Following the shooting in Chattanooga that left four Marines and one sailor dead, citizens across the U.S. are taking their guns and heading to protect military recruiting centers.
The attack in Tennessee, carried out by Mohammod Abdulazeez, aged 24 ignited many in a fit of anger. Anger directed both at the assailant, and at the U.S. government which will not allow personnel at military recruiting centers to wear guns.
Not only military recruiting centers are in this situation. According to Pentagon-directive enacted in 1992, no other personnel is allowed to carry guns on federal property, with the exception of law enforcement and military police.
Thus, U.S. citizens, including veterans and members of private militia are taking their own guns and heading to military recruiting centers to protect those that are there to protect us, yet are ‘sitting ducks’ in the face of such events.
Following, in Alabama, California, Texas, Arkansas, Florida, Wisconsin, Indiana, Louisiana, Iowa, Oklahoma, Mississippi and North Carolina, governors requested that the National Guard recruiters, located off base, are armed.
Until then, the citizens want to watch over the bases so that another shooting does not take the lives of more military personnel.
For this purpose, even a Facebook page has been opened, to inform about the effort and find volunteers. Perhaps unsurprisingly, with quite some support, Operation Hero Guard is coupling volunteers in groups to watch over the military recruitment centers.
The volunteer watch posts have sprung up across the country. From several locations in Tennessee, to Washington, Michigan, Wisconsin, or Texas, these are just a few of the hotspots where citizens are pooling their efforts and guns to seemingly protect the military recruitment centers.
The marketing and PA chief of the Marine Corps Recruiting Station in Detroit, Sgt. Elyssa M. Quesada stated:
“While we greatly appreciate the support of the American public during this tragedy, we ask that citizens do not stand guard at our recruiting offices. Our continued public trust lies among our trained first responders for the safety of the communities where we live and work”.
The shooting that sparked this mobilizing effort across the U.S. began with Mohammad Abdulazeez, shooting up a recruitment center on July 16 in Chattanooga before before he took off to a Navy Operational Support Center where four Marines and one sailor were shot dead.
While the efforts of volunteer citizens are highly appreciated, some don’t see them as useful. Others are doubting that in the case of real shootings, things would turn out well when untrained people are involved.
As for the U.S. government, official statement indicate that there is not sufficient evidence that military recruitment centers are in danger. Staffing will thus remain unchanged, although some governors have moved National Guard recruiting centers to armories.
Another approximately 11 have authorized National Guard personnel to carry weapons at state facilities.
The U.S. Army Recruiting Command declined to state a position on the citizens’ actions. However, as long as these aren’t disrupting the activity of the recruiting centers, they are not doing anything against the law
The government’s claims are also sustained by the fact that incidents such as Chattanooga happened only twice over a period of six years at military recruiting centers.
Photo Credits publicbroadcasting.net