My letter to Congress, read today at Texas Senate committee on Constitutional Carry. It is now public record.
To my friends, fellow Texans, brothers in arms, members of the committee, and everyone within the sound of my voice, greetings.
My name is First Lieutenant Patrick Cook of the 49th Transportation Battalion, Fort Hood, Texas, and this past Wednesday I found myself trapped in an enclosed room with fourteen of my fellow Soldiers, one of whom was barricading the door against a madman with a .45 pistol when he was fatally shot. Through what I can only describe as a miracle, he somehow found enough strength to continue pushing against that door until the shooter gave up and went elsewhere, at which time he collapsed. Nearly a week later, I can still taste his blood in my mouth from when I and my comrades breathed into his lungs for 20 long minutes while we waited for a response from the authorities. This Soldier’s name was Sergeant First Class Daniel Ferguson, and his sacrifice loaned me the rest of my life to tell this story . . .
But I write to you today not to memorialize this brave Soldier, nor to tell a war story about how we made the best of a losing situation, but to express the part of that story that some in high positions of power clearly do not want told: I knew this was going to happen. I had been saying for five years that Fort Hood was a tinderbox of another massacre waiting to happen. It had to happen, because our betters failed to learn the obvious lesson of five years ago. Worse yet, I know it will happen again. More will die, more will be wounded, more families will be torn apart, needlessly. It happened again, and will happen again, because Fort Hood is a gun free zone.
When the first shots rang out, my hand reached to my belt for something that wasn’t there. Something that could have put a stop to the bloodshed, could have made it merely an “ugly incident” instead of the horrific massacre that I will surely remember as the darkest twenty minutes of my life. Stripped of my God-given Right to arm myself, the only defensive posture I had left was to lie prostrate on the ground, and wait to die. As the shooter kicked at the door, I remember telling myself, “oh well, this is it.” It is beneath human dignity to experience the utter helplessness I felt that day. I cannot abide the thought that anyone should ever feel that again.
At the point blank range at which this shooting occurred, anyone with an M9 and some basic instruction could have ended the mayhem as quickly as it began. An MP by trade and a CHL holder, I am convinced that concealed weapons would have stopped it, but openly carried side-arms, like the ones carried in a law enforcement capacity, could have prevented it entirely. Instead, many more died because of the fatally misguided restrictions on the carrying of arms, which obviously the madman did not respect.
I shall conclude by restating my warning. This will happen again, and again until we learn the lesson that suppressing the bearing of arms doesn’t prevent horrific crimes, it invites them. To those of you who hold elected office, if you hear nothing else I have told you, hear this: you have the power to stop the next massacre from happening. You have an opportunity to restore the sacred Right to bear arms, which has been either stripped entirely or unjustly relegated to the poor substitute of a probationary, government-issued privilege. For God’s sake, do the right thing.
Thank you for your attention, and good day.
Prepare for it to be completely ignored.
As it was for Susannah Gratia Hupp and Nikki Goeser and how many others…it’s criminal.
Gun Free Zones are crimes against humanity. There is no other way to put it.
Worse, he’ll not just be ignored, but come next promotion cycle , he’ll probably have some points docked for not being a “team player”.
Or, if his commander really sucks, paperwork may be forthcoming.
Sadly this last part is probably exactly what will happen.
Ignored? Not likely. I hope he is National Guard as this will be end of his active duty career.
But congrats on having a pair – unlike his “betters”
“Careful, you’re speaking to a superior officer!”
“No, merely a higher-ranking one.”
You win the internet today!
Easily his best movie.
Quite the opposite really, but it will get noticed for all the wrong reasons. His command will find out, most likely his commander or the commander above him or above them will get wind of this(its on several news sites) any of whom could be anti gun and the poor LT will be thrown under the bus and put on the magical “do not promote” list
Sad but probably true. His OER will probably suffer for stating an un-PC opinion.
Well spoken. God bless Lt. Patrick.
Lt. Cook, if you are even in Eastern NC, beverage of your choice is on me.
Very well said. Godsend they listen.
Thanks for facing possibly career-ending consequences for sharing this.
That point being made, as far as Obama and our current crop of risk averse officers are concerned, lying on the floor waiting for a madmans bullet is exactly what they determine is “acceptable risk”.
See, a base of CCW packing soldiers represents a career risk. A base of dead soldiers shot by a madman does not.
Forget authorizing CCW on post directly, because risk scared commanders will just ignore it . We need to make it a Congressional law that any post commander who doesn’t authorize CCW and suffers a spree shooting is immediately cashiered from service for dereliction of duty on the spot, no questions asked, no appeal offered or given. Since the lives of our servicemembers clearly aren’t good enough reason, maybe we need to put someone’s rank on the line instead.
