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“The Army reservist who killed five Dallas police officers had kept an unauthorized grenade in his room on an Afghanistan base in 2014, according to a report by Army officials investigating a sexual harassment complaint against him.” The Blaze story chronicles Mr. Johnson’s ejection from the U.S. Army, including stealing panties from a fellow soldier. It’s headlined ‘Should Have Been a Red Flag’.

The Army gave Mr. Johnson an honorable discharge. What should the Army have done? What did they consider doing, but didn’t? For some reason, it appears we’ll never know.

The Army has blacked out the recommendations of the investigating officer who wrote the report.

Soldiers are not allowed to have grenades in their barracks, according to several military experts. Johnson’s superiors could have recommended punishment for stealing government property or mishandling ammunition, said Geoffrey Corn, a former military judge who teaches at the South Texas College of Law. But they may have chosen to pursue the sexual harassment case since it was so strong, he said.

The U.S. Army could have subjected Mr. Johnson to a court martial and, presumably, given him a dishonorable discharge. According to 18 U.S.C. 922(g) and (n), 27 CFR 478.32 (as reported by the ATF), someone who “has been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions . . . cannot lawfully receive, possess, ship, or transport a firearm.”

And? Are we to believe that a law prohibiting Mr. Johnson from owning a firearm would have prevented his attack on the Dallas police? There’s only way to stop a homicidal maniac from doing what homicidal maniacs do: lock ’em up. Where they may still murder, but it’s not as signifiant a problem.

Anyway, it’s interesting that the same government that wants to restrict your gun rights failed to restrict the gun rights of a U.S. solider, despite clear evidence that he was a threat to innocent life.

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  1. Except that the crime that he ultimately committed had nothing to do with sexual harassment that led to his separation from service. How is one a flag for the other? It’s not like he raped and then murdered his victims in Dallas.

  2. Army is a little weird about enlisted having easy access to, and storage of, grenades. Used to be much more lax (weapons and ammo much less controlled than currently), until Vietnam. Towards the end when morale was shit, when everyone could see we were drawing down our forces, there was a perception among many reluctant draftees that their young commanders were being a little over zealous in execution of their duties in an effort to advance their careers. More and more frequently these officers were “fragged”, by having a live grenade tossed in their tent. Was impossible to trace back to a particular soldier, left little evidence, and could even be blamed on enemy action/sabotage. after a few years of that the Army got a little more serious about control of ammo, grenades and other explosives.

  3. Damn, they would’ve lost their minds in our ‘barracks’ (a squad sized tent) in Afghanistan. We had dozens of 40 mms, C4, LAWs, machine guns, rifles etc, and ammunition coming out our asses. But I wasn’t a POG so….

    • I was thinking the same thing. I saw photos and videos of the barracks of some of my friends overseas they had a full fighting load out in their rooms as they never knew when they might need it.

    • That’s ok, I once took a nap on a pallet of C4 that we didn’t have a place to store yet because it was still under construction. It was rather comfy.

        • Oh, agreed, I was just a bit shocked when we cleared the tarp and I realized I had been sleeping on enough explosives to level a small mountain.

        • 2. never miss an opportunity to eat (yeah, I liked C-rats ok…call me sick…)
          3. never miss an opportunity to take a piss

        • To add Where you can. Two favorite spots…inside a C130 above a connex box on bubble wrap (oh the luxury) and just below the ECS ducting. The other…I had a nack for finding small micro depressions with just enough curve for the small of the back and my butt to fit it them (let’s the jokes begin). Power naps for 20 minutes does wonders.

    • I never once broke my kit down when I got back to the wire. I would take it off and hang it up, but forget removing grenades and amunition. Walked around at all time with at least two magazines and my rifle.

      • Yeah… As the man responsible for putting up that “wire”… good call. I don’t think I was ever as exhausted in my life as when we had to put up hesco in more or less full battle rattle. You can bet your ass that the gear was not properly “checked in” when we were done. We more or less collapsed when we were done.

  4. And, he shouldn’t have had a god damned grenade in his fucking barracks room. By doing so, he was in violation of Army policy and revealed himself as a nutcase.

    Oh, and he also must have stolen it.

