Saturday, August 01, 2015

Armed Citizens at recruiting stations? No thanks.

The last couple of days, I've been following the comments--and adding to them--on the excellent Shall not be Questioned blog post about the people who have decided amongst themselves to show up unbidden at their local Armed Forces recruiters' offices with guns and lawn chairs and announce that they are there to "protect" the soldiers therein.

Citizens Defending Recruiting Stations & Rifle Open Carry

And early this morning, a commenter named Will, who also comments here on occasion, took me to task for some of the things that I said. He also posed a few questions that I felt needed decent answers, and rather than take over Sebastian's orderly blog, I figured I'd do well to bring that branch discussion back here. So I invite you to go to the link above, peruse the article and the comments, then consider my responses below to Will's comments, which I have dissected and italicized for easier handling.

In sum, I seem to have struck a nerve by pointing out the lack of alertness and apparent readiness on the part of the citizens in question and suggesting to a few posters that if they really want to be soldiers or marines, then they should do it right and join up.

Get real. You want people to join a force that is FORBIDDEN to carry arms except on a declared BATTLEFIELD. Even there, once you roll back behind the wire, you get disarmed. What the hell do you think this whole mess is about!!!???

OK, two issues here. First of all, you don't join the Marines so that you can carry weapons around and be a bad-ass. If that's your only motivation, then it's probably a good thing that you never bothered. People who join the Armed Forces by and large do it because they want to serve, and they put the needs of their country ahead of their own desires and comfort because country comes before self. And until these recent generations of kids came along, that was generally understood and applauded. But now it's mocked and reviled by both the hedonistic Left and the Libertarian anarchists on the other end of the spectrum. And it's one of the major reasons why I have no use for either group these days.

But what is it about? Since you asked, let's be honest. It's pretty much about a bunch of people who could never get into the Marine Corps or hack being in the Marine Corps, and they are now trying to use the Marine Corps for a photo op towards their personal fifteen minutes of fame. I mean, just look at these people:
Here we have a girl wearing a bikini beneath a Molle carrier that looks like it just came out of the package that morning. Did she think that she was there for an Oleg Volk photo shoot? Then we've got a guy in flag pajamas riding his tactical hover-round, and next to him is some clown in a skirt, for God's sake. These are not warriors and it's painfully obvious; if they really expected to be moving fast, going prone or doing other things that one does in a gunfight, they wouldn't have shown up looking like that.

Or like this:
Four guys. One is holding a weapon with the muzzle pointing right up his own body, and it's a derpy pistol-grip shotgun to boot, a weapon which screams "amateur" and "poser" like few others do. (Five bucks says that he owns a Taurus Judge, too.) They've also left two other long guns basically unattended and that pump Remington isn't even in battery. These guys are so far behind the curve that it's not even funny and anyone who knows anything about such things can spot it right off.

ML, normally you’re pretty sharp, but forays into belittling people who aren’t exactly like you tends to turn people off. So what if they aren’t dressed to your satisfaction? You don’t know anything about them.
Thanks for the compliment, and to correct you, I don't belittle people who aren't like me. I save that for the ones who pretend to be like me and like others that I work and associate with when they haven't made the commitment or put in the sweat that we have. I'll grant you that I do tend to speak bluntly when I detect stupid, however, especially in this regard. It's my nature and it comes from my own background. While I take pains not to discuss what I really do behind the blog, those who actually know me--and there are many here who do--know that I have some experience in these matters and I don't tolerate bullshit or pat bullshitters on the head and tell them that they're ok and I'm ok. Fuck that. Picking up a weapon is serious business, but all the more so when you start playing at actual combat operations as opposed to just being ready to protect yourself with deadly force as a last resort. It's not a game and I have a real problem with people who treat it as if it is.

Having said that, what could I possibly have to know about this guy, who camped out in front of a recruiters' office in New York?
Do you want to try to justify that guy? Because I'm not even going to bother discussing him otherwise. He's not ready to repel terrorists; hell, he'll be lucky to walk home without a pack of schoolkids pushing him down for fun. He's just there to get his picture taken in his costume.

