A Housekeeping Note on Security

If anyone’s religious congregation or other more secular organization is concerned about their security protocols, please feel free to put them in touch with me. I’ve done a lot of work on that over the years. It would be an honor and privilege to help you/them out. I can always be reached through the contact a front pager tool in the drop down menu at the top right of the page.

For everyone’s convenience, I’m attaching a paper below this post that I did for a contact at DHS back in 2013 when I was assigned at US Army War College. It deals with what needs to be considered when working through security considerations. Some of you may find it of use for your synagogue, church, mosque, ashram, stupa, other house of worship, or other secular organizations you’re affiliated with in regard to this ongoing insanity. It is adapted from my 2006 article in Security Journal, which was derived from the work I did on anti-terrorism for corporate security at Disney University in 2004 (I’m a Mickey Mouse professor!).

Everyone try to have as good a remainder to your weekend as possible.

Open thread!

42 replies
  1. 1
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Everyone try to have as good a remainder to your weekend as possible.

    At least the baseball game ended at a semi-reasonable hour.

  2. 2
    Sandia Blanca says:

    Thank you, Adam, for sharing your expertise with us.

  3. 3
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Praise Beebo!

  4. 4
    Mary G says:

    I get a “this page not working” message, but:

    Our troops win!

    6,000-7,000 U.S. troops and personnel landed in Iceland last week for a massive NATO military exercise… and drank every last beer in the nation’s capital. In a single weekend. https://t.co/OvFCvC1tUK— Rebeccah Heinrichs (@RLHeinrichs) October 27, 2018

  5. 5
    Pogonip says:

    One big problem for houses of worship is that during the service the congregation is facing away from the door and is not as alert as they usually would be, as they are concentrating on the service. In some jurisdictions arming ushers is illegal. In others it may be legal but no one has the time for the necessary constant training. I’m not thrilled with the idea of locking the doors during the service; what if there’s a firebombing? The only ideas I have right now are to post outdoor lookouts, search bags being carried in, and, if the congregation can afford it, hiring armed guards.

  6. 6
    Pogonip says:

    @Mary G: Skoal!

  7. 7
    JaySinWA says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Adam, when you suggested possibilities of quick copycats in a previous post I was trying to remember previous copycat episodes. All I could remember were things several weeks, months or years apart. Could you do a synopsis of the history of copycat crimes and how soon they manifest? In your copious free time of course.

  8. 8
    NotMax says:

    Open thread?

    For the first time in a long while, certainly the first time this decade, someone is coming over tomorrow for dinner and a movie. Frenzy of what passes for housecleaning in progress, along with triple checking the pantry and fridge. Trip to the market for two missing items (a green pepper and some whipping cream) accomplished. Also fingers crossed that tomorrow will not be the the day my cooking decides to go rogue. Baked a chocolate cake today and that came out perfect, so the signs are propitious.

    If the meal should go south, have ample stock of wines and liquor. :)

  9. 9
    NotMax says:

    @Mary G

    And outside of the airport, beer in Iceland is expensive!

  10. 10
    JaySinWA says:

    @NotMax: Green pepper and whipped cream sounds adventurous.

  11. 11
    NotMax says:


    Livin’ life on the edge.


  12. 12
    MomSense says:


    You must keep a very well stocked kitchen if you only need to buy a green pepper and whipping cream. That’s impressive.

  13. 13
    Schlemazel says:

    Thank you, Adam. You are a mensch.

  14. 14
    jl says:

    @Mary G:

    ” the soldiers preferred local beers over imports and were very willing to sample different microbrews as well as the more popular standard lagers. ”

    We have multi-cultural troops preferring socialist Nordic microbrews? I guess it won’t make Fox and Friends.

  15. 15
    JaySinWA says:

    @jl: Fox and Fiends will just focus on drinking Iceland dry.

  16. 16
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @JaySinWA: Am I allowed to get some sleep first?

  17. 17
    Adam L Silverman says:


    a green pepper and some whipping cream

    And a good time was had by all…

  18. 18
    jl says:

    @JaySinWA: Nothing in the report on the Brennivin situation. But maybe the troops were on orders to be able to be able stand up the next morning, so most of them stayed off it.

  19. 19
    Adam L Silverman says:


    We have multi-cultural troops

    You’re welcome. Nice to know my work of the past decade has not been in vain.

  20. 20
    jl says:

    @jl: Not sure whether that was a typo or I meant a joke about what happens if gulp down schnapps, or whatever that brew is.

  21. 21
    JaySinWA says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Permission granted. Obviously I have no power over you, but I would like to understand the dynamics here.

  22. 22
    Adam L Silverman says:

    I’m to bed!

