Army reviews troop use after fatal Ala. shootings


festus

God Bless Our Troops!!!
The Army said Wednesday it opened an inquiry into whether federal laws were broken when nearly two dozen soldiers were sent to a south Alabama town after 11 people died in a shooting spree last week.

State officials said the deployment of 22 military police officers and the provost marshal from Fort Rucker was requested neither by Republican Gov. Bob Riley nor the White House, which typically is required by law for soldiers to operate on U.S. soil.

Col. Michael J. Negard of the Army Training and Doctrine Command at Fort Monroe, Va., said officials are trying to determine who ordered the soldiers to Samson, who requested them, why they were sent and what they did there.

"In addition to determining the facts, this inquiry will also consider whether law, regulation and policy were followed," he said. He declined further comment.

Former Samson resident Michael McLendon, 28, fatally shot nine victims in the town and killed a 10th in a neighboring county. The March 10 spree ended when McLendon killed himself, and the soldiers arrived in the hours after.

Investigators said McLendon was despondent over his inability to hold a job and his failure to become a Marine or a police officer.

Riley isn't concerned whether the military overstepped its bounds, said Press Secretary Jeff Emerson.

"From what I understand it was a few folks who came to direct traffic or help where they could," Emerson said. "If it had been more than what it was there might be a reason for concern, but these folks just came to see if they could help and left."

The White House press office did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

Reporters and curious citizens poured in after the slayings, overwhelming the town of 2,000 near the Florida state line. Samson is about 35 miles from Fort Rucker, the Army's main helicopter training base.

Samson's tiny police force and county officers were stretched to the limit after the shootings, which left investigators with at least seven different crime scenes to check for evidence.

Samson Mayor Clay King said he did not know why the soldiers showed up in town, but he was glad they did.

"The only function they did was directing traffic. They took drinks and snacks to other people working crime scenes," King said. "I'm proud they were here."

Residents said soldiers from Fort Rucker, a major employer in southeastern Alabama, have a reputation for helping nearby communities in emergencies.

According to a summary by the Congressional Research Service, federal law generally prohibits the armed forces from being used as domestic police. Exceptions include emergencies, when troops can help civilians but don't directly act as police.

The chairman of the Libertarian Party of Alabama, Stephen Gordon, said while many are worried about the use of Army troops in civilian police roles, he doubts there was anything nefarious about the soldiers in Samson.

"There is no apparent harm here, but the principle still needs to be upheld," Gordon said. "The barrier has been lowered for the next time, and we really need to take a look at what happened."

Source: The Associated Press
 

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HK4U

New member
So they are slowly setting the stage for future use of the military in our streets. What ever happened to posse comitatus? If any help was really needed should not it have been done by calling up the National Guard?
 
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thedoc96

Guest
National Guard? Maybe. But what this looks like was just some well meaning 1SG rallying a few joes to help out in the community that supports their post. I didnt see anywhere about them carrying weapons or attempting to wield law enforcement authority. As much as the whole doomsday scenario involving a strong centralized government using the military to cow its citizens into submission worries me, I dont think this was even a precursor to that. When I was stationed at Fort Campbell we often volunteered at local events and participated with civic organizations. If we directed traffic for an event did that qualify as military intervention in civilian affairs?
Keep in mind too, our military is made up generally of God fearing, mom and apple pie defending Americans. How many do you think would stand next to their American communities against an oppressive government? Personally I know quite a few whose moral compass would preclude them from taking up arms against the American people if directed to do so by an oppressive government.
 

festus

God Bless Our Troops!!!
Unless there was a military parade...

These guys had no business whatsoever IN UNIFORM policing the streets PERIOD!
If they were volunteers in civvies just helping put, that is one thing. If the Govenor called up the state Natl. Guard, That is another. Even directing traffic is illegal (it is a police function). National security was not at risk and the killer wasn't an active duty fugitive from justice. There is NO EXCUSE othere than they were wrong to be there.

posse comitawhatever my eye!
 
Posse comitatus: No military shall be used to enforce civilian law, only under the Declaration of Marshal Law would the Military be granted Law Enforcement Powers.