      • No, the military pretty strictly controls munitions, and virtually no non-combatant types have ready access to things like grenades, even in combat zones.

        At one point, while I was in Iraq, I had several of them in my “room,” which was more of a “hole.” But that was because we took contact on a daily basis, and we never gave them to the Black Panthers in our midst.

    • “By doing so, he was in violation of Army policy and revealed himself as a nutcase.”
      Please cite the policy that prohibits grenades in your living quarters in a combat zone. I would have had my ass handed to me if I didn’t have them with me in my hooch.

      • “Soldiers are not allowed to have grenades in their barracks, according to several military experts”

        As described in Farago’s own post.

        • You stated he was in violation of a policy. The original article, citing “experts” that have apparently never deployed, cited no policy in the article. I’m assuming you also know of no such policy?

        • Are you able to cite a policy contrary to Farago’s post? And do you expect the operating orders for Nutcase Johnson’s unit at the time in question to be public? Even so, give me a minute; I’ll find and post the policy.

        • McCann, the Army didn’t charge him with anything regarding the hand grenade. Soldiers and Marines have always taken mementos from the battlefield. Firearms, knives, swords, grenades, etc. have made their way back home in every war, campaign, deployment we have been apart of. Authorized and unauthorized. The grenade in the barracks (and the panties, to boot), in itself, is NO indication that he was going to eventually murder a bunch of LEOs’. At least, that’s the way I see it.

        • Sorry, you’re just wrong. I was there. Three times. Soldiers living in barracks do not just stash grenades in their sleeping bags next to their stolen medication and panties. When they do it’s a problem.

        • “During mobilization, procedures in this publication can be modified to support policy changes as necessary.”

          In my experience, most commanders don’t follow this policy to the letter when combat is likely.

        • Do you have any evidence in support of the conclusion that the policy was modified in this case? If so, how?

          Why, do you suppose, is it that everyone else involved seems to think the black supremacist’s possession of the unauthorized hand grenade was a problem?

        • See all the first hand accounts above. My personal experience was rather similar. Your individual kit was rarely broken down and turned in as per regs unless you were practically stateside.

        • Which, of course, does not address the question.

          Yeah, he addressed your question. It just wasn’t the answer you wanted to hear.

          Do you have any evidence in support of the conclusion that the policy was modified in this case? If so, how?

          It doesn’t matter what the policy is – if the policy is routinely not followed.

        • Technically, the policy IS followed. It’s just that AR 190-11 allows unit commanders to modify the policy as circumstances dictate when deployed. Most commanders choose to follow common sense rather than the letter of the regs. Completely stowing all gear is impractical and dangerous in an area where their units could come under fire at any time, so AR 190-11 is modified to make sure that troops are not spending time drawing weapons and ammunition when they may need them on a second’s notice.

        • “It’s just that AR 190-11 allows unit commanders to modify the policy as circumstances dictate when deployed.”

          And in this case, no local order allowed Johnson to have a grenade in his room. That’s what makes it unauthorized:

          “(2) PFC Johnson was storing an explosive article in a barracks
          facility where Soldiers lived. PFC Johnson did not have ani[sic] reason to be in possession

          the explosive device. Exhibits 17 and 29; Exhibit 18: Photo
          of Grenade, Exhibit 33)”

        • Derp! No big deal! Everyone in Afghanistan has grenades they weren’t issued hidden in their sleeping bags after they’ve moved out! Derp!

        • And, by the way, if you’ll read the report in full, you’ll see that PFC Racist Murderer had the unauthorized grenade in his quarters after he had been relieved of both his firearm and his pocket knife, because, you know, he was freaking nuts.

  5. So he had a grenade in his barracks in Afghanistan,which was a combat zone, so what, that is not a predictor of specific future behavior.

    The same same thing was common in the ’70’s and ’80’s in several units in the US Army in Germany (like the 11th Armored Cavalry). The army took care of it by inspecting constantly (surprise health inspections). The army did what was required from it, they disciplined him and then discharged the man dishonorably. That is a red flag for certain types of employment that requires a person to be bonded or carry a firearm. As a civilian, you cannot start a witch hunt for people that are suspect of having character flaws because every body does in one way or another.

