Purple Hearts & The Chattanooga Victims

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Purple Hearts & The Chattanooga Victims

A rising call for awarding the four Marines killed during the tragic mass shooting in the Chattanooga, Tennessee on July 16, 2015, Purple Hearts, have hit the headlines.

It’s the United States Marine Corps that is ready to issue the medals to Sgt. Carson Holmquist, 25, Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan, 40, Lance Cpl Squire K. Wells, 21, and Staff Sgt. David Wyatt, 25, but in order to do so, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has to classify the incident as an act of terrorism whereby the assailant has to have ties with a terrorist organization.

The guidelines for such classification calls for the assailant to be “part of, was inspired by, or communicated with a designated foreign terrorist organization.”. It doesn’t mention if a recognized domestic terrorist organization would qualify also.

The gunman, Muhammed Youssef Abdulazeez opened fire at several military wounding several and killing five, including the four Marines and one Naval officer, Petty Officer Randall Smith.

Behind the movement comes John McCain (R-AZ) who is also the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and has vowed to see this action through.

Actually, this type of action has been done before, quite recently, in fact, when the National Defense Authorization Act of 2015 loosened the requirements thus allowing the military personnel who died and were wounded in the 2009 Fort Hood mass shooting, where an officer and psychiatrist opened fire on the base.

Sympathy, frustration, anger, and patriotism are at play here regarding this issue, and although the requirements to get this initiative achieved are clearly laid out, it will still be up to the FBI to make the final decision based on their thorough investigation of the killer which is still ongoing. So far they have only classified Abdulazeez as a domestic grown shooter, and evidence shows that he might have skirted around in the vicinity of terrorist groups like the Islamic State. Concrete proof has yet to emerge, however, this incident might open room for a new form of classification regarding terrorism.
President Obama, the 2016 presidential candidates have yet to chime in on this issue, but the public is rallying behind it to the point that the FBI is going to be hard pressed not to change or bend the rules as they have recently.

Being awarded the Purple Heart and having their deaths qualified as those of a terrorist origin would allow for the families of the victims to get more benefits, which in today’s hard economic times would be welcomed, although under a cloud of loss and sorrow.

The ‘Gun Free Zone’ issue is also at debate at this time. Military bases do not allow for general personnel to carry firearms, only military police and other security staff. This may change now given the fact that these locations have been shown to be far too vulnerable to attack. Schools, colleges, even businesses now have armed personnel, thus logic indicates that personnel at military bases and locations should also, if not, just as a preventative measure.

So shocking has this incident been, that local citizens have been camping out at military recruiting stations, carrying arms to defend them. The Pentagon has issued a request that citizens stop this, but they have no power to enforce it.

It’s just a sign to the world that people love and support the troops and are willing to put themselves in harm’s way to defend those who defend us.

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Greg Boone, a native New Yorker, has worked for such companies such as the Gannet News Service, TimeWarner, America Online to name a few. Boone also works in the field of regenerative medicine, covering the frontiers of stem cell research and treatments for the past 10 years.