One could argue the direction of traffic is enforcing traffic laws, however, in this instance it could also be viewed as assisting a community in need...............
 

FOXBARON

New member
I guess it never occurred to anyone to call the County Sheriff's Department or State Police for help. I am sure they could have spared a few troops to help out.

Most LENF agencies have agreements in place for mutual assitance to include deputizing those as necessary.
 
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thedoc96

Guest
OMG festus!!! Chill out!! You have people direct traffic all the time who are not police! As far as having no business in uniform you need to get educated. I dont know what your deal is but if you are one of those flag waving chest thumping freedom nuts let me remind you who is responsible on a daily basis for defending our most basic freedoms. I can wear my uniform ANY TIME and ANYWHERE I WANT!! The only thing that restricts my wear of the uniform I have EARNED is the regulation that governs it. NOT YOU. Now according to the news story it is still unclear who ordered these Soldiers into action.

State officials said the deployment of 22 military police officers and the provost marshal from Fort Rucker was requested neither by Republican Gov. Bob Riley nor the White House, which typically is required by law for soldiers to operate on U.S. soil.

Now the way I read this is neither the federal nor the state government ordered this. In addition, the above statement is flawed. Proper authorization is required for Soldiers to undertake military functions (combat operations) or law enforcement functions on US soil. Once again, neither appears to have happened here.
Explain to me anyone exactly what oppressive government agenda was furthered here?
Just goes to prove that there are extremists in every group.
BUT....If you would rather the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines stationed all over our great nation simply shut themselves away inside the gates of their military installations and sever the ties being good neighbors with the communities that host them have forged....if you would rather our military men and women get locked away behind a glass door that says, "Break In Case of War," then I feel you forget that we are people/citizens just as much as everyone else. We are members of our communities. To imply that we should simply ostracize ourselves from the very communities we serve is simply ridiculous. Stop seeing a conspiracy beneath every rock and start trying to see the people inside the uniform.
 
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thedoc96

Guest
I see by your profile you are a retired MSgt. festus. You more than anyone else here should know these Soldiers and their 1SG did nothing wrong here. If they had been detaining people, collecting evidence at a crime scene, or even writing traffic tickets it would be a whole different ball game.
According to you:

National security was not at risk and the killer wasn't an active duty fugitive from justice.

Even if it were, active duty Soldiers would NOT have been allowed to go after the killer. Im hearing people basically saying this is an example of our country going down a "slippery slope". Guys, there are countless examples of our government going too far. This simply isnt one of them. No laws were broken. No ones rights were trampled on. Until I hear differently (and since I have only read the above article on this subject so its entirely possible there is information Im not aware of yet) this was simply another example of our military helping out a community the installation partners with for so many different things. I say GOOD JOB!
 

HK4U

New member
OMG festus!!! Chill out!! You have people direct traffic all the time who are not police! As far as having no business in uniform you need to get educated. I dont know what your deal is but if you are one of those flag waving chest thumping freedom nuts let me remind you who is responsible on a daily basis for defending our most basic freedoms. I can wear my uniform ANY TIME and ANYWHERE I WANT!! The only thing that restricts my wear of the uniform I have EARNED is the regulation that governs it. NOT YOU. Now according to the news story it is still unclear who ordered these Soldiers into action.

State officials said the deployment of 22 military police officers and the provost marshal from Fort Rucker was requested neither by Republican Gov. Bob Riley nor the White House, which typically is required by law for soldiers to operate on U.S. soil.

Now the way I read this is neither the federal nor the state government ordered this. In addition, the above statement is flawed. Proper authorization is required for Soldiers to undertake military functions (combat operations) or law enforcement functions on US soil. Once again, neither appears to have happened here.
Explain to me anyone exactly what oppressive government agenda was furthered here?
Just goes to prove that there are extremists in every group.
BUT....If you would rather the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines stationed all over our great nation simply shut themselves away inside the gates of their military installations and sever the ties being good neighbors with the communities that host them have forged....if you would rather our military men and women get locked away behind a glass door that says, "Break In Case of War," then I feel you forget that we are people/citizens just as much as everyone else. We are members of our communities. To imply that we should simply ostracize ourselves from the very communities we serve is simply ridiculous. Stop seeing a conspiracy beneath every rock and start trying to see the people inside the uniform.

