Securing the synagogue

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Hebrew Hammer
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Securing the synagogue

Post by Hebrew Hammer » Mon Dec 17, 2018 4:51 pm

Following the Pittsburgh shooting, I dug into security issues for the synagogue I teach Sunday School at and the other one I attend. Then, last week, the FBI arrested a guy who planned to shoot up the synagogue I teach at.

Part of this is that the chance of a shooting is remote - statistically the highest incidence is men angry at custody, looming divorce or the like. Another part, though, is I never want to be in a situation where I am trapped, or others are, with nothing to do. In my synagogue, this is compounded because a number of folks are elderly, and we have special programs once or twice a week with groups of 10+ special needs kids.

We've met with security folks. Key advice is that the best weapon is a fire extinguisher in every room. Everyone is comfortable using one and it can be used to smash a window to escape. I learned that you smash a window in the corner. We'll drill with all teachers and adult supervisors on escape, hunker down behind barriers, which should be identified in every room (but drywall and doors aren't bulletproof), or fight. No set plans, just know options and try to choose the right one. Have walky-talkies available in every room. Install security, have a lock system, and for internal doors have strong internal locks

Full-time security helps, but isn't fool-proof - a shooter can easily walk in and shoot security first -- and is very expensive. In Europe, where anti-semitism is a very serious problem, fully-armed soldiers are often posted in front of synagogues. That's pretty effective, but that's not happening here.

Concealed carry has pros and cons. Ideally, you'd allow only trained, sane, folks to do so, but once it's allowed, it's hard to keep folks from carrying who you don't want anywhere near a gun. The police are neutral on it, but say they provide training beyond the concealed-carry class on responding to an emergency and how to avoid getting shot when the police enter as the new rules are first arrivals enter, no waiting for the SWAT team. I'm taking the course. I'm comfortable with pistols and rifles, but wonder how comfortable I'll be carrying a weapon in Sabbath services.

Sad situation, but it's today's reality. The arrest of the planning shooter in Toledo brought that home to me. thoughts?
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Re: Securing the synagogue

Post by Really Big Strong Guy » Mon Dec 17, 2018 5:31 pm

I've never weighed in on these subjects; but yours hits close to home. My wife is Jewish and she did not make me convert. But I respect and admire the community immensely. And also respect every such community given my lengthy nondenominational background and getting my wife through a Bachelor's of Arts in religious studies (she's an IT who wanted a piece of paper on her office wall).

Let me begin by stating that anyone who goes through with any form of public shooting is a god damn fucking coward of immense proportions. An absolutely piece of shit coward.

That said, I carry. My wife carries. I will soon have a "Judge" within close proximity at all times. If push comes to shove, I will do what is necessary to protect myself and mine.

However, the reality is that it's not something you can foresee or plan for; however, there has to be precautions to protect the community. shelter in place, locked doors, safe areas in rooms, designated security people should a situation arise, etc. It takes planning. Just like anything. I'm not as learned on the issue as I would like. My social anxiety keeps me out of most public places for any length of time; but I always have an exit plan, always have my head on a swivel, and always assess those around me for this type of crap. It's part of my social anxiety and one of the reasons why I avoid public places.
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Re: Securing the synagogue

Post by Fat Cat » Mon Dec 17, 2018 6:20 pm

My first thought is leave it to the pro's. Would you have to hire "full-time" security? Or could you just have them to coincide with the regular services and other functions? Also, what is Ohio law regarding self defense? By which I mean, in some places even where carrying is allowed, the laws are not favorable to people using them in self defense.
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Re: Securing the synagogue

Post by Grandpa's Spells » Mon Dec 17, 2018 7:03 pm

tl/dr consider Catholicism.

My work develops risk management training and "workplace shooter" is a more popular request than "workplace violence" even though the latter is 10,000x more likely to be an issue. There's a hugely mis-applied perception of risk.

