Across the United States in the wake of the Chattanooga, Tenn., shootings where 5 U.S. Marines were murdered by Mohammod Abdulazeez armed civilians have been gathering around military recruiting stations to provide security and to show solidarity with their unarmed hometown soldiers who work at the recruiting stations. The shootings are being investigated as an act of terrorism.
The armed civilians have been a patriotic group wanting to show patriotism but also show that the American population is not going to lay down and let terrorists intimidate them and that they will protect soldiers since, ironically, and most say foolishly, soldiers are not allowed to carry firearms at recruiting stations.
From Stars And Stripes:
“I’m sure the citizens mean well, but we cannot assume this in every case and we do not want to advocate this behavior,” according to the Army Command Operations Center-Security Division letter, which was authenticated by the service.
Recruiters were ordered not to interact or acknowledge the armed civilians, who have been greeted by a mix of concern, indifference and gratitude by the public.
“If questioned by these alleged concerned citizens, be polite, professional and terminate the conversation immediately and report the incident to local law enforcement …,” the command advised.
As the incidents crop up around the country, police could be asked to confront the civilians with guns on the Army’s behalf.
“Ensure your recruiters clearly articulate to local police the civilian may be armed and in possession of a conceal/carry permit,” it told the centers.
The command said recruiters should also immediately fill out an Army security report.
Kelli Bland, a spokeswoman for Army Recruiting Command, said the service has been increasing vigilance following the Chattanooga shooting and that local residents can help in other ways.
“Local communities can support our security by reporting suspicious activity, particularly around recruiting centers,” Bland wrote in an email to Stars and Stripes.
Tell us in the comments below what you think about the Army’s attitude towards armed civilians.