Killing the “All Soldiers are Always Armed” Myth
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 | 25 Comments
Tags: 2nd amendment, active shooter, fort hood, gun free zones