After the fatal shooting of four Marines and a sailor in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the Secretary of Defense has been fielding all kinds of questions about keeping service members safe when they’re off the battlefield.
“We know that we will do what it takes to protect the service men and women who protect us. That is why I’ve directed the military services to fundamentally review their domestic security procedures as well as take immediate steps to improve the security and force protection of our personnel. And we will do more if necessary,” said the Honorable Ash Carter, Secretary of Defense.
There have been calls from several civilian organizations, including the Oath Keepers, to “pull security” outside of recruiting stations and in schools, around shopping malls and other locations where military recruiters go.
The Army and the Department of Defense asked civilians to stand down. They issued the following statement:
“While we greatly appreciate the outpouring of support for our recruiters from the American public, we ask that individuals not stand guard at recruiting offices as it could adversely impact our mission, and potentially create unintended security risks. We continue to partner with and rely on first responders for the safety of the communities where our service members live and work.”
The U.S. Army Recruiting Command issued a policy letter telling its soldiers to report vigilante guards and report them to law enforcement officials. So far, these self-appointed guards have appeared in Wisconsin and a handful of other states; they’re typically associated with militia groups.
Predictably, civilians have mixed reactions – some feel that armed guards outside of recruiting stations are a great idea, while others cringe at the thought of people toting semi-automatic machine guns in parking lots.
What Do You Think?
I’d love to hear your opinion on armed civilian guards outside of recruiting stations, particularly because they’ve showed up in Wisconsin and elsewhere. Share your thoughts on Facebook or tweet them to me – let your opinion be heard!