There is in the news today a call for the Marines at the recruiting station in Chattanooga to have been armed, since “we are at war” with radical Islam. A different take on the subject can be found (via WRSA) from Mason Dixon Tactical. Here are some excerpts.
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.
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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.
More on that in a moment. The most idiotic thing I have ever read from a General comes from Odierno, via Mike Vanderboegh.
“I think we have to be careful about over-arming ourselves, and I’m not talking about where you end up attacking each other,” Gen. Ray Odierno, chief of staff of the Army, told reporters. Instead, he said, it’s more about “accidental discharges and everything else that goes along with having weapons that are loaded that causes injuries.”
Analysis & Commentary
Special Operations routinely carries handguns even when armed with rifles, and at the time “green on green” attacks began I advocated that all Marines be qualified to and armed with a handgun when deployed and under arming orders, and this having been the case could possibly have stopped a great many of the attacks perpetrated on the USMC in the Helmand Province.
As to whether this is feasible or a logistics nightmare, there is no question that it could be done if the decision is made to do it. I’ve seen what Marines do to waste time. “Lance Corporal, have your fire team move this pile of dirt from here to the building roof, and when it’s done, call me.” Lance Corporal – “Aye Sergeant.” Call made, Lance Corporal – “Sir pile of dirt moved as ordered.” Sergeant – “Ahh … made a mistake because I was distracted ordering the Corporal to take out the trash, move the pile of dirt back, and then police the grounds for cigarette butts and gum wrappers. And then head over to watch the PowerPoint presentation on base safety protocols.” And on it goes.
I call bullshit on the notion that a Marine cannot qualify on a pistol just like he qualifies on his rifle. The Marines make big stuff out of 500 yard rifle qualifications, and the DMs and Scout Snipers go much farther than that. Muzzle discipline, weapons clearing and malfunctions, weapons maintenance, rules of gun safety, etc., etc., are all taught as if straight from the Bible, and if you fail at any of it, you visit the “room of pain” for a while, and never fail again. There isn’t any reason this cannot be laterally transferred to handguns as well. There simply isn’t any reason.
Odierno’s objection isn’t stupid because he really believes what he said, it’s stupid because he is toeing the party line and cannot come up with something better. But it must be observed that all of this has to do with Marines who are deployed and under arming orders.
As for when the Marines are stateside, we have dealt with this before too.
If I am not mistaken NCOs could never have personal weapons on reservation property, and officers could only with base commander approval. But what this MARADMIN appears to do is expand the stipulations even farther. Take note of the requirement for “government family housing … privately-owned firearms will be stored in a fully-encased container that is capable of completely enclosing the firearm and must be locked with a key or combination lock. All firearms will be fitted with a trigger lock.”
This expands the rules to property off of the federal reservation, and if you live in housing that is in any way subsidized by the government for families, your personal weapons must not only be in a container large enough to contain the whole of the weapon, and locked, but it (or they) must also have a trigger lock(s) on it (them), even while inside the container.
Damn. Heads of households had better hope they aren’t the victims of crime. Their families are completely unprotected and unsecured. This, from a Marine Corps Commandant who is alleged to be trying to secure his Marines from harm. Oh well. This is also from a Commandant who was allegedly involved in illegal command influence in investigations under his charge. Readers already know what I think of airman Amos. When Daniel graduated from Boot Camp I presented him with a present. It included several things signed by Marine Corps Commandant Alfred Gray, with personalized notes to him. I’ll never request anything like that from Amos.
Airman Amos was a worthless, spineless sniveling lackey crap-weasel and a traitor to the USMC. Notice that the MARADMIN that is the subject of the post had to do with personal weapons off federal reservation property. Marines couldn’t even have those unlocked, within arms reach and ready to be deployed without risking NJP or dishonorable discharge. As best as I know, this MARADMIN is still in effect.
As for whether the Marines in the recruiting office in Chattanooga should have been armed, the answer is a resounding yes and no. Mason Dixon Tactical raises a very important point. It wasn’t too many hundreds of years ago in our history where men were required to carry long guns to worship, practice with the other men after worship, and use the day for fellowship and training. This could one day become more regular in America as the security situation degrades.
But at the moment, LEOs are the only ones who regularly openly carry pistols (and sometimes patrol rifles). This has been the source of much mistrust, and may yet prove to be the catalyst for worse things than mere mistrust. The history of the use of the military for battling insurrection is complex and varied. But the armed forces carrying weapons in the states just doing battle with anyone or everyone is a dark road to start. We don’t want to travel that road. I have been critical of Operation Jade Helm, and for what I consider to be good reasons (I will hold in abatement the question of what I think of Robin Sage, since it isn’t an analogue to Jade Helm given than Jade Helm involves not just the armed forces but coupling with law enforcement – which I think is the most dangerous part of it – and scenarios that paint locals as the enemy).
The effectiveness of pistols in a situation where the shooter is in a stand-off position putting rounds through glass is dubious anyway. The best defense against a rifle is another rifle and better training, but remember, whatever Soldiers and Marines get to carry, we should too.
There was no reason whatsoever that the Marines should have been carrying armory-issued weapons in a recruiting center, as no training was occurring and no one was at the range. That “we are at war” isn’t a salient objection, as Congress must declare war in order for it to be legal. Arming orders were not issued, and moreover, they shouldn’t be in the states (the exception I have often advocated is arming orders for troops at the Southern border) excepting an invasion.
But also remember that self defense is a God-given right, and those Marines in Chattanooga, if they had chosen, should have been able to carry personal weapons for self defense. Odierno’s objection is ridiculous. Negligent discharges can be trained out of people, and as for consequences of NDs harming others, we who carry on a daily basis learn to cope with and minimize that risk every day. We are just as liable to do time in the penitentiary for reckless endangerment or negligent homicide as a Soldier or Marine, perhaps more so, and certainly more so than LEOs.
Should those Marines have been armed? No, not in an official capacity. Let’s don’t go down that dark road. But yes, in a personal capacity if they understood and took seriously their God-given duty of self defense and the Marine Corps allowed it (which they don’t). It’s important to understand and properly categorize the reasons for arming Soldiers and Marines.
UPDATE #1: Washington Post – “The FBI has recovered a pistol that might have been privately owned and used by one of the Marines killed here Thursday during the shooting at the Navy Operational Support Center, according to law enforcement officials.
Investigators are trying to determine based on forensics whether the pistol, a 9mm Glock, was used in an exchange with the shooter, Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez, and possibly wounded him, officials said.
The standard-issue pistol for military personnel authorized to carry a sidearm is a variant of the 9mm Beretta 92. According to the Marine unit’s commanding officer, Maj. Mike Abrams, Marines are not authorized to carry personally owned firearms while at the support center.”