As a veteran, I’m annoyed by those who use their veteran status to try and attack our sacred and constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. Many of these claiming that their military experience gives them perspective because they carried guns every day turn out to be people who were in the rear with the gear much of the time and are far from the operators they like to portray themselves as.
What they often do is skew their military service, not to claim anything that’s not true, but to imply they are far more intimate with warfare than they are.
That’s what it sure looks like in this anti-gun post by a woman named Becky Margiotta, who penned an anti-gun screed at a site called The Lily, which is owned by the Washington Post. Some of the things she said just don’t add up.
After high school, I set off for West Point, where shooting was no longer a hobby – it was a professional skill. While at West Point, I logged countless days on the range, learning to operate weapons that were new to me – like the M-16 rifle – and honing my skills. I remember learning that the 5.56 mm ammunition used in assault rifles is intentionally designed to slow down upon impact so that it can tumble through the victim’s organs and inflict maximum casualties.
Now, I’m going to cut her some slack on this, because I seem to recall being told this when I was in the military as well.
However, it’s also all bull. The ammunition wasn’t designed to do any such thing. It’s designed to kill the enemy. End of discussion. There are criticisms of the round that because of the spitzer bullet design, it will yaw in soft tissue, but that’s not mitigated by the bullet being larger necessarily. So, on point one, we have someone who swallowed what they were given wholesale with no desire to research it on their own.
Then they go on the internet to spout off about it.
But Margiotta continues.
Following graduation from West Point, I commanded two Special Operations companies – small forces structured to complete the most physically and politically challenging missions. Multiple times a year, year after year, we underwent recertification on the weapons that were most central to our mission. Going to the range was treated with the utmost of gravity and military discipline. There was no joking around on the range. Every single round of ammunition was accounted for every single time.
I left the Army after completing nine years of service. Right around that time, the shooting at Columbine High School happened. I was heartbroken and horrified to hear how the weapons I had trained to use so carefully – including weapons that don’t belong in civilian hands – had been used in a school to end the lives of 13 innocent children and educators.
Now, let’s keep in mind that Columbine was in 1999 and she was out of the Army by then. Also, women weren’t allowed in ground combat roles officially until after 2013. So what kind of “Special Operations companies” was she in charge of? What “physically and politically challenging missions” was she dealing with?
What we know is that she damn sure wasn’t with the Ranger Regiment or Special Forces by any stretch of the imagination. That wasn’t remotely possible during the time frame she describes.
Most likely possibility? She was in charge of Civil Affairs companies. Wikipedia describes the civil affairs mission as, “Civil Affairs soldiers are responsible for executing five core CA tasks, Civil Information Management, Foreign Humanitarian Assistance, Nation Assistance, Population and Resource Control, and Support to Civil Administration. Some subtasks to these core tasks include identifying non-governmental and international organizations operating in the battlespace, handling refugees, civilians on the battlefield, and determining protected targets such as schools, churches/temples/mosques, hospitals, etc.”
Now, this is an important mission. Also, civil affairs troops in a war zone can find themselves in some hairy situations.
But let’s not forget that Margiotta doesn’t say she was in civil affairs. She leaves it vague. Why?
Well, my guess is that she figures people will blow off “civil affairs,” but not “special operations.” To be fair, civil affairs are, to my understanding, a special operations unit. They’re just not what most people think of when they think of special operations, and I think Margiotta is banking on that to give herself some status to try and lend extra weight to her arguments.
Let’s not even get into the blatant bovine excrement she spreads when she talks about Columbine. She said, “I was heartbroken and horrified to hear how the weapons I had trained to use so carefully – including weapons that don’t belong in civilian hands – had been used in a school to end the lives of 13 innocent children and educators.”
After all, there wasn’t a single weapon used in Columbine that’s a typical part of the United States military’s arsenal. In other words, she’s either lying or she doesn’t know what she’s talking about.
Either way, between this and the other inconsistencies, there’s plenty of reason to ignore her opinions out of hand. After all, if she can’t be trusted to admit to her service being what it was, what else can’t she be trusted with?