‘I think it is an abomination’: Glenn reacts to the shooting at Fort Hood

Three people were killed and 16 others wounded in a shooting at Fort Hood Army base in Texas on Wednesday. The suspected shooter, who has been identified by several news organizations as 34-year-old Specialist Ivan Lopez, is also dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Lopez served in Iraq in 2011. According to the AP, a Ft. Hood official says he was at the Army base to be assessed for whether he had PTSD.

The shooting, which is being described as “soldier-on-soldier” violence, comes four and half years after Army Maj. Nidal Hasan opened fire at Ft. Hood killing 13 people and six months after Department of Defense contractor Aaron Alexis opened fire at the Washington Navy Yard. On radio this morning, Glenn chose to focus on the state of our military and the support (or lack thereof) it receives. Glenn believes it is absolutely imperative to overturn the policy that forbids most military personnel from carrying firearms on military bases.

“I was in the movie theater yesterday and somebody taps me on the shoulder and says, ‘Mr. Beck, did you hear about the Fort Hood shooting?’ And so I walk out in the lobby and get the news, and my first thought is not about the shooter, not about terror… it was solely about the victims and all of the people at Fort Hood,” Glenn said on radio this morning. “My first thought was: Have they killed the guy? Have they stopped it? What else has to happen to our soldiers? What else has to happen to Fort Hood?”

While many believe the unarming of our bases came under former President Bill Clinton’s administration, a report from TheBlaze’s Oliver Darcy last fall discovered the policy was actually enacted in February 1992 by Donald J. Atwood. Atwood served as deputy secretary of defense under President George H. W. Bush. The directive appears to have been reissued in April 2011 by Deputy Secretary of Defense William J. Lynn III.

Department of Defense Directive 5210.56 states that it is a "DoD Policy" to “limit and control the carrying of firearms by DoD military and civilian personnel.”

Furthermore, it says “the authorization to carry firearms shall be issued only to qualified personnel when there is a reasonable expectation that life or DoD assets will be jeopardized if firearms are not carried.”

With that in mind, Glenn passionately explained how vital it is to provide our servicemen and women with the resources they need. We have left too many of these people out to dry, and Glenn laid out the two things “our forces need”: Our respect and support and the right to keep and bear arms.

1. Support and respect

“Our forces need… respect when they come home… We're paying for people who refuse to work, who hate the damn country. We are giving all kinds of services to people who aren't even here legally,” Glenn said exasperatedly. “And yet the people who put on our uniform and go out and fight a war… we don't help them get well. When they come back, we say, ‘Go to Fort Hood. We'll look into it.’ Then you are kind of lost in the shuffle. Nobody even knew who this guy was.”

Over the last several months, Glenn has been working with some of the brightest minds in the field at the Carrick Brain Center in Dallas to help manage his own chronic pain. He has witnessed firsthand the incredible services they offer, but are our soldiers able to seek out that same type of care?

“I'm doing work right now with the Carrick Brain Center here in Dallas, Texas… These guys are absolutely incredible… I have gone to the best doctors in the world… nobody has an answer. I go to these guys, boom. They have an answer for me,” Glenn explained. “Why are they working on a schlep like me when they should be working on our soldiers… Don't we owe it to them? We give them the VA. Would you want your kid sitting in the VA? Do you know anything about the VA?”

2. The right to bear arms

“The other thing our troops need, besides the love and medical attention that they deserve (paid for by us)… is a gun. I know we can disagree on whether or not guys like me should have a gun, but… they have a right to defend themselves," Glenn said. "I don't understand a country that disarms the military… You can trust them in a snap decision walking in the streets in some other country… but you can't trust them to carry a gun in our own country? It's insane.”

While it would be nice to think so much has changed since the return of the Vietnam War veterans in the 1960s, there is no two ways about it: We are still not providing our veterans with the care they need. Glenn encouraged his listeners to call their senators and representatives and demand the overturning of DoD Directive 5210.56.

“I think it is an abomination, quite honestly. I think it is a real, true abomination what this country is doing, and I refuse to put my name on it. I stand firmly in defense of the military. I stand firmly in their right to keep and bear arms,” Glenn concluded. “Which one of us is insane? Those on the military base or those in Washington that say, ‘Well, we have to disarm the Army’? By the way, it's not just those in Washington. It is all of us. We need to tell our representatives in Congress and in the Senate and in the White House. You need to call today and say: Enough is enough.”

