Bud Kennedy

Some good ‘Hero Guards,’ but are they all noble?

Jerry Blakeney, right, and Tyler Pinkston of Operation Hero Guard protect a U.S. military recruiting station in Cleburne.
Jerry Blakeney, right, and Tyler Pinkston of Operation Hero Guard protect a U.S. military recruiting station in Cleburne. The Dallas Morning News via AP

Volunteers guard our military recruiting stations.

But who’s guarding Texas from the guards?

A leader of Cleburne-based Operation Hero Guard says his group allows only licensed security guards or handgun permittees to defend the unarmed recruiters after the deadly attack in Chattanooga, Tenn.

But I don’t get that sense of safety from Tyler, where a local militia took up posts at the station to help its own recruiting.

In Cleburne, Hero Guard volunteer Terry Jackson, 50, of Rio Vista, an Army veteran, said he is careful about who joins his group, which still watches the Cleburne station after turning Burleson and Mansfield over to other agencies or volunteers.

“We’ve had a lot of guys come around with no background — no military experience, no security license, no CHL [concealed handgun license],” Jackson said Tuesday by phone.

“If you stand out there with them awhile, you just get the feeling something’s not quite right.”

He tells them he’ll call if they’re needed.

You wonder where those guys go. And if they wind up in front of another recruiting station.

Jackson did check out Jerry Blakeney, 43, of Grandview, one of the Hero Guard volunteers quoted in reports around the world.

According to Parker County records, in 1996 a 24-year-old Blakeney pleaded guilty to a Class B gun misdemeanor involving stray shots fired during a deer hunt. It was dismissed after he paid $372 in fines, leaving him fully eligible for security work.

“That shouldn’t matter,” he said Tuesday, “because I’m out here protecting the troops. I’m not here deer hunting.”

He’s more than atoned for any mistake.

But in Tyler, the commander of the so-called 423rd Texas Light Foot Militia told a TV station that his group volunteered for the “public exposure.”

That’s being a promoter, not a patriot.

Bud Kennedy’s column appears Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays. 817-390-7538

Twitter: @BudKennedy

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