Citizens Defending Recruiting Stations & Rifle Open Carry

I’ve seen a lot of discussion about people stepping up to defend military recruiting stations in the wake of the Chattanooga attack, and putting it in the same class as rifle OC. We’ve certainly seen our share of derp associated with some of these folks, but conceptually, I have a difficult time putting this in the same class as people carrying long guns into Target. I think the reason is because context matters. After an attack on a recruiting station, I think people can put two and two together and understand what’s going on. There is context for ordinary people to put this in that doesn’t make it as strange or threatening. I think we could certainly do without the¬†derperators, but I don’t really see a problem conceptually with citizens stepping up responsibly, to do an important ¬†job our government won’t. No one can top this guy, though.


26 Responses to “Citizens Defending Recruiting Stations & Rifle Open Carry”

  1. Alpheus says:

    I really liked the discussion of this on the Gun Blog Variety Cast about this. Sean quoted a German he knew, who said “War is chaos. Americans are chaotic, which is why they are so good at war.”

    Sean and Adam are right: this probably wouldn’t happen in any other country. Well, maybe Australia, but that’s about it…

  2. Murphy's Law says:

    I agree. While the intent is usually good here, image and appearance matter. That’s why our military had a dress code and grooming standards, and that’s why they look impressive and intimidating. So when a bunch of people show up to “help” and many of them look like hot messes in American flag pajamas, kilts, and other attire that they would normally not wear to work or church, it makes a joke of the whole thing. I’ll lay you any money that most of these posers who show up with guns (and lawn chairs, because why stand a post when you can just relax and sit at one? I mean, there’s no real danger or cause for alertness, right?) have never served and never will, and frankly, our men and women who have and do deserve better. This is clearly a joke and/or a game to the ones sitting around in their lawn chairs and it’s not accomplishing anything good on any level.

  3. Ian Argent says:

    Wonder how many of them are registered voters? Because their representatives are wondering that, too. It takes a lot less effort to vote than to come out and play neighborhood watch. Not as much fun, though…

  4. Who has all day to sit around in front of a recruiting station? Don’t these guys have jobs or something?

  5. Eggo says:

    Welp, that’s my cringe gauge filled for the day. What a PR nightmare…

  6. RAH says:

    Those that are standing in 90 + heat with high humidity it is not joke. Why should they stand all day. They can watch and guard from sitting down. I would venture that despite the uncomformist way they dress that any jihadist will go elsewhere than take the risk . I would expect if someone drove by shooting there would be return fire.

    • Murphy's Law says:

      Do our real warriors in Afghanistan or Irag sit in lawn chairs because it’s hot? Did our Vietnam vets pull guard duty from hammocks? Maybe you should visit the recruiters there, RAH. Sign on the line and serve a tour, then get back to us on how guard duty really works. A poser in a lawn chair is so far behind the curve that he or sh is only going to be casualty #1 in the event of an actual attack. Defensive value: none.

      • Sebastian says:

        This will probably get me in hot water for speaking so bluntly, given how butthurt everyone can get about these things, but in the picture I chose to highlight this post was meant to be an example of the derp. If I were standing out there in front of a recruiting station, I’d be trying to put myself in the mindset of an attacker, and here’s what I’d be thinking, as an attacker:

        • I have the element of surprise, but I have to choose my targets wisely.
        • It’s a real struggle between the girl and kilt man, as to who is the bigger potential threat and who you’d want to take out first.
        • If as an attacker, I’m unarmored, I’d be wary of taking on someone who knows how to employ a shotgun effectively and who is in a position to immediately start moving to cover. But will he move to cover or will he fold like a cheap deck of cards once someone starts shooting in his direction? Maybe kilt man has been more interested in thinking about how to get attention than how to avoid getting shot.
        • The girl on the other hand looks young and reasonably fit, and could be out of that chair quickly, run to cover and start returning fire at me. Take her out first and then quickly move to kilt man with the shotgun? Or take out kilt man first, and move to her before she can really get out of the chair? Can I follow up that quickly on another target?
        • The old man and the guy in the hover round aren’t much of a concern to me. Neither will get in the fight quickly, and the old man has a pistol at best. The dog will be dead before it ever closes the distance, even if it tries, which it probably wont.
        • OK, take out kilt man before he can bring that shotgun into play? Then the girl, before she can move out of the chair? OK, Yeah. The old man next and then hoveround guy. The old man will be slow to move, but the hoveround guy is probably not getting anywhere quickly either. I’m not really worried about the dog.

