Let me ask you a simple question. If you were going to a war zone, even if it was unlikely you would be at any real risk, would you prefer to be armed while there?
For me, I’d rather not risk it.
Hell, I’d rather have body armor, a full loadout, and a battalion of Marines with me, but that’s just me. I’d be more than happy to settle with a pistol.
Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer apparently agrees.
Equipped with a sidearm, Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer visited Marines and sailors at Camp Shorab, Afghanistan, to wish them a happy holiday season. (Sgt. Lucas Hopkins/Marine Corps) pic.twitter.com/X3TChTv0yz
— Marine Corps Times (@Marinetimes) December 28, 2017
Note the pistol on his leg.
Considering where he was, this seems somewhat prudent. I think we can all agree that the secretary of the Navy would be quite the catch for the Taliban, and Spencer would be unlikely to enjoy the experience, much less survive it.
But that doesn’t stop some supposed experts from not understand the move.
— Barbara Starr (@barbarastarrcnn) December 28, 2017
Barbara Starr is CNN’s Pentagon correspondent. You know, the person at CNN who you would think would be most likely to understand that people are still shooting at Americans over in Afghanistan?
Then again, this is CNN we’re talking about here, so I’m not that sure.
Starr wasn’t the only one who took issue with Spencer being armed. However, I’m left wondering how many of those would have been bent out of shape if Spencer had been appointed by a Democrat.
Of course, much of the kvetching about Spencer being armed is from people who also think you and I should probably be disarmed as well. They don’t think anyone not wearing certain uniforms (metaphorically) should have a pistol, as a general rule. Or a rifle. Or a shotgun. Or a slingshot. Or a blowgun. Or harsh language.
You get the point.
Here’s the thing, though. Spencer didn’t demand a firearm. It was offered.
Spencer was reportedly offered the pistol and ammunition from Marine commanders, according to a Navy spokesman cited in a San Diego Tribune report.
“He was offered the weapon to carry while he was traveling around [Afghanistan] and he accepted that offer,” the spokesman told The Tribune. “It was not something that he specifically requested and it was offered to everybody on the travel team.”
Senior military officials and VIPs are typically accompanied by an armed military personal-security detachment (PSD) or contractors for visits to combat zones. While it would not be out of the ordinary to see a uniformed senior military official carrying a pistol in a combat zone, as a civilian, some people viewed Spencer himself carrying a weapon as an unorthodox move.
It was offered to him for one simple reason. A bodyguard detail is only a handful of guys. If it gets to the point that the enemy is right there, they’ve already gotten through a bunch of good guys to get there. Do you really want to not have every trigger finger working at a time like that? Maybe it’s just me, but if I were there and offered a weapon, I’d take it.
It may be an unorthodox move, but it’s not a stupid one. The only dumb move would be to refuse a firearm when you’re going somewhere that people will want to cut your head off for publicity.