By now most of you know about the shooting in Chattanooga, Tenn., and the follow on information about the shooter. Apparently he was the “Typical Moderate muslim” (they all are, right?), and fortunately, he will never harm anyone, ever again. I’ve read a number of posts on social media and a number of blogs about how the Marines “Should have been able to be armed?”, “They protect us, but couldn’t protect themselves.” etc. and it caused me to consider why they weren’t, and should they be.
The question is somewhat easy to answer. “Should they have been armed?” The short answer is “No.”, at least not from an “On Duty” perspective. I find it interesting that some who have been crying to high Heaven about the “Jade Helm” exercise being a lead in to martial law, are some of the same ones saying the Marines should have been armed, and that we should arm all Service Members in CONUS. Those Marines were not acting in their combatant military capacity in those centers, they were there performing other duties. There was no reason for them to be armed anymore than the average citizen on the street, whom I might point out is just as much a soft target for terrorists, if not more so, from a “lack of training and awareness” standpoint. You want to arm the Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, and Airmen within the U.S., fine, but not before every citizen who is not legally restricted from firearms ownership, get’s to be similarly armed for self defense as well.
As to the above statement “They protect us, but couldn’t protect themselves.” Well, here’s the thing. Serving in the military carries with it a perception of being of the “Sheepdog” mindset, as it is and should be. Make no mistake about it though, the “Protection” being given by a service member while stateside (generally speaking) is their membership in the military helping plus up the nation’s overall force projection and defensive capability to other nations and/or threats, and unless you are in the National Guard, Constitutionally, the active military is not even supposed to be “operational” within the nation’s borders.
Being armed while on duty (especially visibly), unless you are operating in a Military Police, or base Security Forces specialty, is not something that should be, or technically can be authorized. Most don’t even realize that the majority of service members never even fire a handgun while in the service, let alone qualify with and carry one on a regular basis. That’s not even mentioning the logistics nightmare of having to train and qualify every Service Member, and then issue them a handgun for self defense, which they would have to turn in at the end of the duty day (No, you can’t take it home), and only then (off duty) would they be able to carry a personally owned weapon.
What’s the answer? As I see it, the only (on duty) answer is allowing concealed carry of a personally owned firearm (wouldn’t want to mess with AR 670-1 (uniform regs), right?). I agree they should be able to protect themselves, but only if the average citizen is able to exercise the same right to carry, and in the same places. Service Members are not forced to enlist, they are volunteers. They have no special privilege to the right of self defense because of their service when compared to any legal law abiding citizen, and should not be made to think they do. We already have enough of the Us vs. Them mentality going on, don’t you think?
American by BIRTH, Infidel by CHOICE