For Heaven's Sake, Let's Arm Our Service Members

Matt Towery
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Posted: Jul 17, 2015 12:01 AM
For Heaven's Sake, Let's Arm Our Service Members

The tragedy of Thursday's attacks on two military facilities in Chattanooga, Tennessee, is simply too much to take. It's one thing to know that the Obama administration has proposed shrinking the size of our active duty military, and has negotiated deals that inure to the financial benefit of nations who hate us. It's another thing to watch our loyal servicemen and women having to work on military bases with no ability to protect themselves. This is the last straw.

In the early 1990s bureaucrats in Washington, D.C., began what has been an extended and renewed ban on military personnel carrying firearms while not engaged in combat. That means that from our forts and shipyards to the two locations involved in Thursday's disgusting and sickening attacks, our brave men and women -- those who recruit and support our service members and strive to keep our nation strong -- are sitting ducks for lone-wolf assassins, or more coordinated attacks.

At the Navy operational center where four people were attacked Thursday, there was not a guarded gate, according to various media stories.

The "conservative media" is often criticized for misrepresenting regulations related to firearms on military properties. In essence, rules for many decades have allowed only security personnel to carry a weapon. And in the instance of these attacks, there was no such known active security present. This raises the issue of why we will arm our military to battle in the hellholes we often enter across the globe, but won't let them carry firearms while working here at home.

We know that our nation is under threat and attack by people who wish us harm. It takes the brain of a chicken not to recognize that military locations, particularly support centers and recruitment centers, are easy targets.

As I write this column much is still not clear about the attacks in Chattanooga. For all I know, the assailant had some personal grudge that led him to shoot at two separate locations miles apart from each other. But with two separate locations involved, both military-related, it really doesn't matter.

The time has come to give our military personnel the respect they deserve. That would include better protection for recruiting centers, which by nature are open to the public and therefore susceptible to exactly this kind of threat.

To clarify, as this column was being penned, it was unconfirmed that four Marines, our nation's finest, have lost their lives due to this senseless attack. These soldiers deserved better -- and so do we.

We are viewed as a weakened nation willing to negotiate for months on end with those who call us the Great Satan, and who rally with chants of "death to America." But when it comes to securing our most obvious of targets, our leaders look the other way. According to some reports, there have been at least 17 attacks or attempted attacks on military locations since the tragic murders at Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009.

And it's no secret that most active terrorist groups have been calling for attacks on locations that symbolize America's economic and military strength. It is inexcusable that obvious potential targets such as these are not better secured.

I sure hope the White House sends the same number of officials to Chattanooga as they have to the scenes of recent "hate crimes," which they have been so quick to decry. In fact, if these lives in Chattanooga have been lost, I sincerely hope our Commander in Chief will be there to mourn.

And, damn it, while I've been writing this, it has been confirmed that four people, believed to be Marines, have died. It has been some four plus hours since all this unfolded, and all I have learned from the White House is that the president is visiting a federal prison in Oklahoma. Hopefully, in the hours to come, the threat to our servicemen and women and today's tragedy will be appropriately addressed.

Let this loss not be in vain. Arm and protect our servicemen and women while they are under threat, and do it now!