Things that go without saying don’t always…go without saying.

Wife says she heard DT say how awful it was that the folks in the Pittsburgh synagogue were killed and in almost the same breath added that if they’d had armed security present, that wouldn’t have happened.

This upset her greatly, even though it’s 100% true that 11 people probably wouldn’t have died if there’d been armed security present.  The juxtaposition of the two thoughts were what set her off.  I guess I didn’t help when I said, “Well, he’s right, you know.”

Of course, I can’t find a tweet to that effect (and I would have assumed it would have been a tweet), so I have no fucking clue whether she heard it, saw it, or if it was a fake tweet, or some idiot reporter simply ran the two thoughts together in a news article/live standup (my suspicion is running toward the latter at the moment).  All I see on his feed (and please note that I started writing this at about 5:45 and just now got back to it several paragraphs down) is these four tweets:

This is not a guy who says, “So sorry that so many died, but y’all brought this on yourselves.”  So either a tweet was edited/deleted, a quote was taken out of context, or a reporter/network is/are a fuckwad.  Again, still thinking the latter.

But the takeaway is still the same as it is every fucking time one of these active shooter situations happens:  Damn shame someone there didn’t have a gun.  The difference is that apparently Trump had the balls to say so and not mince words.

Yet, my pacifist liberal wife said “violence doesn’t stop violence.”

Unfortunately (or, in my mind, fortunately), that’s not true.  Violence (or at least the threat of it) does indeed stop violence.  We see it all the time in armed citizen actions.

To argue that you shouldn’t need armed security or shouldn’t need to carry a weapon if you’re a law-abiding civilian is to simply ignore the constant threats being spewed by extremists both left and right — and if you’re a Jew, the threat level is even higher due to the rising tide of anti-Semitism that’s starting to crest in this country — both no thanks to our Democratic/Progressive “friends”.  And in point of fact, anti-Semitism can cause collateral damage to people like Freemasons, and Catholics, and any other civic or religious group the nutbag conspiracy theorists think is the devil du jour.

Gun-free zones multiply the problem because the black hats know nobody will be shooting back.  And if you don’t think that synagogue was a gun-free zone, you don’t know American Jews very well.

Look, we had this argument a couple of years ago in Masonry when a Masonic Center in Milwaukee was the target of an attack by a would-be jihadi who made the mistake of conspiring with FBI undercover agents to purchase weapons.  The general consensus was that you have to secure the building from invasion in the first place.  Once the black hats get into the building, you’re toast, whether all your members are carrying or none of them are, and anywhere in between.  The element of surprise means that a lot of people are going to die before a white hat manages to draw down and actually shoot the perp, and that assumes the white hat isn’t going to actually end up shooting one of his own people in the process.  In particular, a lodge room full of Masons is laid out in such a way that command of the doorway leading in probably means most everyone inside will take a bullet.

The same is true of a church or synagogue sanctuary, possibly even more so because (usually) everyone will be facing away from the entrance rather than seated at right angles to it.

So our consensus jelled around the idea that nobody should be able to get into the building in the first place.  Outer doors should be secured, entry granted only by positive identification with full camera surveillance of the entry, members who are also law enforcement or ex-law enforcement detailed to keep an eye on things inside and out during meetings, and arranging for local on-duty law enforcement to drive through the property two or three times during the evening.  We considered but tossed the idea of an actual professional armed security guard because most lodges don’t have the money to pay for that every meeting.

Larger buildings with more membership presence or that rent space for outside events are another story; the money is probably there (indeed it should be figured into rentals) and the need for professional security ratchets up with the profile of both the building and the event.

In the present case, I think it was idiotic for the synagogue not to have armed security present, but even more insane to have not considered what proactive steps it could have taken to prevent the shooter from getting into the building in the first place that might not have even required armed security.  It seems clear that none of this sort of planning happened or I’d think the doors would have been locked at the very minimum.  If this synagogue did have active shooter planning, it must have been of the pie-in-the-sky sort (“it could never really happen here”).  That may be harsh, but look what happened, and it seems fair to me to place blame squarely on the leadership.

Things are coming to a head in this country with regard to political violence (as I have written before) and anyone who isn’t thinking about how to secure events against active shooters is deluding themselves.  Religious institutions aren’t going to get anymore of a pass than civic institutions have been getting.  As General Mattis recommends, they need to “Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet”.

More to the point, they need to remember that God helps those who help themselves.