Not even a week after the tragic Pittsburgh synagogue shooting that claimed 11 lives, the faith-based community and other gathering places have found themselves left with an almost unfathomable, but inevitably relevant question: “what if a shooting happens here next?”
Subsequently, some areas of the country have observed an uptick in calls for increased religious security, which is warranted in the immediate aftermath of last week’s tragedy. This process is the latest in an unfortunately common phenomenon across our country’s public outlets and institutions; an act of mass violence exploits a weakness or loophole in a major establishment (be it a church, school, movie theatre, or concert venue), and suddenly the culture and overall protocol of that establishment must change forever.
In the case of the Pittsburgh shooting, religious sanctuaries are now faced with a reality in where institutions that are commonly regarded as synonymous with sanctity and peace, are being forced to consider their collective defensive posture. More notably, this instance presents a horrible example of “keeping up with the Joneses” in where Synagogues and Jewish Community Centers in cities like New York, Los Angeles, DC and even suburban Cherry Hill, NJ have had partnerships with local police departments and armed security services to protect services and gatherings for decades. On a national level, the Jewish community has created cutting-edge partnerships through the Secure Communities Networks, Anti-Defamation League and law enforcement partnerships with local Jewish Federations to react to ongoing threats of terrorism and hate crimes.
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