Following last week’s shooting incident in Chattanooga, Tenn. that claimed the lives of four Marines, citizens around the country are stepping up to help protect military recruiting centers. By military directive, recruiters are not armed, and therefore, are unable to protect themselves should another incident like the one in Chattanooga occur.
Even though there is no evidence that recruiting centers are in danger, citizens have organized and set up posts in several cities including, Madison, Wisconsin; Hiram, Georgia; Phoenix, Arizona and several locations in Tennessee. In Ohio, where it is legal to carry an openly displayed handgun or rifle, for example, five members of the “3 Percent Irregulars” militia sat in lawn chairs with a cooler filled with water or stood around talking outside a military recruitment center. As people walked by, some thanked them while others didn’t even seem aware of their presence.
Founder and president of Oath Keepers, a Constitution activist group based in Las Vegas, thinks that it’s “insane” for recruiters not to be allowed to be armed, referring them to “sitting ducks” since they are stationary.
In Arizona, armed volunteers of Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Posse patrolled around Army Reserve offices near Phoenix. An Army Reserve captain had requested extra security and the sheriff stationed three posse members just outside the grounds. The posse could enter the property if extra security was needed.
In Georgia, a group of four people with their personal firearms stood outside a recruiting office in Hiram to show their support. They had a pop-up tent, lawn chairs and American flags.
While one Marine Corps public affairs officer appreciates the support of the American public, he is advising gun-toting civilians to leave and trust first responders for safety in the various communities. He believes that recruiting stations need to be out in the public and that most recruiters are Afghanistan and Iraq war veterans who are well trained in dealing with shooters. (This may be so, but at least in Afghanistan and Iraq, I venture to say they were armed!)
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