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Letter: Shooting sprees must be handled with care

Like all Americans, I regret the recent shooting at Fort Hood, Texas. My best wishes for the families of those killed and to the survivors. Facebook and e-mails I’ve received suggest that all soldiers be allowed to carry weapons at all times. The premise being that this would be a deterrent to similar shootings on military bases.

In theory this sounds like a viable solution. Our military, with the exception of the military police, are not trained to respond to such actions. As a 20-year infantryman, I have had soldiers who were top notch, but when they were drinking or had too much, they were in no condition to react to emergency situations. Service members experience anger, family spats and all other trials and tribulations of mere humans. Units keep all military weapons under deep security and only issued when used for training or in a combat theaters when on combat operations, and even then, weapons are secured.

There is an old infantry adage: The rifle is a tool, the soldier the weapon. My wife served in Germany with the military police. She received extensive training in the use of weapons, tactics akin to civilian police and military action. We were trained to engage and destroy the enemy where the military police are trained to defuse the situation. There would be risk of panic in dealing with an assailant with a weapon and could result in chaos.

Once again, my thoughts are with the Fort Hood victims.

Michael D. Monfrooe