Of course, once that risk has been applied more directly, like where the FBI gets involved in a place you go, things feel different. I've had something somewhat similar happen a few times where I don't think it'd be crazy to carry a gun in certain contexts. But that has to be weighed against the likelihood of negligent discharges, additional training/practice, a kid getting a hold of the gun, or other every day bullshit of people flipping out on you, and now you have to be way more careful in how you deal with them because you're armed.

In my limited experience the mean level of firearms safety is very poor. That says nothing about the ability to get in the aggressive mindset necessary to effectively engage someone who's shooting people or sufficient training to have the muscle memory. That's best left to professionals or very dedicated hobbyists.

We had a new employee's nephew shot & killed last week in a hunting accident. Nothing against hunting but I've seen negligent discharges and a lot of gun people are way too cavalier with guns.
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Re: Securing the synagogue

Post by Hebrew Hammer » Mon Dec 17, 2018 7:07 pm

Fat Cat wrote:
Mon Dec 17, 2018 6:20 pm
My first thought is leave it to the pro's. Would you have to hire "full-time" security? Or could you just have them to coincide with the regular services and other functions? Also, what is Ohio law regarding self defense? By which I mean, in some places even where carrying is allowed, the laws are not favorable to people using them in self defense.
Ohio legislature is now considering a stand-your-ground bill.
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Re: Securing the synagogue

Post by johno » Tue Dec 18, 2018 12:32 am

HH, you sound squeamish about this subject, although well-intentioned. You might not be the best person to spearhead this project. Do you have any ex-soldiers or law enforcement in your synagogue?

But I'll proceed as if you will disregard.^

*****

If you sincerely want the option to fight, you should find the most effective option.

A fire extinguisher is designed to extinguish fire. It's not very effective as a weapon.

SERIOUSLY, better to have 5 gallon buckets of medium-sized rocks to throw at the bad guy. Seriously.

*****

A firearm can be much more effective for self defense. And it does not require athletic ability.

Although some might insist that only SEAL Team Six Delta Force Spetsnaz Rangers have adequate training to use a firearm, that's nonsense. Every day, minimally trained people use firearms to end conflict; sometimes for good, sometimes for evil. Usually the evil gets the headlines.

Survey your membership to see if anyone would volunteer to be present, armed, and trained.
If not, then either hire professional security or install those 5 gallon buckets of rocks.

And I see no reason why a private establishment would be barred from having a limited, vetted list of those permitted to bear arms on its private property.

The much-maligned & misunderstood NRA could be a good resource for training. Consult your local LEOs also.

*****

Lots of products are available to lock down individual rooms.


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Re: Securing the synagogue

Post by Turdacious » Tue Dec 18, 2018 2:31 am

Being Jewish plus regularly spending time at a place where Jews congregate makes you high risk, and that is an issue worldwide. I suggest talking to people at synagogues where they used armed security (here and worldwide) to get an understanding of what they do and why, and also the concerns of the congregation and how they have been addressed.
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Re: Securing the synagogue

Post by Gene » Tue Dec 18, 2018 4:34 am

Grandpa's Spells wrote:
Mon Dec 17, 2018 7:03 pm
tl/dr consider Catholicism.

My work develops risk management training and "workplace shooter" is a more popular request than "workplace violence" even though the latter is 10,000x more likely to be an issue. There's a hugely mis-applied perception of risk.
Mass shootings are sexy to managers. They like to focus on it. I went through the "training" after some guy flipped out during a layoff. I suspect that the management was looking for "tells" of potential shooters. I counseled that everyone scatter and bug out. They said that we should swarm them. We don't train so that's just a good idea.

