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Bernard Gui

He Tried to Shoot up a Synagogue, but the Synagogue was Prepared

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Given the recent banning of weapons in the LDS Church, I found this interesting article in a current Deseret News.

https://www.deseret.com/2019/10/17/20916825/synagogue-massacre-shooting-preperation-church-faith-security 

This article describes several attacks on Jewish synagogues in the United States and Europe, a Muslim mosque in New Zealand. and Christian churches in Sri Lanka.

The rest of the article details the security precautions Jewish leaders  are taking around the world (and in Salt Like City)  to protect their congregations:

-Installing alarms, metal detectors, camera surveillance systems, bulletproof doors and windows

-Erecting bulletproof walls around buildings

-Hiring private security guards and off-duty police to guard services

-Training ushers and congregations how to respond to an active shooter

-Pat-downs, background checks, or requiring tickets of entry at the doors

-Asking government to provide armed police at special services (which has been denied in several places)

-Establishing a special organization dedicated to "ensuring the safety of Jewish institutions"

-Placing trained observers around buildings to watch vulnerable spots

 

Quote

 

"I didn't become a rabbi to say you can't come into my synagogue to pray." But...."From a Jewish standpoint, saving a life overrides everything else" [Rabbi Spector] said. "At this time of rising

anti-Semitism, we must put security measures first." Mr. Spector is rabbi of the largest synagogue in Utah....

"As anti-Semitism is on the rise in the United States its' so important for Jews to continue to stand together, [Chloe Laverson] said.

"Because we are a really strong community and we will put up a fight." Chloe is a UofU student from California whose congregation there was attacked this year....

"As Jews, we have always found solace and comfort in strengthening ourselves as a community, said Rabbi Zippel. "We don't run. We don't

cower in fear. We take the necessary steps to protect ourselves and our families and we keep going to synagogue and doing the very things

that our brothers and sisters across the world lost their lives for." Rabbi Zippel is a director of the Chabad Lubavitch of Utah.

 

Moreover, even though there has never been a fatal attack on schools in our region, we are taking serious measures to protect children in schools.

-Establishing single entry points with reinforced doors, windows, entrance cameras, locks, and security bars that can only be opened from the school office.

-More armed police presence in parking lots and lobbies

-Red flag procedures to identify potential attackers

-Better active-shooter instructions and drills for teachers and students

-New construction includes strategic safety planning and funding for hardened safety features

 

A few questions:

1. Is this just an issue for Jewish or Muslim congregations and Christians in other countries?

2. Is it reasonable to trust that the Church is somehow immune from such attacks?

3. Can Latter-day Saints have legitimate concerns about the safety of their meetings?

4. If a Latter-day Saint expresses such concerns, is it a proper response to say he/she is faithless and/or a gun nut?

5. Since Church members cannot bring defensive weapons into the church building, what steps are being taken to increase security for them?

6. Can we depend on local law enforcement to respond in time to prevent casualties?

7. Should we wait until attacks occur before we address security measures?

8. Are forming human chains around victimized congregations and candlelight vigils in memory of the deceased sufficient 9or "Christian") responses to attacks?

9. Is it insulting to victimized Jews, Muslims, and Christians in America and other countries for a Latter-day Saint to be concerned about his/her church?

10. Is it reasonable to say this can never happen to an LDS congregation, so why worry about it?

 

 

 

 

Edited by Bernard Gui

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17 minutes ago, Bernard Gui said:

5. Since Church members cannot bring defensive weapons into the church building, what steps are being taken to increase security for them?

This needs to happen. If we are disarmed, we need more security.

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38 minutes ago, Bernard Gui said:

Given the recent banning of weapons in the LDS Church, I found this interesting article in a current Deseret News.

https://www.deseret.com/2019/10/17/20916825/synagogue-massacre-shooting-preperation-church-faith-security 

This article describes several attacks on Jewish synagogues in the United States and Europe, a Muslim mosque in New Zealand. and Christian churches in Sri Lanka.

The rest of the article details the security precautions Jewish leaders  are taking around the world (and in Salt Like City)  to protect their congregations:

-Installing alarms, metal detectors, camera surveillance systems, bulletproof doors and windows

-Erecting bulletproof walls around buildings

-Hiring private security guards and off-duty police to guard services

-Training ushers and congregations how to respond to an active shooter

-Pat-downs, background checks, or requiring tickets of entry at the doors

-Asking government to provide armed police at special services (which has been denied in several places)

-Establishing a special organization dedicated to "ensuring the safety of Jewish institutions"

-Placing trained observers around buildings to watch vulnerable spots

 

 

Moreover, even though there has never been a fatal attack on schools in our region, we are taking serious measures to protect children in schools.

