Local places of worship are trying to balance openness and safety in the days after the Texas church shooting.
Rev. Steven L. Thomason, dean of St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral in Seattle, said his church trains ushers on how to deal with a possible active shooter scenario.
“Our ushers, our leaders, and our staff to be aware of signs of potential people who might bring some hostility or violence into our space and how to de-escalate when possible,” said Rev. Thomason.
Rev. Thomason added often times violent offenders show red flags before an incident.
“When they arrive, there is posturing, there is aggression, and if we can see that and spot that, even as we keep an eye on folks as they’re coming in the doors, then often we can intervene in a different way,” he said.
Rev. Thomason said there’s a natural tension between being a welcoming place in today’s world of gun violence.
“We always want to be a welcoming place, but we recognize that to do so we cannot be a hundred percent safe, but we can take steps to ensure as much safety as possible,” he added.
When asked what his hope is moving forward, Rev. Thomason said: “My hope personally and the hope of this congregation is that our country can get serious about safe gun legislation in a way that doesn’t abrogate the 2nd Amendment, but very clearly says we have a problem, it’s an epidemic in this nation, and we have an opportunity to do this differently and save lives in the process.”
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