By: Diane Benjamin
I attended an event last night at Mount Pisgah Baptist Church entitled Protecting Places of Worship Forum. I attended on behalf of my church with another member. This event was only advertised to churches, many locals attended.
The event was organized in conjunction with the US Department of Justice. It was THREE hours long.
The names you might recognize who spoke: Kwame Raoul, Mboka Mwilambwe, Chris Koos, ISU Police Chief Aaron Woodruff, States Attorney Erika Reynolds, Bloomington Police Lieutenant Richard Beoletto, and Normal School Resource Officer Jeremy Flood.
There were numerous other speakers from DOJ, US Attorney’s Office, Attorney General’s Office, Anti-Defamation League, and Illinois Emergency Management Agency.
We heard about hate crimes that really don’t have serious local penalties because they are usually tied to more serious felony. We were given a list of symbols hate groups use so we can identify possible problems.
We heard about government grants available to protect churches with things like cameras. (None of those people noticed the country is almost $33 Trillion in debt). The amount available to apply for won’t be available until Congress passes a new budget.
Churches were urged to schedule a “threat assessment” with either the local police or a state/federal agency.
Until the final 15 minutes everything previous can be summed up like this:
I’m from the government and I’m here to help.
The forum ended with the obvious.
The final panel consisted of the Senior Pastor of Mount Pisgah, Eastview Assistant Pastor, the Rabbi of Moses Montefiore Temple, the President of the Hindu Temple, and the President of the Islamic Center.
Eventually more than one mentioned active shooter events last just minutes, the police likely can’t arrive in time to stop the mayhem. Paid security is too expensive, so groups need to defend themselves. The only way to stop someone with a gun is a good guy with a gun. (except in schools, but I digress)
I’m not sure if all the above have members with a conceal carry license, but at least some do.
Groups were urged to have an emergency plan and practice it. Here’s the plan: DUCK. Nobody wants to hit an innocent victim, just the shooter.
DOJ is organizing these programs across the country. We each received a folder of documents with the Department of Justice on the cover. The DOJ seal has this written below it: Qui Pro Domina Justitia Sequitur.
According to this DOJ website, they don’t know exactly what that means or where it came from: https://www.justice.gov/about/history/doj-seal-history-and-motto