Church security is a big topic of discussion following Sunday’s mass shooting in Texas. Pastor Curt Dodd at Westside Church near 144th and West Dodge Road in Omaha says they started taking steps to make their buildings safer for parishioners following the Von Maur shooting at Westroads Mall ten years ago.
Pastor Dodd says, “Because of that and knowing that a church is definitely a soft target. We began to design a security plan. With that we decided to hire a few county sheriff deputies and they make their presence known. Sometimes we use two. Sometimes we use three. They remain on watch. With their presence in the hall, with their presence in the auditorium and in different places, they have become a fixture in our church.”
Nebraska law states that conceal carry guns are not allowed in places of worship but individual churches can make exceptions if they choose to do so.
Pastor Dodd says mass shootings are very difficult to explain to parishioners, especially children. He says, “There are a lot of people that have magical thinking – that I would call it – who think there are safe places where they are always safe. Many people believe in their home they should be safe but sometimes a home can be a very toxic place. The same thing is true at any kind of building whether it be a house of worship or an office building. As long as there are people who are deranged, off balance or have evil, malicious intent, any of those buildings, regardless of what those buildings represent, are targets for their explosive reactions.” He goes on to say that people in pain create pain.