Thursday, April 3, 2014

Gun Free Military Bases: An Oxymoron

Oxymoron: “A figure of speech in which incongruous or seemingly contradictory terms appear side by side.” “Gun free military zone” is a true oxymoron. Military personnel are not even allowed to keep personal guns in their on-based housing. Our highly trained military personnel have less ability therefore to defend themselves and their families than off-base civilians. That too is an oxymoron. Our brave young men and service are trained to protect us, but they are not allowed to protect themselves, except by “duck and cover” or “shelter in place.” Yet again, an oxymoron within an oxymoron. Thus, as in the November 5, 2009 Fort Hood attack by Nidal Hasan with 13 dead and over 30 wounded, the Washington Navy Yard killings of Aaron Alexis on September 16, 2013 with 12 dead and 3 wounded, and Wednesday’s second Fort Hood shooting in 5 years with Ivan Lopez killing three and wounding 16, the highly trained, defenseless soldiers, marines, and sailors can be moved down. The policy is 20 years old, being attributed to the first months of the Clinton Administration, but it actually began in President George H. W. Bush’s Administration. A Defense Department Directive in April 2011 reaffirmed “Armed DoD personnel with firearms shall be limited and controlled.” “Gun free zones” do not deter shootings. The killings in schools, such as Columbine, Sandy Hook, and Virginia Tech are in gun free zones. The shootings at movie theatres, churches, city halls, post offices, law firms, hair salons, factories, and fast food restaurants were in unarmed civilian facilities, technically not “gun free zones,” but tragedies, broken only when police can arrive on the scene after the mass killings commenced. Military bases are different. Armed soldiers could respond immediately, as they are trained to do, rather than waiting for the inevitable delay, however short, before the arrival of MP’s or civilian police. President Obama said of Tuesday’s shootings: “They served with valor. They served with distinction. And when they are at their home base they feel safe.” Our soldiers serve with valor and distinction, but they should not feel safe at home on their base. A “Gun free zone” is not gun free when crazed fanatics can bring guns onto a base. Gun free is not gun proof. That is not an oxymoron. Never forget, “When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.”

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