As the investigation of the attack by Mohammad Abdulazeez of members of the U.S. military in Chattanooga, Tenn. continues, there are many questions still to be answered. Indeed, most Americans are looking forward to hearing the answers to the questions that have been raised.
In the meantime, here are six questions and answers that should be included.
1. Why were the recruiters unarmed?
Answer: The Department of Defense DoD Directive 5210.56.
This directive, signed in February 1992 by Donald J. Atwood, deputy secretary of defense under President George H.W. Bush, stated,“it is DoD Policy” to “limit and control the carrying of firearms by DoD military and civilian personnel”
2. Are there any changes to protect military personnel being planned?
Ensuring that all military bases and recruiting centers will continue to be gun-free zones, Adm. Bill Gortney, head of U.S. Northern Command, and who is responsible for the security for military facilities here in the U.S., issued a directive on Jul 21 encouraging centers to increase just surveillance and take small steps including closing their blinds. Missing from that command order were any proposed changes in DoD Directive 5210.56 that would allow any military personnel to carry either their personal or military provided weapons.
And we should not forget that our military are not being targeted just here in the U.S. On July 21, a 24-year-old man appeared in a United Kingdom court charged with planning a terrorist attack on US military personnel. And our bases outside Iraq and Afghanistan are still gun-free zones. It appears that our military personnel, regardless of their location, will basically remain sitting ducks.
A bill has been introduced in the Senate by Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kansas) that would allow active duty members of the military to carry private weapons at their installations. This bill would eliminate gun-free zones on military bases. However, there is no guarantee the bill will be passed by either of our legislative houses.
On the other hand, four state governors have authorized members of their state National Guard to arm themselves: Scott Walker (R-Wis.); and three others: Greg Abbot (R-Texas), Mike Pence (R-Ind.) and Rick Scott (R-Fla.). It is not too surprising to say these are all governors of “red” states! It should be noted that Wis., Ind. and Texas are open carry states.
3. How are veterans responding to this attack?
Answer: Positively and quickly!
Shortly after the shooting, civilians and veterans, both men and women, all over the country, have been flocking to stand guard and protect recruiting offices.
One naturalized civilian citizen said, “I’m here to protect our military because they’re not allowed to protect themselves. Until they are allowed to carry, I will be out here to help them understand that somebody is watching them.”
And here in Texas, army veterans Dean Damota and Ray Cram stood guard with others at the Marines, Navy and Air Force recruiting center in a shopping center in Cleburne, located about 30 miles south of Fort Worth. He told a reporter, “They are all our brothers and sisters.”
4. What does our military think of the men and women who have stepped forward to guard and protect these recruitment centers?
Answer: Our military considers these armed volunteers to be a security threat!
Unbelievably, the U.S. Army Recruiting Command announced a new policy: “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.”
5. Was this an Islamic terror attack?
Answer: Not yet proven.
Regardless, many people already believe that Mohammad Abdulazeez was an Islamic terrorist when he attacked two military recruiting centers in Chattanooga, Tenn.
Two veterans, who themselves have been under fire by Islamic militants, also believe it to be true. Sgt. Alonzo Lunsford, who was shot SEVEN TIMES by Muslim assassin U.S. Major Nidal Hasan, said that “war is here on our soil”. And, Sergeant Dakota Meyer,
who received the Medal of Honor for his actions in Afghanistan, wrote in his Facebook page,
This incident IS an act of domestic terrorism, regardless of how Washington spins it, regardless of what nationality, color, creed, or otherwise the shooter was. This was a planned attack on the United Stated Military on United States soil.”
6. Why did it take so long for the U.S. flag to be lowered to half-mast in honoring the recruiting station deaths?
Answer: We will never know.
This was a puzzling situation since the flag was lowered in December, 2013, to honor the death of former Preident of South Africa Nelson Mandela. Also, there was an immediate display of LGBT pride rainbow color lights shown on the White House after the U.S. Supreme Court decision that declared the constitutional right to same-sex marriage.
But, on July 20, “Lone Survivor” Navy SEAL Marcus Lattrell posted this statement on his Facebook page: “Oh one more thing, lower the FLAG!!!!!!!! Sir.”
In the mean time, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest refused to provide any answer to this question of why the flag had not yet been lowered.
However, on July 21, five days after the Chattanooga, Tenn. shooting incident, President Obama finally ordered flags be lowered to half-staff at the White House and to all federal buildings across the country.
These six questions are most likely a subset of those actually being posed by Americans. However, the questions and their answers provided herein might stimulate more discussion as investigation into this tragedy continues to unfold.
In the meantime, the latest news reminds all of us that our soldiers have pledged protect us and our way of life. The New York Times has just reported that “Some of the five servicemen who were fatally wounded effectively sacrificed themselves during the assault on Thursday, diverting the gunman from a larger group of potential victims, according to a law enforcement official briefed on the investigation into the killings.”
R.I.P. Thomas Sullivan Gunnery Sergeant, Lance Cpl, Squire K. Wells, Staff Sgt. David Wyatt, Sgt. Carson Holmquist and Petty Officer Randall Smith.
We veterans pray for peace for their families and friends as they recover from the loss of their loved ones in such a tragic incident.