We are not permitted to conceal carry ANY weapon at work. Yet the building is full of screw drivers, knives, crow bars and other clubs. Lots of hiding places.
Grandpa's Spells wrote:
Mon Dec 17, 2018 7:03 pm
Of course, once that risk has been applied more directly, like where the FBI gets involved in a place you go, things feel different. I've had something somewhat similar happen a few times where I don't think it'd be crazy to carry a gun in certain contexts. But that has to be weighed against the likelihood of negligent discharges, additional training/practice, a kid getting a hold of the gun, or other every day bullshit of people flipping out on you, and now you have to be way more careful in how you deal with them because you're armed.

In my limited experience the mean level of firearms safety is very poor. That says nothing about the ability to get in the aggressive mindset necessary to effectively engage someone who's shooting people or sufficient training to have the muscle memory. That's best left to professionals or very dedicated hobbyists.

The Violence Policy Center shows 1,289 "killings" by CCW holders since 2007. That's about eleven years. Of those killings 533 were suicides, 357 perpetrated a murder suicide, 19 were killed by others.

The VPC claims just 35 fatal unintentional shootings. That's three people a year on average over the last dozen years.

Total killings? About 117 per year. About forty one percent are suicides who did not bother to go see Dr. Kevorkian's understudies. That leaves sixty percent of the killings either justified homicide, which is a crime for which self defense is an affirmative defense or that they committed manslaughter or murder.

http://concealedcarrykillers.org/

Number of concealed carry holders in the US? 17,250,000 as of 2018. The figure in 2007 was 4,600,000. Let's go with that figure as a lower bound for yearly averages of permit holders.

On average 99.997 of concealed carry permit holders on an annual basis at 2007 permitting levels were not accused of killing anyone. That's an enviable reliability record.

The accidental discharge rate could be higher since many ADs do not involve killing anyone. I do not know them but would like to see them.

https://www.shootingillustrated.com/art ... ers-in-us/

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm ... id=2629704


Does this mean that CCW carriers are going to respond well to a mass shooter? I don't know. My plan is to get off of the X, not stand and deliver. I have hidey holes a work, places to bolt a home. Only idiots practice duelling. "In the gravest extreme" says Mas Ayoob. He's right.

Does it mean that CCW holders are especially dangerous? The Statistics don't seem to support it.
Grandpa's Spells wrote:
Mon Dec 17, 2018 7:03 pm
We had a new employee's nephew shot & killed last week in a hunting accident. Nothing against hunting but I've seen negligent discharges and a lot of gun people are way too cavalier with guns.
In PA we had 163,700 bucks taken this year. I spent a few minutes on Google. No deaths this year. I think last year someone had a heart attack. Firearms are going to involve ADs.

In 2015 we had two fatalities. One was self inflicted, the other was inflicted by another person. One was with a rifle, the other a crossbow. Both were deer hunters.

In 1984 ten people died during hunting season. Six were by others, four were self inflicted. Eight rifle, one shotgun and one muzzle loader. All deer hunters.

https://www.pgc.pa.gov/HuntTrap/Hunter- ... resent.pdf


The usual rule of thumb in Pennsylvania is that 2,000,000 hunters turn out on the first day of deer season. I think it's a miracle that a handful of people are not shot each year.... or maybe it's discipline? The PA Hunter's Safety course and regs are pretty strict. If you are caught without your orange on you will get fined. Hunters police each other too.



Steve, you live in Chicago. A visit to "heyjackass.com" shows a freaking slow motion massacre. I am sickened by the carnage there which I blame on the War on Drugs. I think some drug legalization would do Chicago a world of good. Be appropriate for the home town of the Chicago School of Economics to push for an end to the war on drugs.
Last edited by Gene on Tue Dec 18, 2018 5:09 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Securing the synagogue

Post by Gene » Tue Dec 18, 2018 5:00 am

Hebrew Hammer wrote:
Mon Dec 17, 2018 4:51 pm
Following the Pittsburgh shooting, I dug into security issues for the synagogue I teach Sunday School at and the other one I attend. Then, last week, the FBI arrested a guy who planned to shoot up the synagogue I teach at.
Which is a useful purpose of the FBI. Hopefully the accused will receive a fair trial. Perhaps, like the shitbag who shot up the Tree of Life Synagogue, a Jewish person will defend them in Court as Jewish Doctors and RNs saved shitbag to face Justice. The accused can learn what Justice really means, rather than his or her sick fantasies.

