I am not an acquaintance of the Marines killed yesterday but as a Marine veteran, their deaths are personal. There are memes that joke about the Marine Corps being a cult but what people can misunderstand is our feeling of Esprit de Corps. We pride ourselves on becoming Marines while other service branches offer more cash, rank, duty station or military occupational specialty options. I do not make these comments today to look down upon the sister service branches, but to reinforce to my audience, the title of ‘Marine’ is quite literally a selling point for recruiters.
Yesterday’s shooter took away the potential of my brothers. It doesn’t matter that I did not know my brothers personally; Marines are Marines. We protect each other, like we protect this nation. Calling yesterday’s shooting a misfortune is an understatement. It’s a complete disgrace. Establishing “weapons free zones” does not deter criminals from breaking the law. It reigns in the behavior of law-abiding citizens.
My husband and I encountered the same situation when he was on recruiting duty from 2009 to 2012. We both served overseas in different capacities and have previously discussed how ineffective it is to establish weapons free zones. His recruiting days were frustrating more than anything; my most common concern for his safety was the ridiculous long hours he worked and the substantial distance he’d drive. Nothing really scared me other than one bad car accident and him almost hitting a black bear while driving at night.
We have a friend right now who is on recruiting duty and I think of his wife and the stress yesterday’s shooting has on their young family. As Marines, we go through combat deployments and yet, sometimes the scariest place to be is in our own nation. Terrorism, currently manifested as the radial Islamic variety, is a serious problem. Unfortunately, it hurts the perception of Muslims who do not ascribe to such behaviors and it has devastating consequences at individual, local community, and societal levels.
I do not feel for the attacker who was killed yesterday by police. I feel for our deceased Marines who lost their futures and those wounded in yesterday’s attack, whose lives are forever changed. Putting one’s life on the life as first responders and as service members is not an easy choice to make. I feel for loved ones who received the worst news ever yesterday and for whom, there are only final goodbyes and memories to cherish. I feel for civilians who witnessed this display of violence, forever shattering their notion of a fairly easygoing lifestyle.
Ironically enough, my morning started yesterday with some comments to my work studies about personal safety and when I came home last night, I received this awful news. What I thought had been an awful day for me (an overwhelming amount of routine tasks) was nothing compared to this tragedy. My heart goes out to the families who lost their loved ones and to our Marine family, who lost some great war fighters.