An Insider's View of the Fort Hood Tragedy


Yesterday, a shooter opened fire on America's largest Army base, killing 13 and injuring many more. As of this morning, 27 people were still in the hospital. The alleged shooter, Maj. Hasan Nidal Malik, was at first reported dead. Since then, it's been confirmed that he survived and is in custody.

The media, obviously, has been all over this. But one reporter--and a journalism school buddy of mine--Amanda Kim Stairrett, knows Fort Hood and the impact this incident has had on the Base better than most. Amanda Kim is the military editor at the Killeen Daily Herald. Her office is just down the road from the Fort's main entrance and she's been covering military news for more than four years, since before she graduated college. Fort Hood is her beat and this community is a central part of her life.

I called Amanda Kim this morning to get her perspective on the shooting and its aftermath. In our interview, she talked about the confusion that followed the shooting, the history of violence at Fort Hood, the way media circus impacts soldiers' families, and why she won't do speculative reporting.

I'm glad to hear you're alright after yesterday. What was your personal experience during the incident? Were you on base to cover the graduation ceremony where the shooting began?
Amanda Kim Stairrett: We weren't actually on base when this happened. Our cops reporter was listening to the radio and heard some commotion, which included the term "mass casualty." Usually, when we hear that, it's in reference to training exercises. But there wasn't one planned, so he hopped in the car and drop to Post with a photog. They got there, and got inside the gate, just before it was closed down to the media. We were the only news agency with a reporter and photog on Post. I got there just after the gate was closed. At first, there were only three local media outlets at the main entrance. Less than an hour though and the swarm began. The last news conference was around 9:30 last night, but we reporters stayed there at the gate overnight. I was there, but this has very much been a group effort at our paper. Everything we cover--schools, business--it's all been touched by this.

Do you know whether there was just the one shooter? Early reports were talking about three or four people involved.
AKS: We have confirmed that he did act alone. In the chaos and confusion after shortly after the incident there were three other people apprehended. And it was chaotic. The cell phone towers got stuffed up pretty quick and there wasn't a lot of clear information on what was going on, even on base. Those other three people, we got a little word last night that they were around the scene, or running away from it, and may have drawn attention to themselves somehow. They've all been released now.

I've heard that the alleged shooter was a therapist for other soldiers. Is that true?
AKS: Yes, I confirmed that last night, going through army records, that he was a medical soldier. And we got confirmation that he was a psychiatrist this morning. That would mean he's somebody who went through medical school and then joined the Army. Typically, those people are commissioned as officers because they're doctors. I don't know who specifically he treated, but we know he treated soldiers with mental health issues, talking with them to help them mentally prepare for deployment, and helping them work through issues after they return. It's a rough job. I haven't gotten to talk to other Army therapists yet, though, so I don't know how the mental health community is reacting to this.

What can you tell me about the recent history of violence at Fort Hood. There was a murder/suicide last fall and I've read some reporting on rising suicide rates at the Fort, as well.
AKS: I covered the murder suicide. It's still under question what the motives there were. But maybe one common thread that leaders have talked about is the stress of multiple deployments. Since those things happened, they've done a lot to make programs available for stress reduction and preparing soldiers before things get out of hand.

Is violence on Post even a reasonable thing for me to be asking about? Like, if this were a similarly sized town, would anyone think the rate of violence was high? Or try to connect these incidents to one another? AKS: It's an interesting issue. What officials do emphasize is that they have 50,000 soldiers on Post and 20,000 are currently deployed. It is a community, and it's a representation of society. The trends in violence are similar. In fact, with suicides, what really concerned everyone was that, for years, the Army suicide rate used to be below the suicide rate for the general population. The alarm was set off here because we started closing in on the national average suicide rate, not because we were so far above it.

I know one of the hardest jobs for a beat reporter is having to go talk to families of recently deceased. Have you had to do that yet? How do you deal with that part of the job?
AKS: They haven't released the names of victims in this incident yet. We do know that one was a civilian and the rest were soldiers. And we know they're about 90% done with casualty notification of families. Once they finish that, there will be a short wait and then they'll release names. I have had to talk to spouses who have lost a soldier in combat and it never gets easier. I sometimes feel that the media and the public are a little less cautious of a sensitive situation when it involves a soldier. Like soldiers are community property and it's OK to be a more forward. I've talked to a 27-year-old woman who lost her husband four years ago. They were from a very small town and it was huge news. She talked about things like being in her parents backyard, talking on the phone, and there would be photographers almost stalking her over the fence. Trying to go through that situation while being a mother was very hard on her. We've always had a policy that if a spouse loses a soldier in combat, our door is open for them. We don't hound them and go to their door. We just make it known that if they want to talk about their soldier they can talk to us.

