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:
Or like this:
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?
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:
You want to see "shit hot"? These guys are "shit hot":
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.