Friday, July 31, 2015

Standing Guard at the Recruiters

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.

7 comments:

Bob said...

I'm thinking that, if a potential attacker knows that armed personnel will be at a particular site - - even untrained civilian personnel - - he would be likely to choose an alternate target, much like some recent shooters did, choosing movie theaters with a "gun free zone" sign rather than one that was more permissive about guns. In that case the untrained civilian has done his job simply by his deterrant presence.

James said...

As an actual military force, of course these basically untrained volunteers are not and would not be effective. Their value is as a symbol of opposition to the political and military bureaucracy.

matism said...

Very well said, James. VERY well said.

And Bob nailed it as well.

ASM826 said...

Some of them, perhaps many of them, are veterans. The level of training would be all over the map, of course, but I wouldn't want to underestimate their effectiveness if things got loud.

Old NFO said...

I disagree in part. The folks by and large that stepped up first were veterans, many of them former Marines. So they are not untrained. Deterrence is a factor, especially for lone wolves. They want to succeed, not fail, so they wouldn't attempt an attack where arms are present. Gun free is what they want. Did we see every one that was standing guard? I doubt it. Just sayin... And it DID prompt DOD and Governors to actually take action rather than table a decision until after a 'study'...

Old 1811 said...

A recruiting station is really like a retail establishment: If you want people to walk in off the street, you have to accept certain risks.
Even the semi-UC tactics you describe would be made during the most rudimentary target surveillance. And if the guard engaged an attacker, he (the guard) would probably end up shooting TOWARD the building.
The best way would be to have a person secreted inside the building whose only job is to shoot bad guys, like the old NYPD Stakeout Squad or the LAPD Surveillance Detail. Of course, that will never happen. Politics aside, it's ungodly expensive (since it's open-ended) and only effective if the shooter enters the building or stands immediately outside

Paul Bonneau said...

I'd like to stand in front of recruiting stations and hand out material to convince idiot 18-year olds (such as myself over 40 years ago) not to join the military. Save a lot more lives that way...