Besides the families, people really want to know more about the alleged shooter himself. What are you seeing in this coverage?
AKS: A lot of the news organizations are very much wanting to push his religion. Him being Muslim and the impact of that on the incident itself. We don't have anything with that confirmed yet, so I've been really hesitant to say that that played a big part in the incident. We did had a reporter who was at the shooter's off-Post apartment and talked to neighbors. They said he was outspoken about being Muslim and had a lot of pride in his faith. But right now, I've stayed away from saying whether that played a hand in the shooting. I don't know if it's a big problem that people are speculating. I think it's first instinct. But I don't know why new organizations are so prominently featuring surveillance footage of him in a convenience store in traditional clothing. They're building this background in case it turns out that his religion did come into this. But we just don't know right now. And we're not willing to go that route with our reporting at this time.

What's your take on the speculation that's running rampant on TV news with this incident, in general? How does that compare to the actual facts that you know?
AKS: It's been interesting. Very early after the incident yesterday, I was pretty amazed to stand by and listen to, mostly, TV reporters go on air and speculate and report on rumors they'd heard. Whereas, our newspaper is right next to Fort Hood. We have a close relationship and it's always been our policy where we find that it's best to wait for correct information rather than to speculate. Because there's a large family population that isn't necessarily on Post, and don't know what's going on. It's a dangerous situation to get those people worried and worked up for reasons that maybe aren't correct. It's been really frustrating to see all the speculation. I've even been avoiding watching the TV coverage too closely, because I don't want the speculation to accidentally influence what I write.

Image taken at Fort Hood last year, during a visit by former Vice President Dick Cheney. Image taken for U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Nicole Kojetin.


  1. I noticed last night that the TV news was strongly pushing the Muslim angle, while newspapers weren’t touching that yet. That’s so stupid. If, when this is all over, it’s accepted that his faith had nothing to do with this, will anyone remember that? No, they’ll remember remember all the TV hype and jingoism, and remember that all Muslims seek to infiltrate the US Army to kill people.

      1. Then report it when its confirmed. Speculation on the other hand often leads to misinformation, and that misinformation can have harmful effects.

  2. If this doesn’t fit the definition of “terrorism” (ahem, of course I mean the administration’s new definition “man-caused disaster,” then what is it?

    1. Depends. Do you consider those responsible for the Columbine and Virginia Tech massacres to be terrorists?

  3. First thing I did was went and looked up Wikipedia, and the Fort Hood page had been updated with the shooting news. I then went and looked up the shooter’s name – Malik Nadal Hasan. While reading that I tried to do a role play for myself.

    Suppose I was a Christian in some country like, I don’t know, Namibia or something. Suppose I had been born and brought up there but ever since a band of fanatic Christians bombed some downtown building, killing many of my countrymen, I had been heckled and taunted about my faith; despite me having joined the Army to serve and protect my country.

    Now, suppose, Namibia decides to start waging war on The Vatican. I would obviously feel disturbed. Maybe very disturbed.

    Now, suppose, my country decides to post me in that Army zone!

    I’ve loved my country ever since I was born. I consider myself a Namibian. But I’m also a Christian. I decide I don’t want to fight. I ask for a discharge from the Army. It’s refused.

    I wonder what I would do.

    I would ask myself many questions – What is identity? What is my identity? What is faith? Is faith in God higher than a faith in one’s own country? Is my pledge to serve, protect and die for my own country not enough for it?

    Is it a betrayal by something (someone) I hold so dear?

    I really wonder what I would do.

    1. I can definitely get behind the idea and questions of your post, but personally I think you really only have a couple of options at this point:

      -You believe that fighting for your country is the right “choice” and you go where you are told to go.


      -You place your religion and whatever beliefs go with that before your country and service that you signed up for and you make the choice not to go. There will be consequences, which in theory were explained to you when you signed up, and you accept them.

      And hey, maybe there are more options here, too, but I can’t really say that going around shooting people is a good alternative. :/

    2. Hopefully you wouldn’t start murdering innocent people.

      Maybe you’d post more single, ominous sentences in a cheap play for melodrama in your posts.

      But hopefully not try to justify mass murder.

      Hopefully not.


  4. Since when did “gunman” become “shooter” in these kinds of stories? Everyone is saying “shooter” – never heard that before except in reference to video games.

  5. It sounds to me like it would be a good idea for all US military psychiatrists, psychologists and other military mental health caregivers to be evaluated for signs of secondary PTSD.

  6. Speaking from experience as a news reporter, you slowly gain the ability of being able to ask people questions in any situation. It is hard at first and there is a lot of tension, but after a while it becomes easier to go up to families and talk to them after hard situations. I remember a few stories where I interviewed families that just had another family member die in a car crash or house fire. I mean I’m talking to the family member while their kid is burning in the house or something like that. One time I had to interview a grandfather while rescue workers looked for his grandson’s body in a frozen lake. Part of a reporter’s job is to be objective, which means not getting sucked into the emotions of the situation – not to say that you’re not affected by the event – but it is not your job to be emotional about the event. Your job it to report objectively about what happened, convey the emotions of those associated with the event, and be as fair and objective about the situation as possible. At least in print journalism. I don’t know what those broadcast crazies do.

