By Jim Beers
This is being written the morning after the shooting rampage by a Moslem US Army Major at Fort Hood Texas. Watching the continual news coverage and the questions asked and statements given by both the media and the US Army, there appears to be an aspect of this that is both misunderstood and that we should all consider.
As a former Naval Officer that lived on a ship and on a Naval Base as well as someone that has been on numerous Navy and Army bases over a long government career as both a law enforcement officer and biologist, I am surprised by the naiveté of reporters and the general public regarding the presence of guns on military bases. The diminishing number of citizens that have "served" in the military probably has lots to do with this ignorance. This common misperception reinforces such dangerous fantasies as gun control, gun-free zones, and the elimination of the Constitutional "right" in the 2nd Amendment "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
While modern day citizens often think this "right" only applies to hunting or target practice, modern dictatorships like Russia and its former satellites also allow "favored" citizens to hunt and target practice but their guns are held by the police or Army and only checked out when government grants such specific use to "cooperative subjects" for a specific time period. Please watch the news for the current gun violence and unsolved political assassinations that go on every day in "gun-free" Russia. "Gun-free" nations and nations without a 2nd Amendment "Right" not subject to the power of governments to deny are not safer, nor are they places to be emulated by freedom-loving Americans concerned about themselves, their families, and their neighbors.
American Military Bases in the United States are "gun-free" zones. None, to my knowledge recognize the concealed carry rights of licensed gun owners in the state in which the base is located, that means no civilian or military personnel can possess or carry any handgun anywhere on the base. Searching automobiles and trucks going onto the base is a totally impossible task. Those that live on the base must "register" all the guns they own, the guns must be kept unloaded, cased, and in the home. Transport and use of any rifle or shotgun (special hunts on the base or target practice) is only by permit from the Provost (Military Police or Shore Patrol). [Special Note: One "politically ambitious" Base Commander hoping to attract the attention of the newly elected anti-gun politicians in Washington even tried recently to make military personnel living OFF- Base report all guns they owned OFF-Base. "YOO HOO, over here Attorney General Holder, look at me: wouldn't I make a great 2, 3, or 4 Star General?]
The Bottom line is that all military arms and ammunition on the base are carefully kept locked up in the arsenal and only issued for shooting practice or for law enforcement. Only MP's or SP's carry weapons on duty and evidently even a dwindling number of them are armed on duty as law enforcement officers. Enforcement, like everything else, is being "contracted out" to "female-owned" companies or "minority-owned" enterprises or in this case the "Local Police". So you see, the Base is a "gun-free zone" just like:
- Columbine High School shot up by disgruntled students.
- The New York Government office shot up by a disgruntled immigrant welfare recipient.
- Chicago and Washington DC streets shot up by gangs, drug dealers, and robbers.
- Virginia Tech where a loner killed fellow students at will.
- National Parks, Government Buildings, Post Offices, and growing numbers of National Wildlife Refuges where crime rates grow both in reality and in the lurid justifications of bureaucrats seeking more money, more employees, and more supreme authoritarian authority for a social environment they create for themselves.
There are many other such examples but my time and your patience are limited.
In the twisted mind of some anti-infidel Moslem; in the fantasies of some children soaked in fantasy worlds; in the minds of fatherless, violent, school dropout, gang members; in the mind of some displaced person depressed about the loss of his culture and uncaring neighbors; as well as in the mind of robbers, rapists, and just plain vicious persons - one thing is sure. When they plan to "get even" or "show them" or " get some loot" or "rape and kill" or "make a statement" they gravitate to places where they are reasonably sure that they can maximize or just achieve their evil intent. The more sure they are sure of a "gun-free zone" (be it an apartment in New York City, or a "gun-free" mall parking lot at night, or a school, or a church, or a Boston alley, or even a US Military Base but not near the arsenal or the shooting range evidently), the more likely they are to perpetrate their atrocities. One need look no further than the comment yesterday by a relative of the Moslem US Major about how he "hated" going to the shooting range. Why do you suppose he chose to shoot up the helpless and unarmed occupants of the Administrative Area instead of the "hated" shooting range and its ARMED occupants? Duh.
All of this is conjecture and reflects our deeply held beliefs. The anti-gun person says, "this would never happen if there were no guns". The pro-gun person says, "this would never get started, or if it did it would be quickly stopped, if more citizens were armed in all such places". Proving either of these is just like "proving" if "the Stimulus worked" or if Socialism "worked". One side says it only failed because "we didn't do enough": while the other says it failed because "we did it". Suffice it to say that if I or you were in Columbine or that NY Government office or at Virginia Tech or on a dark Chicago street or at Fort Hood yesterday you would quickly realize that only if you were armed was there any chance to save our own life and/or the lives of those around us. When I was a law enforcement officer and bar room discussions got around to what caliber or model of gun was best (another never-ending discussion) I would always say the if, God forbid, I ever HAD to use my gun I would hope I had a bazooka (I am old, today I would hope for a Metalstorm, electronic ignition, multiple barrel, 9mm, automatic firing 16K rounds/second).
There are reasons of military discipline and décor (you can't have soldiers, sailors, etc. going around with "one-sided tummy rolls" in uniform. There are often military behavior problems on and near bases but anyone that is a danger carrying a gun doesn't belong in the military (see yesterday's "Major"). Be that as it may, each reader should consider the exceedingly high rate of incidents and violence where guns are prohibited but most importantly think about how a gun in your possession or in the possession of a neighbor or coworker may be the ONLY thing between you and your maker.
Permitted concealed-carry gun owners assume great responsibility and liability when they go armed. They not only deter crime and criminals in the act of attempting violence, they create an atmosphere of uncertainty in the minds of violence-prone individuals that, like so many other things is immeasurable but real. Public perception of areas where guns are forbidden attract and encourage the worst among us to take advantage of others for nefarious purposes.
May God take those that died yesterday to His bosom and may those hurt yesterday be healed both in body and in spirit. Amen.
Jim Beers 6 November 2009