One of the readers of this column, even before I began writing about the November 5th Fort Hood massacre the day after it occurred, is Sgt. Brian Singer, a U.S. army soldier currently deployed to Iraq, but whose home station is Fort Hood.

A few days after the Fort Hood shootings Sgt. Singer wrote a letter-to-the-editor to Stars and Stripes. An edited version of that letter was published in Stars and Stripes on Thursday, November 19th. You can read Sgt. Singer’s letter as published in Stars and Stripes here.

Sgt. Singer was kind enough to grant me permission to publish the full text of his letter as a guest column.

One sentence in particular was left out of the edited version published by Stars and Stripes, and this missing sentence — a question Sgt. Singer asks — highlights the contradiction between the propaganda we are fed regarding our military services and the stark reality.

Sgt. Singer asks in his letter, “Why is it that as military members we have to disarm ourselves every time we go to work?”

I don’t often succumb to the popular temptation to call our servicemen and women heroes, but in this case it’s indisputable. Publicly taking on an established policy held by your superiors in the chain of command while deployed — out of love for your fellow soldiers and their families — is nothing short of heroic.

–J. Neil Schulman

The tragic results of victim disarmament were made real to the military community with Thursday’s shooting at Fort Hood. If this were a moral and proper world, as soon as Maj. Nidal Hasan drew his weapon, every single person in the building would have had their front sights leveled on him. Fort Hood’s (and all other U.S. military installations’) immoral and unjust anti-self-defense policy effectively disarmed only the victims of this crime. How many more events like this is it going to take before DOD officials wake up and realize that victim disarmament costs lives? How many more events like this will have to take place before Congress amends the UCMJ to require all personnel, civilian and military, to be properly armed — meaning not simply carrying an unloaded weapon like we do over here — at all times while on US military installations?

In the State of Texas, and many other states throughout our great country, citizens from all walks of life voluntarily choose every day to be responsible for protecting their own lives and property by arming themselves. This is not just an act of responsibility; it is the ultimate expression of patriotism and good citizenship. Why is it that as military members we have to disarm ourselves every time we go to work?

Fort Hood is my home station. That’s where my wife and kids are. It further sickens me that when my wife needs to go on post in order to take care of some kind of business, whether it’s a doctor appointment, an FRG meeting or renewing the kids’ ID cards, she, too, has to surrender her fundamental human right to defend herself, by going unarmed. And the military tells us it cares about the welfare of our families.

It is incomprehensible to me that in the days of the Global War on Terrorism Stateside military installations have become the country’s largest Gun Free Zones — you can interpret this as playgrounds for criminals. We have unfortunately seen a variety of mass shootings in recent years, at schools, universities, houses of worship and other public gathering places. There are no steps to take, no rules to pass, to prevent the occasional sick, twisted mind from completely losing its grip on reality, driving a criminal to commit such a heinous act. Yet as citizens — as free Americans responsible for ourselves, our families, and our property — we have the ability to stop these kinds of crimes from happening. How many lives would have been saved on 9/11 if people weren’t stripped of their human right to self defense simply because they wanted to fly? How many lives would have been saved at Virginia Tech, Columbine High School, and now Fort Hood?

Those who continue to advocate policies that guarantee the criminal class has unfettered access to an endless supply of defenseless potential victims need to change their tune. Maj. Nidal Hasan bears sole responsibility for his crime. Lawmakers and DOD policy makers need to respond by ensuring that those of us who took the oath to defend the Constitution have the means available for us to live up to that oath. Modifying installation policies and the UCMJ to remove all restrictions on the carrying of firearms would be a small step in the right direction.

SGT Brian Singer
Camp Taji, Iraq

Note for November 24, 2009:

J. Neil Schulman thanks Dean Daily for his generous support of this column.

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