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REFLECTIONS ON FORT HOOD REDUX — No Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing these lessons Mas. I’ll also be covering this subject in the book about Fairchild AFB incident.
    We can’t prevent every public mass murder so we must harden the target. Someday someone will make the necessary changes to increase the number of “good guys” with guns on military bases and elsewhere.

    Stay aware, stay safe.
    Andy
    http://www.fairchildhospitalshooting.com

  2. At the same time the military is being neutered, the bureaucracies are loading up BIG TIME on heavy armaments…like the Natl Weather Service, Dept. of Agriculture, Dept. of Education….and on and on throughout the alphabet soup.

  3. Arming the potential victims on our domestic bases will be a complicated thing.

    Unfortunately, I think you’re right. When the pressure mounts either Congress or the Pentagon will reluctantly invent something as needlessly convoluted and onerous as the airline pilots’ Federal Flight Deck Officer program. Obviously they won’t let anyone “carry a hidden handgun” or “stand their ground” unless they bless them with an official LEO badge.

  4. These guys aren’t terrorists. They’re suicides.

    They aren’t making a stand for or against anything, they’re just checking out with the biggest F-U they can manage. What’s that new yuppie word? Right, “ragequitting.”

    Most of these guys were smart enough that if all they wanted was a high body count, they could have done a lot better. (from my interpretation of how things happened) But I don’t think that was what they were after; they were just setting the stage for the big finale.

  5. It’s a complicated thing. Your average REMF at a base has about as much interest and skill in firearms and shooting as a yankee soccer mom, but I think allowing licensed individuals in the military who opt in to a little extra safety training (and the sheepdogs among them would likely happily do so) to wear a loaded (with JHP as hague convention doesn’t apply here!) service pistol at their hip would be a nice start.

  6. Unless it has changed since the ’70’s, Ft. Hood (the largest base in the U.S.), is an open base with no guarded entrances and a small contingent of M.P.’s., relying on local law enforcement as first response to incidents such as these.
    Since the federal government will never allow concealed carry inside government buildings and since the base is open to the public to drive through, and with veterans, civilians, and off base active duty soldiers utilizing the PX, base hospital, theater, etc., why not treat the property like any other jurisdiction, allowing concealed carry outside of these facilities?
    The answer? Ideology. No matter the body count of innocents, our present leadership will continue to blame the tool, not the craftsman.

    The answer, ideology. Our present leadership will ignore the body count and continue to condemn the tool

  7. Agreed that it is a complicated issue when dealing with permit authorizd armed troops. However, requiring all officers and senior NCOs to be armed at least with an M9 during garrison duty is not all that far out of line. They’re supposed to qualify anyway. Not anything wrong with making them go thru some extra training. I recall when pay-call meant cash boxes, there were always officers or senior NCOs in the area with a 1911 (never asked if they were loaded). The military, Army included needs to get over its irrational fear of guns.

  8. I’m glad the murderer in the second Fort Hood massacre is dead as it will save us millions of dollars in court costs and incarceration if he doesn’t get the death penalty. Besides, the reason why he killed those innocent people is irrelevant. Whether he did it for religious reasons or if he was crazy doesn’t matter as those victims are still dead.

    That said, I question the media’s and other people’s opinion that the police officer who confronted the murderer before he committed suicide was a hero. I wasn’t there to witness the incident of course, but from what I’ve heard in the news, she allowed the suspect, who she had at gunpoint, to draw his pistol and shoot himself after he had raised his hands in surrender. That officer should have shot the suspect the moment he reached for his firearm as she had no idea he was going to kill himself instead of shooting at her and escaping to kill more victims. She put herself and the people she’s sworn to protect in danger by not shooting the armed suspect when the situation demanded. What say you guys?

  9. Mas, When I was in the Military from 80 to 84 things were no different. In 82 I was transferred to Germany. While on leave before I went I got a call from a friend who told me that one of my friends was kill in a live fire training shot in the back of the head. He had gotten into a fight with another person in the unit and had kicked the crap out of him. The guy that got his butt whooped was the one who shot him. Then I saw almost the same thing happen in Germany. I was part of the PRP program, we were the one who guarded the Pershing Misseles at the CAS site. There we had full combat load. The Platoon that I was a part of was top of any other. We were picked to guard the General of the European theater because he had some death threat durning Hoens feld. While we guarded him we had our weapons but no ammo.Iif we saw that we needed ammo we were to radio in and the safe would be opened and then after a 5 mile drive we would get our ammo. What ever good it would do since we would have been dead by then. We did have our bayonets. The Generals on personal Body Guard had an Uzzi with ammo. I guess we were there to slow down anyone after the General. So it seem it is only getting worse after 30 years.

  10. A real President could order it done in minutes and restore the time when all commissioned officers were expected to be armed and responsible. Geoff Who notes various stories from his youth.

