Since last week’s horrific shooting of five Marines in Chattanooga, Tennessee, militant Americans have taken it upon themselves to begin guarding military recruitment centers across the country. The soldiers who man recruitment centers are not armed, because they are usually placed in public areas such as malls or busy streets- but that hasn’t stopped people from taking it upon themselves to play soldier and show off their weapons.
The reasons why guns are prohibited in these centers was made clear on Tuesday in Lancaster, Ohio, where one such self-appointed guard was showing his weapon to a passerby- and nearly killed him when the gun accidentally went off, sending a bullet into the asphalt. He was carrying an AR-15 assault rifle, which has been confiscated by police until he appears in court. Christopher Reed, the accidental shooter, has been charged with a misdemeanor for discharging a firearm within city limits.
Reed had this to say: “I’m nobody special…I’m just a guy doing my job because my own government wouldn’t do it.” The Army is not pleased with the rush to guard their recruitment centers and the prospect of armed, uncleared civilians intimidating pedestrians: “I’m sure the citizens mean well, but we cannot assume this in every case and we do not want to advocate this behavior” stated the Army Command Operations Center-Security Division.
While it is a noble gesture in spirit, there are regulations in place regarding recruitment centers for a reason. While this story is amusing because there were no injuries, it could have very easily been another shooting tragedy that our nation doesn’t need.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.