Sure, I’d like them to look a bit more professional. Well, a lot. It occurred to me there may be a good reason for them to have dressed like they did, however. They may have decided on that “style” to keep things relaxed and comfortable for the people that would deal with them during the day. Some, or all of them, may be a shit-hot tactical team, but dressed like that would tend to keep that thought from most people looking at them. Perception counts for a lot. You’re making a judgement on a photo. In this case, I think you lack enough data.

I think that you're giving them more credit than they deserve. They aren't dressing down as part of any strategy; that's how they normally dress and they don't take it seriously enough to wear the appropriate clothing and gear. If they really were "shit hot tactical", they'd show it in their readiness posture--attire, attitude and alertness. But these people got nothing. Hell, the only one even looking remotely alert is this fat guy with his Remington Nylon 66 .22 rifle:
Not exactly someone that I'd want to have to rely on, thank you very much. I'm sure that he means well, but he's not exactly "bringing it", if you know what I mean.

You want to see "shit hot"? These guys are "shit hot":
Not mall ninjas. Can you tell the difference between them and the mere gun-holders pictured above?

Again, were you down at a local center with your m-60 and dressed to kill? If not, why not?

No, I wasn't down there, and for the simple reason that it's not my fight and I wasn't asked to help by those at the center of things: The United States Marine Corps. If the Marines felt that they needed my assistance and asked, I'd sure talk to them about it. But I'm pretty sure that the USMC can handle their own fighting should they decide that there's a real need. But if the Marines really felt that there was a valid threat, they'd have their own men deployed, or they'd just close the offices up and deny the bad guys a target. Do you think that the Marines haven't done a threat assessment here? It's a safe bet that they're not expecting waves of copycat attacks any more than the 1st Lawn Chair Division is, because you can bet that none of those folks would be sitting out there either if they honestly thought that an actual attack was imminent. Those folks are out there to get their pictures in the papers and they'd have disappeared faster than the townfolk in "High Noon", leaving the Marines to play the role of Gary Cooper alone if they thought that terrorists would really be showing up on the afternoon train. And they'd be stupid not to, truth be told. Ask yourself these questions before you fire off a reflex reply:

1. If there's a gunfight and I, as a citizen volunteer, get injured, who pays my medical bills?
The United States Government, insurer for the Marine Corps, certainly won't. And if you have medical insurance, they may well decide that you deliberately participating in armed combat takes you outside the scope of their coverage, same as if you use your personal car for business and it gets wrecked. Nuts to that. I've already lost one leg and I thank God every day that I didn't do it on my own time and on my own dime. Major medical bills don't automatically get paid just because you were trying to do something good when you got hurt.

2. If I shoot at a bad guy, and one of my bullets hits some kid playing a block away, who indemnifies me legally?
Again, it's not going to be the taxpayers under those circumstances. You might not get criminally charged--or you might--but you can almost bank on being sued. Is it worth your house and bank accounts? Again, personal liability insurance usually doesn't cover claims arising from deliberate acts on your part, and it doesn't get much more deliberate than you firing a weapon, especially if you put yourself in harms way on purpose first.

So for those reasons, I don't rush out to do battle on behalf of others, especially when they haven't even asked me to. But if I did--if they promised to cover me completely medically and legally and I did--I'd be going about it in a professional manner, which means dressing appropriately and having the appropriate gear. My M-60 in a strip mall parking lot? Probably not, as that's far from an optimum setting for such a weapon and I was trained to use the right tool for the job, not the biggest or the coolest one. But whatever I did deploy with, you can bet that I wouldn't be eager to be in the news with it. I'd prefer that any opposition not know where I am, what I look like, or what my capabilities are. Knowledge is power, and I have no desire to empower my enemies. But I can tell you that if I did deploy in such a situation, I'd do it right. I'd maintain my alertness and my ability to react quickly, and that doesn't mean kicking back in a folding chair, feet up on a cooler. The ones who do that are just begging to be the first victims, because action beats reaction every time, and when you see the poser next to you get shot in the head, it's too late to drop your soda pop and start reaching for your rifle propped up against the wall. Is the safety on? Is there a round in the chamber? And do you even know what you're doing with that weapon, or are you just a Christopher Reed waiting to happen?

