I suppose when things like the shooting at the Chabad shul in California happen, it is inevitable that some of us are beginning asking ourselves the same questions over and over again. I find all of those old counter-productive instincts coming back. Run and hide even though I live 3000 miles away. Call up my politicians and scream at them, etc. etc.
How has this latest outrage affected you? I'd like to hear how some of my fellow gerim are handling this. Maybe it will help me sort things out.
I also want to share a post from my blog that deals with the subject. Comments and suggestion will be helpful and most appreciated! Click on this link: Along the Way
I am a member of a small lay-led congregation (only about 70 full members plus another dozen "associate members") where issues about "security" have produced disagreements. We meet in a small storefront. A minority of the members are truly spooked and want to lock doors and have an armed guard. However, not only do I feel strongly that doors should not be locked, but as Treasurer I can say that we absolutely do not have the ability to hire any outside security---we already had to raise dues this year by 50% plus ask members for an additional 50% voluntary donation (effectively doubling dues from the base amount) just in order not to go into the red this year (since the "Futures Fund" that allowed deficit spending for the past 5 years was almost depleted). As a Board member, I've had to hold firm with 2 other Board members (out of 5 total) to prevent the current Chair of the Minyan from imposing locked doors despite a membership vote that went 3/4 against that. He says he's going to bring it up again when those two other Board members are replaced with new volunteers to fill their posts in July, but the Secretary conferred with another "security dove" to find and recruit two people to run for those positions who have views with the majority and are smart and capable as well as being good at handling conflict (the Board will get another Harvard-trained lawyer even as one is leaving!).
As not only a "Jew by Choice", but also a "Jew of color", I think my personal experiences of being seen as "other" cause me to be more sensitive to the possibility that "screening" visitors is likely to result in unintentionally discriminating against people who are visibly "different" from white Ashkenazi Jews or making some visitors feel more unwelcome because asking them questions makes it seem like they aren't welcome. I posted on an email bulletin board about this and in response one of the "security hawks" assured me that no one in the Minyan would ever discriminate against me (although as an active member of more than 20 years and current Board member, I'm obviously not just a visitor)---he obviously completely did not understand my point! On the other hand, I try to understand the feelings of members who lost members in the Holocaust or who grew up in families that passed on their trauma of fear of genocide.