If you spent much time watching Fox News in the wake of the Fort Hood shootings, you almost surely heard “expert” after “expert” use the occasion to call for soldiers to be armed on base – and looser gun laws in general. But The O’Reilly Factor actually called on two military experts - and they pretty much demolished any argument for perpetually-armed soldiers.
Last night, O’Reilly hosted Lt. Col. Ralph Peters and Col. David Hunt to weigh in on the issue. It's worth pointing out that O'Reilly is a supporter of stricter gun laws (just don't call it gun control). Peters is hardly a squishy pacifist. In fact, he’s prone to talk up killing. The other guest, Col. David Hunt, advocates torture and killing. Each is also a Fox News analyst.
So it was shocking to me how reasonable Peters sounded when he said:
I’ve only heard people that have never served in the military, themselves, say that (soldiers should be armed on bases). It’s absolutely nuts and let me give you four quick reasons why:
1. If our soldiers carry their loaded weapons at all times, that assassin yesterday wouldn’t have had a .45 caliber handgun, he would have had a loaded assault rifle.
2. Soldiers wouldn’t want that. It would be an enormous hassle. Most soldiers aren’t steely-eyed killers. Most are clerks, intelligence analysts, truck drivers, mechanics. They’ve got real work to do and, you know? Carrying a loaded weapon around all the time is a burden. How would we like it if people carried assault weapons… in our workplace?
3. Do we really want a soldier to have a loaded M16 on his shoulder if he’s having a marital spat? How about a suicidal soldier or one with suicidal thoughts or tendencies? Should he have a loaded weapon?
And fourth, not least, when you have an incident like this, …you want trained responders who know what they’re doing. You don’t want every finance clerk on Fort Hood firing his M16 on rock and roll in every direction.
Hunt agreed. He said, “I don’t think it’s a Second Amendment or gun issue at all.” He said, “The only possibility to discuss, not implement, would be considering arming some leadership but you really have to look at it.” He sounded much more enthusiastic about improving mental health treatment for soldiers. “I agree this is a random act of violence. It’s almost not preventable,” Hunt added.
Earlier in the day, retired four-star general Jack Keane made similar points on America’s News HQ:
I don’t believe our soldiers should be armed on the base… I think if our viewers think through that, that you’re gonna arm 50,000 soldiers on a military base so that they can defend themself if somebody tries to shoot at one of them or a bunch of them. Can you imagine the first responders coming on a scene and there’s people shooting all over the place and they have to determine who is friend and who is foe? I think the potential for leading to more violence by arming everybody is rather significant.
The soldiers… are not policemen. They are not trained to control a violent situation and de-escalate it.
A slew of other military experts echoed those comments to Media Matters yesterday.
Fox Newsies love to talk about how much they love the military. But will they actually listen to their own real experts if it contradicts their political agenda?
He said just what the other military guys said, that it makes no sense for soldiers to be armed on bases. He said law enforcement should be delegated to people trained in law enforcement because they have the expertise to handle these incredibly difficult situations, as the MP did in this one, and your average GI does not.
General Scales also pointed out that Nidal Hasan and Ivan Lopez are extreme aberrations and that military bases are by far the safest places on the planet.
It’s pretty clear that only yahoos
Or, to put it another way: The “good guy with a gun” was Ivan Lopez. Everyone who’s playing that game is in support of the shooter, because her gun played no role in stopping him, and he may have killed himself after realizing what he had done. It’s worth repeating that he did surrender before drawing the gun he killed himself with.
Not that the hosts of Fox News is smart enough to comprehend this- Aside from one quick attempt to point out how stupid Greg Gutfeld got with his wording on “The Five” (note that I said the complaint was about how he sounded with his wording, not that the point itself seemed stupid), all the rebuttal seems to come from contributors.
and yet isn’t that what the NRA wants for the general public? All the good guys with guns, blazing away at the bad guys? As a bonus it is HIGHLY unlikely those in the public have received the depth and level of training of the soldiers.
but, the good guys will be wearing white and the bad guys black. Right?