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Arming soldiers on base is not good idea

April 11, 2014 at 5:05 p.m.
Updated April 10, 2014 at 11:11 p.m.


Editor, the Advocate:

I have seen several TV personalities, politicians, TV news personalities and others stating that military personnel should be allowed to carry personal weapons while on duty. This would allow them to protect themselves and others when someone runs amok.

This is dangerous - very dangerous. While in the U.S. Army, I served at Fort Chaffee, Ark.; Fort Dix, N.J.; Fort Devens, Mass.; Fort Hood; and Fort Leonardwood, Mo.; and I also served in three U.S. Army posts in Germany; Camp Kyle, Korea; and Sagami Depot, Japan. Also several places in Vietnam.

Rarely, very rarely, did a week go by without some brawl in the barracks resulting in injuries that required medical care. I remember one man was beat to death with an iron bar; another was stabbed to death with a bayonet. A female soldier was shot and killed by a boyfriend she was breaking up with. The soldier had brought the gun on the post illegally. Another man was stabbed while in the shower - a towel thrown over his face and he was stabbed in the back with a screwdriver. He lived, but he was discharged from the service for medical reasons. I don't know if the one who did this was caught.

Twice during my military service, I was assigned to units that had female soldiers. They got into fights just like the men did. A pointed fingernail file was used in some cases. Tearing up the clothing of the person they were mad at happened often.

When you have a large number of people living in close quarters from different nationalities, religious beliefs, political beliefs and personalities, there is always going to be conflict. Sometimes, this is going to flare out of control. Giving them a weapon that they can have at any time will only cause more trouble.

I will point out that none of the few cases I have mentioned suffered from PTSD and never served in combat or overseas. I do know of two cases of Vietnam veterans who committed suicide.

Sfc Michael K. Simmons, U.S. Army (retired), Victoria

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