At the end of the day, even though they may mean well, these guys and gals aren't helping the military or the image of normal law-abiding gun owners. There may well come a time when everyday Americans have to pick up their guns and fight but this isn't that fight and trotting your guns out for photo ops to make political points isn't a smart move, IMHO, and it doesn't accomplish anything positive.

PS: I still luv ya, Will. We'll probably just have to agree to disagree on this issue though. But feel free to chime back in, and that goes to any other readers with a civilly-expressed opinion as well.


  1. Your points are all valid but give those people credit for at least caring.

    1. I'll give them that. I just think that they are going about it wrong and that nothing good is going to come of such actions.

  2. I have to agree with Murphy. Yeah they're caring-but going about it the wrong way. And they are giving ammo to our enemies who want to disarm everyone. Just because you can doesn't mean you should sometimes.

  3. Sorry I have to agree with Murphy on this one too. I get that they are trying to "help" the situation, but why do they have to be so dramatic about it in such ridiculous get ups?
    Yes, you have the right to wear what you want and carry what you want, but there is a reason why our military looks a certain way. Part of your defense is your intimidating look....these people in the first photo, I would be more intimidated by the sleeping shepherd than these wannabes who got dressed up like it's Halloween. But, lets be honest, they wanted attention which is why they wore those outfits, and sure enough they got it. So well done to them for that.
    As far as the girl.....good that she is making it easy for the terrorists to see exactly where her femoral artery is so they can target her there. Brilliant job.

  4. I made this same statement (not as cogently or at length as you did) on a couple of other blogs. To wit: If I'm a Muslim terrorist on a mission to shoot up a recruiting station and I see three people standing guard, what do I do?
    I kill three more people. (And good luck to their families on collecting any insurance, for the reasons you mentioned.) As far as guarding covertly, in cars, etc., any semi-UC guards will be made by the most rudimentary target surveillance, and if anything happens, the guards will likely end up shooting TOWARD the building. So you have three choices: 1) Arm the recruiters. Not gonna happen in today's political climate. 2) Have someone secreted in the building whose only job is to shoot bad guys, a la the old NYPD Stakeout Squad. Not gonna happen; it's ungodly expensive and only effective if the shooter is inside or immediately outside the building. 3) Accept a certain amount of risk, just like all retail business do that expect people to walk in off the street.
    I said in one of my posts that recruiters have a greater risk than retail employees do, but the recruiters aren't making ten bucks an hour. I now think that's wrong and unfair. Fast-food employees and convenience-store clerks are murdered at a much higher rate than military recruiters are.

  5. I DO appreciate their efforts, just not their tactics. The fact they are there is indicative of the real problem. The brass needs to get their collective heads out of their asses and let the military staff and arm correctly.

    I also appreciate and agree with your analysis! :-)


  6. Well said, and there are people who stood up that WERE ready to go. There are always two sets (at least) that show up...

  7. I think they made their point regarding the insanity of recruiting stations being gun-free zones when our armed forces members can be killed with impunity. It certainly brought focus and attention to this insane policy.

    They then totally lost their point by dressing like idiots and being attention whores and thus living up to the negative stereotypes about gun owners. Then with some having negligent discharges it more than lost their point and actually and sadly helped prove the opposite point regarding the undesirability of the presence of untrained armed people hanging around as accidents waiting to happen. Nice job there folks, this kind of stupid representing us we don't need.

    In short, a nice, well-meaning, and patriotic plan that was pathetically lacking in efficient and effective execution.

  8. If I was to sit outside a recruiting station, knowing I'd be in the papers, I'd make sure a) I was clean b) shaved, c) dressed professionally, and d) armed in a manner that spoke of ability.

    These bozos showed none of the above.

    As for liability, well I play by big boy rules. That is I'm a big boy and if I risk my arse.. I risk my arse. But like I said, I would not look like some nitwit out there.