  7. Everyone seems to be missing the real point. We need to stop arming psychiatrists. Those people are batshit crazy.

  8. Plus most Christians don’t revere the vatican. It’s a tortured analogy; Islam really is unique in a lot of ways. And while the Old Testament is pretty bloody, let’s not forget that Jesus was more of a philosopher, whereas Muhammed is very much a warlord. Sure, they both have a touch of “shall not suffer a witch to live”, but the Christians have a lot of “turn the other cheek” and “let he who is without sin cast the first stone”, while Islam really pushes the jihad and violence pretty hard.

    I’m not saying Christians are flawless- they’re pretty flawed. But if you’re an unbalanced crazy person already, there are a lot more bad influences and violent commandments in Islam, and a lot fewer mitigating influences.

    I know we’re at war with “Terror”, and not at war with “Islam”. But I wish people would stop being so PC and admit that we’re really at war with “Some of Islam”. When it gets down to head counts, shots fired, etc, that’s what’s really going on. :-(

    1. “we’re really at war with “Some of Islam””

      We’re also at war with “some of christianity”. The Qur’an doesn’t have more potential than the Bibel to make people do horrible stuff.

      1. “The Qur’an doesn’t have more potential than the Bible to make people do horrible stuff”

        In nations where Christianity is the dominant religion, women sometimes can’t get abortions and gays aren’t allowed to marry.

        In nations where Islam is the dominant religion, women sometimes can’t drive, vote, or own property and gays aren’t allowed to keep their heads attached to their necks.

        Yep, they’re both pretty horrible.

        1. Delusion comes in every flavor, if you’re going to tolerate one, logic dictates you tolerate the others too. Islam isn’t crazier than Christianity, that’s all I’m saying.

    2. What about the “turn the other cheek” verses and teachings in the Quran and Islam? Oh yeah, that’s right, you were planning on ignoring them. Carry on.

      1. “turn the other cheek” is a description of approaching authority from a position of equal standing. in the ancient time that this phrase was written, to hit a servant the master would use the back of the hand. to turn the other cheek is an act of defiance. it could be considered an act that demands many things, each for us to decide. for example, welcoming another blow, resisting the strike of an undeserving authority…

    3. Christianity isn’t better than Islam. The Calvinists believe in predestination & the Select, that is, God from the Beginning knows who is going to hell & who isn’t. So if someone isn’t a Christian or the correct sort of Christian, they are Damned, & it doesn’t matter what you do to them. They’re going to Hell, & you are not. This was part of the thinking of the Boers which lead to apartheid, & it’s why American capitalism can be real rough edged at times.

  9. I’m always bemused by the usage “alleged shooter” in a case like this.

    By comparison, if a body turns up in a ditch today, and after six weeks of detective work the cops point the finger at me, it’s entirely appropriate to call me the “alleged killer”.

    I seriously doubt that if this man stands trial, his defense will be that the real shooter was someone else.

    1. Here’s the thing:

      Even if you’re found holding the gun, you’re still innocent until proven guilty. I say “alleged” because I’m not a jury of the dude’s peers. And even if common sense says he’s guilty, I don’t have the right to take “innocent until proven guilty” away from him.

      1. If I walk into a crowded room and shoot several people before being apprehended on the spot, I may well be found to not be a “murderer”. But there is no way I am not the “shooter”.

    2. There are a few important reasons to use “alleged”. As someone has already pointed out, journalists wrongly believe this protects them from libel action in case of a mistake. And it is a shorthand which is best avoided, as we’re taught in J school. We should report who said he’s the killer rather than calling him an alleged killer. A lot of that goes by the wayside in headline writing, and of course in broadcast where the average sentence length is paltry.

      More significantly, we should pay more than just lip service to “innocent until proven guilty” for a variety of reasons. The first and foremost reason is to uphold that principle — we shouldn’t let our guard down just because we’re sure we know what happened in a particular case. Another very important reason is to ensure that if this man is brought to trial, the proceedings are not marred by sloppy prosecution. We wouldn’t be happy if his case was overturned on appeal because the facts had not been sufficient established.

      And the world is a messy place. This case may be clear, but there will be lots and lots of cases where one person is absolutely convinced he knows what happened, while cameras and other witnesses may tell conflicting stories.

  10. I understand what you are getting at but I think your analogy is a bit off in one very important way, and your comparison to fighting insurgents in Iraq or Afghanistan to “waging war on the Vatican” is a very ham-fisted one. The US has not “declared war on Islam”.

    However, I think your analogy is apt enough to defend news outlets for covering the Muslim angle. His faith may have little to do with why he snapped but I don’t know how, in light of the wars we are currently fighting, it can be completely ignored. I would be lying if one of the first questions that popped into my head when I heard the shooter’s name was the question: is there any possibility this is terrorism related? After all, something this tragic has never happened before on a US military base.

  11. I think Stairret makes some good insights here, and I’m happy to hear about her rather no-BS approach to reporting. The big networks could certainly use a heavy dose of her attitude– hell, even BB could, from time to time.

  12. Notary– I think that if you gave Christians as much power as the religitards have in other nations, you’d find the results fairly similar. My guess is that some cultural element unique to Western society prevented this from happening, rather than your concept of one religion being somehow less potentially dangerous than the other.

    1. “some cultural element unique to Western society”

      I think that cultural element is the separation of church and state.

      And when you look at countries that have established that principle, you find majority Christian countries, majority Buddhist countries, majority Jewish countries, majority animist countries, but a pretty scant list of majority Islamic countries.

      1. And when you look at countries that have established that principle, you find majority Christian countries, majority Buddhist countries, majority Jewish countries, majority animist countries, but a pretty scant list of majority Islamic countries.

        So what? If you look at western colonialist countries and see they were all Christian countries, it doesn’t mean that Christianity has more potential to cause colonialism than Islam.

  13. We certainly have had our share of mass shootings in this country, but the common thread among them wasn’t Islam, it was crazy.

  14. My thanks go out to all of you who commented for keeping this discussion civil and, most importantly, extremely thought-provoking despite the horror of this tragedy. You all are shining examples of what intelligent discourse is about!

  15. Notary, please grind your ax somewhere else. Hasan is an American, he grew up in Virginia, so your arguments don’t fit this case. Yes, he is a Muslim, but the evidence overwhelmingly suggests that he had psychological issues. Crazy people come from everywhere, so the emphasis should be on his personality, not his religion.

  16. Hi! I live in the State of Vermont where there is a high ratio of people in the military.

    As a non-military citizen, I have two questions:

    #1 (a)
    Why does the military take medical doctors who have already graduated from a medical school outside the military, and give them a military title when they have no military training?
    (b) Why, when the military is always saying something like: “join us and we’ll give you a college education”;
    WHY isn’t the military taking people from their GED re-certification testing (necessary because high schools in the U.S.A. socially promote kids who can’t read), and putting soldiers through college and then through medical school and engineering masters degrees, etc.?

    (2) (a) Have you researched the suicide rate for professions like pshyciatry and psychology in comparison to other professions?
    (b) Isn’t it true that psychiatrists and psychologists have, as an occupational group, one of the highest suicide rates in the U.S.A.? Isn’t shooting someone else in a civilian situation, an act of suicide, because if you shoot someone else you are most likely to be shot?

    Cris Ericson, Vermont

  17. Strictly speaking, I don’t think this is terrorism. Terrorism is violence aimed at civilians to change policies. This would fall into “going postal” or “treason” depending on the motivation of the gunman/shooter.

  18. One thing is clear. There were a lot of warning signals that he was a potential problem, and they were ignored. Is that because the government/military/whoever is really bad at troubleshooting or because the baseline level of crazy is so high that nobody even notices?

    1. I’d guess it’s because the negative consequences to an individual of calling them out as a potential “problem” in a way that might prevent such an event (and the not trivial possibility of getting sued because of it) means that most people are unwilling to risk ruining a persons life (and potentially incurring legal troubles for themselves) over their suspicions that there is a problem. I’ve thought a number of people were fairly borderline crazy over the years, and to my knowledge none of them have ever killed anyone, let alone committed mass murder.

  19. Innocent until proven guilty is for people with some connection to his legal proceedings. I’m not one of them.

    Alleged is for lazy journalists who think (incorrectly) that this will somehow protect them from a libel suit if they are wrong. I’ve occasionally been one of them.

  20. If the suspect had been heard to yell In the Name of Jesus as he fired, would this thread be filled with concerned people saying “Well, Muslims kill a lot of people, too”? What have Christians to do with this particular crime?

    Honestly, it’s ONE MAN, a sick man, an American who may or may not have killed for religious reasons. If he did yell Allahu Akbar while firing, how can that not be reported or not speak to his state of mind? Did he mean In the Name of Allah I Kill the Infidels? Was it just his way of saying Geronimo! while firing? Who knows?

    Time will reveal the facts. But this pre-emptive “Christians are just as bad” crap reads like a bigoted diversion from what is actually behind this rampage – whatever that turns out to be.

  21. Aside from the religious issues and what-not, this does at least settle one issue. After the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007, I recall a fair number of gun fans argued that it wouldn’t have happened if only there’d been more guns on the campus (so somebody could have shot him sooner).

    So now we’ve had somebody run amok in the middle of what is probably the largest assembly of gun-carrying humans in the world and he still managed to kill a dozen of them.

    Obviously there have to be guns on a military base, and the Virginia Tech guy killed 30 rather than 13, but… just saying. that’s all.