  11. Great writing as usual, Mas. I used to marvel that the states where concealed carry is highly restricted didn’t trust a 40-year-old man with a 5-shot, snubnose revolver, but an 18-year-old man could join the Army and ride around in an Abrams tank with a 120mm cannon, a .50 caliber machine gun and a .30 caliber machine gun on it. Now I see that our “Armed Services” are really “Unarmed Services.” How I despise liberalism.

  12. I know this isn’t the 1960’s and things have changed a lot since then but every unit that I belonged to had a duty NCO for “off duty” hours and an Officer of the Day for the larger units. With some additional training these “duty” personnel could become Col. Dave Grossman’s sheepdogs. I believe that is a reflection of the times we live in where almost everything should be controlled by some government agency and anything resembling self-reliance is deemed outmoded. For me, I think I will stick with my outmoded 1911A1 .45 and when seconds count I won’t have to wait minutes for the government to come save me.

  13. Tom606, I understand your questioning the officers’ hesitancy to shoot after confronting the suspect, but consider this; when she confronted him, we don’t know whether the handgun was apparent (obvious). She may have confronted him only because he fit the description she had.
    Once the gun was displayed, due to the second guessing officers always face after using deadly force, her training is to give a verbal command to “drop the weapon, drop the weapon, drop the weapon” while evaluating the need to use deadly force. Granted, this is a fluid action that can take seconds or even fractions of seconds, but this training kicks in just like the repetitive training that this forum stresses.
    The “hero” part I guess is in the eye of the beholder. Some would say she was just “doing what she’s paid to do”. In reality, anyone who puts themselves in harms way (confronting an armed suspect who they know has already killed) with no cover or immediate back-up, is at least brave if not heroic, police officer or not.
    This hesitation could also be because taking a life is not the easy decision some folks seem to believe.
    This officer survived, the murderous piece of human excrement did not.
    All is good with the world, except that this officer will spend the rest of her life second guessing herself. She probably needs no help from us, just our understanding.

  14. Well said Dennis. We don’t know the whole story of how the MP’s encounter with the gunman went down. I can imagine it was chaotic at the time and traumatic afterwards.
    After I stopped the killer at Fairchild AFB in 1994, someone wrote a letter to the newspaper suggesting I should have shot the rifle out of the perpetrators hand. Good guys involved in a deadly force encounter are going to second guess thier own actions enough as it is, we don’t need to be doing that for them. We should, however be looking at these incidents and learning from them. Until we do that they will continue to happen.
    http://www.fairchildhospitalshooting.com

  15. Dennis, for what it’s worth, Fort Hood is vastly different now than it was in the 70s, and is no longer an open base (in fact, I don’t know if there are any ‘open bases’ anymore). This has no bearing on the larger discussion, I just though you might like an update from someone who was there then and now.

  16. Maybe they don’t want soldiers (not even non-coms) to be armed because the people administering the military believe that violence never solves anything.

  17. Andy Brown, Thanks for your service. Survivors of deadly force encounters know the mental hell that comes afterwards and don’t need the “well, I would’a done this or that” from those that have not been there.

    Tom606, I was not trying to put words in your mouth, your question was legitimate, just touched a nerve. I hope my post was not interpreted as an attack on you.

    Al Eakin, Thanks for the update. Amazingly,I have never had a burning desire to revisit Ft. Hood. Thanks for your service and tenacity.

  18. What an education reading this column and the subsequent blogs is! If only the so-called “mainstreamers” would be exposed to the words written here. I know I am beating the same drum I have thrashed before – here and in other venues, but it’s because it’s gotta change, gentlemen! It simply HAS to – the alternative is unacceptable. We must find a way to be heard by more people than “them.” Mas – you always respond that you suspect no one would be interested – for the very first time, I respectfully disagree with you.

  19. fsilber, if one believes that, then the military is the WRONG occupation for that person. Massive organized violence on behalf of its nation is a military’s stock and trade.

  20. I often wonder, as an Army vet myself, one small thing: What does it say about us that we wonder whether our soldiers, ccw permits or none, officers or not, that we are too afraid to let those psychos have weapons on base. Yet we loose these same people on foreign civilians.

    Trust our servicemen or don’t, I could care less about rank in this question, or the presence of permits. Arm them.

  21. Once upon a time, officers commonly wore sidearms. General Officers had their choices of several pocket pistols for discreet wear, there were General Officer series 1911s also (IIRC developed by Curtis LeMay). Patton was legendary for his sidearms.

    Today, that’s not the case. I recall quite a few photos of ‘Storming Norman’ with his security detail, I don’t recall seeing him armed. Given that he was in a war zone, the detail wasn’t a bad idea.

    I’ve got to go with John on this, retract the Clinton directive on armed service personnel, make sure decisions to arm officers and senior enlisted personnel with sidearms don’t negativelly impact fitness reports (none of which is going to happen in this administration) and things may well be different.

    Unfortunately, a great many miliatry officers are managers, not warriors.

  22. @ WR Moore said: I recall quite a few photos of ‘Storming Norman’ with his security detail, I don’t recall seeing him armed.

    I saw a photo of his bedroom where IIRC he had a shotgun near the bed.

    Probably had a concealed firearm on him somewhere.