Pray It Doesn't Happen: Active Shooter Training For ND Churches - - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Pray It Doesn't Happen: Active Shooter Training For ND Churches

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It's something they wish they didn't have to think about.   North Dakota pastors ready their houses of worship -- for an active shooter. 

"They want to do maximum harm to people that can't fight back," said Don Moseman, Program Director with the North Dakota Safety Council.  Like schools and work places, experts consider churches "soft targets."

"Just in churches, since 1999, we've had 542 attacks in the United States," Moseman said.  Fifty percent of the time, a person dies.  "I didn't know it.  I just didn't know," said Pastor Odea Sigh.

None of those attacks were in North Dakota, but Odea Sigh, Pastor of Bismarck's Seventh Day Adventist Church, is making sure his congregation is protected.  "It was amazing when he told me these kind of incidents don't happen in the larger cities and small towns.  We're the targets," said Pastor Sigh.

Economic pressures, breakdown of the family -- and especially violent music and games are cited as motivators.  According to the North Dakota Safety Council, one popular song -- "In the End," by Linkin Park -- has been linked to 106 shooters.  In churches, experts say they're typically motivated by domestic disputes where one person seeks counseling, and the other -- "doesn't like it and goes to settle the score with the people at the church," Moseman said.

Just like fire drills, experts say fighting back involves the "three Ps":  Preparation, planning and practice, so -- "when that evil comes knocking at the door, you'll know what to do," said Moseman.

First Evangelical Free Church in Bismarck knows what to do.  They went through the training and thought it important others do too.  "It's something that you wish you didn't have to do, but the fact of the matter it's become a lot more dangerous in our culture today," said Bob Thune, Pastor of First Evangelical Free Church in Bismarck.

"I'm a shepherd, but you know, the shepherd has to take care of the sheep and sometimes defend the sheep," said Pastor Sigh.

In North Dakota, it is now legal to carry concealed weapons in church -- with the church's permission.   Active shooter training for churches was hosted by First Evangelical Church in Bismarck.  

If your church is interested, contact the North Dakota Safety Council for more information.


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