    1. ummm…you do realize that the reason this guy killed 13 rather than 30+ is that someone there with a gun shot him, don’t you? I’m not sure what point you are trying to make here.

    2. Contrary to what you may think, most military personnel outside a combat zone don’t walk around armed. This is in fact the case here. All of the people shot and killed were unarmed.

      As pointed out by a poster, the killer was shot by an armed person, a cop. This pretext doesn’t fit your scenario.

  22. Now that we know (from objective reporting) the killer yelled, “Allah Akbar” before shooting, was disenchanted with being sent to a war zone in Islamic countries, considered current conflicts a “war on Islam”, considered himself Palestinian rather than American, Muslim first, American second, was placed on probation for proselytizing about Islam to patients and colleagues and was sufficiently devout that he refused to have his picture taken with women; he once used a lecture at a medical conference as an opportunity to discuss how the Koran orders decapitation for infidels…you get the picture…let me ask some questions in all seriousness…

    If this guy sat up in his bed tomorrow and said, “I did it because I hate Fridays”, do you really believe that religion had nothing to do with it?

    Even if the reflexive argument here that “Christianity is just as bad as Islam” were true, how would that mitigate criticizing the blood thirsty history of Islam (convert or die), the blood thirsty evangelism of Islam (convert or die) or the bloodthirsty aims of Islamic-fascism (convert or die…and Sharia law!)? Why are “proper” thinking people so afraid to call this situation (and many others like this) what they are? Islamic terrorism, pure and simple.

    1. Islamic terrorism, pure and simple.

      To put it in context, the shooter’s car was vandalized by another soldier returning from Iraq, because it had a bumper sticker that said ‘Allah is Love’. To me, the knowledge that he was criminally harassed by his fellow military puts a different spin on it than “Islamic terrorism’. It sounds a lot closer to a revenge-motivated US campus shooting spree than to a religiously motivated Middle-eastern suicide bombing.

      1. Yeah…I hear you (I really do) but I just can’t get past all of the other factors, most chilling of which is the “Allah Akbar” right before the deeds. O’s razor demands a tight reading of the facts, I think.

        Given that, why wouldn’t he have said something more along the lines of “payback you b*******s”?

        1. There simply is no wave of muslim violence in this country, and it’s dangerous to give the idea there is or could be. This is another incidence of someone snapping and shooting up their workplace, which just happens to be an army base this time.

          The fact that the US has been at war in muslim countries for the better part of a decade and this is the only mass murder I can remember with any islamic ties of the many, many workplace shoootings we’ve had in the same decade like this says far more about the muslim community in this country than this incident does, to my mind.

        2. I just can’t get past all of the other factors, most chilling of which is the “Allah Akbar” right before the deeds.

          I’m reserving judgment. If a campus shooter was wearing a swastika, we probably wouldn’t characterize the shooting as a Nazi attack. We’d call him a psychopath who was obsessed with Nazi ideology. This story seems much more complex and personal than a terrorist event.

  23. religion/particular circumstances notwithstanding, it’s difficult for me to fathom how fundamentally ANGRY a person must be to set out on a mission to murder their peers en masse. i’m fascinated and revolted trying to conceive the interior of that mindstate. i hope that makes me sane and not just naive.

  24. “Author Profile Page SteveNZ | #37 | 16:26 on Fri, Nov. 6 | Reply

    Aside from the religious issues and what-not, this does at least settle one issue. After the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007, I recall a fair number of gun fans argued that it wouldn’t have happened if only there’d been more guns on the campus (so somebody could have shot him sooner).

    So now we’ve had somebody run amok in the middle of what is probably the largest assembly of gun-carrying humans in the world and he still managed to kill a dozen of them.

    Obviously there have to be guns on a military base, and the Virginia Tech guy killed 30 rather than 13, but… just saying. that’s all.”

    From the news reports I read, most soldiers in military bases are not allowed firearms, even sidearms unless training, or some other reason. AFAIK the shooting location was a line or something where the soldiers were not carrying firearms. If he had picked a location where the soldiers already had guns like say the firing range or maybe the airport where fully kitted soldiers are lining up to board a plane to a war zone, THEN people would be firing back. Of course we need confirmation from actual soldiers

    The fact that a civilian police officer was probably the only one to shoot him means that the soldiers he shot were not carrying weapons. He probably knew that so he picked that location.

    MYTH BUSTED my friend!!!

  25. In answer to what would I do, the Vatican is not God, neither is Afghanistan, or Iraq. You have to ask yourself is a war you are asked to fight just? The United States does not fight against religions, it fights against security threats. So ask yourself if the war you are asked to fight is against a security threat to your country.

  26. “If a campus shooter was wearing a swastika, we probably wouldn’t characterize the shooting as a Nazi attack.”

    Your observation is correct for 2009, when only the likes of Mike Malloy’s audience truly believe Naziism is alive and well.

