It amazes me how the Obama administration continues to fail at dealing with problems requiring a degree of common sense and prompt resolve.
When it’s a matter of minor policy, one might not be alarmed; but when the problem deals with our military personnel's safety, the entire nation should stand up and demand that our service members be treated the same as any other citizen under the United States Constitution.
When did volunteering to fight for our nation make soldiers, sailors and Marines second class citizens? With the recent tragic shootings at Fort Hood, coupled with additional base shootings over the past six months, is it so hard to understand that our military bases should cease being “gun free” zones?
Top military commanders should be allowed to decide to direct all personnel — if not at least combat-trained staff — to carry side arms while on base.
The same personnel who can carry concealed weapons when they leave the base as law-abiding citizens are prohibited from carrying side arms on their installation unless they check them out of the armory for weapons training or operational drills.
Military service members received as much — if not more — firearms training as civilian law enforcement officers, yet base commanders rely on small forces of civilian security contractors or security police to afford protection to, in some cases, more than 60,000 active duty personnel and civil service workers at the facility.
These bases are large communities where people are not always safe.
As a retired law enforcement executive, I have learned these things about violent crime.
●It knows no boundaries; where people travel, crime is usually present.
●Whether an act of terrorism, crime of passion, domestic violence incident or result of mental illness, the sooner the perpetrator is engaged and stopped by deadly force, the lesser degree of injuries and deaths result.
Whether it’s a school, shopping mall, movie theater or a military installation, tactics of dealing with an active shooter are the same. As in the civilian world, police can’t be everywhere, and having multiple military members armed on base serves as a deterrent and a sure-fire way of enhancing the odds that an active shooter will be apprehended quickly.
It's a major policy change for the Pentagon. Historically, the current policy is barely 25 years old. For seasoned veterans who served on bases worldwide during the WWII, Korea and Vietnam eras, it was not uncommon for uniformed military personnel to carry side arms at all times on base and even in nearby towns on business.
Civilian law enforcement officers were comfortable with multiplying the numbers of those who could take action should a violent outburst occur. The day's corporate wisdom was to always be ready for any unforeseen incident.
Have we changed so much we can rely on our military heroes to fight and die for us, but we can’t trust them to be issued and carry weapons on base to protect the base infrastructure and its most valuable assets?
Will this administration continue sending Marines into war zones, improperly armed, and ban carrying firearms on base because of their liberal anti-gun agenda?
I’m one career cop who trusts our military personnel to be armed, trained, and allowed to act. Congress should move swiftly to give our military the tools to slow this terrible trend!
Col. Graham W. Fountain is a retired state and local law enforcement executive and expert in the field of public safety policy. He served two terms as president of the State Law Enforcement Chiefs Association, commissioner and chair of the Florida Law Enforcement Agency Accreditation Commission, The Florida Seaports Security Standards Council and the U.S. Department of Justice, Homeland Security Advisory Council. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.