As this is being written, I am once again having to contend with the fact that people that I love have been placed in harm’s way as a result of the worst thing that can happen on a military base: fratricide, or “brother killing brother.” I have to put the paper to bed, I can’t wait any longer to wait for someone to explain what happened at a supposed “soldier on soldier” incident that turned into what is at this point has left 4 dead and 16 wounded.
I can say this: when it happened in 2009, (and Hasan’s rampage was straight up an incident of jihad and not “workplace violence,”) I was able to determine fairly quickly that the ones I know and love were ok, even though they were right next door to the shooting. I heard later about the bloodied wounded who were stumbling in the door to the theatre where my friend, his daughter and granddaughter were attending a graduation ceremony before it was sealed off in order to contain the incident.
This time, in a way it might be tougher because I can’t get a hold of anyone. It also might be tougher because my husband is a flatbedder who has transported military equipment on to Ft Hood. He was just there a few days ago, and once again I am reminded of our mortality, our vulnerability, and that nothing is a guarantee in this life except heaven for the redeemed. It might be tougher because Hood has been harmed again in ways no one can imagine.
Colonel Allen West, a former US Congressman as well as a former Commander of Ft. Hood, when asked about the incident had the following to say: “No one is armed. We do have a problem, we do have an issue. When you are not armed, you are shooting ducks.” He later called Ft. Hood that day “a free fire zone.”
Pete Hegseth, who fought in Fallujah, and is the founder of Concerned Veterans for America, (and about whom I have written several times,) agreed “You are sitting ducks if someone goes rogue. Sometimes risk mitigation can go too far.” By “risk mitigation” what he meant was putting soldiers in a situation where ammunition is withheld to the point that they are then actually put at risk because they can’t protect themselves.
Having lived in a combat zone for three years, I became used to watching soldiers dry fire their weapons into a rock or cement lined barrel to prove that there was nothing in a chamber before they went into any population dense facility such as a chow hall. If they were going to “twist off,” or engage in what is known as “on base fire,” the room was full of people who would have been able to load their mag quickly and stop the situation.
What is the solution? Should all soldiers be able to carry on all bases at all times? I personally lean in that direction, even though while I was in Iraq I had to be very persistent in raising the issue with the powers that be that one of the soldiers was unstable. He had scared my staff, and ultimately had to be separated from his weapon.
West and Hegseth proposed that there be a rotation of those who could be on a duty roster and pull security duty, thus arming a larger portion of the on base population and reducing the possibility of the “sitting ducks” scenario. That may help, and at this point, I guess anything is better than nothing. But “speaking for self,” I would feel much better knowing that our soldiers could at all times protect themselves. Period.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner