At 10:12 AM (MDT) on 10/12/19, I got the first of many news pings of a situation at a Pelham, NH church. News came in soon that the attack was at the New England Pentecostal Church. I knew that name.
On 10/01/19 a pastor of that church (60-year-old Luis Garcia), had been killed by Brandon Castiglione, whom he had gone to see in the home of Brandon’s father, Mark Castiglione.
The story started unfolding; Garcia was to have his memorial service at the church on 10/12/19. That morning (before the afternoon memorial), 60-year-old Mark Castiglione was getting married when a hooded guest stood up and started shooting. Castiglione’s bride and Bishop Stanley Choate (who was performing the wedding) were shot. Castiglione was hit over the head with the shooter’s .380 handgun.
Deacon Othniel Archer had been watching from the balcony above. Within moments of the gunfire, Archer jumped from the balcony and tackled the shooter. As Billy Graham once said, “courage is contagious.” Others joined in to help Archer, and the shooter was immobilized. While Choate is still hospitalized, nobody died.
The hood came off, and the shooter became known; the long-time trouble-making gang-member stepson of Luis Garcia.
Think about it…
The church had been through active shooter training by local law-enforcement. Yet they did not appear to have an intentional, active team. I don’t have a problem with run / hide / fight. Those really are the only options (said many ways by others).
I have a problem with the way it’s taught; the training RARELY includes any mention of a trained and equipped intentional team of initial responders (those who are already there – at the bang). Without including a call for churches (and others) to develop such an intentional team, RHF or active shooter training is nothing but teaching sheep to run, hide or (as a last resort) ram the wolf with your forehead.
Especially in the northeast states.
Some say the west coast is the weakest in security. No, the weakest states are in the northeast. I have friends up there; a fine group of responsible defenders. But there is wide-spread and deep denial about the importance of trained and equipped initial responders. I applaud their quick action, but it didn’t need to go as far as it did.
Why is New York City, Boston and the northeast a preferred target of foreign terrorists? Maybe this will be their wake-up call.
Courage is contagious.