-Establishing single entry points with reinforced doors, windows, entrance cameras, locks, and security bars that can only be opened from the school office.

-More armed police presence in parking lots and lobbies

-Red flag procedures to identify potential attackers

-Better active-shooter instructions and drills for teachers and students

-New construction includes strategic safety planning and funding for hardened safety features

 

A few questions:

1. Is this just an issue for Jewish or Muslim congregations and Christians in other countries?

2. Is it reasonable to trust that the Church is somehow immune from such attacks?

3. Can Latter-day Saints have legitimate concerns about the safety of their meetings?

4. If a Latter-day Saint expresses such concerns, is it a proper response to say he/she is faithless and/or a gun nut?

5. Since Church members cannot bring defensive weapons into the church building, what steps are being taken to increase security for them?

6. Can we depend on local law enforcement to respond in time to prevent casualties?

7. Should we wait until attacks occur before we address security measures?

8. Are forming human chains around victimized congregations and candlelight vigils in memory of the deceased sufficient 9or "Christian") responses to attacks?

9. Is it insulting to victimized Jews, Muslims, and Christians in America and other countries for a Latter-day Saint to be concerned about his/her church?

10. Is it reasonable to say this can never happen to an LDS congregation, so why worry about it?

 

 

 

 

Regarding your questions 2 and 10...tell that to Sardius Smith and all the others who died at Hawn's Mill. We should know better than to just expect security in an era of increasing hatred. If any Christian religion in the States is vulnerable, it's us. 

That said, God didn't protect the slain of Ammonihah, nor did He permit Alma and Amulek to do so. Same goes for the Anti-Nephi-Lehies, unless you interpret the "swollen hearts" of the Lamanites in Alma 24 to be the Holy Ghost working on them. I hate to say that God might require that kind of sacrifice, but He has in the past. 

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43 minutes ago, strappinglad said:

..................................

How about we all just stay home and Skype sacrament meeting? 

How about a virtual reality, simulated Sacrament mtg and Sunday School?

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22 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

How about a virtual reality, simulated Sacrament mtg and Sunday School?

Great, I will start looking for a nice set of church pajamas.😋

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5 hours ago, OGHoosier said:

Regarding your questions 2 and 10...tell that to Sardius Smith and all the others who died at Hawn's Mill. We should know better than to just expect security in an era of increasing hatred. If any Christian religion in the States is vulnerable, it's us. 

That said, God didn't protect the slain of Ammonihah, nor did He permit Alma and Amulek to do so. Same goes for the Anti-Nephi-Lehies, unless you interpret the "swollen hearts" of the Lamanites in Alma 24 to be the Holy Ghost working on them. I hate to say that God might require that kind of sacrifice, but He has in the past. 

Cane Creek Massacre in Tennessee.

Edited by Bernard Gui

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1 hour ago, strappinglad said:

All the security measures you noted can be defeated by one truckload of fertilizer and diesel . 

You remember when one guy had a device in his shoe. 100 million people then had to take off their shoes. There was a guy who had a device in his underwear. Then 100 million people

had to take off... oh wait. Too much inconvenience. 

How about we all just stay home and Skype sacrament meeting? 

That’s true. Plus ignoring this would save schools a lot of money and hassle, too.  

I was going to get my flu and pneumonia shots tomorrow, but then I realized that there are so many other things out there that can make me sick, so why bother?

The Jewish synagogues in this report and elsewhere are taking it seriously, but you’re probably right. We should laugh it off. 

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1 hour ago, Bernard Gui said:

Cane Creek Massacre in Tennessee.

Geez, I hadn't heard of that. My goodness. 

Here's hoping the South doesn't rise again. 

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5 hours ago, Bernard Gui said:

The Jewish synagogues in this report and elsewhere are taking it seriously, but you’re probably right. We should laugh it off. 

