Active Shooter Drills

Active Shooter Drills

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Active Shooter Drills

Each of the above phrases have come into common parlance in the last ten years. Ten years ago, I don’t recall knowing any of these phrases, their meaning, or the import they might come to have in my life. Sadly, and once again in this country, we have come to know the meaning, import and necessity for the last phrase – Active Shooter Drills.

On Saturday morning of last week, a gunman entered the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, killed eleven people and wounded six others. Last year, 26 people were murdered at a Baptist Church in Texas. In recent years, 9 people were murdered at “Mother Emanuel” A.M.E. Church in Charleston, SC., and 6 people were killed at a Sikh Temple in Wisconsin.

In the aftermath of the murders at Tree of Life, I have heard reports that this congregation recently held active shooter drills/training, which led to several people being sheltered in the building while the shootings were still going on. It’s likely, reports have said, that this training saved the lives of some who might otherwise have been injured or killed during this hateful crime.

I am wondering, following a conversation that was had at a recent Chili with the Bishop gathering, if it is time for all of us to consider finding resources for active shooter trainings for our congregations? I am having a hard time believing that I am typing this question, but I also know that in these times, it is naïve to think this could never happen in one of our congregations, and it would be best to be prepared if it could save lives.

To that end, I am wondering if any of our congregations have already done this work and might have resources to share? I know of one retired CHP Officer who is a member of one of our churches who has offered to provide such training. And let me be clear, I am not suggesting that we have armed guards or security personnel inside our churches. I am speaking about increasing our awareness of who is on our grounds or entering our buildings, what steps need to be taken if a suspicious person is identified, and how people can be protected in the event that someone enters a congregation with the intent to do harm. Please contact me if you have resources to share.

Lord, have mercy,
Bp. Mark

PS – Please read Presiding Bishop Eaton’s letter in response to the Tree of Life shootings. I encourage you to connect with religious leaders of all faiths in your community to consider ongoing support and care networks for those who feel the most vulnerable in the wake of this hate crime.


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