Any Given Sunday

Any Given Sunday

In today's world, no place is truly safe.

Photo by Elyse Harrell.

Whenever I attend any type of religious service, like most people I follow all the prescribed rituals and do my best to keep an open mind and heart. After 22 years as a police officer, however, in addition to the prescribed religious rituals, I also have a few of my own rituals I follow religiously.

While approaching the church, synagogue or other place of worship, I scan the people in the general area as well as those approaching the building. I also check out any vehicles in the area, looking for anything out of place.


Once inside, as I look over the crowd, I also look for the exits. Regardless of whether the service is crowded or sparsely attended, I always sit in the back, preferably on an outside corner.



This allows me to keep an eye on the main entrance as well as the side entrances. It also puts me in the most defensible position in the room; with your back to the corner of a square or rectangular room you've got only a 90-degree angle of area to deal with, and plenty of benches or chairs between you and any incoming threat.

My wife and children are aware of my rituals and understand why I have adopted them. They are also aware that I am always armed, not only while attending religious services but especially when attending religious services. It's not because I am hyper vigilant, paranoid or both. It's because in this world we live in, people attending religious services are high on the vulnerability menu.


Religion is and always has been a hot-button issue. As we all know, people do all sorts of things in the name of religion--from the greatest, most selfless acts of good to the most heinous, unspeakable acts of evil.


Second, if someone is determined to carry out a heinous act of violence or evil, most places of worship are set up to place the worshipers in a tactically disadvantageous position. Think about it: Practically everyone in the building is facing away from the main entrance, focused on the person or persons leading the service at the front of the room.

Those leading the service are usually focused on their own business and are probably neither trained to look for nor recognize danger signs. In fact, the chances of them even being predisposed to do so is highly unlikely ; they are there to take part in a religious service, not a security exercise.

In the event that someone did walk into the building with murder in his heart and a weapon in his hand, even if the leader did recognize the threat and wished to take action to protect himself and those in attendance, what could he actually do? Unless he happened to be armed himself, the best he could probably do would be to raise the alarm and hope that someone in the room was prepared to take action.

And that is where the law-abiding, legally armed members of our society come in. For while we all hope and pray we will never need to use our weapons to protect ourselves or others, especially in a place of worship, the ugly fact is that attacks on people in places of worship are on the rise.

For the sake of those we care about, we need to acknowledge this unsavory fact and be prepared to respond to an immediate threat with maturity, valor and decisiveness should it be necessary--wherever it may surface.

Recommended for You

The Ruger SR1911 is offered in two versions, an all-stainless in .45 ACP (model # 6762) and a two-tone aluminum-framed model in 9mm (model # 6758). This review by James Tarr will focus on the 9mm. 1911

Ruger SR1911 Officer-Style 9mm Review

James Tarr - May 01, 2019

The Ruger SR1911 is offered in two versions, an all-stainless in .45 ACP (model # 6762) and a...

Kahr's K9 9mm pistol is a quarter-century old, and to commemorate the milestone the company is producing a limited-edition 25th anniversary K9. Industry

Kahr 25th Anniversary K9

J. Scott Rupp - July 19, 2019

Kahr's K9 9mm pistol is a quarter-century old, and to commemorate the milestone the company is...

The Ruger Security 9 Compact 9mm (model # 3818) is a shootable, dependable gun with a low price tag. Compact

Ruger Security 9 Compact Review

J. Scott Rupp

The Ruger Security 9 Compact 9mm (model # 3818) is a shootable, dependable gun with a low...

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Performance Center M&P Shield M2.0

Performance Center M&P Shield M2.0

From Smith & Wesson, the M&P Shield M2.0 is a great option for a carry gun with optics option.

Kyle Lamb and Eric Poole talk SIG pistols

Kyle Lamb and Eric Poole talk SIG pistols

G&A Editor Eric Poole and Viking Tacticals's Kyle Lamb talks about 2 new pistols from SIG Sauer and a Lipsey's Special of the P365.

Teaching New Shooters

Teaching New Shooters

Julie Golob of Team Smith & Wesson guest stars, joining Jim and Scott for a discussion of how best to introduce new shooters to the sport.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Eliphalet Remington's world initially revolved around flintlock rifles at the time, and while early 1911

Remington Timeline: 2011 - R1 Pistol Is Introduced

Handguns Online Staff - September 09, 2016

Eliphalet Remington's world initially revolved around flintlock rifles at the time, and while...

According to a recent report from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), a lawsuit against 2nd Amendment

Judge Postpones Oral Arguments to Stop California Microstamping Law

Handguns Online Staff - May 07, 2014

According to a recent report from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), a lawsuit...

I don't have a distinct recollection of the first time I reloaded a cartridge – it's been a long Ammo

To Cast a Good Bullet

Bart Skelton - June 28, 2012

I don't have a distinct recollection of the first time I reloaded a cartridge – it's been a...

See More Stories

More Training

In this article, Richard Nance examines multiple shooting positions for when an assailant is close enough to reach your gun and you can't use your sights. Training

When You Can't Use Your Sights, Aim With Your Body

Richard Nance - February 14, 2018

In this article, Richard Nance examines multiple shooting positions for when an assailant is...

While there's no absolute correct way to manipulate a pistol, your technique of choice should be based on careful consideration and practice. Training

Discovering What Pistol Manipulation Techniques Work for You

Richard Nance - May 15, 2019

While there's no absolute correct way to manipulate a pistol, your technique of choice should...

Vicker's Leatham Drill is great for good shooters to do after some time away from the range or from a particular gun to reacquaint themselves with the trigger. Training

Handgun Skill Drill: Vicker's Leatham Drill

Eve Flanigan - July 19, 2018

Vicker's Leatham Drill is great for good shooters to do after some time away from the range or...

See More Training

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.