The Tree of Life Synagogue is a fixture in the Oakland area. I've passed it many times over the years. While I resembled a Sephardic Jew in my younger days I never felt the urge to convert. I do not understand anti-Semitism though I lived it growing up. I can understand disgust with people like Mike Bloomberg or Charles Schumer but that is a result of their conceit and arrogance, not their faith.

Mike's recent meddling in PA gun law is stirring up a lot of antagonism. I am quick to check Antisemitism whenever I see it. Mike is an agnostic with delusions of grandeur. He does not keep the Law. One does not say "If there is a God I will go to heaven because of my work in gun control". One says, "I hope that I am judged worthy to live in His presence because of my obedience and my good works". I do not consider him a Jew. He's a conceited and tired agnostic.
Hebrew Hammer wrote:
Mon Dec 17, 2018 4:51 pm
Part of this is that the chance of a shooting is remote - statistically the highest incidence is men angry at custody, looming divorce or the like. Another part, though, is I never want to be in a situation where I am trapped, or others are, with nothing to do. In my synagogue, this is compounded because a number of folks are elderly, and we have special programs once or twice a week with groups of 10+ special needs kids.

We've met with security folks. Key advice is that the best weapon is a fire extinguisher in every room. Everyone is comfortable using one and it can be used to smash a window to escape. I learned that you smash a window in the corner.

We'll drill with all teachers and adult supervisors on escape, hunker down behind barriers, which should be identified in every room (but drywall and doors aren't bulletproof), or fight. No set plans, just know options and try to choose the right one. Have walky-talkies available in every room. Install security, have a lock system, and for internal doors have strong internal locks

Not to antagonize you, but Baruch Goldstein, the Cave of the Patriachs shooter, mowed down 154 Muslim worshipers. He used his Galil selective fire assault rifle and grenades. Twenty nine died. 125 more were wounded. The survivors struck Goldstein in the head with a fire extinguisher then beat him to death. I do not see Dr. Goldstein's run of success in mass murder being a good endorsement of fire extinguishers.

I'm not a security expert. You probably should be talking to experts, perhaps even Synagogue guards back in Israel. Israelis take their security very seriously. I refuse to believe that someone in your group does not have family or friends in Israel who could reach out to an expert in guarding against mass shooters, terrorists and other humanoid trash.

One can game this all out endlessly. In my Church we rely upon our isolation and watching the doors during services. Many of us conceal carry.

As always my first move is to get low. Get off of the X first.
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Re: Securing the synagogue

Post by Hebrew Hammer » Tue Dec 18, 2018 1:59 pm

FBI, local LE, and security experts have a lot of good advice, and we're actively engaged with them, but a lot comes down to budget, finding the right balance, and reality check, made harder by the presence of elderly and regular classes for special needs kids and our being a small community (a few thousand people). Concealed carry receives lukewarm response from LE, but emotionally I've realized I never want to be in a position where I can get mowed down or be unable to try to protect the kids I teach or the elderly I worship with. Not sure yet what that means in terms of practice, but I'm taking the cc class and likely will do so with one of the rabbis and we have a cc group in the community that's meeting to discuss the issue.

IGX is great forum to get unvarnished opinions of all stripes , and I appreciate it.
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Re: Securing the synagogue

Post by johno » Tue Dec 18, 2018 4:00 pm

Hebrew Hammer wrote:
Tue Dec 18, 2018 1:59 pm
I'm taking the cc class and likely will do so with one of the rabbis and we have a cc group in the community that's meeting to discuss the issue.
Kudos for learning more about your options.
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Are full of passionate intensity.

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