  23. 23
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @JaySinWA: Ask me the question tomorrow or Monday when you see me either post or comment. Provided nothing else goes kaboom tomorrow, I’m gonna try to be offline most of the day. So if you don’t see me, that’s a good sign.

  24. 24
    JaySinWA says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Well that was quick.

  25. 25
    West of the Rockies says:


    Well, usually seduction would involve whipped cream and strawberries, but if green chili peppers works for you, rock on!

  26. 26
    jl says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I’ve spent time in Northern Europe and they drink too damn much beer. I got sick of it after a while. In Sweden, I went on a beer strike and was shamed by my colleagues.

    I was on my beer strike at a lakeside pub near Uppsala and I asked an outraged waiter if they had a non alcoholic beer, since maybe I could manage that. He said “Oh yes, Sweden has wonderful non alcoholic beers, not like that crap they call non alcoholic beer in the US. You’ll love it.” It was a 1% beer and it was very good. I pretended it was ginger ale.

  27. 27
    Platonailedit says:

    Under Trump’s watch:

    -Deadliest massacre of Jews in US history (today)

    -Deadliest mass shooting in US history (las Vegas)

    -Deadliest high school shooting in US history (Parkland)

    -Biggest political assassination attempt in US history.

    (This week)#SynogogueShooting— Brian Krassenstein (@krassenstein) October 27, 2018

  28. 28
    JaySinWA says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Okay I’ll try and remember. I think the issue is less about copycats because I think it takes time for them to decide to do an attack, but there could be real concern about a coordinated attack in several areas that would imply increased security now as opposed to increased security in the weeks ahead. Perhaps a distinction without a difference.

  29. 29
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    @jl: I went to Uppsala in 62 (at the end of my 1st yr in grad school) specifically to see the Codex Argenteus at the university library there. (It’s a 6th cent copy of the 4th cent Ulfilas tranlation of the bible into the Gothic language.) We had studied it a bit in one of my classes. On the way there I met a classmate returning from seeing the Codex–weird!

  30. 30
    kattails says:

    @NotMax: Hey, good for you, I hope the evening is just really pleasant and rewarding both ways, and the good fairies are watching over the cooking.

  31. 31
    kattails says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I am sincerely hoping that nothing goes kaboom for quite some time except perhaps some Republican heads exploding after the elections. In the meantime, many thanks for these thoughtful if worrisome posts.

  32. 32
    kattails says:

    @NotMax: Good for you, I hope the evening is most pleasant and rewarding for both of you, and the good fairies are keeping an eye on the cooking.

  33. 33

    @Adam L Silverman: Sleep is greatly over-rated, or so I’m told.

  34. 34
    Gretchen says:

    Today had me thinking how sad it is that I pass security wearing what appear to be bullet-proof vests when I pick up my grandson from preschool every day. He goes to the preschool at the Jewish Community Center in Kansas which lost three people to a shooting a few years ago. He goes there because they are more willing to help a child with behavior problems than were the two previous preschools which kicked him out. A preschool (and grade and high school) has security with bullet-proof vests. Good work, America.

  35. 35
    dimmsdale says:

    Thanks for the paper, Adam. It’s a sad day in this country when we all need to start thinking like security professionals, but there we are. (I shudder to imagine if interstate CC reciprocity ever becomes a ‘thing’–a bunch of strapped yahoos tramping around the over-stimulating atmosphere of NYC gives me the willies).

    On the plus side, the weather in the NE is highly conducive to making up a batch of chili a la Silverman, so there’s something to look forward to.

  36. 36
    The Pale Scot says:

    @jl: Akavíti, oh man. a friend bought a bottle home, I swear the walls were rippling

    We called it whale juice

  37. 37
    Yutsano says:

    @Gretchen: When I went to Munich in 1995, I went to a synagogue there. But we almost weren’t let in. The only reason we actually made it was due to our American passports and my klutzy German assuring the door guard. He agreed we could come in and look around but not enter the sanctuary since we were both a mixed gender group and we had no proper head coverings. But the eternal light shining on the bimah was just so amazingly beautiful. And no pictures. But it was a definite never forget.

  38. 38
    A Ghost To Most says:

    Religion ruins everything.

  39. 39
    cmorenc says:

    @A Ghost To Most:

    Religion ruins everything.

    Except music. If they’d stick to singing and playing black or bluegrass gospel or perhaps certain classical pieces (e.g. Bach) and skip the long-winded preachiness and hypocritical bible-thumping it would be ok.

  40. 40
  41. 41
    A Ghost To Most says:

    Religion needs music to lull the gullible.

    Music doesn’t need religion.

  42. 42
    Kayla Rudbek says:

    @NotMax: the only thing that is cheap in Iceland is the yarn at the duty-free store at the airport!

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