When Things Go Sideways - In Private Settings

When Things Go Sideways - In Private Settings

There’s an old Ray Stevens song about a fight at a family funeral. The song is funny, but fights at events like funerals and weddings are not.

Funeral fights are more common than any of us want them to be, but a couple of 2021 incidents stick out in my mind. One was a graveside fight in South Carolina, where a couple of people in law enforcement were involved. Another fight was at the funeral of a three-year old Texas boy who accidentally shot himself.

If you want to be security-conscious as you plan an upcoming private event, especially one for your family, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Stay on task. Focus on the reason for the gathering, and who must be there to make sure it is as successful as possible.
  • Consider your participants. What do you know about the people who will be attending? Get as much information as you can about as many of them as you can. If you see, or sense, a possible reason for things to get out of control, plan your response. Don’t be afraid to consider private security.
  • Take logistics seriously. Make sure your location supports a safe and successful event. When possible, arrange activities and seating assignments so that those who don’t get along well don’t have to spend much time near each other. Feature well-respected members of the group or family through speaking and other roles, and they should be strategically seated.
  • Talk to people. If appropriate, consider having private discussions with organizational or family members who can help you think through your concerns. Also speak with people who have, or may have, problems with the upcoming event. When possible, help solve their problems.
  • Control what you can. Do your best with the event planning, including adding backup plans for what could go wrong. Be as thorough, thoughtful and honest as possible. Make sure you build self-care into your schedule. If you’re tired and stressed out, you won’t have the energy and creativity you’ll need to head off potential problems before they start.

Speaking of heading-off problems, that brings me back to the tragic death of the three-year old boy I mentioned earlier. There are reports that he shot himself with a family member’s firearm.

In Rent-A-Cop Reboot, I wrote about the importance of safely storing your firearm. This child’s death is the type of problem that we must all work harder to avoid.

Whether you’re planning or just attending a funeral or other private event, if a fight breaks out you must get out. Staying around to see who gets the first punch, or the last punch, is never a good idea. When emotions are high we must do the hardest thing, and that is to walk away as quickly and quietly as possible. This type of thing is why you want to have security professionals on hand, and they are needed more often than you want to know.

I wish you a safe and enjoyable spring and summer, but you don’t want to be so concerned about fun that you forget that things can always go sideways. Be prepared!

Above Image: Shutterstock/Everett Collection


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