Thursday, April 5

Think About It Series: All That Glitters

All That Glitters… 

With recent political activity, we are seeing a new form of public disturbance. Glitter bombs are something security teams of prominent ministries should be prepared for, especially if the organization is outspoken on social issues.

I was there in 1996 when a well-known ministry leader got glitter bombed. It was his 60th birthday, and it was his wife who “bombed” him with glitter. He wore that glitter proudly all day and we all had a lot of fun with it.

But recent glitter bombings are not intended as the playful fun we witnessed then. These antagonists seek to embarrass leaders who stand for moral values contrary to theirs, disrupt them in their environment, and make a media or YouTube spectacle in the process.

All conservative political candidates have been "glittered" in recent weeks. There is typically an accomplice with a cell phone video capturing the images for YouTube as the bomber showers the target with some substance (glitter like that used for decorations, or flour in some cases) shouting "stop the hate" or similar chants.

The carry the glitter in some form of small container or box which they can shake over or toss towards the target. Sometimes they throw an Easter egg filled with glitter or fabricate a spring loaded launcher from a toilet paper role spindle.

Watch for two people -- one may be positioning to take video as the other carries forthe the act itself. Larger bombs (such as a filled cereal box that was dumped over Newt Gingrich) may be carried in a pouch, but others won't be seen until the attacker brings it out of their pocket.

Think About It…

~ Have your ministry leaders think beforehand what they may do or say if they get “hit”. A video of Newt Gingrich is a great model. As security was escorting the glitter bomber away, he just casually swept it off saying, “it’s good to live in a free country” and continued signing books as if nothing had happened.

~ If you experience it, your response may make YouTube. You don’t want your church security team or the glitter target watched nationally as over-reacting.

~ Prosecution would be the same as for other forms of disturbance.

~ Even the secret service hasn’t seen the attacks coming or been able to stop them. Be prepared to observe it developing if possible, but focus more on quick action after – that is the more likely scenario.

~ Disorderly surprises can be glitter bombs, a nude woman suddenly beside your pastor (it happens), condoms being thrown through your congregation (it happens), or activists yelling through the congregation (it happens). It is always good to have your leadership and security team make pre-decisions regarding how they might respond if…

~ These activists want to have the public see your own reaction as an embarrassment. Don’t give them that opportunity.

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