I need to address a persistent myth. I’ve seen this myth written in editorials and heard a well-known news commentator repeat it. I’ve had friends repeat it to me during polite conversations.
This myth is blatantly ridiculous. Numerous news articles about the debate surrounding this myth have been published in the last few days. These articles show that this myth is…wait for it…a myth. Yet many people still cling to it. So I’m going to try to kill this myth. It’s not going to work, but I’m going to try it anyway.
Myth: soldiers on military bases in America carry loaded weapons all the time.
Reality: SOLDIERS ON MILITARY BASES IN AMERICA DO NOT WALK AROUND EVERYWHERE WITH LOADED WEAPONS.
This myth leads some people to an objectively wrong conclusion. They believe that despite all those armed soldiers everywhere on Fort Hood, Nidal Hasan and Ivan Lopez couldn’t be stopped. Gosh darn it, they were just so powerful and terrifying, resistance was futile. They consider the Fort Hood shootings proof that not even highly trained and armed soldiers, much less armed citizens, can stop an active shooter.
Thursday an LA Times editorialist wrote, “Oh sure, Fort Hood may beef up security. Maybe even adhere to the National Rifle Assn.’s mantra, which is that if everyone is armed, everyone is safer. Though it seems to me that that is already the case on a military base, much as it was at the Washington Navy Yard in September, when crazed gunman Aaron Alexis fatally shot 12 people. So maybe arming all the people all the time isn’t the answer?”
Last year during a debate between Piers Morgan and Gun Owners of America head Larry Pratt, Morgan said, referring to the 2009 Fort Hood massacre, “Even when you have a mass of well-trained people and a mass of firearms, you can still have a massacre.” (The relevant part of the discussion begins around 3:30.)
Thursday night I had a long conversation about gun control with a very intelligent, well-educated, liberal friend of mine. The discussion turned to Fort Hood. My friend, who is not an unreasonable man, thought soldiers “keep their issued weapons in their desks or something”.
Friday the LA Times editorialist posted a halfhearted retraction, wherein he admitted he was wrong (but then claimed his point was that Fort Hood was heavily guarded but the shooting still happened, so there’s still no point in trying to defend yourself). Morgan was fired, although we don’t know if he ever learned how wrong he was about military bases. My friend’s incorrect belief was quickly corrected.
But what about the rest of the country? Not all of it, but the part that says, “Having a gun doesn’t help. All those soldiers had guns, but they couldn’t protect themselves. They had to wait for the police to save them.” They’re wrong, but they don’t know it. They don’t want to know it. So I’m writing this for them. Please spread the word.
Soldiers can’t carry weapons everywhere on post. Their issue weapons are only removed from the arms room for training. If the soldiers are going to fire those weapons, the ammunition is taken directly from the ammo storage facility to the range, and whatever isn’t fired is taken back to storage. Soldiers don’t carry issued weapons and ammo everywhere on post.
And soldiers can’t carry personally owned weapons on post either. They have to be registered and secured. If a soldier has a concealed carry permit and legally carries off post, he still can’t carry on post.
The only people authorized to carry weapons on post are Military Police and Department of Defense Police. MPs have to turn in their weapons at the end of their shift. They don’t take their weapons home like civilian police do.
Do you get it yet? Military bases are “Gun Free Zones” (which don’t really exist, since the only way to enforce a Gun Free Zone is to have guys with guns search everyone). The strange, twisted ideas you have about masses of highly trained, experienced and ARMED soldiers being totally defenseless against a murderous psychiatrist or mentally unstable truck driver are fantasies.
And they’re not just fantasies. They’re convenient fantasies. They’re blatantly untrue and can be dispelled with the most basic research. But they reinforce your belief that carrying a gun for self-defense is pointless. They “prove” to you that being armed does no good anyway (“Look at what happened at Fort Hood! All those soldiers with guns couldn’t protect themselves!”).
You’re wrong. You’re blatantly, embarrassingly wrong. If you have other, reasonable arguments against armed self-defense, fine. Use those. But stop citing the Fort Hood shootings to support your stance. Those shootings don’t prove armed self-defense is pointless. But they do expose the ridiculous stupidity of requiring otherwise-capable citizens to be helpless victims of violent criminals.