    Had the attack taken place in 1943, when Goebbels’ madrassas were preaching hate of “Rosenfeld’s America”, the view could easily have been different.

    1. Had the attack taken place in 1943, when Goebbels’ madrassas were preaching hate of “Rosenfeld’s America”, the view could easily have been different.

      I’m not sure that I want to return to the mindset that created Japanese internment camps in the US.

      1. “I’m not sure that I want to return to the mindset…”

        That wasn’t quite the issue I was raising. I’m trying to figure out how to distinguish an act of a lone nutcase from the act of someone schooled in an ideology opposed to the core values of the United States.

        Now if you want to assume that it’s -always- the former and -never- the latter, that’s entirely your prerogative, as long as you are consistent.

        By which I mean that if someone shoots up a bus station and is later found to have a bookcase packed with the works of Glenn Back and Ann Coulter, there should be no ideological motive attributed there, either.

  27. So we see Mr. Haji was true and faithful, though not very effective, to his Islamic front beliefs and direction. Simultaneously he was treasonous to his US Army oath, which among other things asks ‘Do you now or have you ever advocated the overthrow of the United States by force or violence?’ Now what should we do about the other 3999 Muslim soldiers wearing a US Army uniform? Working on US Army bases?

  28. So we see Mr. Haji was true and faithful, though not very effective, to his Islamic front beliefs and direction. Simultaneously he was treasonous to his US Army oath, which among other things asks ‘Do you now or have you ever advocated the overthrow of the United States by force or violence?’ Now what should we do about the other 3999 Muslim soldiers wearing a US Army uniform? Working on US Army bases?

    Hmmm, I don’t know, how about “Treat them like the citizens and individuals they are and afford them the rights given all citizens?”

    1. You can certainly be a Muslim and an American soldier at the same time.

      You can make statements supporting the other side in a war, as an American civilian.

      But you can’t make statements supporting the other side in a war, and expect to be an American soldier, at the same time.

      There appears to be some evidence that Hasan made such statements to fellow officers. If that evidence is clearly validated, then indeed the Army made a serious mistake by not discharging him.

      1. If you read the post, the question was what to do about “the other 3999 muslims in the Army”. What do you think, Notary?

        1. Like I said, you can be a Muslim and a soldier, no problem, I am fine with that.

          If you are a soldier (regardless of religion) and make statements supporting suicide bombers and sharia law (and yes, this is unconfirmed regarding Hasan at this time) the Army needs to show you the door, pronto.

  29. That’s my question, danlalan- I just read an article about the other 4000, maybe they’re there, maybe not…my only real concern is the two kids I have in uniform (and the third one considering things), readily identifiable wherever they go, working in a foreign country with the leadership openly advocating their death or destruction. I look at every day to read the news of whatever and whoever the suicide bombers blew up yesterday. We’re getting very far afield here from basic security and I have some basic concerns. Should we have muslims as only cooks and mechanics and not as radio operators or forward air controllers? Should they be officers and participate in planning missions or should they just be supply people? Should they fly aircraft? with or without weapons? with only conventional weapons or just tactical nukes <5MT? Are we that shorthanded? I'm over 55; I'll work!
    It was a nice day on 5 November down here; I was up in a civilian aircraft overflying the base, just sightseeing, when it was under attack, without a flight plan, below the CCZ; and we had no instructions to land while the largest base in North America was under attack by an unknown third party and Americans were being killed. Nobody else was grounded either. No air cover was scrambled. Now ain't that awful?

    1. What country are you from? In my country, everyone has the right, spelled out in the constitution, to hold whatever religious faith they see fit. Without discrimination.

      Osama bin Laden or whatever person you choose to pick no more represents all of Islam than Jim Jones or Pat Falwell represent all of Christianity. Your suggestion that we discriminate against individual citizens who have done nothing but happen to be Muslims because of the ideas espoused by the most radical sect under the umbrella of Islam is both odious and offensive.

  30. So we have the extremely sad case of a man unravelling under pressure and committing extremely heinous acts, and are trying to establish a timeline of circumstances and events that might explain a motive. Whether the motive was bogus or based upon fallacies or misperceptions of Maj Hasan is a separate issue to be worked on after establishment of the timeline and circumstances, IMO.

    I would posit we don’t have enough information yet to reach definitive conclusions about motivations. Do we have something like a timeline of events in his life leading up to this?

    Until that information is fully disclosed, I have only my own perceptions of Maj Hasan, the U.S. Army, Texas, the current GWOT, Islam and Religion In General etc.