When one of our more mature Sisters was at the Washington Temple for the first time and a gunman showed up we were dismayed. Thankfully no shots were fired and he got there before our Sister did.  It was a 12 hour drive from where we in Canada she had got there the same night as the gunman did but went to a hotel that night instead of the Temple.

 https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/local/1986/10/23/gunman-enters-mormon-temple/4950ec80-bb22-42ac-bfde-8e82c10e9e1d/

Edited by Metis_LDS
spelling and addition

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12 hours ago, Bernard Gui said:

A few questions:

1. Is this just an issue for Jewish or Muslim congregations and Christians in other countries?

I think it's primarily an issue for those groups being actively demonized and dehumanized by systemic power structures, which is mostly Jewish, Muslim, and Hispanic people here in the States (recognizing the intuitive overlap between ethnicity and religion for many groups), and certainly Christians in places like Egypt, Syria, etc.

Quote

2. Is it reasonable to trust that the Church is somehow immune from such attacks?

None of the countries where Christians are actively persecuted are countries where the Church has a significant public presence. There are a number of places where the Church intentionally keeps a very low profile precisely so as not to draw the ire of such power structures. We're not immune, but we're certainly not high on the list of priorities for the kinds of people engaged in this type of hatred.

Quote

 

3. Can Latter-day Saints have legitimate concerns about the safety of their meetings?

 

In the US, I don't think we have to worry about being targeted by terrorists like those shooting up synagogues and mosques, but the easy accessibility of guns absolutely is an issue, as has been shown by a smattering of shootings at Latter-day Saint buildings. These weren't so much motivated by prejudice towards Latter-day Saints in general, of course. 

Quote

4. If a Latter-day Saint expresses such concerns, is it a proper response to say he/she is faithless and/or a gun nut?

I don't think "faithless" is proper, but there are absolutely (and increasingly) instances where concern for safety is really more about performative identity politics than anything else (the gentleman who insisted on guarding an unmanned gun counter at Walmart with his gun precisely because someone with a gun might show up being a primary example). 

Quote

5. Since Church members cannot bring defensive weapons into the church building, what steps are being taken to increase security for them?

Prohibiting Church members from bringing firearms into a Church building is one of the primary steps being taken to increase security.

Quote

 

6. Can we depend on local law enforcement to respond in time to prevent casualties?

 

Of course not. There is no response time from anyone that can ensure zero casualties. The Dayton shooter opened fire with multiple armed police present at the very scene who dropped the shooter within 30 seconds, but he still managed to kill 9 people and injure dozens of others.

Quote

7. Should we wait until attacks occur before we address security measures?

No. That's one of the main reasons we are prohibiting firearms in Church buildings. 

Quote

 

8. Are forming human chains around victimized congregations and candlelight vigils in memory of the deceased sufficient 9or "Christian") responses to attacks?

 

Sufficient for what?

Quote

9. Is it insulting to victimized Jews, Muslims, and Christians in America and other countries for a Latter-day Saint to be concerned about his/her church?

Just to be concerned? Of course not. 

Quote

10. Is it reasonable to say this can never happen to an LDS congregation, so why worry about it?

I don't think that's entirely reasonable. We should absolutely be concerned about safety. 

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13 hours ago, Bernard Gui said:

5. Since Church members cannot bring defensive weapons into the church building, what steps are being taken to increase security for them?

Actually off duty police officers can carry to church and there are a few in my ward who do that. You would be surprised how many police officers are members throughout the world. 

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What if alien killer crabs show up and attack us at church? What is the plan? Should we install a SAK 

Yes, a shooter is more likely but they are still rare for us and much more common in a synagogue. I do not want metal detectors and pat downs on the off chance of it happening.

Edited by The Nehor

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15 hours ago, OGHoosier said:

If any Christian religion in the States is vulnerable, it's us. 

What makes you say this? I haven't seen news on any violence or threats towards LDS. Have I missed it?

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1 minute ago, MiserereNobis said:

What makes you say this? I haven't seen news on any violence or threats towards LDS. Have I missed it?

Christian religion in the United States is not generally threatened but the least popular in terms of public opinion (putting aside the Westboro Baptists and their like) is ours. LDS meetinghouses have been vandalized with anti-church messages in the recent past. I don't expect active shooter incidents, but if it were to happen to any Christian religion I feel like we're at risk. 

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2 hours ago, The Nehor said:

What if alien killer crabs show up and attack us at church? What is the plan? Should we install a SAK 

Yes, a shooter is more likely but they are still rare for us and much more common in a synagogue. I do not want metal detectors and pat downs on the off chance of it happening.

Yes. It’s better if we wait until something happens to prepare.