Filed under: Writing | 24 Comments
Tags: 2nd amendment, active shooter, fort hood, gun free zones
I wish people would stop assuming combat-related PTSD every time some veteran commits a violent crime. Veterans are representative of the country they serve; some are sterling citizens, some are rotten bags of snail crap. I personally am not aware of a single active shooter who had combat-related PTSD.
Cho, the Virginia Tech murderer, never served in the military.
The Sikh Temple murderer was a peacetime Army vet.
James Huberty from the San Ysidro McDonald’s was never military.
George Hennard at Luby’s was a former Merchant Marine who never saw combat.
The Columbine shooters were high school kids.
The Sandy Hook shooter was never military.
Hassan from the 2009 Fort Hood shooting never served in combat.
The Gabrielle Giffords shooter was never military.
James Holmes from the Aurora theater was never military.
Charles Whitman from the UT Tower shooting was a Marine who never saw combat.
Aaron Alexis from the Washington Navy Yard was a Navy veteran who never saw combat.
Ivan Lopez, Yesterday’s Fort Hood shooter, apparently never served in combat. Even if he had, that wouldn’t make him murder innocent people.
I can’t stress this enough. Lopez murdered people because he was a murderer, not because he was a combat vet. He wasn’t a combat vet. He didn’t murder because he had PTSD. He hadn’t even been diagnosed with PTSD. There’s no indication thus far that he experienced trauma during his deployment. He was just a murderer. People need to stop excusing his actions, and stop seeing him as something he wasn’t.
RIP to those we lost yesterday. Best wishes to the wounded and all family members affected by this brutal, senseless crime.
Filed under: Afghanistan, Iraq, Writing | 9 Comments
Tags: fort hood, ivan lopez, PTSD, veteran writers
YOU ARE READING THIS ON AN NSA-CONTROLLED “SHILL” WEB SITE!
Know how I know that? Conspiracy theorists said so.
A couple of weeks ago I published an essay titled “Refuting Wolfgang Halbig, a Sandy Hook ‘truther’” (http://chrishernandezauthor.com/2014/03/02/refuting-a-sandy-hook-truther/). Halbig is supposedly a former police officer and “expert” on school shootings. According to numerous web sites quoting an interview he gave, he claims no children were killed at Sandy Hook elementary school in December 2012. He believes the Sandy Hook massacre was a “scripted event”.
Halbig had a list of eighteen points that supposedly “prove” Sandy Hook never happened. Using my experience as a police officer and active shooter instructor, I refuted each one. Some of Halbig’s points were pretty stupid (he apparently thought when someone is shot to death, all the blood drains from their body) and others were just, well, meaningless (the United Way raised money for the parents of Sandy Hook victims! It’s a conspiracy!).
The essay got a pretty positive response, at first. But within a few days, “truthers” heard about it. So they started coming to my blog and commenting. A few made calm, articulate statements. But most were what I would call ranting. And projecting. And accusing. And screaming. And probably slobbering.
Those ranting, irrational conspiracy theorists gave me some of the best entertainment I’ve had since starting this blog. I spent two weeks debating truthers, until they apparently got tired of it and one day just stopped commenting. Maybe that was random, maybe they had some kind of a conspiracist powwow and decided they were driving up my ratings by commenting, so they quit.
However, I learned a few things about truthers during my two-week debate with them. I had already known some of these things, or suspected them. But the last two weeks gave definite form to my previously unformed beliefs.
Everything I’m about to write is strictly my opinion. I’m not a psychologist, nor do I have much formal education. I’m just a cop and soldier who has spent decades learning how humans behave under stress. And as far as I can tell, disagreeing with a truther puts them under considerable stress. This essay is by no means an all-inclusive list of every way that conspiracists are screwed up, that would require numerous volumes.
I’ll also say this: I don’t believe everything the government says. For example, I believe many people in the federal government are lying their asses off about decisions made during the Benghazi attack. I don’t blame anyone for not blindly accepting official explanations. I do, however, blame people for buying into ridiculous conspiracy theories that would require thousands of regular people to carry out outrageous crimes while directly in the public’s eye. Incompetence and “spinning bad news” aren’t the same as conspiring to massacre innocent people in order to accomplish a political goal.
So having said that, let’s venture into the small, barren and occasionally dangerous mind of the conspiracy theorist.
