Army to recruiters: Treat armed citizens as security threat

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Redheart

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Army to recruiters: Treat armed citizens as security threat - U.S. - Stripes

The Army has warned its recruiters to treat the gun-toting civilians gathering at centers across the country in the wake of the Chattanooga, Tenn., shooting as a security threat.

Soldiers should avoid anyone standing outside the recruiting centers attempting to offer protection and report them to local law enforcement and the command if they feel threatened, according to a U.S. Army Recruiting Command policy letter issued Monday.

Armed citizens — some associated with activist groups and militias — were standing vigil outside recruiting centers in Wisconsin, Georgia, Tennessee, Idaho and elsewhere this week, saying they want to provide protection to servicemembers barred from carrying firearms on duty. Four Marines and a sailor were killed by Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez, a 24-year-old Kuwait-born native of Tennessee, during an attack Thursday on a strip mall recruiting center and a Navy facility that is being investigated as an act of terrorism.

Abdulazeez fired into the front of the recruiting station but there were no casualties. The five servicemembers were killed during an attack on the Navy Operational Support Center. A Navy officer and a Marine reportedly fired at the gunman, although it is unclear why they were armed. It is against Defense Department policy for anyone other than military police or law enforcement to carry weapons on federal property.

“I’m sure the citizens mean well, but we cannot assume this in every case and we do not want to advocate this behavior,” according to the Army Command Operations Center-Security Division letter, which was authenticated by the service.

Recruiters were ordered not to interact or acknowledge the armed civilians, who have been greeted by a mix of concern, indifference and gratitude by the public.

“If questioned by these alleged concerned citizens, be polite, professional and terminate the conversation immediately and report the incident to local law enforcement …,” the command advised.

As the incidents crop up around the country, police could be asked to confront the civilians with guns on the Army’s behalf.

“Ensure your recruiters clearly articulate to local police the civilian may be armed and in possession of a conceal/carry permit,” it told the centers.

The command said recruiters should also immediately fill out an Army security report.

Kelli Bland, a spokeswoman for Army Recruiting Command, said the service has been increasing vigilance following the Chattanooga shooting and that local residents can help in other ways.

“Local communities can support our security by reporting suspicious activity, particularly around recruiting centers,” Bland wrote in an email to Stars and Stripes.

Concerned citizens began gathering at the centers shortly after the shooting in Tennessee, and governors in some states ordered recruiters to armories or to be armed for protection against potential terrorist attacks. Congress has also pushed for the Defense Department to lift its current policy.

The founder and president of Oath Keepers, a Constitution activist group based in Las Vegas, issued a national call Tuesday to guard centers, while members were already guarding centers in Tennessee, Arkansas and Oklahoma, president Stewart Rhodes told the Associated Press.

Rhodes told the news service it’s “absolutely insane” that recruiters aren’t allowed to be armed.

“They’re sitting ducks,” Rhodes said Tuesday. “They’d be better off if they were walking down the streets of Baghdad, because at least in Baghdad, they could move. Here, they’re stationary.”

In Lewiston, Idaho, three men with a group known as “3 percenters” — a national alliance with members who prepare “for any situation, man-made or natural” — were standing watch outside a recruiting office this week, the TNS wire service reported.

“They supported us, and now we’re here showing them that we support them,” said Matt Dillard, of Clarkston, Idaho, who was among the men.
 
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In this instance, I get to see the rationale of the No Gun advocates. They say that if there are no guns in public places then the probability of violence is greatly lessened. Over here, permits to carry for a gun is very elusive, they are so strict with that. But when you read the news, criminals are out there in public places committing crimes with their guns. So I wonder how those No Gun advocates could push their advocacy in the midst of those frequent shooting incidents.
 
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I do not think the openly armed citizens are the threat. Someone out to commit murder is probably not going to openly display their weapon for everyone to see. Someone who displays their weapon is likely actually carrying it for their own or others protection. They WANT you to know they are armed so you won't harm them or the people they are trying to protect.
 
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I do not think the openly armed citizens are the threat. Someone out to commit murder is probably not going to openly display their weapon for everyone to see.
And how much easier it would be for someone who intends to commit an act of terrorism! No one would suspect that someone like that would go crazy and start shooting everyone. While the possibility of this happening is quite remote there's an off-chance that it might which is why those who are being "protected" must treat the armed citizens as security threats.
 
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I do not think the openly armed citizens are the threat. Someone out to commit murder is probably not going to openly display their weapon for everyone to see. Someone who displays their weapon is likely actually carrying it for their own or others protection. They WANT you to know they are armed so you won't harm them or the people they are trying to protect.
One of them already shot a hole in the sidewalk. That sounds like a risk to me. Stupidity can be every bit as dangerous as malice when weapons are involved.

And yeah, mass shooters are not all morons. If open carrying up through the crowd would get them closer to their target, I bet they would do it.
 
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Well, it's a natural progression, considering that profiling is slowly going out the window. The armed forces is going to have to do what they must to protect their interest, even if that means treating people as hostile. The looser things become, the tighter they become. It's sad, but neccessary.
 
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I do not think the openly armed citizens are the threat. Someone out to commit murder is probably not going to openly display their weapon for everyone to see. Someone who displays their weapon is likely actually carrying it for their own or others protection. They WANT you to know they are armed so you won't harm them or the people they are trying to protect.
Correct, but they are a threat to the Army. The military insists on accountability in all things. Armed citizens guarding their recruiting centers are basically a militia, and that's a huge training and liability issue for the armed forces. They have no idea who's guarding their centers. They can't vouch for their level of training, their proficiency, their motives, their personal stability, or the legality of their weapons. And if something goes wrong (and it almost already has), it's going to be the military that's seen as liable by the public, fair or not. Like any good military, they're thinking of the worst case scenario.

This is why the U.S. military has never promoted, affiliated itself with, or tolerated the idea of a true civilian militia. It can just go wrong in so many ways. Our military has succeeded down through the centuries through discipline, training, and structure. These armed civilians, while passionate and well-intended, are loose cannons.

That's where we seem headed, though...a civilian militia guarding population centers. It's starting with recruiting centers, but soon someone will get the idea to guard movie theaters because that's where the shootings are. It's a slippery slope. I can see, in this day and age of police mistrust, why some people want to take public safety into their own hands. But it also worries me.
 
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I reckon that normal citizens may be feeling like that the law is not doing their bit and may be keeping their guns which is something the people in the USA feel and as long as they don't start rioting or shooting then it is alright. All the civilian militia needs to do wrong is having someone like Gaston from the Beauty and the Beast film who raised the mob to slay the beast, who is not a threat to the people only to him as he believes as long as he is there then he can't get the girl. I think that with a leader who is leading the people to fight the wrong people it can get out of hand and as more people misuse guns, the army may not trust normal citizens.
 
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