The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

April 10, 2014

Your View: Questions worth asking

PARSONS, Kan. — On Nov. 5, 2009, a mass murder took place at Fort Hood in Texas. A U.S. Army major and psychiatrist killed 13 people and wounded at least 30 others.

It was the worst shooting to have ever taken place on an American military base. Almost five years later, on April 2, 2014, Fort Hood suffered another tragedy. A U.S. Army specialist and Iraq war veteran reportedly killed at least three people and wounded some 16 others.

Both of these events were indescribable horrors. No words can do justice to the pain and suffering experienced by the victims, the victims’ families and the many others affected.

As is typically the case, many of our politicians and news media have quickly moved (or diverted) our attention to why the shooter did such a horrific thing. Not that the reason why someone would commit such atrocities doesn’t matter — it certainly does. But there are other important questions that deserve equal press and national attention. For example: Why do so many of our politicians, news media and members of the public continue to debate only whether the shooter’s actions were the result of madness or ideology, and how and where he obtained his weapon?

Why does there seem to be no anger, outrage or even a question as to why our military personnel and civilians are as defenseless as sitting ducks on a pond or as helpless as our children while at school?

Maybe what is long past due is a serious review of a related 21-year-old Department of Defense policy. This policy was originally approved by President Bill Clinton upon taking office in 1993 and left in place by President George W. Bush and (so far) by President Barack Obama. The regulations reportedly create “gun-free zones” on some military bases and forbid military personnel from carrying their personal firearms. This policy removed the right of self-defense from our military men and women — the same people we put in harm’s way to protect us and others. We trust them to risk life and limb on our behalf but not to routinely carry a weapon on a military base? What a way to say, “Thank you for your service.”

We all want to be safe and do not fault the intentions of those sincerely trying to make us so. But another question worth asking is “Why do we continue to have so much difficulty accepting that gun-free zones, ‘no-concealed guns’ signs, traffic signs and no trespassing signs are only honored by those choosing to do so?”

William James Moore

Parsons, Kan.

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