This article was published at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, August 5, 2015:
Lt. Cmdr. Timothy White knew exactly what he was doing. After 13 years in the Navy, being responsible for those under his command and knowing the increasing threat from jihadis who have increasingly targeted US military personnel and facilities, he decided it was more important to do what was right even if doing it might jeopardize his career.
That’s why he was carrying a personal firearm on duty as commander of the Naval service center in Chattanooga at 10:30am on Thursday, July 16, when jihadi terrorist Muhammad Abdulazeez (referred to from here on either as the “attacker” or as “MA”) rammed his rented silver Mustang through the gates and starting shooting.
White saw him coming, pulled his firearm, and returned fire. The autopsy report to be released shortly will show whether or not any of his rounds hit MA. But one thing is certain: White was not alone in carrying illegally in response to such a potential threat. Following the attack, two handguns were retrieved from the scene, one of them claimed by White, and the other presumed to belong to a Marine who also was violating federal rules, and who also, it is presumed, attempted to return fire before being killed by the attacker.
For his efforts White is going to be charged with two violations by the Navy: carrying illegally and discharging his firearm while on federal property. When Allen West, the incendiary former Congressman from Florida, learned that charges were forthcoming, he vented violently:
Ladies and gents, resulting from the text message I received yesterday, I can confirm that the United States Navy is bringing charges against Lt. Cmdr. Timothy White for illegally discharging a firearm on federal property….
What kind of freaking idiots are in charge of our Armed Forces – pardon me, our “unArmed Forces”? What would they prefer that Abdulazeez had been able to kill all the Marines and Sailors at the Naval Support Reserve Center?…
Folks, this has become the Obama military that will not implement policies for our men and women in uniform to be protected – but will punish them if they do protect themselves. What ever happened to the Navy of John Paul Jones, Farragut, Halsey, and Nimitz? What has happened in our America where we believe that our men and women in uniform – especially the commanders – are just targets for these damn Islamic jihadists?
Can you imagine the message this sends to ISIS and all the enemies of America? We are going to end his career and court-martial a man who drew his sidearm to protect his command, and the assigned Sailors and Marines!
No, Mr. West, “We” wouldn’t be doing anything of the sort. Already there is a petition circulating proposing that the president award this hero a medal! It will go nowhere, of course, but “we” would honor him, not excoriate him.
Another observer, much more modest in his commentary, raised the same issue: Why does the military service continue to support a policy adopted back when Bill Clinton was president that didn’t make sense then and makes even less sense now? Wrote J.E. Dyer, a retired Naval Intelligence officer who blogs frequently at Liberty Unyielding:
I’m all for good order and discipline myself, and Lt. Cmdr. White was apparently carrying a personal firearm on a federal compound, in violation of military regulations, at the time of the attack. He discharged it too, and that’s a separate violation.
You just don’t overlook the infractions here.
But this is a much bigger issue than the violation of a peacetime regulation … it may be “by the book” to charge Timothy White and make an example of him … but … America’s sailors and Marines are due better….
Indeed, it’s been an issue since at least November, 2009 when jihadist Major Nidal Malik Hasan mowed down more than 40 soldiers at Fort Hood while shouting “Allahu Akbar!,” succeeding only because those soldiers trained in the art of war were unable to defend themselves.
Faced with a court martial, White likely will be convicted, perhaps spend some time in a military prison, then be dishonorably discharged, taking with him a dreadful entry on his resume that employers in the private sector are likely to shun as he looks for other work. He has a wife and six children, with one on the way. But he’ll be fine thanks to the support of friends like Michael Seewald who told the Knoxville Free Press:
What he did there was a very brave thing. It would be so easy for somebody to just try to get away and escape, but he tried to defend the people there. I’m not sure that was in the protocol for what they were supposed to be doing, but I think he felt he had a responsibility to protect his people.
In other words, White did the right thing, relieving himself of a lifetime of regret over not having done it when he could have and should have.
He also has an amazing wife, Francis, who told the media: “He values human life enough to protect his sailors and others. I am honored to be his wife and stand by him 100 percent.”
So Timothy White will be just fine.
Already, things are beginning to change. On July 29, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter issued a memo “clarifying” that unit commanders can arm qualified troops at recruiting centers and other off-base sites.
Navy Captain Jeff Davis, a spokesman for Carter, said the memo directs commanders to address three separate areas of concern: personal security, which “includes the option of arming additional personnel,” physical security of the installations themselves, and installing and using a “mass-warning notification systems” to warn of an impending attack.
Carter said in his memo:
The tragic shooting on July 16 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, illustrates the continuing threat to DOD personnel in the U.S. homeland, particularly by Homegrown Violent Extremists.
The incident and the ongoing threat underscore the need for DOD to review its force protection and security policies, programs, and procedures, particularly for off-installation DOD facilities.
What this memo does is confirm that Carter knew about the increasing risk of attacks by terrorists – despite his unwillingness to call them by their proper name – and has, until now, stalled and diddled and delayed until the decision was thrust upon him.
At issue here is ideology versus common sense. White may pay the price for his decision to carry, knowing in advance the consequences, but soldiers in every US military facility will soon be able to arm themselves, giving potential jihadis every opportunity to consider important existential questions as they seek to wage war on the US in their search for martyrdom.
TimesFreePress.com: Navy officer confirms he shot at Abdulazeez with his personal weapon
LiberetyUnyielding.com: Policy FAIL: Navy brings charges against officer who fired back at Chattanooga terrorist
Allen West: Navy to prosecute Chattanooga hero