Following the mass shooting at a military reserve center in Chattanooga, Tennessee, armed volunteers are setting up outside military centers across the country, armed with weapons and ready to take down potential shooters (video below).
In the massacre last week, shooter Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez opened fire, killing four Marines and one Navy petty officer before being killed by police. In the aftermath of the attack, armed citizens have started an initiative to take matters into their own hands and protect military centers from potential attacks.
In Cleburne, Texas, Jerry Blakeney, a member of Operation Hero Guard, stood outside a recruiting station wearing a bulletproof vest and carrying an assault rifle. Joining him was Terry Jackson, another member of Operation Hero Guard, as well as several other members of the group, and their main goal was to stop prevent another tragedy.
“It was unacceptable for our soldiers, sailors, our men and women of the military to go over and serve and go into combat, and then to come back here to the homeland and be gunned down on their home duty stations,” Jackson said, reports The Forth Worth Star-Telegram. “They were going to work for their families and not coming home.”
Texas isn’t the only place where armed militias have decided to protect service men and women. Citizens have reportedly set up stations outside military recruitment centers in Tennessee, Ohio, Virginia, Alabama and Wisconsin, among others.
The efforts are not just to protect the centers. The passionate guards say they are also protesting the fact that weapons are banned inside military buildings like the one where the shooting took place in Chattanooga. The vigilantes all seem to agree that had military members been allowed to be armed, the massacre may not have happened, reports Daily Mail.
"Our main goal is to bring awareness that our recruiters are sitting out there like sitting ducks," Don Castle, a member of the Armed Patriots of America group in Kingsport, Tennessee, told the Johnson City Press.
Castle and seven other men stood guard at an Armed Forces Career Center on Tuesday.
"They can't protect themselves," he added.
In the aftermath of the shooting, state government officials have taken steps to protect these centers, with some states ordering the deployment of National Guardsmen at military facilities.
Photo credit: Daily Mail (AP), Star Telegram/Rober Cadwallader