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Two Lessons from the Pensacola Murders

Summary:
There are two lessons from the recent murders on the Pensacola base that are staring us in the face, one on gun control and one on an interventionist foreign policy. Gun Control One of my biggest surprises when I got on U.S. military bases (I was an economics professor at the U.S. Navy’s Naval Postgraduate School for 33 years and I taught a few times at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, where the murders occurred) is that the bases have pretty strict gun control. When I drove on to the Naval Postgraduate School, I wanted to carry a gun in my trunk but I never dared do so because, at least in my understanding, every time I drove on the NPS base I would be committing a crime. The lesson should have been learned from the Fort Hood shootings, where the murderer knew

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Two Lessons from the Pensacola Murders

There are two lessons from the recent murders on the Pensacola base that are staring us in the face, one on gun control and one on an interventionist foreign policy.

Gun Control

One of my biggest surprises when I got on U.S. military bases (I was an economics professor at the U.S. Navy’s Naval Postgraduate School for 33 years and I taught a few times at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, where the murders occurred) is that the bases have pretty strict gun control. When I drove on to the Naval Postgraduate School, I wanted to carry a gun in my trunk but I never dared do so because, at least in my understanding, every time I drove on the NPS base I would be committing a crime.

The lesson should have been learned from the Fort Hood shootings, where the murderer knew that people were forbidden from carrying arms and so were a soft target. But it wasn’t.

As a result, even military personnel lack the weapons to fight back.

I understand the dangers of allowing people to carry weapons. But on a military base? Really? Of all the people who can be trusted to carry guns on American soil, I would put military personnel at or near the top.

Interventionist Foreign Policy

Here’s what Saudi Air Force Second Lieutenant Ahmed Mohammed al-Shamrani, the murderer, said:

I’m not against you for just being American, I don’t hate you because your freedoms, I hate you because every day you supporting, funding and committing crimes not only against Muslims but also humanity. I am against evil, and America as a whole has turned into a nation of evil. What I see from America is the supporting of Israel which is invasion of Muslim countrie, I see invasion of many countries by it’s troops, I see Guantanamo Bay. I see cruise missiles, cluster bombs and UAV.

“Your decision-makers, the politicians, the lobbyists and the major corporations are the ones gaining from your foreign policy, and you are the ones paying the price for it.

“What benefit is it to the American people to suffer for the sake of supporting Israel?

“Do you expect to transgress against others and yet be spared retribution?

“How many more body-bags are American families willing to receive?

“For how long can the US survive this war of attrition?

“The US Treasury spend billions of dollars, in order to give Americans a false sense of security .

“The security is shared destiny

“You will not be safe until we live it as reality in pleastain, and American troops get out of our lands .”

There are lots of typos in the above, but the bottom line is that his upset was against a U.S. government that intervenes and kills in other countries. That’s what motivated Osama bin Laden’s f0llowers and it is the self-described motivation of al-Shamrami.

David Henderson
David Henderson is a British economist. He was the Head of the Economics and Statistics Department at the OECD in 1984–1992. Before that he worked as an academic economist in Britain, first at Oxford (Fellow of Lincoln College) and later at University College London (Professor of Economics, 1975–1983); as a British civil servant (first as an Economic Advisor in HM Treasury, and later as Chief Economist in the Ministry of Aviation); and as a staff member of the World Bank (1969–1975). In 1985 he gave the BBC Reith Lectures, which were published in the book Innocence and Design: The Influence of Economic Ideas on Policy (Blackwell, 1986).

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