From today's Sun-Sentinel
Palm Beach · With terrorism concerns back in the headlines, law enforcement experts urged local religious institutions on Thursday to make security a higher priority.How much should we change our lives and routines in response to the threat of terror or hate crimes?
Clergy members and their staffs were encouraged to report suspicious people to the authorities, develop close ties with police and have evacuation plans in case of emergencies.
Synagogues, churches and mosques shouldn't be turned into forts, but they need to focus much closer on security in light of the ongoing violence in the Middle East, the alleged terrorism plot in London and the recent attack on a Jewish center in Seattle, experts from law enforcement agencies and the Anti-Defamation League said at the interfaith security conference at a Palm Beach church. The conference continues today at a center west of Boca Raton.
"Think security. Trust your instincts," Sgt. Fred Hess of the Palm Beach Police Department told about 25 participants.
Synagogues in cities such as Boca Raton will be getting extra security this year from the police for the upcoming Jewish holidays. That will be above the usual beefed-up police presence during the holidays, officials said.
In case the terrorism alerts around the world weren't enough reason to bolster security, conference organizers explained that Florida is one of the nation's hotspots for hate crimes and extremist activities. Homes in Palm Beach, Belle Glade and other South Florida cities have received leaflets with racist and anti-Semitic writings in recent years, said Roberta Clark, associate regional director of the Anti-Defamation League.
How many hate crimes occur to churches down here? My wife works at our Catholic Churh. I'd say in the 13 years she's been there, 10-20 acts of vandalism have occured. Usually some one breaking in to get the St. Vincent DePaul money.
So we're talking 1 or 2 times a year. What are we worrying about then?
There have been acts of vandalism at other places of worship here in South Florida. Yes I'm not forgetting the shooting in Seattle. How often do these things really happen?
TFM admits there are nuts out there. I give out my daily award to them. People have all sorts of crazy opinions, and many spew them out in the internet. Oh that sounds like me.
Very few of these people ever put their thoughts into action.
Again what's the threat we're talking about? Churches have limited budgets.(I know this because of my wife, again) Are they supposed to spend funds towards protecting themselves against a very remote fear or help their congregation and spread the faith?
Then you have this bit of news.
Authorities at the Palm Beach County Courthouse on Thursday announced a ban on metal, plastic and glass containers.Captain DeMario you're nuts and I regret having not given you today's knucklehead award. You can't see a knife in a cup of starbucks coffee? It won't be picked up by the metal detectors? I think not
That means on Sept. 15 jurors, private attorneys and anyone with a court date will be asked to throw out their precious java, water or soda.
It's a move that's not getting high praise from some, but the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, charged with providing courthouse security, said it's a key measure for keeping weapons out.
"We can put objects in them and they won't be picked up," Sheriff's Capt. Frank DeMario said. "Taking a sip of something doesn't mean you don't have a knife or bullets in there."
Hiding bullets in a soda can. Ingenious, except for one little thing. Where's the gun? Not to mention they'll set off the metal detector.
Is Captain DeMario's cousin, brother, or some relative a vendor at the courthouse? That's the only intelligent explanation I can think of for his remarks. Either that or DeMario is a fool who has no business being in charge of anything related to security.
Fear is going to absurd lengths. Is this the type of society we want or should we be paranoid?
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