If it works for DUIs by the junior enlisted , it works for officers too. I say again- if your base suffers a spree shooting and your command doesn’t permit carry on post, your resignation is due by Close of Business the next day.
Good lord … brilliant … I’m speechless.
Nice letter. Now kiss you career good bye. Criticism of military policy as dictated by GHQ outside the chain of command will not be tolerated and will be severely punished. Didn’t you learn that in OCS? If they don’t drum you out immediately, your next posting will be in the worst possible shithole in the world where the Army has a presence where you will be assigned no job responsibilities. You will beg to be allowed to resign short of your commitment. The black mark on your record will assure that you will never make captain; by going outside the chain of command, you have demonstrated that you are not fit to command in this Army.
There was an old game show, “Truth or Consequences.” In today’s government, Truth has Consequences. Just ask any whistleblower.
The fact that he spoke out against a bad policy that got his Soldier killed means that he is more fit to command than anyone wearing stars today.
Actually, Congress is not in the military chain of command. I don’t see what the problem is.
Now if he’d written to the President, he’d officially have a huge problem.
But you’re probably still right. He’s screwed.
Lt. Cook, God bless you and yours. And your unit and the bravery that sgt. First class Daniel gave, can’t be said enough about Daniel’s heroism. I want take this time to thank you and your company for our countrys service. God bless all of our military. Lets all watch our backs out there and also be there to help anyone that needs our aid.
Lt. Cook probably just killed his chances of ever getting a promotion; too bad no generals have the courage to follow Lt. Cook’s example and stand for truth and human rights.
I give a truly heartfelt “Hear, hear” to this.
As did I.
And even tho I’ve never been in the armed services, I can envision that this letter will probably end a good man’s career in the Army. It will cause discomfit among the perfumed princes of higher pay grades, and that can’t be allowed.
The LT suffers under the misunderstanding that the politicans aren’t already aware that restrictive gun laws do not protect people, they only make them more vulnerable victims. The LT thinks that’s a flaw, an unintended side-effect. He’s wrong, its the goal.
Not a flaw, its a feature.
Politicians, particularly those in the states with the most restrictive regulations, the most confiscatory taxes, want the people vulnerable. Want the people stripped of the means to defend themselves against the state. Their vulnerability to crime as a result is something that can be leveraged to force greater dependency on the state, and as a rationalization for even stricter gun regulations.
The anti-gun politicians aren’t anti-gun really– they are anti-gun in the hands of the general public. They are for a more vulnerable general public.
I think he understands that very well. He’s just displaying a spine and making it clear that their actions and the rules that made this horrific event possible are wrong.
This is what really speaking truth to power looks like.
I’m sure he is aware of his audience and what this will do to his career. He’s speaking anyway. Good for him.
All you guys saying “killed your career,” this is what selfless courage looks like.
Do you think his CAREER mattered to him as he watched his friend die, his friend that died saving his life?
Good grief. What’s wrong with this country in a nutshell, right here, on display in this comment thread.
He has placed himself in the good company Billy Mitchell and the like. Carry on!
I don’t think anyone is saying it as a perjorative against LT Cook. They’re saying it in a derogatory manner against the senior leaders who might ruin LT Cook’s career for doing the right thing and speaking truth to power in the aftermath.
We agree with you that his letter and testimony took great courage; we are not criticizing HIM, we are realistically evaluating the consequences to him, which is a backhanded criticism of the (military) culture than punishes those who speak out. The boss hates to be embarrassed in the press, and he will have his revenge.
BINGO!!! JR, Lack of principles has ruined Man & Country…….
While I can not and will not second guess the LT’s decision to prone out and wait, I hope at some point he can learn, and teach to others, that there are things people can do when waiting for the armed boogieman to come through the door.
1. Have a plan.
2. Form one team against the wall parallel to the door, and another using cover and concealment front and center.
3. When the BG enters, the front line pelts the BG with everything available while the wall line rushes him and overpowers him through sheer numbers.
Perfect? No. Dangerous? Surely. Effective? Certainly.
This is not my idea, I saw it in a video done by and Israeli security expert that is taught to high school students. Here is the link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2tIeRUbRHw
This kid’s career is done. Sorry to say it but he’ll undoubtedly receive a GOMOR and get passed over.
They where unarmed the first time, the policy the generals put into place was the same and it still happened again. WE trust soldiers to defend our country yet the government doesn’t trust the same soldiers to defend themselves. HYPOCRISY !
