Wednesday, July 22, 2015
By World's Editorial Writers
Posted: Wednesday, July 22, 2015 12:00 am | Updated: 1:47 am, Wed Jul 22, 2015.
In the wake of a terrorist attack on two military facilities in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Gov. Mary Fallin has authorized Oklahoma National Guard troops to be armed.
Four Marines and a sailor were killed in Chattanooga, the latest in a series of attacks on domestic military facilities by radicalized Muslim terrorists.
Fallin’s orders are sensible and appropriate, and the Pentagon ought to consider taking similar steps. It’s wrong to put our military personnel into danger without any means of self-defense.
It’s important to note that Fallin did not order guardsmen routinely armed. Rather, she authorized Oklahoma’s Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Robbie L. Asher, to arm full-time military personnel on military installations as he deems necessary to adequately provide for security.
That is a wise distinction: Leave the decision on which guardsmen to arm under what circumstances to the command structure of the Guard, which has a greater understanding of personnel and risks.
We know that Asher will have to consider many issues in following through on Fallin’s authorization. While members of the military are trained in the use of weapons, they might need additional training in how to use them in peacetime, civilian, domestic settings. Knowing how to shoot the gun is different than knowing when to shoot the gun.
Fallin’s choice is measured and appropriate. It allows the Guard to take prudent steps to defend its own personnel, but leaves final decisions to the people who know the situation.