Yesterday our beloved retired pastor called and asked if we'd like to meet he and his lovely wife for church, then afterwards go to dinner (our church offers a Saturday evening service in addition to two Sunday morning services).
We had a wonderful time. They took us to a deluxe hamburger restaurant called Red Robin, and as you can imagine on a Saturday evening it was packed. We had about a 15 minute wait before they were able to seat us. The service was great, the food was delicious, and the atmosphere was upbeat and family-friendly, with lots of children.
With the happy, cheerful crowds in the restaurant, an odd and disturbing thought passed through my mind as the hostess seated us: it would be a perfect place for some nut-job to conduct a mass shooting. And for once, I wasn't packing heat.
So it was very interesting to note something that happened late in the meal. Several young men (late 20s, early 30s) were walking the floor of the restaurant. They were smiling and helpful. While they didn't serve food, they gladly fetched condiments or extra napkins or anything else diners might require. One stopped at our table to see if we needed anything. And around their waists they all wore high-tech belts containing walkie-talkies and sidearms.
I mentioned this to our pastor's wife, and she said a lot of places are now doing this -- having visibly-armed security officers present, particularly during high-traffic hours.
While it's sad that so many restaurants feel the need to have these security officers present, I for one was glad to see them. There's only one way to stop an insane gunman, and that's a sane gunman.
Yep, it's a brave new world out there...