Edited by Bernard Gui

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10 hours ago, OGHoosier said:

Geez, I hadn't heard of that. My goodness. 

Here's hoping the South doesn't rise again. 

My great-grandfather was Branch President at Cane Creek. He, his brother, and their families left for Zion  just before the massacre. Another left afterwards along with all the rest of the members there.

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On 11/7/2019 at 5:50 PM, Bernard Gui said:

A few questions:

1. Is this just an issue for Jewish or Muslim congregations and Christians in other countries?

Seems to be more of an issue outside the U.S.  

Quote

2. Is it reasonable to trust that the Church is somehow immune from such attacks?

No.  But we can look at statistics and see only a vanishingly small number of such attacks against the Church's local congregations.

Quote

3. Can Latter-day Saints have legitimate concerns about the safety of their meetings?

Statistically speaking, the concern is not very well-founded.

People can have "legitimate concerns" about plane crashes, but I'm not sure those concerns are sufficiently legitimate to swear off air travel.

Quote

4. If a Latter-day Saint expresses such concerns, is it a proper response to say he/she is faithless and/or a gun nut?

The time, place and manner of a member expressing such concerns should be considered.

Quote

5. Since Church members cannot bring defensive weapons into the church building, what steps are being taken to increase security for them?

Apparently none.

Quote

6. Can we depend on local law enforcement to respond in time to prevent casualties?

Usually not.  As the saying goes "When seconds count, law enforcement is minutes away."

Quote

7. Should we wait until attacks occur before we address security measures?

That seems to be getting a bit paranoid.

Quote

8. Are forming human chains around victimized congregations and candlelight vigils in memory of the deceased sufficient 9or "Christian") responses to attacks?

I think law enforcement needs to be involved.

Quote

9. Is it insulting to victimized Jews, Muslims, and Christians in America and other countries for a Latter-day Saint to be concerned about his/her church?

Not sure what you are asking here.

Quote

10. Is it reasonable to say this can never happen to an LDS congregation, so why worry about it?

The Church has many thousands of church buildings, and something like 28,000+ congregations that meet on Sundays and usually have many other activities in the church buildings throughout the rest of the week.  How many of them have been targeted for mass shooting events in the last 30 years?

I'm not saying this "can never happen."  It's possible, but not probable.  Extraordinarily unlikely, in fact.

FWIW, though, I'm not a fan of the Church's policy.  I will abide by it, though.

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
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6 hours ago, Dan McClellan said:

I think it's primarily an issue for those groups being actively demonized and dehumanized by systemic power structures, which is mostly Jewish, Muslim, and Hispanic people here in the States (recognizing the intuitive overlap between ethnicity and religion for many groups), and certainly Christians in places like Egypt, Syria, etc.

None of the countries where Christians are actively persecuted are countries where the Church has a significant public presence. There are a number of places where the Church intentionally keeps a very low profile precisely so as not to draw the ire of such power structures. We're not immune, but we're certainly not high on the list of priorities for the kinds of people engaged in this type of hatred.

In the US, I don't think we have to worry about being targeted by terrorists like those shooting up synagogues and mosques, but the easy accessibility of guns absolutely is an issue, as has been shown by a smattering of shootings at Latter-day Saint buildings. These weren't so much motivated by prejudice towards Latter-day Saints in general, of course. 

I don't think "faithless" is proper, but there are absolutely (and increasingly) instances where concern for safety is really more about performative identity politics than anything else (the gentleman who insisted on guarding an unmanned gun counter at Walmart with his gun precisely because someone with a gun might show up being a primary example). 

Prohibiting Church members from bringing firearms into a Church building is one of the primary steps being taken to increase security.

Of course not. There is no response time from anyone that can ensure zero casualties. The Dayton shooter opened fire with multiple armed police present at the very scene who dropped the shooter within 30 seconds, but he still managed to kill 9 people and injure dozens of others.

No. That's one of the main reasons we are prohibiting firearms in Church buildings. 

Sufficient for what?

Just to be concerned? Of course not. 

I don't think that's entirely reasonable. We should absolutely be concerned about safety. 

Thank you for the thoughtful response. Are you aware of situations where licensed gun owners have been involved in dangerous situations in LDS church meetings and events?

Schools are also gun free zones. Statistically there is very little danger our neighborhood school will be attacked, but school officials nationwide are taking serious steps to protect children and teachers. Are they overreacting?

