The View From Olympus: The Pensacola Shootings

On December 6, a Saudi pilot trainee shot and killed three American sailors and wounded eight other people in a mass shooting at the Navy’s premier pilot training base in Pensacola, Florida.  That should no longer shock us. The spectacle of a Moslem killing innocent people in Europe or the U.S. has become, if not an everyday occurrence, one we see with depressing regularity. What is shocking, or should be, was the response, or lack thereof.  Why, on a military base, did people have to wait until sheriff’s deputies arrived to take out the shooter? If our military cannot defend itself, how can it hope to defend our country?

The reason was not a lack of courage on the part of our sailors.  One of those killed, Ensign Kaleb Watson, a recent Annapolis graduate, did what every man should do in an active shooter situation: he attacked the gunman, saving the lives of others in the process.  According to the December 9 New York Times, he had previously told his parents that if confronted with an active shooter, “I’m going in full force.”  He did exactly that. Airman Haithim, who also died, reportedly did the same.

But with all these military men around, why did no one just shoot the Moslem gunman?  Because, as the December 7 New York Times wrote, “Weapons are not allowed on the base other than for security personnel.”  In other words, we do not trust American sailors to carry guns.

The reason, I’m sure, is “safety”.  Well, war is dangerous. If you’re looking for safety, join the Salvation Army.  A case might be made that letting the most junior servicemen carry weapons on base could result in some of them shooting themselves in the foot (remember, their generation can’t stop their thumbs from moving, even if said thumb is on safety).  But why is it not routine for staff NCOs and officers to carry pistols? A sidearm, whether sword or pistol (even swords would be better for confronting a gunman than bare hands) are traditionally a sign of an officer’s or staff NCO’s authority.  So, for the latter, is a spontoon, a short spear. And yes, the guns should be loaded. As a Marine friend of mine said recently, “An unloaded gun is just a stick.”

What has led to the bizarre situation where our military has disarmed itself?  The answer is to be found in two broad phenomena, both of which undermine our ability to fight.  Because of the “up-or-out” promotion system, officers soon discover that the way to get ahead is to avoid making decisions or taking action.  The higher you go in rank, the greater the desire to avoid responsibility. I might call it Verantwortungsfeindlichkeit, hostility to taking responsibility. 

“Joy in taking responsibility,” was the single most important quality sought in officers in the old German army.  By consistently rewarding our officers for the opposite, we end up with senior military “leaders” who are really just managers and whose first instinct in a crisis is to hide under the bed.  Who among them is likely to reverse current policy and let our officers and staff NCOs carry loaded weapons? Not one.

The second reason we have disarmed our military is the womanization of our armed services.  The feminist script is always the same. First, demand women be allowed to join what, for good reasons, has traditionally been men’s fields of endeavor.  Then, demand those places be made comfortable for women. Well, women are genetically programmed to have safety as their highest value. So now we have to have a safe military where women don’t see nasty things like guns.  I mean, good heavens, a woman might get hurt! That a military full of women arms itself with feather-dusters should not surprise us.

With the exception of the sailors who fought the gunman, the Naval Air Base Pensacola’s response to an active shooter was little different from what we would expect from a convent.  They waited for the cops to come and rescue them. And we expect a military like that to defeat 4GW fighters who from age five had to scrounge and scrap every day in a dump for their dinner?

Interested in what Fourth Generation war in America might look like? Read Thomas Hobbes’ new future history, Victoria.

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