Wow. Thank you, Patrick. That was straight from the heart, and it touched mine. A lot.
This is an extremely compelling and well-written statement. Anyone who can read the line “It is beneath human dignity to experience the utter helplessness I felt that day” and continue to promote so-called gun-free zones is heartless.
Military Commanders are the most political animals around
Those who do make a stand are out fast.
“It had to happen, because our betters failed to learn the obvious lesson of five years ago.”
Those so-called betters could care less about learning any lesson. They have other agendas and values that do not include caring about the common man. In different ways, more people will continue to die and others suffer the burden of oppression because people continue to serve the elites.
To those of you saying his career is over have you ever thought he doesn’t care. He just watched a friend and comrade die for something that he believes could have been prevented. He believes that unless things change it WILL happen again. I wouldn’t want to stick around either.
Well written and well done. Very courageous to take such a stand in view of the lily-livered higher ups who have learned the art of CYA so well. Some truths are just too important to let considerations of career moves and such get in the way – one simply must speak out. All that is necessary for the grabbers to succeed is for us to be cowed and do nothing.
It is hoped that something good will come of this and that you’ll be “protected” by the politicians you’ve come to the attention of. As many have said on this site, opposing the powers-that-be can be dangerous but the idea of our “armed forces” being helpless in the face of some rampaging lunatic is so absurd as to demand some immediate action.
Thank you for your service, and thank you for having the courage to speak out.
God bless you and your family.
Thank you for your service, but I have to say what we clearly need are more signs. In fact, I don’t know why we give the military guns in the first place because signs clearly work so well. If we had used signs in Iraq and Afghanistan, it would have taken months not years. Of all the places I would expect the US to allow guns, the last place I would expect is for the US to allow the exceptionally well trained, disciplined, and taxpayer funded soldiers to carry their weapons on a military base that could be the target of an attack, literally any minute. Why would you allow exceptionally well trained soldiers to carry their sidearm in case of attack? That would be silly. What we need is a big sign on the perimeter that says “Not a Terrorist Target, Do Not Attack This Base!”
In fact, I hear the D.O.D is getting ready to issue a contract for 1 million prototype Attack Safety Signs which will come in a Elite, Carbine, and Monolithic model (A.S.S.-E, ASS-C, and ASS-M) models. And don’t worry, if it rains, the brass will give you the means to hang your ASS out to dry.
Great letter. Shared!
Lt. Cook, the quality of your character will stand you in good stead wherever life takes you.
Nothing more than a after action report by the lower rank officer corps pointing out the obvious.
Welcome to the world of ZERO Leadership. Upper Military Officer Corps (Major & above) blindly following orders who can no more think their beyond rules and regulations; without a functional synapse capable of logical thought and no leadership other than herding their soldiers like wilderbeast scrambling before entering the water full of croc’s.
This DOES NOT REST WITH OUR ELECTED representatives NOR our Military. It rest with US and the vote. If our representatives don’t agree with carrying a weapon for lawful self protection…whoooonph your over the motor tube.
Thank you for your service, and even more for the courage to speak out. I am very sorry you had to experience this. You, and all of them, deserve better.
What Lt. Cook should have done is announced that he’s gay right after he made his pro-self defense speech. Then he’d be promoted.
I hope when his commitment is over( as we all know he’s never moving up again) he finds himself a good job in the private sector. He seems to have his head on straight, so he should be okay.
Nowhere does it say he went outside the chain of command on this letter; and writing congress/the President is not a chain of command item unless you are talking about a command issue.
Further, there are no ‘points’ to be docked when he is up for promotion. And this is far from career ending.
The policy put in place is not from the generals but from the SECDEF, again, civilian authorities which, as many forget are still in charge of the military.
Kudos to you 1LT Cook. This is the kind of leadership that the military looks for in junior officers.
(Yes, they may attempt to curb it as a CPT or above, but not at this level.)
First and foremost I wish to commend Lt. Cook on his decision to contact Congress, a bold decision that will likely cost him professionally. I respect a man who is willing to chance a personal/professional loss to in an attempt to make a societal change. I have read many things over my lifetime, many have stirred me to thought, some have moved me to action. Very few have struck an inner chord that reminds you of the fact that we are not as free as we LIKE to think….. “Stripped of my God-given Right to arm myself, the only defensive posture I had left was to lie prostrate on the ground, and wait to die. As the shooter kicked at the door, I remember telling myself, “oh well, this is it.” It is beneath human dignity to experience the utter helplessness I felt that day. I cannot abide the thought that anyone should ever feel that again.”
