WATCH: Four Star General Destroys Fox News’ Claim That Arming Soldiers On Military Bases Would Prevent Shootings

4-Star General Debunks Idea That More Guns Would've Stopped Ft. Hood

Fox News spoke to a retired 4-star general about the idea that more guns on base at Ft. Hood would’ve stopped the shooting. His answer destroyed that.

Fox News invited retired four-star general Jack Keane to talk about the Ft. Hood shooting on their show, America’s News HQ, according to Media Matters for America. They may not have gotten what they wanted from him, though. Instead of saying, “Yes, absolutely, we need to make sure that all soldiers who want to be armed can be armed on post,” he said the following:

“I don’t believe our soldiers should be armed on the base. […] Can you imagine the first responders coming on a scene, and there’s people shooting all over the place, and they have to determine who is friend and who is foe? I think the potential for leading to more violence by arming everybody is rather significant.”

He went on to say that soldiers are not police, and aren’t trained in how to control and de-escalate a situation the way police are. Which is true. There’s no way to know how these soldiers would have reacted to Ivan Lopez shooting them. Ft. Hood is not a war zone, and Lopez was not an enemy combatant.

Tragedies like Ft. Hood might be considerably worse if everyone is armed.

He also makes a good point about possible shootouts. If someone walks onto a base and opens fire, that many people carrying their own guns could turn it into a shootout. Without knowing who’s whom in such a situation, those who come in later could potentially pull their guns out and start firing at the wrong people. That would just create more casualties. How much harder would the responding MP’s job have been if she’d arrived at a scene of chaos like that? How many more might have died?

The myth of shooters specifically targeting gun-free zones like Ft. Hood.

There is this growing myth about shooters targeting gun-free zones. After the Navy Yard shooting, conservatives started loudly claiming that if military bases weren’t gun-free zones, then the Navy Yard shooting wouldn’t have happened. That’s what the pundits on Fox & Friends are saying about Ft. Hood, too. They think there’s logic to that, but logic must stand up to facts and data, too. The truth is that some of the victims at the Navy Yard shooting were, in fact, armed personnel.

The woman who stopped Lopez at Ft. Hood was an MP; she was trained to handle those situations. There’s no way to gauge how quickly and effectively the soldiers who were shot at would have reacted, had they been armed, because they didn’t have that training. They were also probably caught by surprise.

Lax gun regulation does not lead to less gun violence.

There’s also data to support the idea that more guns do not lead to less violence. The Center for American Progress did a report on gun laws in all 50 states in 2013, which cites other studies and reports. It highlights a link between weak gun laws and high gun violence. They do note that correlation is not causation, which is true. But that’s a correlation that should not be ignored, especially in light of General Keane’s comments on Ft. Hood.

The idea that more guns are the answer to tragedies like Ft. Hood is absurd on its face, because it grossly oversimplifies a very complex problem. It also assumes that every shooter is in his right mind, and carefully evaluating things the way that “normal” people do, and that armed people will be able to respond calmly and appropriately. As General Keane pointed out, more guns on bases could lead to significantly more problems during a shooting. Will the right-wing gun nuts listen, though? Probably not.

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