Perhaps before you go on a tirade you should take time to find out that festus is retired military and most likely served longer than you are old. I think there are plenty of both active and retired military that post on this forum on a regular basis that have a problem with this. I don't care who ordered the solders into the streets I still do not like it. We tolerate a little next time it will be something else. This is America not Nazi Germany.
 
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thedoc96

Guest
Perhaps before you go on a tirade you should take time to find out that festus is retired military and most likely served longer than you are old. I think there are plenty of both active and retired military that post on this forum on a regular basis that have a problem with this. I don't care who ordered the solders into the streets I still do not like it. We tolerate a little next time it will be something else. This is America not Nazi Germany.
Read my earlier post HK. You have no idea how old I am or how long I have served for that matter. Dont insult me or patronize me like that. Im not going to get into a pissing contest with you and I dont care how long festus was in. The last Im going to say about this is you can have your opinions all you want. You and all others who "have a problem" with this can whine about it all you want because according to the facts as presented in the article NO LAWS WERE BROKEN. You can scream alarmist propaganda all you want but when you do you insult your own brothers in arms. These Soldiers did nothing more than assist a community in need. festus, as a senior noncommissioned officer you might have done the same. I know that as an NCO when I see a need I work to fill it. But I suppose you would rather people just sit on their hands rather than help each other.
I challenge ANY currently serving or retired member of this community to show me a law that was broken here. Besides scaring conspiracy theorists, there isnt one.
The worst the responsible commander will face is possibly a reprimand for acting without direction of his superiors. According to the article Washington was taken unawares. Did this commander jump the gun? Maybe. We arent privy to such information. His actions and the actions of his Soldiers were not illegal. Once again, had they detained ANYONE, had they been carrying weapons, had they collected and processed evidence or assisted in the investigation....that would have been different. Now obviously we disagree. In my opinion, thats fine. We have the right to do just that. But HK, the next time YOU decide to go on a tirade you need to bring something besides flag waving and chest thumping. Unless you have something besides insults and hollow rhetoric, I think this conversation is over.
 
W

wolfhunter

Guest
I served in the Marines and have in-laws scattered all across that region.
Festus is dead on. Uniformed troops were in violation of the law. If those troops showed up in civies and offered to help, that would be supporting the local community. Arriving in uniform and functioning as police in any capacity is wrong.
 

festus

God Bless Our Troops!!!
OMG festus!!! Chill out!! You have people direct traffic all the time who are not police! As far as having no business in uniform you need to get educated. I dont know what your deal is but if you are one of those flag waving chest thumping freedom nuts let me remind you who is responsible on a daily basis for defending our most basic freedoms. I can wear my uniform ANY TIME and ANYWHERE I WANT!! The only thing that restricts my wear of the uniform I have EARNED is the regulation that governs it. NOT YOU. Now according to the news story it is still unclear who ordered these Soldiers into action.

State officials said the deployment of 22 military police officers and the provost marshal from Fort Rucker was requested neither by Republican Gov. Bob Riley nor the White House, which typically is required by law for soldiers to operate on U.S. soil.

Now the way I read this is neither the federal nor the state government ordered this. In addition, the above statement is flawed. Proper authorization is required for Soldiers to undertake military functions (combat operations) or law enforcement functions on US soil. Once again, neither appears to have happened here.
Explain to me anyone exactly what oppressive government agenda was furthered here?
Just goes to prove that there are extremists in every group.
BUT....If you would rather the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines stationed all over our great nation simply shut themselves away inside the gates of their military installations and sever the ties being good neighbors with the communities that host them have forged....if you would rather our military men and women get locked away behind a glass door that says, "Break In Case of War," then I feel you forget that we are people/citizens just as much as everyone else. We are members of our communities. To imply that we should simply ostracize ourselves from the very communities we serve is simply ridiculous. Stop seeing a conspiracy beneath every rock and start trying to see the people inside the uniform.
I love my country and I swore an oath to defend the constitution. We cannot cross the line even a little with the best of intentions. Somebody had to give the order. That somebody was wrong. While I applaud the troops for helping, It should not have been in uniform. There is no US Army jurisdiction in what went on and no formal request was made by Natl Command Auth. or the Office of the Govenor. Yes, I am a freedom nut. That is why I spent my time in the military. I love my country, but I will not sit idle while the constitution is shredded (even with good intentions). 3 of my coworkers lost family in this senseless tragedy and I grieve for their losses. I also grieve for the incrimental loss of constitutional law in this REPUBLIC. Yes, I want our military in the community but I want them there LEGALLY! I have had to assist with securing crash scenes after military aircraft went down and that is a whole lot different than acting in any police capacity. You see, The military has a duty and an obligation to fill in that aspect but not as cops and not without proper authority to procede.
 

