WASHINGTON – Federal authorities warned Friday that ISIS sympathizers “continue aspirational calls for attacks on holiday gatherings, including targeting churches.” The bulletin was issued by the FBI and Department of Homeland Security and issued to law enforcement agencies and private security companies around the US…. The bulletin was sent Friday to law enforcement after pro-ISIS websites had published a publicly-available list of churches in the United States.

It can’t be much more clear than that. ISIS supporters are being asked to come at us and our families directly – as we sit in church during worship. Law enforcement and others are being warned to increase security and to prepare for such attacks. Be it in church, at the mall doing last minute Christmas shopping, or going to any location where there are large crowds, you may become the target of an attack.

As I write this, it’s only two days from Christmas. I think about what bad things could happen in the church I attend, where I’ll be during Christmas mass. I also think about what might have occurred at the shopping mall where I’ve been spending a lot of time this past week. And I think about all the years I’ve spent training and learning what to do if I need to defend myself, my family, or others should a violent incident occur in my presence.

While I teach a variety of classes and techniques related to carrying and using a firearm to defend yourself, I know there are a lot of people out there who are not ready to assume the great responsibility of doing so – and that’s OK. A firearm is only an additional tool available to you, one that when carrying it gives you additional options should you be attacked.

Regardless of whether you carry a firearm or not, when out and about you need to always be aware, alert and prepared should some attack occur where you are. Seeing warning signs of a potential problem, and heading toward the nearest exit – can often be the best way to avoid being in the middle of a very bad situation. If caught off guard, getting behind cover, or getting out of the area may keep you from becoming a victim.

Even if you carry a firearm, understand that it cannot and will not solve all of the problems you may face. A person who was armed would have little if any ability to stop a speeding semi-truck driving through a crowd as happened in Berlin a few days ago, or protect you or a loved one from an explosive device set off in a public area where you are visiting.

As our world changes and the potential of being attacked or assaulted rises – be it from terrorist attack, or – more realistically – from common criminals who are exhibiting more open and brazen behavior toward their victims. Recently a daylight theft from a sporting goods store involved armed thieves grabbing products, running outside, and pulling a gun on store staff who followed them as they got into a getaway vehicle.

More and more people are realizing that having a firearm, and training in its manipulation and use – gives them more options should something happen near them. Having a carry permit offers the ability to have a tool right there with you to defend yourself when you are out and about, going shopping, having dinner, or even as noted above – going to church.

If you have decided to get a gun, want to get a permit to carry a firearm, or just need to learn and practice some realistic techniques to help you be better prepared to defend yourself, I would like to help you accomplish your goals. I take tremendous pride in helping people learn more about self-protection, and teaching them how to properly carry and use their firearms.

I take this responsibility very seriously. I have well over 30 years of experience carrying a firearm every day for self-defense. I would like to share with you the extensive knowledge I have gained in teaching law enforcement and concealed weapon permit holders. I bring real world experience, and a commitment to providing you with the best instruction and information available. Please feel free to contact me if I can be of service.