Recently Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer, a fellow Marine that I respect, came out on Fox News and social media blasting the military for not arming recruiters. He stated Marines will disobey the order to dress in civilian attire and that all recruiters should be authorized to carry a sidearm. I understand the sentiment, but I don’t agree with the argument.
If there’s anything the Marine Corps has taught me about their priority list, it is that safety is pretty high up there. One of the easiest safety measures for military recruiters when running around town, if they are high on a target list, would be to blend in with the populace. It is the easiest and quickest way to minimize that risk until an alternative measure can be put in place. While it might seem discouraging to many, myself included, who love the uniform and all that it stands for, sometimes we have to swallow our pride and do what the regulations and our leaders tell us to.
In fact, Marine Recruiters, earlier this year, were under the same guidelines they are now following. The conditions for switching into civilian clothes depends upon the “Force Conditions” present in a given area. After the Chattanooga shooting many installations raised their Force Condition from “Bravo” to “Charlie”, which indicated a known or imminent threat was present. In order to protect those service members who are on recruiting, they were ordered to change into civilian attire.
While Dakota Meyer may be a hero and one of the few living legends to earn the Medal of Honor, this does not equate with being an expert on policy.
An additional concern to take into account is the logistical effort required to actually arm all the recruiters. Notwithstanding the legality of service members carrying concealed weapons (CCW’s), if there is an order to arm them they must be qualified on the weapon systems with which they are to be armed. Each Recruiting Sub Station (RSS) will be required to have a double-locked armory, and ammo counts must be conducted every day or changeover. There would have to be a 24 hour duty watch to keep eyes on the armory and likely an armorer available within a reasonable amount of time or distance from each station.
All of these logistics would have to be taken into account prior to any of the recruiters actually being armed and it would take an incredible overhaul of recruiting offices to actually institute such a policy.
Again, I understand the sentiment Meyer has. I heard of the shooting of my brothers-in-arms while on a road trip and was devastated and outraged.
It’s horrific to think that lone-wolf attacks like these are now taking place against my comrades here in the United States. It is supposed to be an effort to demoralize and tear us down. I believe it will do precisely the opposite, of course. That’s not the type of mentality most military members are accustomed to nor display. But it is disheartening to know that people here in the United States are being radicalized by ISIL and attempting to instill fear in the nation with these brazen acts of terror.
Before we jump into the mix and demand changes that may or may not work, let’s take a step back, cool down, and try to figure out a policy that would actually be effective. One that I find wholly ineffective and in fact more detrimental is individual citizens taking it upon themselves to arm up and go “defend recruiters” of their own accord. Who’s to tell that one of those individuals is not a lone wolf hiding among the populace? The Department of Defense has already sent out warnings to their recruiters telling them to avoid such individuals and report them to authorities.
Perhaps it is best if we leave security to those with whom the responsibility lies?
Many governors have already begun to call upon the National Guard to stand guard at recruiting stations. While this may hurt recruiting numbers or be a deterrent for the civilian populace who might be intimidated by such a sight, at least it is a far better alternative than having non-uniformed personnel standing guard. With the Guard in place, should an altercation ensue, at least there would not be an incident of “blue on blue” happenstance (friendly fire) because it would be uniformed Guard members protecting the recruiting centers from an obvious lone gunman.
I don’t know the answer to solve this issue, but I do know that knee-jerk reactions are never the right answer.
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