HK4U

New member
Let me say that I am one of those "flag waving chest thumping freedom nuts", that you refer to so thank you. I plead guilty to taking the constitution seriously. I even read it. I know that makes me a real radical. Also I would like to thank you for your permission to have my own opinions. I will continue to speak out against things that I feel are wrong and I will continue to wave the flag. Now this conversation is really over.
 

Piece Corps

New member
Sorry, but according to the Constitution (and every other law on the books), the US Army had no right to be there IN ANY CAPACITY. Period! One guy kills 10 people, and the town needs soldiers to direct traffic? Pardon my french, but bullsh*t! Had it been a bunch of armed gang members roaming the streets and firing on police and civilians, it would STILL take a government order to bring in the Army. And I don't care if the sheriff, the police chief, or the mayor asked for help, unless there was a NATIONAL EMERGENCY, no military are authorized to perform ANY law enforcement or police actions inside the United States.

And doc96, you can wear that uniform anywhere you like, but it doesn't give you the right to do anything within the borders of the US unless called upon by the government under martial law. You can't carry your M-16 down Main Street, you can't police the streets and you can't even do anything that the police can. I have more rights with a carry permit than you do with your uniform.

Now, if the local Army base wants to come in and help build a house, or pick up trash along the highways, or help build a ball park, or raise funds for some charity, that's a different story.

And in case you don't know, I'm a vet, and my USAF uniform still hangs in my closet. I don't wear it around town, and I don't claim any special powers because I have one.
 

nb8n

New member
How cute!

>The Army said Wednesday it opened an inquiry into whether federal laws were broken when nearly two dozen soldiers were sent to a south Alabama town after 11 people died in a shooting spree last week.

This is typical weasel talk. I'm a mystery novel writer, and here's how stories work, in fiction and in real life. You have action and reaction; scene and sequel, and cause and affect. To understand the second half of these all you need to do is understand the first half. That is, you can't react to anything before the action that caused the reaction. Same with the others, and the same with this action of Army troops deployed to an Alabama town. They reacted to an action; their presence in this town was the sequel of a prior scene (think direct order); and the outrage "affect" of the Army taking station in the town was triggered by the cause (again, think direct order).
For citizens to be fed the line that no one knows how this could have happened, then, we are receiving more action (in the form of BS), and the outcome will be more reaction (citizen anger).
And elected officials wonder why their approval rating is on par with a social disease.
We need to clean house, folks.
 

LaserTex

USAF Retired
Retired Air Force here. My 2 cents! In 1985, Labor Day weekend, Keesler AFB was hit by Hurricane Elaina. She was only a strong 2 put it looked like ... well, like it was hit by a hurricane. Biloxi was BLASTED. No power on base; or water. Hot and sticky as hell. We students SAT IN THE CENTER PLAZAS of our dorms for 2 FULL DAYS, picking up the pea stones from the roof. WHY? Until the area could be DECLARED a Federal Disaster area. Less than 5 minutes after that was DECLARED, the buses that we were loaded on left Keesler gates and we headed downtown...in uniform...to assist. I worked cleaning up what used to be a seaside McDonald's. Ronald was blown to bits. The one thing that had always made me so mad was those 2 days of picking up pea stone from the grass and putting them in all these blue plastic pools. I now fully understand why we did.

Doug -
 

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