It Boggles the Mind

Reading the swarm of comments over on Oleg’s blog, it seems a lot of military folks, those with real experience, favor keeping people disarmed in barracks and around the base;

It may be hard for some to comprehend, but putting on ACUs doesn’t make you a weapons proficient commando. If they let every cook, clerk, and nurse carry around loaded weapons 24/7 there would be many more “accidental” deaths than this per year.

Exactly what the anti gun rights activists say about the population in general, and it’s been proven wrong.  We have more guns than ever, and the accident rate continues to fall.  Not weapons proficient?  Them train them, then arm them.  In that order.  Takes only a short while.  Put the second amendment back in force and more of them will be proficient, to some degree, when they arrive, which was of course the original idea, wasn’t it, Skippy?

The average “soldier” doesn’t shoot for a living and non-combat arms (the vast majority is support) troops are lucky to even see the range twice a year.

Poor training.  Basing policy on poor training is worse than just poor training alone.  So, we can afford billion-dollar bombers, and gazzillion-dollar satellite networks and all that, but a few extra cartridges for a week of training is out of the freaking question.  Even then, I assume there has to be at least a few in the barracks who know one end of a gun from another.  I know– I just don’t understand.  I’d understand if I were in the military, that you don’t train too many people too well, ’cause that’s “dangerous”, even though I see every day here in the real world that that line of thinking is pure horseshit.  The more people equipped and trained in the use of arms, the safer your whole society, and the more versatile and effective your military.  If you people don’t trust your own, you need to seriously get the f^#K out.  Now.

They would also have to lock the base down from un-verified (without prior clearance) civilian entry as weapons would be too easily accessed.

“Civilian entry”?  Like at my house, where there’s infinitely more firepower than in military barracks?  Like at a gun store or a gun show, or a shooting range, practically anywhere in the country?  So then, it’s fine to just let any stranger onto a military base so long as that base is almost as unarmed as a kindergarten-school-gun-free-zone, and it would be worse to let strangers in if people on the base were mostly all armed and capable of defending themselves?  That’s hippie logic, right there, folks.  It’s right out of Diane Feinstein’s teeny tiny little bird brain.

Somebody (re)educate me here (haul me to a camp or something) ’cause I figure that if you’re training an army, any time, any where, they should all know how to handle a weapon, from the nurse, to the cook, to the electrician, to the floor sweeper, to the truck driver, etc. (just like in the civilian population) all the way through to the actual combat units.  Falling short of that (because you’re in the military and afraid of guns?) I would think that, at the very least, anyone trained in weapon handling should be well-trained, and should be hauling at the very minimum a sidearm around at all times (just like millions of civilians do every day already).

13 thoughts on “It Boggles the Mind

  1. This is VERY typical of our military “leadership”.

    Although we have had altercations and are involved in a couple right now, we haven’t really been “at war” since World War II. In a peacetime military, it is not the warriors who make rank, it is the politicians. In fact the warriors, being in general an unruly bunch, tend to be specifically pushed out of the military, lest they actually ACT like warriors and embarrass the political leadership.

    The vast majority of the senior leadership in my military career didn’t trust their subordinates with the time of day, let alone…gasp!…firearms. I spent a year in the Security Department on the USS Enterprise under a wonderful politician named Captain Naughton (who, of course, went on to flag rank), who wouldn’t even allow Naval Police Officers to carry firearms unless on a special detail…like…for instance…guarding his sorry ass during a security alert or high profile event.

    My mind hearkens back to the Cole incident, wherein the armed guards who were supposed to be defending the ship didn’t even have loaded weapons and couldn’t have prevented the attack that killed 17 of our shipmates even had the “rules of engagement” allowed it.

    The point being…assuming that the commenters over at Volokh were the higher ranking “leadership” (either senior enlisted or officer) that I have in mind…the attitude doesn’t surprise me at all.

    The military “leadership” has a long and storied tradition of treating subordinates like second class citizens.

