Should Soldiers Be Allowed To Carry Firearms On Base?
(WBEN/AP) Just days after a shooting rampage at Fort Hood, the Texas Senate heard an impassioned plea from a soldier who says he should be allowed to carry weapons on base.
It came as military officials say another soldier shot and killed a colleague Tuesday while standing guard at the main gate of Camp LeJeune in North Carolina . READ MORE
"More will die, more will be wounded, more families will be torn apart, needlessly. It happened again, and will happen again, because Fort Hood is a gun free zone. When the first shots rang out, my hand reached to my belt for something that wasn't’t there," wrote Lt. Patrick Cook, in a letter that went viral on the internet, and was read before a Texas Senate committee on gun issues.
Cook was one of several in a room at Ft. Hood last week, saved when Sgt. Danny Ferguson (pictured below L) was killed taking fire in a doorway sheltering those behind him.
Ferguson was one of three killed and 16 injured in the incident
" I can still taste his blood in my mouth from when I and my comrades breathed into his lungs for 20 long minutes while we waited for a response from the authorities. This Soldier’s name was Sergeant First Class Daniel Ferguson, and his sacrifice loaned me the rest of my life to tell this story"
Many soldiers have personal weapons that they purchase to augment thier government issue firearms, but their use on base is prohibited.
" Stripped of my God-given Right to arm myself, the only defensive posture I had left was to lie prostrate on the ground, and wait to die"
-Lt. Patrick Cook
The Fort Hood shooting spree Wednesday ended when Ivan Lopez killed himself with his .45-caliber pistol after confronting a female military police officer, who Army investigators say fired once at Lopez but didn't strike him Army investigators on Monday released a more detailed timeline of last week's fatal shootings at Fort Hood, describing an eight-minute rampage in which the suspect fired 35 shots over an area spanning the equivalent of two city blocks.
The incident is sparking a debate over whether soldiers should be armed.
"..For military personnel not to be allowed to carry weapons on base, a lot of people are outraged about that.," says Joe Gomez, a reporter at KRLD in Dallas.
"I've talked to a lot of soldiers ( at Fort Hood), a lot of the victims from the first tragedy. And even three years after the first shooting happened, they were concerned that this could happen again..(because) soldiers weren't allowed to carry weapons. "
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says it's too soon to draw any broad conclusions about safety at U.S. military bases after the deadly shootings at Fort Hood, Texas.
He said Thursday that as the investigation unfolds, the Pentagon will continue to take a close look at any new lessons that can be learned from Wednesday's tragedy and implement any needed changes to base security. It is unlikely however that the Pentagon will allow personal guns on bases.
Lt. PATRICK COOK: FEELING HELPLESS AT FORT HOOD
To my friends, fellow Texans, brothers in arms, members of the committee, and everyone within the sound of my voice, greetings.
My name is First Lieutenant Patrick Cook of the 49th Transportation Battalion, Fort Hood, Texas, and this past Wednesday I found myself trapped in an enclosed room with fourteen of my fellow Soldiers, one of whom was barricading the door against a madman with a .45 pistol when he was fatally shot. Through what I can only describe as a miracle, he somehow found enough strength to continue pushing against that door until the shooter gave up and went elsewhere, at which time he collapsed. Nearly a week later, I can still taste his blood in my mouth from when I and my comrades breathed into his lungs for 20 long minutes while we waited for a response from the authorities. This Soldier’s name was Sergeant First Class Daniel Ferguson, and his sacrifice loaned me the rest of my life to tell this story.
But I write to you today not to memorialize this brave Soldier, nor to tell a war story about how we made the best of a losing situation, but to express the part of that story that some in high positions of power clearly do not want told: I knew this was going to happen. I had been saying for five years that Fort Hood was a tinderbox of another massacre waiting to happen. It had to happen, because our betters failed to learn the obvious lesson of five years ago. Worse yet, I know it will happen again. More will die, more will be wounded, more families will be torn apart, needlessly. It happened again, and will happen again, because Fort Hood is a gun free zone.
When the first shots rang out, my hand reached to my belt for something that wasn’t there. Something that could have put a stop to the bloodshed, could have made it merely an “ugly incident” instead of the horrific massacre that I will surely remember as the darkest twenty minutes of my life. Stripped of my God-given Right to arm myself, the only defensive posture I had left was to lie prostrate on the ground, and wait to die. As the shooter kicked at the door, I remember telling myself, “oh well, this is it.” It is beneath human dignity to experience the utter helplessness I felt that day. I cannot abide the thought that anyone should ever feel that again.
At the point blank range at which this shooting occurred, anyone with an M9 and some basic instruction could have ended the mayhem as quickly as it began. An MP by trade and a CHL holder, I am convinced that concealed weapons would have stopped it, but openly carried side-arms, like the ones carried in a law enforcement capacity, could have prevented it entirely. Instead, many more died because of the fatally misguided restrictions on the carrying of arms, which obviously the madman did not respect.
I shall conclude by restating my warning. This will happen again, and again until we learn the lesson that suppressing the bearing of arms doesn’t prevent horrific crimes, it invites them. To those of you who hold elected office, if you hear nothing else I have told you, hear this: you have the power to stop the next massacre from happening. You have an opportunity to restore the sacred Right to bear arms, which has been either stripped entirely or unjustly relegated to the poor substitute of a probationary, government-issued privilege. For God’s sake, do the right thing.
Thank you for your attention, and good day.
Meanwhile, Tuesday At Camp Lejeune:
A Marine was in custody Wednesday after military officials say he shot and fatally wounded a colleague with his M4 rifle while standing guard at the main gate of a North Carolina base.
The shooting happened at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, when the Marine fired on his colleague inside a guard shack at Camp Lejeune, Camp Lejeune spokesman Nat Fahy said.
Law enforcement and emergency personnel attempted to revive the shooting victim, who received a single shot, but the person was later pronounced dead at a base hospital, Fahy said.
The shooting came less than a week after a shooting rampage by a soldier at Fort Hood in Texas killed three and wounded 16 others.
Fahy stressed the difference in the two situations.
"We understand that people are at a state of heightened sensitivity, given what happened over at Fort Hood," Fahy said. "It's important that we convey that this is not a Fort Hood-like incident. It was an isolated incident that's no longer active."
The Marine who fired the shot from his M4 rifle was in custody and was awaiting questioning by Naval Criminal Investigative Services, Fahy said Tuesday night.
The name of the shooter, who Fahy said was a male, hasn't been released, and Fahy said the victim's name is being withheld until relatives are notified. There were other guards at the gate, but no one else was hurt.
The shack is about 15 feet by 15 feet and sits under a canopy, Fahy said. He didn't know whether anyone other than the two Marines involved in the shooting were inside the shack at the time.
Fahy said the main gate remained open after the shooting.
He said authorities isolated the area immediately after the shooting, and when it was determined the situation was secure, traffic was allowed to pass on and off the base.
"At no time was the base ever on lockdown," Fahy said.
Should Soldiers Be Allowed To Carry Firearms On Base?
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Dear gun fetishists:
It's often helpful to remind you, since many of you are out-and-out racists, that your advocacy of more guns in more hands leads directly to increased urban violence. The gang bangers thank you for your efforts.