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During the past month, I'm sure that most people in our country were watching the impeachment debates in Washington D.C., some for and some against. I was watching the debates also, but I was also watching to see the security measures that were in place. Since I always like to greet security team members and wish them well, their presence was the first thing I noticed about the debates. Actually, they made more sense to me than all of the "mumbo-jumbo" coming from our politicians.

The obvious security officers were in uniform, so they were easy to identify. But did you also notice the plainclothes people on patrol who, more often than not, stood nearby a uniformed officer? There were a lot of them. In addition, Congress has a very large security force whose members never dress in uniform, and these were everywhere as well. You might say that, while there was a lot of anguish going on during the debates from those involved, Congress was one of the safest places in the country at that time.

Lest someone accuse me of missing something, let me also hastily add that I was aware of the security from our armed forces going on outside and around the capitol during these debates. It was awesome.

On the other hand, down in Florida, there was a Super Bowl (54) going on. In addition to all of the security officers, electronic devices to check on attendees, and the high prices that kept most people at home watching their television sets, one television station actually showed some of the boats patrolling the water around Florida, the helicopters flying around, and the heavily-armed fighter planes ready at a moment's notice. Wow! And the Chiefs won after 50 years of being excluded from the Super Bowl by fighting hard on the field and being kept safe.

A few years ago, I was leaving a large department store in a mall and something I had purchased set off a siren alarm. Not knowing what was happening, I went back into the store and tried to exit again. Sure enough, off went the alarm. Since there were no salespeople around, I just kind of stood there wondering what to do. Suddenly, an old-looking geek wearing a lot of facial hair got up off the side of a center display and came over and encouraged me to just go on and leave. It turned out that he was a security guard for the department store. And, upon further inquiry, I discovered that the security at that store and the mall numbered close to 50.

I probably notice these things because I've been around law enforcement personnel too long, but for me, it is fairly easy to spot security personnel at our stores.

You would be surprised to learn how many security people Walmart employs at each of its stores. They are there to both protect us and make sure we aren't stealing from the store, but I doubt if you can identify them. Not long ago, I exited a Walmart store in our area and suddenly found a plainclothes guy shouting at a man and a woman in a car attempting to drive away. Apparently, they had stolen something and a security cop was after them. Ironically, they were in a car within 10 feet of me, so I carefully noticed what was going on--e.g. if they were hostile or carrying weapons -- and what they looked like. As it turned out, they refused to stop and drove off. Silly crooks. That secret security guard had their car's license plate number and a picture of their car. I'm sure they didn't get far.

Believe it or not, we also have a lot of good citizens around us who are armed and more than willing to assist us if we just call out for help in a time of need. Arkansas law allows for properly trained and responsible individuals to carry a concealed weapon, and even an exposed weapon (open carry). Seeing someone with a six-shooter attached to his or her hip makes me nervous though. First, I have to question the mentality behind open carry and, second, I'm sure that if a bad guy showed up, he or she would be one of the first targets in his sights. Thus, while I appreciate his willingness to help protect me, I also don't like to be found too close to him.

Lastly, let me remind you that most of us have a huge "balcony of people" who are there to love and to support us. Those are the people who encourage us when we're down, who pick us up when we fall, celebrate with us when we succeed and are willing to step forward to help us when trouble comes our way. I thank God for the people in my balcony who have supported me over the years, and I hope you do, too.

-- Robert Box is the former chaplain for the Bella Vista Police Department and is currently the Fire Department chaplain. Opinions expressed are those of the author.

Religion on 02/12/2020

Print Headline: Silent security

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