Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Trading Freedom for Security - why arming serving military members on US Soil is the WRONG response to Chattanooga

Over on Facebook, I commented on a news story about National Guard Troops now being directed to carry side arms while on duty in several states.  The direction comes in the wake of the shooting last week in Chattanooga, TN where 4 Marines manning a Marine recruiting station gave their lives in service of their Nation.   I objected and one of the other commenters gave me a snarky rebuff – that my tune would changes when my sons died at the hands of a terrorist with a misguided agenda.

Sadly such dismissive snark is the hallmark (online) of too many conservative Americans who wrongly equate guns with strength.  And I understand the impulse in today’s insecure environment.  The more we become part of the world around us while losing control over our individual lives, the more everything seems like a threat.  And when you have no other power – political, economic, social – a gun seems like a logical response to all those threats. Being both a Liberal, and a Christian, however, I am always called to another response, which is encapsulated in my reply to that troll below:

My sons will follow the path they choose - and I will rejoice and mourn for and with them as every father does. And not to pick nits but the 9/11 terrorists brought the "war" to American soil. And that doesn't change anything. As {one commenter} pointed out {above}, the Marines would not have been able to engage based on their tactical situation. They also put on that uniform to fight and die for America, where we have the Rule of Law - which supposedly makes us vastly different than many other nations. That law says we DO NOT ARM serving military members on US soil. Period. I have many friends, and family serving - and to a person NONE of them wants to carry a side arm or any other arm while on duty here. NONE. If they see it as a bad idea, then why exactly do we need to embrace it? You cannot create Peace by escalating conflict, and you will never increase security by removing freedom - including the freedom to be free from armed military personnel walking our streets. Nations that do that are places the US has traditionally worked to over-throw - Iran and Iraq leap immediately to mind, as does Cuba, Russia, most Central American countries in the 1980's . . . and the list goes on. The quickest way - if history is accurate - to have "jack booted thugs" on our throats in the US is to destroy the wall separating the military from the civilian population. And arming military personnel on US soil is the first, big step in breaking that wall down.

Make no mistake – I’m as ready as the next person to take up arms to defend my Nation and the Rights and Freedoms it stands for.  But this is not a call to arms as was the Revolution – or even WWII.  This attack is a sad response to decades of US interventionist policies in the Middle East.  It is regrettable, reprehensible, and NOT in keeping with the true teachings of Muhammad (or Christ for that matter). We have to expect this sort of thing so long as we hide from our responsibilities and the collateral damage we cause all the world over.

Semper Fi.

1 comment:

Philip H. said...

UPDATE - Late reporting by NPR said that authorities are now looking at this attack as a suicide by cop, where in the shooter opened fire not for political reasons - i.e. not to use terror to achieve a political objective - but to get killed by police who would respond to the incident. If thats true, then we as a Nation should treat this like the homicide it is, not a terrorist bringing of the battle to American soil. And certainly not as a reason to arm our military members off base.