Does “Heavily Armed” Mean Safe?

One church made headlines with a promise to show “deadly force.” Should yours do the same?

News reports recently drew attention to a church in the Southeastern U.S. that advertised this message on social media (I’ve redacted the name of the church).

I don’t have first-hand knowledge of this church or its circumstances. I’m simply using this information to make two relevant points.

One, a secure church does not have to compromise its mission.
In my view, this poster will do little to deter a deranged person from trying to kill someone. It will do a lot to deter guests from joining. Who wants to attend the First Church of Magnum Force? Security does not have to be bold and brash to be effective. Each church needs to find a healthy sense of balance.

Second, guns do not equal safety.
I don’t know the level of firearms training that has taken place at this particular church. But concealed-weapons training is designed to protect individuals and homes. It does not prepare you for a public, high-stakes shootout. That requires advanced, consistent training. Without it, more people are likely to be hurt than helped.

In addition, the first and most effective tactic any church can employ is to train its ushers, greeters and parking lot teams to be observant and aware. You win 100% of the confrontations you never have.

Questions? I’d love to hear from you.

Vaughn Baker is the president of Strategos International and author of The Church Security Handbook.


Yes, This Really is a Crisis

How to overcome the bias that leaves us vulnerable.

You’d think a crisis – particularly a violent one – would be easy to identify.

But experience proves otherwise.

When we confront an emergency, our psyche doesn’t want to cooperate. Denial is often our default mode. It causes us to take actions that are counterproductive to prevailing in the midst of an intruder or active shooter. What does this bias look like and how can we counter it?

Vaughn Baker, president of Strategos International, explains how to overcome normalcy bias and prevail in a crisis.

Yes, This Really is a Crisis: Overcoming the Bias That Leaves Us Vulnerable from Strategos International on Vimeo.


When a Crisis Occurs, Who is the True First Responder?

Law enforcement does an incredible job, but they’re usually minutes away. And minutes mean lives.

If there’s an intruder at your church or business, call the police. No question about it.

But there’s likely much more you need to be ready to do while the police are on their way.

Is the intruder armed? Has he made threats? Taken hostages? In the video below, I explain just how much damage can be done by a determined shooter in only a few moments.

The lesson: We need to understand that, until the police arrive, we are the first-responders. What we do, or fail to do, may determine who lives and dies that day.

Is your church or business prepared for an intruder? And beyond that, is it prepared for a fire? Or a tornado?

We may not enjoy the fact that we have a role as first-responders. But as leaders, we have to rise to the occasion for the sake of those we serve. Questions? Send me a line.

Who is the First Responder? from Strategos International on Vimeo.


Protesters Outside Your Church? Handle With Care

Courtesy of Mark Klotz, Flickr

Holster the donuts and suspend the arguments. Unless it’s violent, let this storm blow over.

By Vaughn Baker
President, Strategos International

A well-known protest group recently made its rounds at churches in the Orlando area, spewing an all-too-common message of “hate thy neighbor.” When this happens, what’s a church to do?

First of all, it’s legal for protesters to picket on public property such as sidewalks. Unless they’re disturbing the peace or trespassing, they’re on solid legal ground. But …

Protesters want attention and hate indifference. So you ignore them. A toe-to-toe “stand for truth” can devolve into a shouting match or fistfight – and that’s what some of these groups want (legal action = money). Even the tender-hearted woman who seeks to “kill them with kindness” will likely regret bringing donuts to hardened professional agitators. If there’s a confrontation or – worse – an altercation, then you’ve made the news.

“Be as wise as serpents and as innocent as doves.” – Matthew 10:16

Certainly you should be watchful and aware when protesters show up. Alerting law enforcement is also a prudent step, simply to be on the safe side.

For a protester, a bad day is quiet day. And that’s exactly the kind of day you want to give them. Questions? Let’s talk.


Workplace Violence: Threats From Without and Within

You’ve got a great workplace. People love their jobs. So you’re safe from workplace violence, right?

Wrong. Workplace violence stems from many sources, including employees’ home lives. Domestic violence frequently spills over into the workplace. Disgruntled customers can also be a cause. Finally, how well do you know your employees? What’s really going on their lives? Proactivity is the best approach to creating an environment that is resistant to workplace violence. Strategos President Vaughn Baker addresses this topic in this Strategos Security Minute.



Church Violence: How Real is the Risk?

A recent shooting suspect was a children’s ministry volunteer and evangelist – before the sanctuary was sprayed with bullets.

By Vaughn Baker
President, Strategos International

You’ve heard the saying: Expect it when you least expect it. There is wisdom in this idea when it comes to church security.

On Sunday, Emanuel K. Samson was arrested in the shooting death of a member of Burnette Chapel Church of Christ near Nashville, Tenn. Six others were injured.

Police say Samson began firing as people left the worship service, then ran into the building and kept shooting. A member of the church repeatedly struggled with Samson, causing the assailant to shoot himself in the leg. That’s when the killing stopped.

Who knows how many lives were spared. Police say Samson had multiple weapons and a sizable stash of ammunition.

The enigma in all of this: Why? Samson had volunteered in children’s ministry and was a Gospel-heralding church member. He invited many to join him in worship.

The lesson for us? Be prepared. We have to accept the risk before we can assess it. Only then can we go from being victimized to prevailing.


The Strategos Security Minute: What is My Risk of Workplace Violence?

We must accept the risk before we can accurately assess the risk.

We hear about workplace, school and church violence almost daily. But it seems like something that happens to somebody else … until it happens to you. What is the risk of violence in your workplace, church or school? And do you prepare based on the risk? We certainly don’t take that approach for fires, tornadoes, floods or other severe weather incidents – even though the risks are quite low. The better question, according to Strategos President Vaughn Baker, is “What is the risk of doing nothing?”

The Strategos Security Minute: What is My Risk of Workplace Violence? from Strategos International on Vimeo.

Questions? Contact us.


Strategos Brings Rapid Response for Florida Businesses in Hurricane’s Wake


We’re protecting people and property at a time when first-responders are overwhelmed.

Strategos International, a Kansas City-based security company, has nearly 60 of its personnel on the ground in Florida protecting people and property for its clients.

Strategos specializes in on-site protection and security consulting for businesses, schools, churches and law enforcement. It has also trained more than 100,000 personnel on security topics.

Strategos has a command center set up in its Grandview office to digitally monitor events, clients’ properties and to interact with personnel.

“People turn to us in uncertain times and a massive hurricane is certainly one of those,” said Vaughn Baker, president of Strategos. “Law enforcement and other first-responders are overwhelmed and serving in heroic ways. A professional security presence is often needed to safeguard business property and keep operations safe and secure.”

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Who Needs Personal Protection?

While most don’t need a permanent protective presence, temporary security may be necessary in response to a threat.

It’s a violent world out there. Do you need personal protection (also known as a bodyguard or executive protector)? Few individuals need round-the-clock protection, although there are certainly those who require it. These include high-net worth individuals, controversial public figures and celebrities. Far more common, however, is the need for temporary executive protection. Has a threat been made to your CEO, workplace or to an employee? Are you contemplating a high-risk termination? Strategos International can help you determine if temporary personal protection, or even a permanent security presence, is best for the safety and well being of you, your family and your organization. Contact us if we can be of assistance.



Is Your Crisis Response Plan a Paper Tiger?

Simply having a plan in a file cabinet will not reduce your organization’s crisis response liability – or more importantly – save lives.

Strategos International President Vaughn Baker addresses getting a crisis response plan out of the file cabinet and into action so that your organization can prevail over a crisis.