Raparelli could not say whether having a security plan would have stopped the shooter from executing killings he "had planned" and "wanted to do."For decades, security has been a major focus for Jewish organizations because of terror attacks in Israel and on Jews elsewhere.The Anti-Defamation League distributes a security manual that covers topics from armed intruders to bomb threats. National Jewish groups recently formed the Secure Community Network to oversee safety for Jewish groups nationwide.Boosting security can be contrary to the mission of houses of worship, said the Network's national director, Paul Goldenberg."On the one hand, you want to be accommodating," he said. "On the other hand, the world has changed."You don't want iron gates and armed guards, but houses of worship do need to train staff, congregants and ushers to identify and respond to such threats as an emotionally disturbed person," Goldenberg said.After a man in Colorado went on a shooting spree at two religious facilities in 2007, the Mosaic Church in Little Rock, Ark., established a group of ushers trained in security measures but designed to uphold the church's image as a sacred place-not an armed church.The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a civil rights group based in Washington, has published security guidelines and safety tips for mosques in response to assaults on mosques and American Muslims after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.The Christian Security Network recommends churches assess their risk for everything from fire and tornadoes to vandalism, burglary, sexual molestation and shootings, then build a plan.So far this year, churches in 39 states have reported 141 incidents, including burglaries and bomb threats.The biggest hurdle is overcoming the mentality that such incidents "can't happen here," Hawkins said."If you don't think it could happen to you, you won't be mentally prepared," he said. "You won't take it to heart."
Associated Press Religion Writer Rachel Zoll and writer Jim Suhr in Maryville, Ill., contributed to this report.