    With that said, I would point out that my experience of walking around in central Texas dressed in non-standard couture used to elicit some very hostile responses, including having a shotgun aimed out the truck window at me. I have heard that he felt like he was picked on for wearing traditional Arab garb. Really? No Kidding, you’re in Texas, dude. Was it more hostile than a hackysack-kicking long-haired male wearer of tie-dyed Grateful Dead t-shirts and ripped-up jeans could expect to receive in East-Central Texas? And considering this, how would you weigh his reaction to it, comparatively, against our hacky-sacking hippie? Does it really have any impact or weight? I don’t cite the environment of the area as a cause or mitigating factor, as menacing as it might seem to some. But he had the choice of dressing in more standard attire, or even an Army uniform, which would have won him overwhelming acceptance from the surrounding community where ever he went. I’m curious why, when he had those options, he chose to present himself in, I would say, the most provocative manner possible, for that culture and area. Is dressing in that manner religious? Cultural? Sheer bloody-mindedness?

    That said, I only raise the issue of the cultural milieu so that it can be considered more as background noise or environment, so the signal of his possible motive could be more clearly discerned. I don’t place too much weight on the “pushed over the edge by harassment” meme as causative. Because lots of other people in that area have had to endure far worse.

    1. But he had the choice of dressing in more standard attire, or even an Army uniform, which would have won him overwhelming acceptance from the surrounding community where ever he went. I’m curious why, when he had those options, he chose to present himself in, I would say, the most provocative manner possible, for that culture and area.

      Do you also feel that Western women should wear full purdah in Muslim countries so that they don’t cause trouble with the locals?

      1. As to whether I would feel woman should wear full purdah; well, when in Rome etc. I am not familiar with what “full purdah” entails. But I notice that Western women reporters will wear scarves and tuck in their hair when reporting from Middle Eastern countries. And I don’t think wearing a bikini on a Saudi beach would be highly recommended by anyone. I don’t favor the accentuated reactions to non-western or non-traditional dress or behavior found in Texas, you would likely find a similar or worse reaction in other parts of the world if you showed up wearing jeans, vest, pointy-toed boots and a cowboy hat, with your date wearing a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader outfit.

        Kidding aside, Maj. Hasan, having been raised in the U.S., would have been aware of these cultural conditions. Yet he chose to ignore them, and then been shocked and offended by cultural animosity he found there? It seems weak. It’s not a major point, it just niggles the brain off to the side a bit.

        I read an article in the HuffPost that fellow Muslims in the area did notice that he seemed to be a follower of one particular fundamentalist cleric, some fellow named Awlaki. I think that, if there is an afterlife, the most surprised resurrectees will not be atheists, but religious fundamentalists.

  31. The point I was getting at with my earlier post is that many (I estimate) of us who don’t live in the US are astonished by America’s repeated failure to prevent a class of crime that is far rarer in places with more practical gun control laws.

    Apparently you just don’t take gun crime seriously, until after it happens.

    Hasn’t it occurred to you that hand guns have little little real use in modern society? If Major Hasan hadn’t been able to buy a hand gun he wouldn’t have been able to kill 13 of his fellow soldiers, and that’s that.

    In dreams would the Virginia Tech massacre have been ameliorated by wider distribution of hand guns among the campus personnel; more likely would have been a messy shootout and more casualties. 13 dead or 32 — either is a disaster, and either could have been completely prevented by better gun control laws.

  32. A terrorist strategy not discussed on BB: home grown cells are instructed how to carry out suicide (homicide) attacks, in detail. The attack on Ft. Hood is a PERFECT example. The perpetrator obviously wanted suicide by police. Hmmm, he is still alive. Is he a nut or a terrorist? How can we find out? Hmmmm.
    What say you?

  33. To the gun control crowd: I train with swords. Given a sword, I could EASILY kill a dozen unarmed people in a crowded place. I can make a functional sword from a hunk of steel available in any junkyard with a handful of power tools available in any garage in less than three hours. It wouldn’t be pretty, and it’d have pretty poor performance, especially against other swords, but it would be sharp, and it would cut you wide fucking open. What’s holding me back? It’s not the law; it’s that I’m not a homicidal murderer!

    You simply cannot legislate away the danger of nutjobs with weapons. You can never succeed. It is an endless road. It is not fucking possible. You only expose your hysterical cowardice and lack of intellectual rigor by advocating gun control. Attack the causes of violence, not the tools. “If he was not able to buy a handgun this would not have happened” disregards the simple fact that most guns used in violent crimes are ALREADY purchased or stolen illegally, and they are used illegally. A legal barrier only impedes those who choose to obey the laws. I mean DUH. Why is this even still being discussed? Some things people are just going to do, legal or not. If you support gun control, you need to really ask yourself why you oppose the drug war or anti-abortion laws. It’s all exactly the same breed of dumb authoritarian dickery– it’s just different flavors.

