Soldiers Safer at Walmart Than at Ft. Hood
For the third time in five years, armed military personnel have plotted attacks on unarmed soldiers at the Fort Hood military post in Killeen, Texas. On April 2nd, a gunman opened fire, killing three people and wounding as many as fourteen before committing suicide.
Once again, President Clinton’s 1993 Executive Order banning U.S. soldiers, sailors, and marines from carrying guns to defend themselves on American military installations has contributed to multiple deaths and casualties. Soldiers have bitterly complained since the 2009 Ft. Hood shooting that killed thirteen and injured thirty more that terrorists would face more return fire if they attacked a Walmart in gun-friendly Texas.
The General Firearms Laws of the State of Texas state a person may carry, either open or concealed, a shotgun or rifle without a permit. A person may also carry a concealed handgun without a Texas Concealed Handgun License (TCHL) in a person’s residence, private motor vehicle, or watercraft when engaged in lawful fishing, hunting, or other sporting activity. Texas also has a liberal policy on issuing TCHLs, and at the end of 2013 the state acknowledged in a report there were 708,048 license holders.
California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, as Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, tried to help President Obama deflect criticism of his leadership after the September 16, 2013 attack on the unarmed Naval Command Headquarters (NAVSEA) at the Washington, D.C. Naval Yard by an armed sailor that caused the death of twelve Americans by calling for new gun-control laws. “When will enough be enough?” Feinstein said in a statement. “Congress must stop shirking its responsibility and resume a thoughtful debate on gun violence in this country. We must do more to stop this endless loss of life.”
However, that same gun-control argument proved disastrous when U.S. Army major and psychiatrist Nidal Malik Hasan went on a jihadist mass-murdering spree at Fort Hood on November 5, 2009. Hasan’s rampage did not end until he was shot by armed, off-base civilian police who drove to the base. Fort Hood is home of the heavily armed and highly feared 1st Cavalry Division, but these American heroes' weapons are kept stored and locked at all times other than during supervised target practice.
At the time of the September attack on NAVSEA headquarters in Washington, D.C., Admiral Greenert was directly in charge of the fourteen ships of the USS Nimitz and Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier task forces, two guided-missile cruisers, two Marine Expeditionary Forces, and three submarines. Televisions around the world beamed video of America’s top Admiral fleeing his headquarters unarmed. The images of chaos and weakness no doubt severely undermined the confidence of our allies and emboldened the will of our enemies.
Large military facilities with significant civilian populations and daily commuters have always been notoriously hard to secure. However, for 200 years before Bill Clinton was president, many troops carried their sidearms for protection. In the wake of the traitorous 2009 Hasan attack, the Army received new security policies and instigated nationwide active shooter response team training. But once again those precautions have failed spectacularly. Gun control may be a politically correct strategy for the Obama administration, but unarmed Ft. Hood remains a dangerous place in Texas.
The author welcomes feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org. Chriss Street teaches microeconomics at University of California, Irvine.