by Dave Roberts
Owner of Tennessee Arms Company, LLC
Former Force Recon Marine Sgt, Security Contractor, Iraq/ Afghanistan 2004-2012
The oath you take when you first join the US military is unique in the world. You pledge to protect not an administration or even your superiors but the ideals and values outlined in the Constitution. The idea of pledging your life to protecting an ideal comes with the understanding that those ideals may or may not be tainted by the actions of the very government that we are employed by. This oath is one of the many checks and balances designed into our system to prevent our government from becoming authoritarian or repressive against it's citizens. The 2nd Amendment was likewise designed to be a final check against government overreach.
I opened this post with that statement in the hope of conveying my understanding of the implications in the point I am hoping to make. I fully understand the imposed limitations of our military and police force when operating inside of the United States borders and how the lines between civilian law enforcement and military action can become blurred. The news has become saturated with reports on ISIS militants and radicals and their desire to influence our political will through the use of terror. These attacks are a military action taken among the common citizens instead of the usual battlefield so the overlap here is regrettable but none the less reality.
The common everyday American is unaccustomed to the harsh brutality of war and this is being reflected in our response to this terrorism. Statistically speaking you are probably more likely to die of an insect sting than to be killed or wounded in a terrorist attack but the commonality of these attacks appears to be increasing. A measured response and bit of preparation is not only warranted but is simply logical. The military teaches that good security has as many layers as an onion with concentric rings of protection around your key assets. These assets in this instance are undoubtedly the safety and security of our families against having their heads removed with a rusty dull knife.
The method of these attacks are starting to develop into a repeating pattern. An individual or small group of fundamentalist Islamic males (mostly) attack a well populated venue usually located in a "gun-free" zone where the maximum amount of damage can be inflicted with the least risk of response. The recent California incident was in a government office (gun-free) in a militantly anti-gun state (California). The recent attacks in Paris France show they are a very soft target as they are almost completely gun free with even law enforcement being unarmed on occasion. The attacks on the Marine Corps recruiting office in Chattanooga Tn also were in a gun-free zone as all military bases and offices have been and continue to be gun-free zones.
The US based attacks all have one thing in common. The local police responded to the incident and their response times have been extremely fast. The time from the shooting incident in California until the police were on scene was less than 5 minutes. Most people cant leave their office and get a coffee in less than 5 minutes. I have spent a considerable amount of time in QRF (Quick Response Force) Teams and 5 minutes is just enough time to get everyone rounded up and maybe get the trucks started with your gear on. Realistically 5 minutes is unreal for a measured response to a well armed attack. I don't believe that their response could have been anything more than what they did and you realistically could not ask for better.
The perception of a 5 minute response time to those citizens involved in the attack was an eternity. Anyone who has been through an attack or a few dozen will tell you that they seem to last forever. My personal opinion of the police response in both scope and time is that we have reached the limit of what can be reasonably expected of them. The training and outfitting of our local police and sheriff dept needs to continue because time after time they have been the responding agency. The margin of time between the opening act and the arrival of the police, from 0-20 minutes, is clearly on the individual. The responding agency needs to be trained, equipped, and prepared to respond to an attack as I will most likely not be if I'm at Walmart with my kids. Unless they attack my gun factory I probably will only have a Glock with me and a spare magazine. I would really appreciate them showing up soon as my response will be limited at best even with my training and experience.
The potential of this to spiral out of control is clearly present as the attacks increase and our frustration with the failure to halt them increases we could easily see our individual rights and liberties erode. A militarized police force complete with armored vehicles and tactical gear conjures visions of Hitler's Brown Shirts and Russian Secret Police. I understand and agree with the dangers but realistically who else is going to respond to these incidents and what equipment is going to be needed. I believe that the current equipping of our officers to handle well-armed suicidal zealots is fairly reasonable when the alternative is watching them gun down our most vulnerable citizens. The local police force in your town are your local citizens. They attend your church and their kids go to school with your kids. They are as likely to screw up and over-react as anyone, but for the most part they are good people and want the same things you do. The next time these radicals take over a school or nursing home there is a good chance that the child or parent of one of the responding officers will be involved. I will take the danger of an occasional misstep by law-enforcement over the alternative any day.
The response to these attacks by our local police has been admirable and asking that they do something more than what they have done already is close to laughable. Do you really expect them to be everywhere at once or to follow you around like your own personal security guard. Take some initiative and be responsible for your own security. We are a country with unprecedented gun rights and most states have pretty liberal concealed carry policies. Use them and take a measure of responsibility for your own life. Realistically you should be able to take care of yourself for a few minutes until the police arrive. The reality is that these people are already here and the FBI is tracking about a thousand already with the potential of many more sleepers. We are under a limited scale invasion by people who have no issue killing random people to advance their ideology. Stop acting like they don't exist and the possibility of an attack doesn't exist either. The chances of you being involved in an attack personally are pretty remote but you lose nothing in the preparation. You are not sheep, you shouldn't need a shepard to keep watch over you. Act like the people who won two World Wars and the leaders of the free world. Get your face out of your smart phone and pay attention to what is happening around you and stop being so damn afraid of everything. Carry a gun and know how to use it or hang around people who do. If an attack happens and you are unarmed try to beat them to death with a fire extinguisher before they kill an innocent person.
Support your local law enforcement. They are your friends and neighbors, not your enemy.