A SAMPLING OF COMMENTS TO MY ESSAY, AND MY OBSERVATIONS ABOUT THEM
1) “Hey shill boy, YOU’RE SHITTY LITTLE SITE IS NOW COMING UP BEFORE WOLGANGS OWN FB PAGE……Bwah ha ha ha ha ha ha ……
AGAIN, WHY NOT JUST PUT UP A FLASHING NEON SIGN SAYING ‘THIS SHITTY LITTLE, CIA FUNDED SHILL SITE IS NOW BEING PROMOTED TO THE NUMBER ONE SEARCH LINK FOR WOLGANG HALBIG WHEN SOMEONES SEARCHES GOOGLE/CIA.
Good God. You clowns are so blatant it’s actually humorous…ha ha ha ha ha ha …..You will have zero effect. I won’t waste anymore time here.
I urge SH truth researchers to leave this site to the shills.
This is a well known tactic. They want you to focus energy battling a neon sign flashing SHILL SITE. Don’t do it.
These clowns are internet actors in the way the SH parents etc were. Let them have their fake conversations with each other while we provide financial and legal support for Wolf.”
2) “chris hernandez the author is a troll and/or a shill, as his article is so full of irrelevant fodder and contains absolutely no facts. SH was scripted and liars lie. Why else would the dumb medical examiner say, ‘I hope they don’t have this come crashing down on them later.’”
I think these are my favorite comments. According to Webster, to shill is to “to talk about or describe someone or something in a favorable way because you are being paid to do it”. So according to these guys, I don’t actually believe what I wrote; I’m simply a paid spokesman for the Sandy Hook conspirators. No evidence exists to support their accusation, but that matters not. To them there is no other possible explanation.
This is something I now know about conspiracists: they don’t need evidence to “prove” something. Once they’ve decided “there is no other explanation for X”, X becomes true in their eyes. Even when there is literally not a shred of proof to support X, they’ll believe it. It’s not possible that I’m simply a regular Joe who read Halbig’s points, thought “That’s a load of crap” and wrote a rebuttal. No, I’m being paid to do this. And the CIA or NSA is boosting my site’s rankings so more people will read what they paid me to write. Despite any actual evidence to prove this, they believe it.
3) Hey – how did you get this tiny little site, with next to zero traffic, come up as the very first response to a google of “wolfgang halbig”? Can you say NSA? I knew that you could! (Try it for yourself, Google “wolfgang halbig” and see what’s up first)
And, while we’re debunking, please explain how 20 children were shot to death in a school, and there are zero lawsuits? Oh, and six grown ups too, and still no lawsuits. Not Possible here in the good old litigious USA.”
4) “Based on the facts about web ranking that I have put forward here, you should be able to see that it is absolutely impossible for your site to come up first on a Google search in front of the man’s own site you are denouncing.
So, you are either in collusion with those that can manipulate the rankings (Google/NSA) or – you are an unknowing useful prop, meaning the NSA is secretly pumping your site up without your knowledge.
Only you know the answer to that riddle. But if you are ignorant of what is giving you such a tail wind, then I ask that you consider why they would be surreptitiously promoting your viewpoint. If Wolfgang is wrong, and there were children murdered, why would they even bother themselves with this secret promotion of the contrary opinion? They wouldn’t need to do this, they would have the TRUTH on their side.
Submitted for your consideration.”
I’m no Google expert, but it seems to me that if more people come to my site than Halbig’s Facebook page, my site will come up first on a search. Am I wrong about this? Whatever the answer, these comments “prove” that I’m either colluding with the CIA/NSA or am an unknowing pawn of those agencies. It couldn’t be that Halbig doesn’t have too many visitors to his new FB page, or that many of his own followers came here to read and comment and therefore drove up my ranking. No, the nefarious federal government had to have been involved. Is any proof required? Of course not.
And by the way, the day truthers stopped commenting on my site, it stopped coming up as #1 on Google searches for Wolfgang Halbig. Crazy, isn’t it?
4) Not a single ‘wounded’ child from that day. Nothing.
That means the gunman – this 20 year old kid – had to get up close, concentrate, focus and aim directly at 5 and 6 year old children and place each shot with such an exactitude as to guarantee a kill – not once, twice or even ten times – but over 20 times.
Satan himself could not have even done such a thing.
It is an all but physical impossibility. He would have grown sick, weak and unable to continue after several kills.
