When I became a professional journalist nearly 25 years ago, there were a lot of things that I expected to cover. Some of it was somewhat exciting, such as car wrecks and fires. Other things not so much so, such as beauty pageants and government meetings.
Over the years, I have learned to expect the unexpected as Whitley County just seems to be a magnet for the weird and oddball.
There are just some things that you can’t imagine that you would ever be covering in a small town and Monday night happened to be one of those.
I spent two hours covering a presentation that Kentucky State Police were giving to local churches on what they could do to try and prevent an active shooter in their building, and things to do in the event of a mass-shooting situation.
If you had told me 20 years ago or 10 years ago or even 5 years ago that I would be covering something like this, then I probably would have thought you were crazy. I know that I am not alone in this.
Unfortunately in today’s crazy world, we have to prepare for the worst things imaginable, including planning to prevent mass shootings in churches and schools of all places. I’m not sure when the world got this screwed up, but it is.
After the Texas church shooting where 26 innocent people were killed last month, Kentucky State Police Trooper Shane Jacobs, the public affairs officer at the Harlan post, began getting calls from nearly every church in Knox County about what churches could do to improve safety.
KSP didn’t have any guidebook for it so Shane and Trooper Lloyd Cochran, the public affairs officer at the London post, began talking to fellow law enforcement officers about what they were doing in their churches.
Shane and Lloyd then put together an excellent PowerPoint presentation that they presented at Grace Christian Fellowship Monday evening to a group of more than 100 people. Seldom has a church been so full for a weeknight service where free food wasn’t being served.
Sadly, security is something we have to seriously think about in our churches, and many of our church leaders are doing just that as evidenced by Monday’s turnout.
If you are a church leader or the leader of any organization that has large groups of people regularly gather, I think you may find that the story about this meeting has some valuable information.
It’s a story that I can’t say I wanted to write, but it’s a story that needed to be written. Besides, I would much rather be writing this story than one about a situation where dozens of people are killed in a local shooting so please read it.
To get a copy of the PowerPoint or for more information, you can contact Jacobs at (606) 573-3131 or Cochran at (606) 878-6622.
Now to touch on a couple of rosier topics before I conclude this column.
- How about that Williamsburg Christmas Parade Saturday night. It is without a doubt one of, if not the biggest Christmas parade that I have ever seen here in town. It was probably the best one too. There were over 70 entries and about 600 participants in the parade that lasted over an hour.
Given the freezing cold weather and pouring snowflakes, we had a pretty good turnout for it too. My applause to this year’s organizers.
- Speaking of big, the Williamsburg Independent School “Christmas in a Small Town,” choir and band concert Sunday was also enormous with 200 students participating at either the elementary, middle school or high school levels. Good job.