Small Wars Journal

We Can't Trust You

Sun, 10/07/2012 - 7:49pm

As Military Suicides Rise, Focus Is on Private Weapons by Jame Dao, New York Times.

With nearly half of all suicides in the military having been committed with privately owned firearms, the Pentagon and Congress are moving to establish policies intended to separate at-risk service members from their personal weapons.

The issue is a thorny one for the Pentagon, with gun-rights advocates and many service members fiercely opposing any policies that could be construed as limiting the private ownership of firearms...


Maybe I misread the article (I've spent most of the day trying to interpret Navy acronyms for AOMSW so my mind isn't FMC right now) but I did not see any reference to a "gun grab." A CDR asking a high risk Soldier if they own a gun and making an effort to educate family members about warning signs of suicidal people are not the same as taking a gun from a Soldier.

Let's use the analogy of drunk driving. In college, if your buddy had way too much to drink, you took his keys away and let him crash on the couch or called a cab. You recognized the warning signs and acted.

We can educate family members about the warning signs of suicide and then if they decide to hide the gun or the pills or call a counselor or whatever because they feel their Soldier is demonstrating those warning signs, that is their prerogative. I do not think it is the responsibility of the Chain of Command to intervene. However, it is the responsibility of the Chain of Command to make an effort to educate family members about the warning signs. A suicide can have a crushing effect on a unit's ability to function. If for no other reason than for the good of the unit and the accomplishment of the mission, we should strive to do what we can to prevent suicide without crossing the line and violating a Soldier's rights. I don't feel like that line would be crossed by the proposals being discussed in this article.


Mon, 10/08/2012 - 3:22am

In reply to by GHD

Unlike civilians troops have no recourse. There's no election for your CO. It's horrible that it's happening but the fact that officers are part of these initiatives just goes to show how much CYA has become more important than "support and defend the constitution".

As an officer I had an extraordinary amount of power. I was always very mindful of wielding it (searches, good order and discipline issues etc.). The way PC is enforced these days is a symptom of a much deeper problem.

I lost faith when the service refused to honor concealed carry which was especially dumb after 911. The troops are powerless.

Complete B/S!

The liberal agenda has destroyed the military with their LGBT inclusion, all the while military leaders stood by and saluted smartly (any doubt where their sexual pursuasion lays?), women are on their way into combat units (does anyone really believe that the standards will not be lowered?) and now these genuises want to violate the second ammendment of active duty personnel, barely disguising thier ultimate motive of gun grabbing by other means, since they have been soundly defeated by the NRA. Can't wait until they try to expand it to include veterans...

The military's collusion in this illegal gun grab will backfire on them in a big way. Once trust is violated it takes a very long time to eventually get it back, if ever. That goes for both former and active duty personnel.

Moreover, this may well be, or not, another attempt to push social reform experimentation via the Department of Defense whilst the eye is on a bigger picture. "At risk" is a very subjective term and I fear anyone with an association with the federal government making such a call. - Dave D.