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If you are interested in doing your part to support active military members and veterans - including those affected by the recent Fort Hood shooting, those suffering from PTSD, and those who have been otherwise injured serving our country - consider donating to the Mercury One Active Duty/Veterans Support Fund.

Learn more about the fund HERE.

The themes of healing and redemption appear throughout the Bible.

Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. — 1 Corinthians 15:43
It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners. — Mark 2:17.

So, for many Christians, it's no surprise to hear that people of faith live longer lives.

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise. — Jeremiah 17:14.

But it is certainly lovely to hear, and a recent study by a doctoral student at Ohio State University is just one more example of empirical evidence confirming the healing benefits of faith and religious belief.

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Moreover, the study finds that religious belief can lengthen a person's life.

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. — Proverbs 17:22
Lord, your discipline is good, for it leads to life and health. You restore my health and allow me to live! — Isaiah 38:16

The study analyzed over 1,000 obituaries nationwide and found that people of faith lived longer than people who were not religious. Laura Wallace, lead author of the study, noted that "religious affiliation had nearly as strong an effect on longevity as gender does, which is a matter of years of life."

The study notes that, "people whose obits mentioned a religious affiliation lived an average of 5.64 years longer than those whose obits did not, which shrunk to 3.82 years after gender and marital status were considered."

And He called to Him His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction. — Matthew 10:1

"The researchers found that part of the reason for the boost in longevity came from the fact that many religiously affiliated people also volunteered and belonged to social organizations, which previous research has linked to living longer. The study provides persuasive evidence that there is a relationship between religious participation and how long a person lives," said Baldwin Way, co-author of the study and associate professor of psychology at Ohio State.

Prayer is good medicine, and faith is a good protector.

In addition, the study showed how the effects of religion on longevity might depend in part on the personality and average religiosity of the cities where people live, Way said.

Prayer is good medicine, and faith is a good protector.

And the power of the Lord was with him to heal. — Luke 5:17
Heal the sick in it and say to them, The kingdom of God has come near to you. — Luke 10:9.

In early June, the Social Security and Medicare trustees released their annual report on the fiscal health of these programs, and the situation looks dire. Medicare is scheduled to run out of money in 2026 (three years sooner than anticipated), while Social Security is expected to run out in 2034. The rising national debt is only one of the well-known financial struggles the millennial generation faces. The burdens of student loan debt, high housing prices (thanks to zoning restrictions), stagnant wage growth, the rising cost of healthcare and lingering aftershocks of the Great Recession are among the biggest sources of economic anxiety millennials feel.

Progressive politicians have been very successful at courting the youth vote, partly because they actually promote policy ideas that address many of these concerns. As unrealistic or counterproductive as Senator Bernie Sanders' proposals for single-payer health care or a $15 an hour minimum wage might be, they feel in theory like they would provide the economic stability and prosperity millennials want.

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Republicans, on the other hand, have struggled to craft a message to address these concerns. Fiscal conservatives recognize, correctly, that the burden of the $20 trillion national debt and over $200 trillion in unfunded liabilities will fall on millennials. Some conservatives have even written books about that fact. But the need to reform entitlements hasn't exactly caught millennials' attention. Pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson, in her book The Selfie Vote, notes that millennials generally view protecting the safety net as more important than reducing the deficit.

Clearly, Republicans have a problem. They need to craft solutions that address the millennial generation's struggles, but they can't seem to sell entitlement reform, their biggest policy preference that addresses those problems. The Republican approach to wooing millennials on policy is failing because talking about stopping the debt from reaching an unsustainable level is long-term and abstract, and offers few immediate tangible benefits. A new approach to both pave the way for entitlement reform and give millennials an immediate financial boost is to first reform not entitlement spending, but the payroll tax: specifically, by partially (or wholly) replacing it with a value-added tax.