Thank you, Lieutenant, for your service and for your words, and even more considering what you may have brought down upon yourself. I wish you luck and the best.
1LT Cook, thank you for your service, your courage, and your clarity of thought.
We would have never had a United States of America if it had not been for people like him. The men of 1775 were willing to put liberty and truth ahead of personal gain and comfort. How many of today’s leaders – political, judicial, and military – are willing to uphold the Constitution they swore an oath to protect and defend?
Lt. Cook, I’d follow you into Hell with a water gun.
Thank you 1LT Cook. Of course you realize your career is over, not right away but in time.
You broke the military rule: Cooperate and graduate. I wouldn’t give you 2 cents for most Colonels and fewer Admirals/Generals (their rank is just another name for politician).
Thank you LT Cook for speaking the truth.
You honor your fellow Soldier, SGT Ferguson, with your integrity and courage. I would hope your CO has the same honor and integrity to recognize that you bring great credit upon yourself, your unit, and the United States Army.
I know you don’t mean any disrespect to anyone by your post, and I feel bad even making a correction, but a SGT (E-5) is usually a team leader, responsible for four men and has been in the military just a few years. At least, in the infantry. Other jobs may take longer to promote.
A SFC (E-7), Sergeant First Class, is a senior NCO and is usually a platoon sergeant, responsible for up to 40 men. He has made the military a career, has dedicated his life to the service. Barring Special Forces, I think it would be uncommon for someone to earn this rank in under ten years. I don’t have any numbers on exactly how long the average time in service would be, I certainly didn’t stay in long enough for it to become a personal concern.
So, not to take anything away from your post or the article, just want people who either didn’t catch that point or don’t know what the rank structure is to understand a little better the amount of respect he deserves.
Has, my bad. Thanks for the correction, and doing justice to SFC Ferguson’s memory.
“Stripped of my God-given Right to arm myself, the only defensive posture I had left was to lie prostrate on the ground, and wait to die.”
There were FOURTEEN SOLDIERS in that room and all you could do was lie there and wait to die???
You, an officer, should have been organizing a takedown, not passively awaiting your fate.
So says the Internet commando, typing away in the comfort of his or her home/office. Go back to the Mom’s Demand website, they are more your speed.
Well said Sir!
Others have already discussed the courage and integrity shown by Lt. Cook in making his statement publicly, so I will skip to the next point that jumped out at me.
Twenty minutes? They were doing CPR on him for twenty minutes? I don’t think a wounded man would wait that long in the middle of Baghdad for a medevac. As tragic as the whole situation is, it could only be made worse if SFC Ferguson could have been saved by a response time even as good as local city police and fire.
Thank you. Please know your death will serve a purpose. It will feed the agenda of those who want to undermine the Constitution.
“Stripped of my God-given Right to arm myself”
Here’s to you LT. You have spoken with more intelligence in this letter than ANY politician has ever spoken in their entire miserable lives. A note of caution however, you mentioned your betters. One thing I learned as a young NCO decades ago what because someone outranked me did not make them smarter and definitely did not make them my better. You keep your head up and stick to your convictions and as mentioned earlier, prepare for your letter to be ignored. I pray that you and those that were saved will heal emotionally and spiritually.
Sad to say, but that “open letter”, has now most likely ended his military career.
Amen to that.
Eloquent! To bad he will be hated for it
You speak for me as well Lt Cook. God bless you and I pray he helps to dissolve the horror of this day from your mind.
He is100% right! I have been debating a liberal on facebook about universal background checks and she brought up Ft.Hood as NOT a gun free zone .Dispite correcting her several time she still insists it is not a gun free zone.We ll she finally was corrected when the military came out with no guns on bases! These are the kind of ignorsmuses we have to desl with!
As a Marine and National Guard veteran, I find your courage, fortitude, and character to be an example every military leader should strive for.
There are two types of leaders…
Those you would not follow across the street to 7-11
Those you would follow to hell on a one way trip
When the C-130 leaves for hell, let me know.
Wow…. what a powerful testimony from Lt. Cook.
Frame this letter and make it a permanent part of TTAG’s web site.
This pretty much says everything that needs to be said in response to those who would rob us of our 2nd Amendment freedoms.
I don’t want to be a dick but why didn’t you throw pencils and scissors at him? That obviously works according to MAIG & Company.
In all seriousness I do believe you are correct regarding if it will happen again. If you don’t learn from history it will repeat itself until you learn.
Wow, fifteen people in the room and only one had the cajones to try to keep the door shut. It takes a lot of courage to stand up for what is right while facing what he will have coming to him now.