  2. Even our Marines where ‘everyman a rifleman’ is a motto…don’t allow their troops to be armed…and if you read some reports from Gunsite and elsewhere, don’t allow ‘hot’ ranges or have adequate training either. Maybe we can get a DNA infusion from the Israeli’s or from Switzerland

  3. Joe, if you want to discuss this in a less-public forum, drop me an email at “linoge (at) wallsofthecity (dot) net”, an IM at “monsieurlinoge”, or drop into the Gunblogger_Conspiracy IRC room – I may not be able to answer all of your questions (or any better than SailorCurt did, with his significantly longer experience in the military), but I just had to deal with this all a little over a year ago, so it is still fresh in my mind.

  4. I once remember reading that part of the reason the WWII German Army was so effective is because they could very quickly put together effective counterstrike units from their “non-fighting” support troops. I.E. “every cook, clerk, and nurse” knew how to effectively and safely use a weapon.

  5. I can only speak for the Army, but even the non-combat arms pogues receive more firearms handling training in Basic than is required for a CCW. Probably the reason that many states allow a DD214 in lieu of a certificate of training from a civilian instructor.

    Those anti-gun commenters who claim to be in the military are an embarrassment to the rest of us, do not speak for the majority of troops, and are frankly talking out of their ass.

  6. I know Air Force firearms training sucks for everybody except Security Forces and the special operators. Typically most of us flight line maintenance types were required to fire the M-16 only once every 3 years. Pistol training was a rarity outside the few combat specialties unless you were Master Sergeant or higher. Of course we did get an M-16 with one magazine in Afghanistan. However, the brass were so worried about AD’s that you weren’t allowed to disassemble it for cleaning with Security Forces watching you. So most of them were never cleaned, its a good thing we didn’t actually have to use them. In Iraq we at least got full combat loads, but I think that’s because we were on a Marine base.

  7. Joe, I spent a lot of time thinking about this last night and am struggling with it. It’s certainly no question that we need better firearms training. Hell, I was an infantryman in my Corps and we were only really required to fire annually. We did get more experience than that, but I never thought it was enough. When I got out I didn’t know squat about the AR-15 except basic dissassembly. I was blown away when I built my and Laurel’s AR-15’s when I discovered how easy some of this stuff was. I was a little insulted to know that the Marine Corps didn’t trust me for something as simple as taking the extractor off of the bolt. I suppose some of this knowledge was taken from us because we’d all go out and gear queer our rifles up before we went to war, but it’s still insulting.

    But I want to put the military to the same standards as civilians. But then again, if you haven’t seen the level of idiocy and insanity that goes on in a Marine infantry barracks then you cannot fully grasp the potential for trouble. I’m embarrassed to admit this but it’s worth noting, while I was in Iraq myself and a fellow sergeant used to shoot at each other with our pistols when we were just screwing around. He later had an ND that put a bullet into his humvee. Slightly beforehand we decided to “be safe” and clear our pistols in front of the other guy before shooting him. I couldn’t imagine that today. That alone, I can tell you that I know of many many Marines with negligent discharges. One ended up putting a bullet in another Marine’s foot in a war zone and yet another put a burst from a SAW into the base general’s building.

    The barracks not only have a lot of drunkeness and horseplay, but also a lot of loneliness and depression. I can also tell you that the nature of what we do gives Marines a more cavalier attitude with weapons. We violate the safety rules as a part of our job. We regularly shoot at each other with our service rifles in training. Mind you it’s with blanks or dry firing, but we do aim our weapons at others. On patrol you regularly flag people. You really don’t have much of a choice.

    The point here is that like it or not, your average civilian firearms owner is going to have different attitudes about firearms and firearm safety. There is nothing that can change that short of not having Marines fight wars or train to fight wars anymore.