If you have ever aimed a weapon and fired upon an innocent human being, you know that it is an extremely difficult thing to do.
Until I and a million other people have seen at least one image – of either a dead child, a wounded child, an autopsy photo, or…even a photo of a child in a casket – we will never believe another so-called ‘official story’ about anything – from anyone in our government – whether, local, state or federal. Ever again.
And this is precisely what I think the government wants, out of this alleged tragedy: for us to discover that they are liars – and for us to grow angry and distrustful towards them – so we will, in turn, rebel and revolt against them – so they, in turn, can arrest, kill and imprison as many of us as they can, placing us in all those ‘FEMA CAMPS’ that they have spent the past ten+ years building. They want to bring about THE END, people, of the current world as we know it.
BIBLICAL SH!T, people.
Prepare yourselves. With the Armor of God, the Armor of Jesus. The Armor of Truth.”
Yes, that’s a lot of crazy to pack into one comment. But it’s not the crazy that caught my attention. It’s the absolute lack of understanding of human nature.
Of course, no human has ever murdered children at close range. Such things didn’t happen at Srebrenica, or at the San Ysidro McDonald’s. They certainly never happened during the Holocaust, when the men of Police Battalion 101, among other units, shot thousands of women and children. Or during the Armenian Genocide. Or the Mumbai terrorist attack. Or the Beslan School massacre. Or the Kenya Mall attack. This commenter nearly broke his hand thumping a bible but apparently never read it, or he would have heard of Joshua’s army killing every living thing in Jericho (which would have entailed stabbing infants to death).
But since nobody would ever shoot numerous children, “not even Satan himself”, it’s only logical that the Sandy Hook massacre never happened. But the government and media are claiming this impossible event actually happened. Presto, we have a conspiracy.
This next commenter and I had a long exchange, which I’ll delve further into in a later post. But I want to point out part of one comment he made, to illustrate his (and truthers’ in general) weird way of looking at human behavior. The comment is about Jeff Bauman, who lost both legs in the Boston Bombing, and Carlos Arredondo, who helped save his life. Bauman and Arredondo were seen together in this famous photograph (fair warning, graphic content ahead):
Wonder how the Boston Bombing got injected into this discussion? Because, of course, that was a government conspiracy too.
“The very next day “Jeff Bauman” and Cowboy Carlos (from the Dominican Republic…who had a Devil Dog son die in Iraq on Carlos’ birthday) are on Facebook with Jeff sitting up in bed, laughing, smiling….no IVs…no morphine pump…NO sign of trauma. Happy and smiling!
Carlos and Cindy Sheehan. Code Pink.
Carlos tried to kill himself and the Marine detail sent to tell him that his son died. Lucky for him there was a quick thinking Marine or Carlos never would have got the chance wheel “Jeff” down the street…and pose with him everywhere…Bruins…Celtics…Red Sox…and Patriot games.
Cindy ain’t in the game anymore. Carlos is.
This commenter apparently thinks Carlos Arredondo, an anti-war activist who lost a Marine son in Iraq and a second son to suicide, colluded with whoever “really” planted the Boston Marathon bombs. His job was to act like he was rescuing Jeff Bauman, who didn’t really lose his legs that day. And I don’t exactly get this part, but Code Pink, those bunch of hysterical, moronic women who dress in vagina costumes, paint their hands red, sing and dance at military recruiting offices and shriek at political foes, were also somehow involved. Because it’s totally believable that Code Pink idiots and a peace activist like Arredondo would conspire to trick the entire country into believing that someone other than the government bombed Boston. Or something like that.
So let’s look at the mechanics of how this “conspiracy” would have worked.
Since Jeff Bauman must have already lost his legs before the bombing, he showed up to the Boston Marathon wearing fake legs. He stayed a safe distance away from where he knew the bombs were; he had to have, if he had been too close he might have been killed. Then, when the bomb detonated, he rushed over, took his fake legs off to expose “moulaged” fake injuries, and laid down among other injured people. Also, according to some conspiracists, he or someone else spread red paint near him. Someone else must have also grabbed his fake legs, hidden them in a bag or something and left. Actual legs, with injuries that matched Bauman’s, would have to have been left at the scene, since that bomb was not powerful enough to completely destroy every last bit of his legs and someone might have looked around and said, “Hey, this guy’s legs were blown off. Shouldn’t they be around here somewhere?” Also, his face must have been quickly made up to appear as if he had been near the explosion, and his hair moussed to appear that it had been affected by the blast (it would have been sorta difficult to walk around the Boston Marathon with a blackened face and hair blown sideways without attracting attention).