    1. "As for liability . . . I play by big boy rules. . . ." The Number One Big Boy Rule is, Take Care of Your Family. (At least, that's the way I was raised.) When your family has to declare bankruptcy because of your medical and legal bills, and they have no breadwinner because you're dead, crippled, or in prison for manslaughter, you might think about whether it was worth "risking your arse."

    2. Well heck man, from the first of this nation people have had to worry about that kind of stuff. So the folks at Coffeyville Kansas should have thought about that when the Dalton gang rode in?

      Here is a few modern day citizens who have stopped robberies.. without crying over liability.

      And there are many cases where armed citizens stopped mass murder shooters with their guns and didn't choke up cause they might get hurt or get sued.

      It's big boy rules. Some will be willing to play by them, some not.

    3. There is a difference between taking action when something happens right in front of you and deliberately putting yourself in a position of jeopardy. All these examples are of the first type, and are generally covered by self-defense laws. But by placing yourself in a position of jeopardy, you are giving up the mantle of innocence that covered the shooters in the examples you gave. In some states, putting yourself in a position of jeopardy makes you the aggressor and removes your presumption of innocence under the stand your ground laws.
      I was a LEO for 31 years. I don't "choke up" at the prospect of being hurt or sued. Like Murphy, I have been seriously and permanently injured in the line of duty (not nearly as badly as he was), and like him, I thank God that a grateful nation (you) paid all my medical bills. My family suffered enough because of my non-life-threatening, non-career-ending injuries, and all the things I couldn't and can't do with them due to chronic pain. I'm not going to jeopardize their well-being by injecting myself into someone else's fight, unless I have to.

  9. Their hearts were in the right place, but their tactics were a tad misplaced.

    As for the guy in the skirt -- at least he was wearing camo.

  10. Well, it's a kilt. And I wouldn't argue with the Ladies From Hell. That said, we are in an era of whack-job suicide attacks. Sitting casually in front of someplace you think might be attacked seems stupid. It's actually an invitation. As 1811 said, it's just more scalps for a terrorist. I'd be someplace conceled, and I sure wouldn't be there with my .22. I'd be borrowing something much bigger from you.

    As for the "knight"... Society For Creative Anachronism, I bet. And one of the ones who has a tenuous understanding of reality. Sorry, dude. No matter what noble tales are told warfare is dirty and nasty and not everybody fights with honour. And plate armor went out because of firearms.

    1. Sadest part about kilt-boy is that he's using his Molle vest to hold shotgun shells. That's not what those straps are for and it sends a pretty clear message to anyone checking him out that says that he doesn't know what he's doing. If you're going to wear gear, at least wear and use it right.

    2. The problem with being concealed and covert is that most of those places are in strip malls and there are few places where they can be covertly watched. And, those places are the same ones that are ideal for target surveillance. So there's always a good chance that while you're being all covert and watchful, Mr. Aloha Snackbar will walk up behind you on the way to scope out his target. Where does that put you?

    3. Oh yes, I get that. Which would be why it just doesn't work and I wouldn't actually do it. Marines got way more of the right training and it's their job.

    4. The "knight"---well, the caption says he was in New York. Since he doesn't look like a rich celebrity or a political contributor, he almost certainly doesn't have a carry permit, and can't carry any type of "offensive" weapon, not even OC spray. (Notice that he has arrows, but no bow.)

  11. If I was inclined to do so as the people above, I would simply carry concealed and wander about the strip mall. I think it is the difference between making a statement or actually doing something.

  12. Anonymous5:49 PM

    I agree with your assessment.
    They are a group of GI Joes and GI Jane want to be's.
    I love and support our military, but I am a crippled up old fart.
    I do not want a bullseye painted on me.

  13. There need be no worries about defiling my comments :) They often do that themselves just fine. I kind of wonder if it's a generational thing. Most of the people you see doing stupid shit with guns these days in public are pretty young. Maybe it's the "everybody's a winner" self-esteem generation crap we've taught the millennials. I don't know. Maybe it's just grade A attention whoring.

    It never would have occurred to me to cowboy up and go stand in front of a recruiting station and make myself an easy target unasked.