        The first thing I should say is that not every mass shooter enters the situation prepared to deal with possible armed resistance. To be honest, if I were an attacker, I’d probably move on to a softer recruiting station. Maybe kilt man is a by-the-day attention whore, but who is better with a shotgun than I think and will do all the right things under fire, and maybe that old man isn’t fast out of his chair, but is a crack shot with a pistol, and maybe I’m not really all that confident in my abilities. Their mere presence introduces a whole new dynamic I wouldn’t want to consider if I can just move on to a softer target.

        But thinking as a defender, I don’t want to be conspicuous. I don’t even want to be out in front of the recruiting station. If I am to sit, I’d rather be in a car with a clear vantage point to see an attack unfold. Or if the attacker got the better position to at least retreat quickly by car, and either find a better position to engage, use the car as a weapon, or to notify the police. I do think there’s deterrence value to a visible presence, otherwise it would never make sense for police to do it, but that presence should look serious, and it should have a less conspicuous backup plan. That presence should also understand, that to some degree, they are cannon fodder; the people who will be shot at first, while the surprise element has time to come into play.

        But that’s what you would be thinking through if you’re serious. How serious are a lot of these people?

        • aerodawg says:

          And the problem with being “inconspicuous” by sitting in the car watching all day is that immediately tags you as someone intelligence gathering under current security guidelines because in person intelligence gathering of that nature is what terrorists are known to do. End result is limited resources are expended investigating who you are and what you’re doing.

          It’s really a no win situation, which is part of the reason it’s not a good idea in general….

          • Sebastian says:

            I lean more toward it not being a good idea, but understand why people feel they need to do it. I think the real solution is allowing soldiers who qualify on pistol, or who have civilian licenses to carry, to be able to carry a side arm.

  7. Roger Wilson says:

    I don’t have a recruiting station near me. I had one about 25 miles away but they shut it down. If did decide to protect a recruiting station I would be a good deal less obvious about it.

  8. Jeremiah Hansen says:

    I get the lack of order and discipline being cringe worthy. But the failing isn’t theirs, necessarily. It’s ours and our respective States. The militia, meaning arms-bearing citizens, are supposed to be trained and disciplined. When was the last time any State did that? The Federal Government has long since abdicated the obligation to set forth training guidelines and resources to do so.

    I agree its embarrassing, but if you are just poking at them without trying to teach, you aren’t helping either. We need to start coming up with our own guidelines and promulgating them. This isn’t to “prepare for war” but to keep good order and good appearance. If they aren’t trained, as it is clear many aren’t, then someone needs to do so. Telling them to enlist to learn “how its done” smacks of pompousness and not discipline. Poking fun at “posers” is sometimes justified, but these are people trying to do what the government will not. They are the people you want on your side because they are willing to do, not just sit and watch.

    For references on the requirement to train, check US Constitution Article 1, Section 8 and additional info at Federalist Papers 28 and 29.

    • Sebastian says:

      And how many people have you personally introduced to shooting and trained? You make a lot of assumptions.

      • Jeremiah Hansen says:

        Introduced, at least 7 women, including my wife, whom I trained, and my mother-in-law who now has a concealed carry permit (and who’s first interaction with a gun was carrying it to me like it was a viper). I am also training my six children as age appropriate and will continue to support others learning as I am able. I am hoping to take the necessary courses to become a certified trainer. Training for me involves distinction of targets and approaches to deal with them, including lack of using arms if possible. It also includes thinking through and explaining what to do in a larger context. This is also taught as appropriate.