At this point, after Bauman rushed to the scene, laid down and removed his fake legs and spread fake blood, and after someone else removed the fake legs and left real ones, and quickly made Bauman’s face and hair appear affected by the explosion (and all of this without being noticed by either bystanders or cameras), Bauman started acting like a real victim. Then Arredondo came to his rescue, helped tourniquet his legs and put him in a wheelchair, and with others pushed him to an ambulance.
One of the others who helped was apparently an EMT, according to the patch on his jacket. I attended an EMT course several years back. It’s not advanced training, but an EMT can identify a minor injury like, oh, someone having their legs blown off. So why would this EMT have played along by treating and evacuating someone for an injury they didn’t really have? Either he wasn’t really an EMT, or…wait for it…he was part of the conspiracy.
Then, while they were pushing him to the ambulance, they happened to run across a photographer who took the famous photograph above. This was fortuitous, since all this conspiracizing would have been for naught if nobody took pictures of it. The pictures are what grabbed everyone’s attention.
But what if it the photographer’s presence wasn’t a happy accident? Maybe the photographer was waiting on the route he knew they would take, so he could take a picture of injuries he knew were fake. Maybe the photographer was…oh my god…part of the conspiracy.
So they arrived at the ambulance. The paramedics in the ambulance, of course, would have been able to identify fake injuries. So would the doctors and nurses at the hospital. But the paramedics, doctors and nurses treated injuries they knew were fake, they didn’t protest or tell the press “this guy wasn’t even hurt”, because…well…actually, why would doctors and nurses play along?
You guessed it. They had to be part of the conspiracy.
Conspiracists believe this is what actually happened. Many of them actually think a veteran named Nick Vogt who had previously lost his legs in Afghanistan pretended to be “Jeff Bauman”. Vogt and Bauman really don’t look alike, other than being white and thin. But truthers have convinced themselves, without any evidence Vogt was involved, that Vogt is also part of the conspiracy. Because assigning guilt without evidence is what truthers do. People like them are the reason we have constitutional safeguards; if truthers ran criminal courts, innocent people would be convicted left and right based on “I know you did it! There’s no other explanation!” or “You’re guilty! You look sort of like the guy who I think was part of the conspiracy!”
These truther fools use nonsense “logic” and conduct predetermined “investigations” to convince themselves and others who are equally mentally deficient that a conspiracy is hiding under every rock. Conspiracy theorists are a lot like “Creation Scientists”. No, not like fundamentalist Christians who believe in the Genesis story, but creation scientists. These “scientists” don’t follow the scientific method whatsoever. Rather than formulating a hypothesis, experimenting and researching and then reaching a conclusion, they start with the conclusion. They “know” the Genesis story is true; therefore, every piece of “evidence” they find is twisted to support what they already believe, or if it can’t be twisted it’s simply discarded as fake.
“Truthers”, “truth researchers” and “conspiracy investigators” are no different. They’re positive the Sandy Hook was a government conspiracy (as was the Boston Bombing, and the JFK assassination, and the Moon Landing, and probably the missing Malaysian airliner, and so on). So everything they see becomes “evidence” of conspiracy, and gigantic obvious pieces of real evidence, like the photos of Bauman’s horrible wounds, are discarded as fake. And while these truthers carry out their bullshit “investigations” that determined guilt within minutes of the event, they assign blame to good, decent men and women who suffered horrible losses at the hands of truly evil, non-government criminals and terrorists.
Jeff Bauman, who lost both legs to cowardly bombers: conspirator!
Carlos Arredondo, who rushed to help a horribly wounded stranger: conspirator!
Nick Vogt, who lost his legs serving his country: conspirator!
Parents of children who were murdered at Sandy Hook, police officers who responded, paramedics and EMTs, doctors and nurses at emergency rooms, members of the media who covered the story, morticians who handled the victims’ bodies: all conspirators!