My grandchildren in LA experienced the extreme hatred of certain elements when they held signs opposing gay marriage.

Other than banning firearms in the church buildings, what other steps are we taking? 

Edited by Bernard Gui

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24 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Seems to be more of an issue outside the U.S.  

No.  But we can look at statistics and see only a vanishingly small number of such attacks against the Church's local congregations.

Statistically speaking, the concern is not very well-founded.

People can have "legitimate concerns" about plane crashes, but I'm not sure those concerns are sufficient legitimate to swear off air travel.

The time, place and manner of a member expressing such concerns should be considered.

Apparently none.

Usually not.  As the saying goes "When seconds count, law enforcement is minutes away."

That seems to be getting a bit paranoid.

I think law enforcement needs to be involved.

Not sure what you are asking here.

The Church has many thousands of church buildings, and something like 28,000+ congregations that meet on Sundays and usually have many other activities in the church buildings throughout the rest of the week.  How many of them have been targeted for mass shooting events in the last 30 years?

I'm not saying this "can never happen."  It's possible, but not probable.  Extraordinarily unlikely, in fact.

FWIW, though, I'm not a fan of the Church's policy.  I will abide by it, though.

Thanks,

-Smac

Thank you for the thoughtful response. I agree such attacks on LDS churches are currently improbable. I raised these questions to start a discussion.
 

Other than declaring our churches gun-free zones, should we take any other safety precautions? Apparently many here think no.

 

Edited by Bernard Gui

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47 minutes ago, Bernard Gui said:

Yes. It’s better if we wait until something happens to prepare.

Or we could just not become an armed camp at all with private security, patsdowns, and metal detectors even if something does happen?

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55 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

Or we could just not become an armed camp at all with private security, patsdowns, and metal detectors even if something does happen?

Or not. 

In response to the hyperbole, of course I'm not asking us to take such radical steps as are Jewish synagogues and other groups.

I'm not asking for machine gun emplacements to be placed around our chapels, but to have some security protocols in place with which

we are familiar should, God forbid, anything like this happen. We should at lest talk about it and set some safeguards in place.  Can you think of some lesser steps that would be helpful and prudent? 

 

I think it is far more probable that violence could come from one of our own than from outside entities.
I have heard and read extremely hateful words directed at the Church, its leaders, and its members. 

It is not unreasonable to think someone will eventually act on that hatred. 

 

For example, a family in our ward was the target of unfathomable violence from an unhinged "returned missionary."

After murdering his wife, he took his own  life and murdered their two sons in his home. 

When his deranged father was implicated in the crimes and spent some time in the slammer, he threatened violence against

the victims' parents/grandparents. When he was released from prison, there was some real concern that he would act out against them.

Since he was also rabidly anti-Mormon (after many years of passing as a 'wonderful' member), it was not a stretch to be concerned that  his

violence might take place in a public place, such as a church meeting. Fortunately, he passed away before he could do anything. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Bernard Gui

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25 minutes ago, Bernard Gui said:

Or not. 

In response to the hyperbole, of course I'm not asking us to take such radical steps as are Jewish synagogues and other groups.

I'm not asking for machine gun emplacements to be placed around our chapels, but to have some security protocols in place with which

we are familiar should, God forbid, anything like this happen. We should at lest talk about it and set some safeguards in place.  Can you think of some lesser steps that would be helpful and prudent? 

 

I think it is far more probable that violence could come from one of our own than from outside entities.
I have heard and read extremely hateful words directed at the Church, its leaders, and its members. 

It is not unreasonable to think someone will eventually act on that hatred. 

 

For example, a family in our ward was the target of unfathomable violence from an unhinged "returned missionary."

After murdering his wife, he took his own  life and murdered their two sons in his home. 

When his deranged father was implicated in the crimes and spent some time in the slammer, he threatened violence against

the victims' parents/grandparents. When he was released from prison, there was some real concern that he would act out against them.

Since he was also rabidly anti-Mormon (after many years of passing as a 'wonderful' member), it was not a stretch to be concerned that  his

violence might take place in a public place, such as a church meeting. Fortunately, he passed away before he could do anything. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Most LDS church attacks I know of were perpetrated by members. Coming up with a plan means the attacker can know the plan if they care at all to find out. Some wouldn’t bother, some might.

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1 hour ago, The Nehor said:

Coming up with a plan means the attacker can know the plan if they care at all to find out.

Seems like a solution to a potential problem might have unintended consequences.   

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