After the terror attack on the military recruiting station in Chattanooga last week there was a spontaneous response, people started showing up and standing guard in front of recruiting stations.
There's a number of different ways to think about this. None of them (to me) make it seem like a good idea.
First, it's unsustainable. Just like the overreaction of the government at the airports after 9/11, every defensive action comes with an ongoing cost. It's one thing for one guy to go stand out for an hour or two. Setting up a guard schedule for every recruiting station in the U.S. during hours of operation? Not going to happen.
Second, if one of them did engage, what does the aftermath look like for them? Even if they stop a shooting in progress, what sort of legal implications do they face?
Third, if you did want to provide security, standing on the sidewalk in front of a recruiting station is not the way to do it. All that does is make you the first target. If you wanted to go stand watch on a recruiting station (or anywhere else), a concealed weapon and some undercover tactics would be more effective. Dress like everyone else, move around, sit in your car and read the newspaper, walk along the sidewalks, ride a bike. Hell, practice your skateboarding.