And while they’re making broad accusations based on zero evidence or even understanding of basic reality, they’re simultaneously branding anyone who disagrees as deluded, “Zionist slaves”, “sheeple”, lemmings or pawns of the government. THEY WRITE IN ALL CAPS AND USE TONS OF EXCLAMATION POINTS BECAUSE THEY THINK SCREAMING MAKES THEIR POINTS MORE VALID!!!!! And they long for the day that aaaallllll the conspiracies they just know are true will be revealed. So that everyone will have to look to them and say, “Holy cow, conspiracy theorist! Even though you know jack-shit about real investigations, even though everything you ‘know’ comes from stupid internet articles on conspiracy web sites, you were actually right about everything all along! I bow down to you, oh great one!”
But I have to admit something. Conspiracy theorists do in fact reveal important truths. Unfortunately for them, those truths are only about what goes on inside their own minds. They have nothing at all to do with the reality of Sandy Hook, the Boston Bombing or any other conspiracy truthers so desperately want to believe in.
Filed under: Writing | 63 Comments
Tags: Boston bombing, conspiracy, sandy hook, wolfgang halbig
This was published today on BreachBangClear.
“When I came home from Iraq, my father asked me if I had been in combat. I answered, ‘Yeah, I was.’ But inside, I wasn’t really sure.
Yes, I had been shot at. Sort of. My convoy escort team took sporadic small arms fire which never hit anything, not even the huge civilian-driven 18-wheeler trucks we were protecting. Once someone hiding between cars on the side of a road fired a blast of birdshot into the windshield of one truck; nobody was hurt, and I didn’t even know about it until we arrived at our destination. We never identified a target, never returned fire. I’m pretty sure my gunner engaged a car bomb one night, but I’ll never know for certain if the man was trying to ram us or was just a stupid driver.
My team had IEDs go off a ways in front of us, and a short distance away on the side of the road beside us. Once a convoy on the other side of the highway from us took an IED strike. On another night a truck from another convoy was blown up about 25 meters behind my Humvee. Rocks were blown all over my vehicle, but there was no shrapnel, no damage, no casualties. On a later mission my team passed another convoy team headed the opposite direction. Less than three minutes after we passed them, they screamed on the radio that they were in contact. I was riding gunner that mission, and had been ready and eager to finally return fire. But once again, it hadn’t happened. I ducked into the Humvee and yelled in frustration, ‘What the F**K? We were just there, nobody shot at us!’”
Filed under: Afghanistan, Iraq | 10 Comments
Tags: Afghanistan, french army, veteran writers
A few weeks back I wrote this essay for BreachBangClear.
In the essay, I discussed something that seems pretty obvious to me and a lot of other vets: many veterans are using fake PTSD claims to milk the system for a free monthly handout. That makes it harder for veterans with legitimate problems to get help. The essay generated plenty of intelligent responses in agreement or disagreement, a few “what the hell is he talking about” comments, and a good number of pretty funny personal insults. So I wrote a follow up essay, to address the response. BreachBangClear published it on February 26th.
“Not surprisingly, my essay PTSD: fakers and frauds and WTAF? generated hundreds of comments from angry, supportive, incredulous or head-nodding-in-agreement readers. Many veterans shared anecdotal evidence of other servicemembers who claimed PTSD for what appeared to be trivial things (for example, seeing a destroyed vehicle from a car bomb attack that happened a week earlier, or hearing a report of a possible sniper while on a convoy). In fact, if I recall correctly, of the many readers who agreed with me, only three weren’t veterans.
Of course, many people took exception to what I wrote. Quite a few thought my essay was insulting to non-combat troops. Some readers took my post to mean I don’t believe “fobbits” (a term I didn’t use in my essay) can get PTSD, or that people with PTSD shouldn’t get help. I objectively did not write those things, but the tone of my post apparently conveyed those messages to certain people.
One extremely angry reader commented, “What he said, and what people are hearing are two different things.” Well, a lot of people heard things very different from what I said. One reader, for no apparent reason, thought I claimed to be Special Forces and commented “Even regular Joe’s get PTSD too, not just you special forces assholes”. I got the distinct impression many readers skimmed through the essay, picked out whatever pissed them off the most, then furiously typed scathing comments. Those comments often seemed to have little connection to what I actually wrote.”
Filed under: Afghanistan, Iraq | 29 Comments
Tags: PTSD, veteran writers