Under the current Social Security model, workers pay for the benefits of current retirees through the payroll tax. This system creates the illusion of a pension program, in which what you put in is what you get out, but in reality Social Security is a universal safety net program for the elderly paid for by taxes. The payroll tax falls on workers and is a tax on labor, while the value-added tax (VAT) is a tax on consumption imposed at every part of the production process. Assuming that this policy change is revenue-neutral, switching to a VAT will shift the responsibility for funding Social Security and Medicare away from workers, disproportionately poorer and younger, and onto everyone participating in the economy as a whole. Furthermore, uncoupling Social Security funding from payroll taxes would pave the way for fiscal reforms to transform the program from a universal benefit program to one geared specifically to eliminating old-age poverty, such as means-testing benefits for high-income beneficiaries, indexing benefits to prices rather than wages or changing the retirement age.

Switching from the payroll tax to the VAT would address both conservative and liberal tax policy preferences.

Switching from the payroll tax to the VAT would address both conservative and liberal tax policy preferences. As the Tax Policy Center notes, the change would actually make the tax system more progressive. The current payroll tax is regressive, meaning that people with lower incomes tend to pay a higher effective tax rate than people with higher incomes. On the other hand, the value-added tax is much closer to proportional than the payroll tax, meaning that each income group pays closer to the same effective tax rate.

For Republicans, such a change would fit conservative economic ideas about the long-run causes of economic growth. A value-added tax has a much broader base than the payroll tax, and therefore would allow for much lower marginal tax rates, and lower marginal tax rates mean smaller disincentives to economic activity. According to the Tax Foundation's analysis of a value-added tax, the VAT would be a more economically efficient revenue source than most other taxes currently in the tax code.

Not only would replacing part or all of the payroll tax provide an immediate benefit to millennial taxpayers, it would also open the door for the much-needed entitlement reforms that have been so politically elusive. Furthermore, it would make the tax code both more pro-growth and less regressive. In order to even begin to address the entitlement crisis, win millennial support and stimulate the economy in a fiscally responsible manner, Republicans must propose moving from the payroll tax to the VAT.

Alex Muresianu is a Young Voices Advocate. His writing has appeared in Townhall and The Federalist. He is a federal policy intern at the Tax Foundation. Opinions expressed here are his only and not the views of the Tax Foundation. He can be found on Twitter @ahardtospell.

Glenn was joined by Alanna Sarabia from "Good Morning Texas" at Mercury Studios on Thursday for an exclusive look at Mercury Museum's new "Rights & Responsibilities" exhibit. Open through Father's Day, the temporary museum features artifacts from pop culture, America's founding, World Ward II and more, focusing on the rights and responsibilities America's citizens.

Get tickets and more information here.

Watch as Glenn gives a sneak peek at some of the unique artifacts on display below.

History at the Mercury Museum

Alanna Sarabia interviews Glenn Beck for "Good Morning Texas" at Mercury Studios.

Several months ago, at the Miss Universe competition, two women took a selfie, then posted it on Instagram. The caption read, "Peace and love." As a result of that selfie, both women faced death threats, and one of the women, along with her entire family, had to flee her home country. The occasion was the 2017 Miss Universe competition, and the women were Miss Iraq and Miss Israel. Miss Iraq is no longer welcome in her own country. The government threatened to strip her of her crown. Of course, she was also badgered for wearing a bikini during the competition.

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In an interview, Miss Iraq, Sarah Idan, said:

When I posted the picture I didn't think for a second there would be blowback. I woke up to calls from my family and the Miss Iraq Organization going insane. The death threats I got online were so scary. The director of the Miss Iraq Organization called me and said they're getting heat from the ministry. He said I have to take the picture down or they will strip me of my title.

Yesterday, Miss Iraq, Sarah Idan, posted another selfie with Miss Israel, during a visit to Jerusalem.

In an interview, she said that:

I don't think Iraq and Israel are enemies; I think maybe the governments are enemies with each other. There's a lot of Iraqi people that don't have a problem with Israelis.

This is, of course, quite an understatement: Iraq, home to roughly 15,000 Palestinians, refuses to acknowledge Israel as a legitimate country, as it is technically at war with Israel. The adages says that a picture is worth a thousand words. What are we to do when many of those words are hateful or deadly? And how can we find the goodness in such bad situations?