    Also, I am really sick and tired of people talking like Islam was any more likely to be violent than Christianity. 40 MILLION DEAD NATIVE AMERICANS SAY YOU’RE WRONG, ASSHOLE. The next person who says this in my presence gets punched in the face. They murder children in Africa because they’re supposedly ‘witches’, and you’re gonna tell me Christianity’s hands are clean now because the horrors of Colonialism are all in the past now? Torture and genocide on a scale that dwarfs Hitler and Stalin COMBINED and you’re gonna tell me Christianity isn’t evil because it mostly stopped a hundred years ago, even as Christians all over this country promote hatred and violence and ‘traditional family values’ like utter servitude for women and persecution for minorities of all types?

    What a load of shit. The genocide stopped only because they ran out of people to kill, excepting a tiny chunk of refugees, mostly kept in crushing poverty to this day. Christianity and Islam both can be beautiful at times, but as organized groups of people they both represent everything they claim to despise. Evil, unmitigated and unmistakable, terrible in both scope and deed.

    And how many American soldiers died in the middle east this week? Does anyone know? Have any of you paid attention to that? No, of course not. Because THIS is what’s supposedly NEWSWORTHY, and the lives of our soldiers fighting our illegal and immoral wars are simply not worth mentioning, they’re ignored en masse because it casts doubt on the agenda of the power elite that is bankrupting our country. But this, no, this is news, simply because it supports their fascist rhetoric. Bravo. We have let them dictate the conversation once more.

    I weep for our nation.

    1. You may find that there are some bloggers, blog posters, and columnists that attribute this incident to violent tendencies within Islam.

      But as far as the mainstream media and our elected officials, you can pretty much breathe easy. They bend over so far backward to avoid doing so that they are at risk of the pavement abrading their scalps.

  34. Not that I’m trying to make this into anything other than “crazy guy does crazy horrific shit” — but here’s something that’s crossed my mind:

    Making this us versus terrorists/radical Islam/whoever into a “War against”, at least in the rhetorical way that we have (especially under the Bush admin), has interesting potential ramifications.

    Since our adversaries in this “war” are non-state actors, and them “enemy” is kind of this loosely defined mish-mash of terrorist orgs/certain parts of a religion/etc — presume that somebody (say the Ft. Hood killer, just as a hypothetical) were to feel that their identity (due to their beliefs, or whatever) makes them part of the “enemy” of the US in this conflict.

    So if you are at “war”, and your enemy, by definition, is the USA — if you are trying to self-justify killing or whatnot, would not United States soldiers be a “legitimate military target” in terms of the “rules” warfare:

    “Legitimate military targets include: armed forces and persons who take part in the fighting; positions or installations occupied by armed forces as well as objectives that are directly contested in battle; military installations such as barracks, war ministries, munitions or fuel dumps, storage yards for vehicles, airfields, rocket launch ramps, and naval bases.”

    If the Ft. Hood killer were to be considered as one of the “enemy” of the USA in a “War” — then it could be argued (at least in a disturbed individuals mind) that attacking a bunch of soldiers on a military base is a “legitimate” act of war.

    Anyway, I’m (obviously, I hope) not condoning or in anyway trying to justify the actions of this murderer slaughtering a bunch of unarmed people (and betraying this country in just about the most fundamental way one could do so, I’d call it high treason)… just pointing out the perils of applying the construct of “War” to a conflict.

  35. From the notoriously right wing Washington Post…

    “The two occasionally would sit together in plastic chairs beneath a wind chime on the landing outside her second-floor apartment, she recalled. She was Christian and he was Muslim, but they shared coffee and talked about God. But this morning, Hasan said that he would be deploying to Afghanistan soon and that he did not want to go. He gave her a copy of the Koran.

    “I’m going to do good work for God,” he told her”

    Will any of the scrupulously non-judgmental (“but Christians are just as bad”) coolly detached among us admit that this was a religiously motivated crime NOW? Do we need MORE evidence?

  36. SteveNZ, do you seriously contend that without access to civilian gun stores, a US Army Major would be unable to acquire a handgun?

  37. Has anyone contemplated that maybe he felt it was better they be killed and wounded on US soil, than go through the clusterfuck of deployment to Afghanistan or Iraq and being killed there?

    And ditto on Psychiatrists – those people are all nutjobs. The guy’s job was to take soldiers with PTSD and ‘fix’ them so they could be re-deployed. Or have his judgements overruled. That has to be depressing.

    Also, as a testament to Army training – how one man killed and maimed over 40 soldiers in a matter of minutes. Or – how over 40 trained US soldiers got picked off by 1 man…

  38. This stuff irritates me enough to create an account so I can post and be reasonably sure it’ll show. Having said that, here goes: sorry, double post and all:

    I am so. freaking. sick. of the mindless namby pamby moral equivalency displayed by many of my fellow commenters. “Let’s not rush to judgement. Christians do bad things too.”, etc. Granted, and horse puckey! He was yelling “allahu akbar”! He. was. shooting. his. patients. in. the. back. While. they. were. unarmed, tim12s, so yeah, he was a real Super Soldier. Do we really need to look very far to find the root causes?
    pah. I weep for the species.

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