After the April 2 Fort Hood shooting, debate was once again stirred on the issue of allowing soldiers to carry weapons on post.
A Fort Hood officer involved in the shooting took to Facebook five days after the shooting asking for the ability to carry a weapon as he does downrange.
“When the first shots rang out, my hand reached to my belt for something that wasn’t there. Something that could have put a stop to the bloodshed, could have made it merely an ‘ugly incident’ instead of the horrific massacre that I will surely remember as the darkest 20 minutes of my life,” wrote 1st Lt. Patrick Cook, 49th Transportation Battalion, 4th Sustainment Brigade. “Stripped of my God-given right to arm myself, the only defensive posture I had left was to lie prostrate on the ground, and wait to die.”
During a news conference Monday concerning the 2009 Fort Hood shooting, retired Sgt. Howard Ray, who helped the wounded Nov. 5 at the Soldier Readiness Processing Center, said he believes soldiers should have the right to be armed on post.
U.S. Rep. John Carter, R-Round Rock, who hosted the event, said while he’s a proponent of the Second Amendment, he’s not in the business of telling the Army how to do its business.
“I think the military has the right to determine the safety of their post and make that decision,” said Carter, who represents Fort Hood as well as most of Killeen.
Retired Lt. Col. Allen West, a former Florida congressman and current Fox News Channel contributor, also spoke at the press conference and agreed with Carter.
Issuing weapons as needed has been practiced on military installations in the past.
West recalled serving as a pay officer while a second lieutenant before the days of direct deposit. He and an armed soldier would distribute pay checks.
U.S. Rep. Bill Flores, R-Bryan, said Monday at the event the issue is not with arming soldiers on post, but with political correctness.
“I’d like the military to quit being politically correct and start protecting the civilians and soldiers on bases,” he said.
Rose L. Thayer is the military editor for the Killeen Daily Herald. She joined the paper in February 2011 as a health and military reporter. View her complete profile Here. You can contact Rose L. Thayer at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7463. Follow her on Twitter at KDHmilitary.