    There is no thought police like in the movie Minority Report, even though many citizens profess to be for civil rights, they would like to keep putting people in jail for so called RED FLAGS for future crimes that have yet to happen. Get your heads out of your asses!!! What happened in Dallas could not be prevented any more than someone sliding on ice and breaking his neck.

    The only way to prevent gun deaths is to be like Japan and make all firearms illegal and good luck with that. But as long as the uneducated, the mentally unstable and irresponsible morons are allowed to buy weapons legally, gun crimes will continue at the same rate as many third world countries.

    • Stealing munitions like that in an environment where traitors have previously used grenades to kill comrades in their bunks, while serving a role that has no business handling said munitions, is certainly cause for concern. Especially if this guy was ‘disaffected’ even during his deployment.

  6. I can’t speak for all my fellow vets out there (but I think Alfonso A. Rodriguez nailed it), but the Army of today is nothing like my Army of the late seventies into the early nineties. I remember having WW2 and Korea vets for senior leaders and Vietnam guys as senior peers. Those guys had a “way” getting your attention. I can only imagine would they would do regarding “panty hoarding” and unauthorized ordnance in the room. Anyway, just another old guy out of touch with the “new” ways I guess…

  7. So he had a grenade and panties. It’s the new Army. A guy soldier can wear panties and he won’t get into trouble.

    • “Panties” may have legitimate ‘tactical’ uses. Louis Awerbuck told the story about going to Lejeune back in the 80’s or thereabouts to impart some of his knowledge to some Recon Marines. He was staying in a squad bay and got a bit concerned when he saw a lot of panty hose and clear nail polish in the lockers. “What kind of Marines are these guys?”, he asked himself. He felt much more comfortable with the situation when he was told about the abundance of ticks and chiggers in the surrounding woods.

  8. Unauthorized grenade possession by soldier in a war zone during a war……

    I find that regulation more offensive than the violation. As an OIF vet I’m triggered.

    • But are you detonated? I seem to recall at least one instance of blue-on-green (or whatever they whitewashed the Afghan duplicity as) where a grenade was brought to an unauthorized location & detonated to catch our soldiers off guard. Stuff happens and people need to be prepared, but this guy was a non-combat server dude from what I understand, who would have had no business keeping stuff like this around, and could only acquire it through theft or similar.

  9. We weren’t supposed to have knives over 4″ in our rooms in Hawaii, guess what, everyone had a moto knife, glorified MRE openers!
    We weren’t supposed to bring rifles into the barracks in garrison over in Okinawa. Well, I wasn’t walking my rifle a mile back to the beach and when duty gave me a hard time about leaving it by the door so he could watch it, I crawled in through my window and shoved it behind the bed, so did my boot.

    Afghanistan? HA, at our CoP/Combat outpost we had a little wire cage with extra passed down grenades and saved rounds. the units before us were never given enough ammo so they would over report what was expended in firefights just to have enough.

    Found a 20MM bullet in the sand at camp wilson california, I wanted to keep it but I knew better. NFA you know… These days you can’t even have a piece of spent brass in your room.

    Its not uncommon for people to keep stuff in the military, expensive stuff tends to find its way on ebay. That said, using 50BMG rounds as hammers and putting grenades in your luggage usually ends bad.

  10. It’s not about a grenade…after spending 6 years in the reserves and leaving as a non rate (lance corporal or below) that is the measure of the man.

    • To be fair, I knew quite a few “career” lance corporals. They were the sort of guys who could never keep their noses clean and kept getting NJPs for minor shit. I knew a guy who made E3 four separate times.

  11. This is the common thread with “mass shooters”. They consistently display or communicate their intent on social media, to co-workers, family, friends, psychiatrists, or whoever will listen usually days, weeks or months prior to committing whatever crime they have planned.

    Considering most mass shooters are also suicidal and this is there last hurrah, they want to communicate their message.

    Time and time again, it has been an abject failure on society’s part to listen, recognize the threat, and respond appropriately.

    Sure, there will be instances where a mass shooting will come out of the blue, but a lot of them are telegraphed.

  12. “Are we to believe that a law prohibiting Mr. Johnson from owning a firearm would have prevented his attack on the Dallas police?”

    Yes. Because gun control works and we should also ban guns from felons legally on the street.


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