To my fellow Christian warriors: Share this post in all ways possible. People need to hear this yesterday, and take action now.
In the aftermath of the murders in San Bernardino, I need to wear two hats in this post. The foremost is the teacher of Scripture hat, but I will also place my police officer and police tactics instructor hat on for a bit. These things need to be said, because people’s lives depend on it.
Something different happened today in San Bernardino than is statistically typical of active shooter incidents here in the United States. At first glance, this isn’t something that can cause alarm for us in police work, but it should. It is a change from the normal, and should cause us to take a moment and process. They attempted to flee. This is, at best, a historical infrequent action when active shooters are concerned. While all the information is not in on the incident, and I will refrain from getting too detail oriented here in this forum, this can strongly indicate a separate motive from the normal “I’ll make them pay for what they did to me” motive. This, in my mind, can indicate the intention for these perpetrators to commit further acts, and not make this the big crescendo of their lives as so many before them have done. Then you add in the wearing of body armor, the deployment of long guns and we have a change in the game. Why does this matter? Why does this need to be posted here in this study? Because we need to think long and hard about what we do as police officers. We need to think deeply and seriously as human beings who know that evil exists, and must be confronted. The days of most police officers going their entire careers and not being placed in lethal confrontations are rapidly coming to an end.
If it is true that these violent acts are increasing here in our homeland, we must prepare. We must be ready when that day finds us.
We need to address physical fitness. Let’s face it. There are some officers who are in shape and some come in other shapes. Remember, if that day finds you it will be your job to combat these evil people in order to save innocent lives. You will not rise to the height of grandeur, and you will sink to the level of your training. You can’t shoot straight if you can’t breathe. If you can’t shoot straight than innocent people can die.
When David came to the battle lines between Israel and the Philistines, he heard Goliath yelling and intimidating the Israelites. Having none of that, he enquired as to what was going to be done about this fellow. When no man in the army would go, a young shepherd boy took the reigns. He went to the king, argued with him about going to fight this man, and placed King Saul’s battle dress upon himself at the king’s request. The important point to ponder here is what David says while in King Saul’s armor. We read in 1 Samuel 17:39: “and David strapped his sword over his armor. And he tried in vain to go, for he had not tested them. Then David said to Saul, ‘I cannot go with these, for I have not tested them.’ So David put them off.” David had not tested these items. He had not trained with them and was not used to them, so he put them off and went without. David knew that he must be prepared for this battle, and to make a change at the last minute would be potentially fatal. It is clear to us from this text that we must be confident in our equipment, and that confidence only comes from hard work and training. Training like innocent lives depend on it, because they do.
When I teach the breaching portion of active shooter classes, I always add a strong encouragement for officers to spend their own money on individual sets of breaching equipment and medical supplies. Some have the opinion that if their agency didn’t give it to them, than they don’t need it. I exceedingly, strongly and forcibly disagree with that idea. If that day finds them, and they can’t get inside to do their jobs they will have to live with it. They will have to live with hearing the screams on the other side of the door when they close their eyes at night. They will have to live with the gunshots as they step over the dead bodies when they finally make it into the structure to solve the problem they were unprepared to solve until the proper equipment arrived.
Goliath said to a young David, in 1 Samuel 17:44, “Come to me and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and to the beasts of the field.” Undeterred by the seemingly invincible giant of a man, David replied with unmitigated fervor. “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the LORD saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give you into our hand.” David was sure of who he served. He knew and believed that the God whom he served was more powerful than this giant, his nation, or any gods they believed were real. He was steadfast in his understanding, and this caused all fear to melt away leaving pure courage in the face of seemingly certain mortal demise. There are no atheists in foxholes. People sometimes live life as though God does not exist, but when this day finds you it is better to have sorted all that stuff out earlier. No time to talk after it begins. There is only time to go to work, because that is the most important thing in your universe at that time. Check out The Most Important Thing for clarity on this. Contact me with a comment below for further questions on the topic.
Our last verses in this passage is 1 Samuel 17:48-49. We read: “When the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. And David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone and slung it and struck the Philistine on his forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the ground.” David showed two things here that are important for us to know. First he displayed decisiveness in action. He knew what time it was, and what time it was about to be. He did not nonchalantly walk towards his foe. He ran towards him. It was go time. The second thing here is there was no hesitation from closing the distance to swift violence of action. As soon as Goliath was in range, David “pulled the trigger.” He did not talk with him any longer. There was no time for exchange of pleasantries. The giant was still a threat. He took the fight to him, and swiftly terminated his abilities as a threat. The time that hesitation presents in a lethal force situation is directly associated to innocent lives being lost. The faster the threat is down, the faster the murdering stops. The time that is wasted in doing anything that distracts from that end goal, is time that can lead you to your demise and subsequently more innocent lives are lost. No time to talk, no time to play around, and there is no time to catch your breath.
Big picture for all of us to keep in the forefront of our minds.
- We are to see this as a different kind of incident than a statistically historical active shooter incident in the United States.
- We are to prepare our bodies for this day.
- As young David worked towards solving this problem, we need to be prepared to do the same. It is a race to the scene, and it is a race to the murderers. We should only be limited by our ability to process information and deal with threats.
- Train with your gear. We should be proficient in every tool needed to accomplish tasks that are required of us.
- Take personal responsibility in your ability to accomplish a life saving mission even if it costs you money.
- We are to be undeterred by the scope and size of our enemies.
- We are to deal with our relationship with God now, so we will not have anything crossing our mind in a situation where we might see Him sooner than we would like. Solidify this now.
- We are to be decisive. Then we are to be decisive, and we are to be decisive as well.
- In the real world it’s fast and violent, so we must be faster and possess the capacity for overwhelming violence.
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1 Samuel 17:45 – “Then David said to the Philistine, ‘You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.’ ”