Friday, November 06, 2009

The Massacre at Fort Hood.

As many of you know, An Army officer, Major Nidal Malik Hasan, 39, an Army psychiatrist who specialized in helping those soldiers deal with high-stress situations walked into a facility at the Fort Hood Army Base in Texas that prepared soldiers for deployment over to Afghanistan and Iraq with guns blazing and killed at least 12 military and 1 civilian personnel.

Witnesses say that Maj. Hasan was shouting "Allahu Akbar", which is Arabic for "God is Great" while he was shooting his victims. Here is a link to a CNN background story of Maj. Hasan. He was taken down by a courageous female police officer who shot the gunman four times with no concern for her own well-being. President Obama has already called the shootings 'horrific' and has pledged to get to the bottom of this.

There is still much, much more that is to be sussed out in this case. I don't claim to be a news source. It's not my place to dig and dig for every scrap of news whether relevant or irrelevant. I'm just a personal blogger who has a bad obsession with podcasts and Oh My Goddess. But a story like this would be important enough for someone like me who rarely blogs on current events of the day to offer up his two cents on the matter, which is about what my opinion is worth.

Here was a man, who was responsible for aiding others who had problems coping with the high-stress life of soldiers at war, who himself, became a casualty of those same demons. Here was a man, who had probably heard more horror stories about the death and killing that is part and parcel of war, than most of us would ever want to hear. Most people who hear these stories as a part of their profession, learn to cope with the constant exposure in a variety of ways. Some may go through periods of depression or "take their job home with them", but its highly unlikely that they will resort to measures such as shooting up a building full of soldiers. There are bound to be other factors that will be unearthed as the investigation of this incident proceeds.

But it is important for all involved to NOT jump to conclusions. The leading Muslim advocacy groups have already denounced this attack and have come out in support of the families affected as well as the country as a whole. There are thousands of Muslims serving in our military that are doing so honorably, and commendably. It's too easy to lash out at them because they are Muslims, and that somehow their peaceful, more tolerant strain of Islam has been confused with its radical violent cousin subscribed to by Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

The sad thing about all this is, this could be the tip of the iceberg. Soldiers are being forced into multiple combat tours without adequate down time to recover. The military is sending guys back over there that had problems on their previous tours, and should not be cleared to go back. Recruiting is in a downturn, the services are having a hard time replenishing the ranks after soldiers are either too messed up physically or emotionally to go back over there. Of course there will be the wackjobs who will claim that the shooter, because he was a Muslim was somehow a sleeper operative that was activated by Al Qaeda, and will advocate violence against all Muslims and those who are suspected of being or even looking like a Muslim. The wackjobs on the left will say that our military is out of control, and that our soldiers are psychotic killers. Of course some of the wackjobs on the right will figure out a way to blame Obama for the whole mess, claiming that he's a closet Muslim, and that he secretly supported the killings.

I know that soldiers from previous wars had meltdowns just like this, back in WW2, Korea, and Vietnam, but the difference between then and today is the pervasive media and the 24 hour news cycle. This is nothing new. It just seems like it. No one truly wins in war. All involved lose to one degree or another. And the tragic results of man's inhumanity to man may not be seen immediately or under the harsh glare of spotlights and TV cameras. It could happen years down the road, with no one around as a witness. The government, as well as the military have an obligation to these soldiers and veterans to insure that they get the care they deserve. If the government sends our men and women into harm's way to advance their agenda and/or interests, then it has made an implicit covenant with those people to care for them and to make them as whole as possible when they come back.

Prayers go out to the families of those who were killed. Also prayers go out to the killer and his family. Most of all prayers go out to the men and women who serve this country in the military as they continue to represent us in battle. I hope and pray that this is not the tip of the iceberg, but I have a strange feeling that there may be other meltdowns like this down the road.

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