I rarely get angry, but right now I could bite a ten-penny nail in two and not chip a tooth!
Lt. Cook’s eloquence shows irrefutably that our policy on bases (and in all gun free zones) are a sin against God and against Nature!
THIS is an example of:
“…our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”
We need many, many more of these type examples.
But, I fear it may be too late as most of the people have been brainwashed in liberal BS from our Public Indoctrination Centers (aka Public Schools).
Reply to Lt. Cook. Sir, I remember my lessons from ROTC in college and I think you have forgotten the meaning of LDRSHIP. You do not wear your heart on your sleeve for all to see. I am sorry for your loss and the pain you must be going through but you are out of line here. I get that you feel LDRSHIP is your call to speak out and you might be right but as an officer your leadership roll is not to cause dissent or question your orders. Thank you for your service and may God bless you with healing in this time.
Let me be perfectly clear in my intent here.
Our military is unarmed. Let the absurdity of that statement sink in for a second. Our MILITARY is unarmed. Unbelievable, isn’t it?
Thank you for your courageous service !
It is an embarrassment to me as an American citizen that we ask you and all of our military personnel to serve in a gun-free fish bowl as targets. It is totally illogical and absurd. Please accept my prayers for a better day and my deepest gratitude for your sacrificial service to our nation. I’m sending your powerful letter to my Senators and Congressmen.
Thank you again for your service.
Jerry D. Woods
There are many Servicemembers that ignore the rules about firearms. Many are kept in vehicles, barrack rooms, and some are carried. It is very hush hush due to the fact that if found out you will recieve some sort of punishment.
The deficiencies in Army leadership implied in many of the comments posted here are EXACTLY the reason my son, an Infantry Captain with two AFG tours (CIB, two Bronze Stars and a Commendation for Valor), has decided to end his Army career. We taxpayers have a tremendous amount of $$$ invested in his training (West Point, Ranger and Airborne qualified, etc.) and he has an immeasurable amount of sweat equity in the deal as well. However, having fulfilled the Active Duty component of his contract, he is walking away from the position he’s envisioned since he was a youngster. Done. Finished. The Army of his dreams turned out to be a giant social experiment, with Field-grade and General officers afraid to make hard, but correct, decisions for the good of their Soldiers and – by extension – the Nation. LT Cook’s letter is spot-on but only the tip of the iceberg. PC is rampant at the expense of good Soldiering, whether in garrison or forward-deployed, a result of the changing culture from the top down. “How can this help me” has replaced Selfless Service in many corners of the Army, including Combat Arms. Form over Substance.
Sadly, LT Cook’s Army career will likely be adversely affected by his righteous stand on this issue but, in the long run, the character and conviction he has shown by his actions will carry him on to future success. Likewise with my son, except he leaves with glowing OERs and on his own timetable. Our Nation has lost one fine Soldier and a proven Warrior and he is by no means unique. Let us hope there continue to be others willing to serve on our behalf.
Stand Fast, LT Cook …
Maybe I’m the sole dick here, but I’m stuck wondering how, with 14 soldiers in the room, there was only the one guy holding the door shut.
Yes, you are being a dick. Unless you were there you have no right to judge other’s actions in a moment of crisis. Did you ever serve? Ever see combat? How many life and death situations have you ever been in? From your comment I am guessing the answer to all three is NO.
For all the people pointing out that his career will take a hit because of this:
I know you mean well and are genuinely supportive of this Officer. But you’ve missed the mark completely by even mentioning it.
This man is trying to save people’s lives. Literally.
That we would casually, repeatedly mention how much money or how many promotions that might cost him is a sign of why so few in our society are willing to stand up when it counts.
I don’t mean you guys specifically, but just how much importance we place on those things and/or the general fear of losing them that is part of our mindset as a society.
May God bless Lt. Cook and may He give more of us the courage and wisdom to stand up for what’s important, no matter the sacrifice.
Gun control kills people.
I am very proud of this kid, it took guts to say what he did. And it only took that useless dickhead “commander in chief” of ours a week to come out and spew completely contrived words about this tragedy. He didn’t mean a single word of it.
He might very well destroyed his career, but you know what? Being able to look yourself in the mirror and be proud of what you see is a hell of a lot more important than a set of railroad tracks.
If LtCol Bateman’s vile spewings haven’t ended his career, this Lt should have nothing to worry about… and should certainly use it as a defense if it does.
Many of us feel exactly the same way. Lets hope that our leaders come to their senses and abolish “gun free zones” as the death traps they really are.