacity magazines long before the shooting incident occurred. She saw the danger signs but waited until he began firing to notify authorities. Two police officers were pinned down behind bullet riddled police cars, a large number of neighboring houses and vehicles were shot. Hundreds of rounds were fired before SWAT was able to secure an arrest. One person was wounded from other than a bullet round but there were no other casualties. The threat escalated over time, as most do, and those who are in such a scenario need to talk to authorities long before the body count begins. Those who could be impacted by a threat must be prepared to act.

While training in Israel with persons from the IDF, we were taught the simple action known to all those regular residents of Israel, particularly in the cities of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Following many episodes of bombings, the practice of yelling “UNATTENDED BAG” while in public and seeing a package or bag which had no one with it. The people within earshot of the alert will scatter, quickly in every direction.

IF

If you have prepared yourself mentally to act when a threat presents itself, those few seconds can save your life and the lives of those with you. Why is it necessary to mentally prepare? Your first instinct when seeing a threat is to not believe what you are seeing. This cannot be happening here! This can’t be happening to me! You must quickly accept the reality of danger.

If you have opted to carry a firearm, whether it is open carry or concealed, you must be mentally prepared to act. One can say, ‘I have no doubt, I’ll waste the sucker!’  When it comes time to pull the trigger and end another human’s life, you must be reconciled to the fact you are protecting countless others and doing the only thing possible at that moment.

If the use of a firearm is not an option, then PLEASE understand the concept of Run, Hide, Fight. A short video put together by the City of Houston a few years does a great job of explaining it. . You can view this video on our website at: https://www.security-consulting.us/resources

The ONLY person who is absolutely, positively, guaranteed to be with you when danger threatens is YOU. You must prepare yourself to be Situationally Aware, Mentally Ready to Act, and Know Your Options.

May God bless you and may you use all your faculties God has given you to stay safe and keep those around you safe as well.


[i] Riggs, Dr. Ross L., Stretching the Thin Blue Line: Policing America in Times of Heightened Threat, Motivational Press, 2017

(Dr. Ross L. Riggs is a retired Chief of Police, a lifetime Certified Law Enforcement Executive, a graduate of the FBI National Academy and owner and president of Security Consulting Investigations, LLC. He is the author of the book Stretching the Thin Blue Line: Policing America in Times of Heightened Threat and numerous published articles on police tactics and security. Dr. Riggs spent over fifteen years consulting to mission teams in difficult places around the world and has appeared on radio and television programs in relation to his work and doctoral dissertation on developing contingency plans for mission groups and agencies. He may be reached through SCI at 1-888-719-5636 or 1-330-956-9561.)