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Our Response to: When Harm Comes to the Church

     LAUDERDALE LAKES, FL — The spirit of the Lord is here. The spirit of the Lord is here. I feel it in the atmosphere. The spirit of the Lord is here. The music from the choir is charismatic, yet calming. The congregation, one-by-one stands to their feet moving and clapping overtaken by the Holy Spirit. All problems and worries are seemingly lost. Suddenly, the fervent and rhythmic clapping is replaced with the unfamiliar, and un-welcomed sound of gunshots. In the midst of the crowd is a person with a concealed high-powered firearm. This scenario and similar like it have been heard more often in the past few years.

In an effort to be prepared in the event that an armed gunman invades a local church, First Baptist Church Piney Grove, Broward County Sheriff’s Office, the City of Lauderdale Lakes and Strong Tower Security, a local security firm have partnered together to provide a Code Red procedure and plan training on Wednesday, Dec. 19 at 7 p.m. Members from church and state will join together to share general Code Red survival and protection information to all churches and specific information to FBCPG members.

The term “Code Red” which means lockdown is used in schools around the country and is the most serious threat within school districts. Students in Broward County are and teachers have been trained and are drilled to follow a specific plan in the event of and intruder. The Broward County school system and surrounding communities have felt the effects of a local school shooting.

Data suggests that churches aren’t any more or less likely to be sites of gun violence in the U.S. than other publicly accessible spaces.

From 1980 to 2005 there have been a total of 139 shootings on church properties within the United States, with a total of 185 deaths, according to a study completed by the Center for Homicide Research in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The study produced using online newspaper archive articles to document all cases of shootings on church property within the United States indicated that there have been an average of six shootings every year. There were more shootings in Christian churches between 2006 and 2016—147 of them—than in the 25 years prior. (The database does not include non-Christian houses of worship, such as mosques or synagogues.)

The number of deaths from mass shootings has been unusually high since 2007, because of five incidents – Las Vegas (58), the Orlando nightclub (49), Virginia Tech (32), Sandy Hook (27), and the Texas First Baptist Church (26).

The FBI data show that the largest number of active shooting incidents from 2000 to 20016 were in workplaces and other commercial buildings (43 percent), followed by education facilities (22 percent), then open spaces (13 percent), government buildings (11 percent), residences (5 percent), health care facilities (3 percent) and houses of worship (4 percent).

For more information on the Code Red Drill, contact the FBCPG office @ 954-735-1500.

 

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