        As such, its terrible form to throw derogatory remarks at otherwise well meaning but untrained people. It shows very poorly on the commenter as much as the undisciplined “rabble.” What is needed is less firearms training as discipline and decorum. This is not muzzle discipline, but proper understanding of position, cross-fire, and relations with the public.

        To return the question, how many have you personally trained in decorum and discipline?

        You likewise make a bunch of assumptions on what I am saying without comprehending what I said. You can call them “derps” and “posers” all you want. I will do no such thing as it reflects poorly on myself and the community at large. Either we build up each other and help bring everyone to a higher level, or we will be a slowly dying community. I choose the former. Given what I have seen on this blog, I think you do to. I just don’t understand the derogatory remarks for the untrained and ill-informed as they only alienate potential allies. Where are our veterans? From these comments, it appears guffawing at the “posers” instead of defending the Constitution and our freedoms by helping. I know that isn’t representative of all veterans. It just reflects poorly on those who comment here.

        • Sebastian says:

          i’m probably about on par with you; a few dozen people. Bitter is a certified instructor, and probably had another two dozen more. That’s not counting family. You make a good point, but I don’t see an issue with calling out derp when I see it. Derp gets people killed.

          I never used the term poser.

    • Murphy's Law says:

      The states and the federal government do train citizens. It’s called “enlist in the military or join the national guard.” If you are going to bear arms on behalf of the state or the country, you do so under their chain of command within their framework. It’s not that hard or burdensome, except to the wanna-be Walter Mitty types who just want to pose with a gun for twenty minutes then go home and watch TV. But if you’re willing to make the commitment, you’ll get trained and utilized.

      • Alpheus says:

        Neither the military nor the national guard are the “well-regulated militia” described in the Second Amendment. At the time that Amendment was approved, militias were called for muster on by communities on a regular basis for training. Indeed, Congress itself has defined the militia as 16-to-45-year-old males able to bear arms. (Well, maybe it’s 18-year-olds…it’s been a while since I’ve looked at the law itself…)

        I would propose, however, that it is the failing of our communities, and not of Congress, that our militias are untrained, but it’s a failure nonetheless.

        For what it’s worth, the NRA was founded precisely because of this failing, and they have been doing their part to try to increase training for the militia.

        (Incidentally, I am physically unable to join the military or the national guard, due to tendon defects, but I would have no problem carrying a rifle for defense of community as a part of a militia.)

        • Murphy's Law says:

          Hi. Reality calling. Local militias comprised of “every white male of age” was one of those ideas that made sense in the 1700’s but it failed repeatedly during the Revolutionary War and that’s why it was replaced with a standing military made up of paid troops serving under fixed terms of enlistment and state/federal control. It went the way of Quartering troops in private homes and Impressment of sailors to fill out naval crews. Let’s grow up now and stop trying to pretend that we haven’t evolved past the days of tri-cornered hats, muskets, and writing on parchment with a quill dipped in ink. Otherwise, applying your argument, women should still not be able to vote and blacks should still be considered chattel.

          • Sebastian says:

            The history isn’t that simple. The United States did not have much in the way of a standing army through most of its history. During times of peace, the federal army were usually a very small force, if it really existed at all. The controlling act was the Militia Act of 1792. That was standing law until the Militia Act of 1903, which still defines as all males capable of bearing arms as being part of the “reserve militia.” Prior to 1903, the federal government depended on volunteer units. The first direct federal draft didn’t happen until the civil war, and the Union Army was disbanded after the war was over. The United States did not maintain large numbers of troops again until the National Army was created to fight World War I. That army was disbanded in 1920, and we hardly had an army in the interwar period. The current army was created to fight WWII, but was never disbanded, and has maintained large numbers of troops. This is unusual in our history to maintain a peacetime standing army of this size.

            With the 1903 act, Congress chose not to train or discipline the reserve militia per its powers under the Constitution, though it can call those individuals to federal service (the draft). The 1903 Act is what established the National Guard, who are disciplined and trained by Congress. There have been some amendments to the Militia Act of 1903, but it is still the system we currently operate under. The biggest change was probably the 1933 amendments of the National Guard Mobilization Act which established dual state and federal control over the Guard. Today National Guard members are both members of their state militia, and members of the federal Army’s reserve force.

