The 21-year-old Fort Worth native (Pfc. Marquest Smith) quickly grabbed the civilian worker who'd been helping with his paperwork and forced her under the desk. He lay low for several minutes, waiting for the shooter to run out of ammunition and wishing he, too, had a gun.Why didn't this brave young man have a gun? He was unarmed because the DoD does not allow anyone without a specific reason to carry a weapon to be armed. All weapons (except personal weapons registered and kept in base housing) must be secured in the post armory. Usually, this means that only Military Police or civilian security forces (like the heroic Kimberly Munley, who shot and stopped the domestic Islamic terrorist) are armed on a base. I served 5 1/2 years in the Air Force, and the only time I was allowed to carry a gun was on the few occasions I was taking weapons training. You could bring a personal weapon on base to shoot at the firing range, but it had to be registered with the SPs, unloaded, locked and stored separately from ammunition, and you had to have a qualified range master on hand if you were using it.
So why did we have so many victims in a building full of highly trained, proficient, experienced warriors, with only a lone gunman with two handguns? They were not allowed to carry the tools to defend themselves. The shooting went on for four minutes after the 911 call was made. What difference would it have made if Pfc. Smith and his courageous compatriots had been carrying sidearms? How many seconds would the terrorist have lasted if they had weapons at the ready? Would the coward Hasan have even tried?
Update, 7 Nov 09:
Several commentators have picked up on this theme, including Gun Rights Examiners Daniel White, Howard Nemerov and Kurt Hoffman. They write with far deeper analysis than mine and arrive at the same conclusions.
Another quote, this time from cnsnews.com:
"I was confused and just shocked," said Spc. Jerry Richard, 27, who works at the center but was not on duty during the shooting. "Overseas you are ready for it. But here you can't even defend yourself."