Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Ft. Hood

I've avoided writing about this here so far, though one comment I've made elsewhere is that the U.S. Army's policy of keeping most of its troops unarmed stateside isn't a new one. Back when I was in the Army Reserve, in the run-up to the first Gulf War, there were worries about terrorist/irregular attacks here in the U.S. We had someone from the Army's CID lecture us about being vigilant, and the Army Reserve Center started posting reservists at the main entrance, but our rifles remained locked away in an arms room in the basement.

Even so, if someone had tried to do what Maj. Hassan did in Texas last week at my unit, he would have been stopped a lot quicker: about half of the guys in the brigade were cops (mainly NYPD, plus some state troopers, sheriff's deputies, local cops, and assorted others), and most brought their police weapons to drills.

I was reminded of that a few minutes ago by seeing the photo above on Yahoo!. I wonder if the rifles set up as part of the memorial for those Ft. Hood soldiers might have felt like rubbing salt in the wound for some of the survivors and relatives of the victims. If the troops had rifles when Maj. Hassan started shooting, certainly a lot fewer of them would have gotten shot and killed.

1 comment:

Nick Rowe said...

I was on Active Duty, in the National Guard, and in the USAR. We both know the strictest gun control laws are, ironically, on military posts. By Army standards, the regulations on Ft. Hood were quite permissive, but not permissive enough.

The post police arrived within minutes. That was several minutes too late for a lot of good soldiers.

When I was deployed in Kosovo, we were armed all the time. Sitting in the post theater, it was gratifying to hear the sound of hundreds of rifles clattering when everyone stood for the National Anthem. Funny, but I didn't ever feel unsafe surrounded by weapons. We did, though, have a Major who was completely incompetent and unsafe with her weapon. That was a problem of leadership and training, not arms policy.

What can we say about a society that won't trust its own soldiers with firearms on a military base?