            • Sebastian says:

              I should also have mentioned that quite often those volunteer units raised under the 1792 Act were often whole militia units that volunteered for the federal army en masse. The militia system was very much a part of our national defense strategy pretty much up until the First World War.

          • Alpheus says:

            First of all, I am unaware of any law that restricts the militia to white males. Secondly, we train citizens to be ready in case of disaster (CERT); why would it be so unreasonable to train citizens to be prepared for the loss of police in a time of disaster or anarchy?

            And to imply that supporting militias is the equivalent of supporting chattel slavery and voting disenfranchisement is silly, to say the least. Some of the first NRA chapters were created by blacks after the Civil War who realized that the States weren’t going to protect them, so they needed to take steps to protect themselves. If anything, the Southern efforts to disarm blacks as a part of Jim Crow are just as illustrative as to why we need militias, as anything else.

            (As to the issue of the militia system failing in the Revolutionary War, besides what Sebastian already said, I would add that Clayton Cramer addressed that claim in “Armed America”, which refuted the claim by Bellesailes in “Arming America” that the militia system failed…)

            • Murphy's Law says:

              To the “white males only” bit, that was the state of Colonial America back when these militias that you refer to existed. And while they were empowered by law back then, the laws have changed along with society. Obviously if you don’t want to recognize the change, you’re advocating that we put everything back the way that it used to be, right? You can’t have it both ways. Either we’ve changed as a society or we have not and should not. So which is it?

              As to “training citizens for the loss of police in the event of anarchy…”, that’s just silly. Just like I tell the wanna-be military types, if you want to be the police, apply for the job or join a police reserve somewhere. Like being a soldier today, being the police is complicated and involves more than just swaggering around with a gun and telling people to respect your authority. And both of these roles require the consent of and the mandate from the community, and today’s citizen militia groups don’t have that. I for sure don’t want a dozen guys down the street to unilaterally decide that they are the law in my neighborhood come bad times. That’s why we have police and a military under civil control, and they aren’t going to just go away one day. The CERT concept is citizens HELPING professional responders WHEN ASKED and UNDER THE DIRECTION OF civil authorities. That’s a lot different then Jim-Bob and Earl and Cletus jumping in a pick-up truck and declaring themselves interim law enforcement on their own. The first of these is great and all who participate deserve commendation, but the second…Nope. You want to help in a crisis, you can show up and fill sand bags or prepare meals like the other volunteers and leave the policing and fire-fighting to the trained professionals and/or volunteers that were serious enough to plug into the system and train together before things got bad.

      • Will says:

        Get real. You want people to join a force that is FORBIDDEN to carry arms except on a declared BATTLEFIELD. Even there, once you roll back behind the wire, you get disarmed. What the hell do you think this whole mess is about!!!???

        ML, normally you’re pretty sharp, but forays into belittling people who aren’t exactly like you tends to turn people off. So what if they aren’t dressed to your satisfaction? You don’t know anything about them.
        Sure, I’d like them to look a bit more professional. Well, a lot. It occurred to me there may be a good reason for them to have dressed like they did, however. They may have decided on that “style” to keep things relaxed and comfortable for the people that would deal with them during the day. Some, or all of them, may be a shit-hot tactical team, but dressed like that would tend to keep that thought from most people looking at them. Perception counts for a lot. You’re making a judgement on a photo. In this case, I think you lack enough data.

        Again, were you down at a local center with your m-60 and dressed to kill? If not, why not?

  9. Bram says:

    The Knights Templar guy is awesome. I assume he has a bow to go with those arrows.

  10. Murphy's Law says:

    With credit (and apologies) to Sebastian and Bitter, I’m pulling my part of this discussion over to my blog for further comment so as not to monopolize their space. All are welcome to pop over and have at me and all (civil) input is appreciated.