Church Violence, Evil Then And Now

By Major Van Harl USAF Ret

Church Safety
Church Violence, Evil Then And Now
Major Van Harl USAF Ret
Major Van Harl USAF Ret

Wisconsin –-(  I was in the small Scottish village of Innellan a few weeks back, driving the Colonel and our daughter around showing them where I lived as a child.

We pasted the Matheson Church on the high road and I explained were my early experiences with church campus violence took place.

First there was what was known as the “Matheson wall”. This was a wall between the church and Campbell Road that the local boys would violently throw people over they were unhappy with. The unsuspecting victim was held by his hands and feet by a number of stout young lads who would swing the subject back and forth until enough energy was generated to launch the offending person (usually an American kid) up and over the wall.

They fell ten feet to the church driveway below hurting whatever part of their body made contact with the hard surface. This as the stout young lads laughed and ran away not carrying if you were injured.

I attended Sunday school at the Matheson Kirk and there witnessed my first fist fight in a church. Older boys got in a fight right in front of me and I was sure I was going to get blamed or sucked into the affray. Mr. Muir, the headmaster at the local three room grade school, also attended Matheson Kirk and put a stop to the brawl—early church campus violence-intervention. However, nobody thought much of it.

As a “cop” in the USAF I was stationed at an air base in southern California, working on Saturday afternoon when a fight broke out in the base chapel. A wedding of the daughter of a military member was going on; the only problem was that the bride and groom were associated with rival street gangs out of East LA. Someone forgot to remind them to check their attitudes at the front door of the church.

When the AF “cops” showed up the families were more worried about “us” policemen ruining the service, than the potential violence that was brewing. Violence that went from the military church campus to the reception (held on base) that later required an even larger military police response, to include military working dogs to stop the danger.

And again it was the responding “cops” who were the problem not the church campus violence.

While stationed in Alaska a civilian employee of the Air Force was killed when a bomb went off in his home. The family asked if the funeral could be held on the air base because they assumed it would be safer. I was on duty that day and we in fact made the funeral safer, but we also upset the family because they were sure we should be able to guarantee their safety, but not actually be present at the time or location of the service.

There were the killings at a church in Colorado Springs when the Colonel was stationed in Colorado. The pastor at the church we attended in Colorado Springs was not interested in security that Christmas Eve, because he did not want to alarm anyone coming to services.

You know what, he got away with it. Nothing happened that night.

There was the Sikh Temple massacre in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. I was on duty that day and the shooter was from Cudahy, WI. I wound up being posted on his home (after he was dead) in Cudahy, as the FBI crime scene folks processed the house.

I have been involved in church campus safety and security training over the years, but I am not sure the word is sinking in. Evil is everywhere and churches are not immune.

Now there has been another massacre on a church campus in Charleston, SC. I would suggest that there will be some type of security improvement on that fateful church campus, but I would also suggest that the next ten church campuses within a five mile radius of that Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church will do little or nothing to improve their security.

Church campuses are fertile grounds for crime and violence with little of it, having to anything to do with religion or politics. Churches have money, property, and people, with all three representing targets of value to evil. I do not like the confederate flag and have in fact been taken to task by the sons of the confederacy for negative comments I have made about that flag in past columns, they can be vicious when seeking you as a target. I would like to see that flag gone from public property, (what you do on private land is your own business) but the confederate flag is an easy scapegoat for this evil of church campus violence.

In all sincerity I believe this is a case where public execution should be brought back on a temporary basis, and let the world see how the US deals with evil. The young terrorist from Boston could be dispatched at the same time. Seems today, if you kill in the name of evil and society kills you back.

Major Van Harl USAF Ret.
[email protected]

About Major Van Harl USAF Ret.:Major Van E. Harl USAF Ret., a career Police Officer in the U.S. Air Force was born in Burlington, Iowa, USA, in 1955. He was the Deputy Chief of police at two Air Force Bases and the Commander of Law Enforcement Operations at another. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army Infantry School.  A retired Colorado Ranger and currently is an Auxiliary Police Officer with the Cudahy PD in Milwaukee County, WI.  His efforts now are directed at church campus safely and security training.  He believes “evil hates organization.”  [email protected]

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VE Veteran - Old Man's ClubRonald LandryDarkman Recent comment authors
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VE Veteran - Old Man's Club
VE Veteran - Old Man's Club

The only safety anyone has anymore is to be armed and should violence break out, to shoot the perpetrator before they shoot you. Time to go by the code of the Old West. – 1. Respect yourself and others. 2. Accept responsibility for your life. 3. Be positive and cheerful. 4. Be a person of your word. 5. Go the distance. 6. Be fair in all your dealings. 7. Be a good friend & neighbor. Those who do not wish to abide by these rules either need to be taught a lesson, or if they mean to do evil …… Read more »

Ronald Landry
Ronald Landry

If the failure of the Air Force to report to the FBI contributed to the horror of the Texas Church Shooting, imagine the immense disservice Sanctuary City Mayors are doing in protecting citizens by not reporting criminal activities of illegals to proper gov’t authorities. What hypocrisy!


No place is Safe. The most supposed safe place in the country has had intruders.The White House. The correct term is safer. Safe is one of those feel good words like Fair. Sounds good and makes people feel good. It just doesn’t have any real world application in terms of Safety.