    I’m not even saying we shouldn’t arm people on base. I’m just saying that it isn’t as clear cut as we’d like for it to be in the gun community. I believe that there will be more gun deaths. I come from the school of thought that if we must error, let us error on the side of freedom. Troops will die from it in greater numbers than from the occasional crazed gunman we have now. But then again, I could very well be wrong. We’ve got tens of thousands of troops sleeping with their rifles across the globe and only the occasional problem. None of this really matters though. The reason we aren’t allowed to be armed on base is simply because the brass didn’t trust us when the rules were implemented and that attitude hasn’t really been questioned over time. I don’t think it’s so much the new brass not trusting us as it is just that they haven’t really thought about it.

  8. I spent a lot of time in the military, US Army, paratroopers, armored forces and artillery, I was responsible for teaching, annually, pistol safety, marksmanship and the qualification course – so everyone that wouldn’t fire a pistol again for a year would pass this year. I spent a lot of time telling soldiers to put their M16 on safe – yes, I knew that it had to be cocked to do that, yes I knew that it could be loaded, but I figured everyone carrying a round in chamber, loaded magazine inserted and the weapon on safe until it was on a target was the safest I would ever get in the world I lived in. I thought everyone should have a fighting knife on their body, all the time, certainly a multi-tool as a minimum. One First Sergeant that followed me in one of my units took all of six months to disarm the troops – that meant they had followed my guidance for almost a year before giving up to the pressure.

    The command is always certain that the easy way out – disarming those not like me – is a good idea — but it doesn’t work when one must fight a doctor that is armed heavier than everyone else in the room, and you never know where the nut is going to show up.

    I do know that establishing the level of training, respecting the intelligence and maturity of the troops worked for me, and respect may be demanded by those above me for tradition, lawful reasons and such – but only some of my commanders would I work beside willingly again and again. I still remember the demonstration of the airborne assault put on for the Soviet Defense Minister at Fort Bragg, it was a complete mess because of the Air Force flight approach, but the paratroopers ran to their equipment, got into their war mode and fought on bravely. The Minister was sure that we have more officers in lower uniforms to have that level of proficiency, the kind of military he was accustomed to, but we as a country and culture are different – and individual performance will work. That young policewoman would have been just as effective in civilian clothing, if she had been allowed to carry concealed on post, she might have had a bigger pistol even.

  9. It’s probably the old projection problem we gunnies see in the antis all the time. My BN commander had three negligent discharges during deployment. I think my whole platoon had that many, two of which were legitimately broken weapons.

    This was a guy who said beforehand that any ND would result in a field grade article 15, and by God, if he had one he would put himself in for NJP! Do you suppose he did? My ass. Officers generally figure they’re better than their soldiers (in my experience) and if they can’t trust themselves to do something, how could they trust anyone else?

    I won’t name names, but… I was in 2-7 Cav, Mosul 06-07.

    ubu52: Dude… use your brain. Like any gangbanger is going to give a shit about post regulations? I’d much rather have my buddies who are still in allowed to carry their pistols if they want to, in case private snuffy goes fucking nuts with his Glock Fortay, than let the bad guys have the only weapons. That’s the whole point! No, I don’t think soldiers should wander around with their issue rifles all the time, and quite frankly nobody would want to, but anyone with a state CHL should be allowed to carry on post just as if they were in town, on duty or off. Most soldiers won’t bother, but the ones who do will be people like me who are serious about firearms training and spend their weekends out in the desert running drills. You know, exactly the kind of people who would stop incidents like that at Fort Hood in their tracks.

    – Former 11B

  10. 15 year career Navy here.
    Like The Inconvenience, I have seen the weapons grade stupidity in the lower ranks. (Also in the higher ranks, too, but we won’t go there, will we? 😉 )
    I also think that blanket loosening of the rules is not needed.
    What I do think is that there needs to be a legal way to do it for those who want to, with concrete steps that a hoplophobe base commander cannot write out of his base security instruction, with training minimums, and a qualification course that must be fired at least annually.
    Say, 40 hours of documented instruction from an approved list of schools, with recommendation from chain of command, and shooting 80% on the FBI qual course.
    Presto, you can now carry.

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