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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fort Hood shooting

Some links about the story. I tried to get some differing opitions. You can take your pick or read them all and compare.

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/national/link_in_ft_hood_slay_spree_DxTQPcEWvdr8WBocxSgNUI

And another whopper from NY Post:
http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/fort_hood_xjP9yGrJN7gl7zdsJ31vnJ
Under reasons Hasan should be considered a terrorist in the article:
*loudly criticizes US policies; (ouch!, I guess I'm a terrorist)
*refuses, in the name of Islam, to be photographed with female colleagues;
*lists his nationality as "Palestinian" in a Muslim spouse-matching program,

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2009/11/12/same_old_same_old_at_fort_hood_99125.html

http://wamu.org/programs/dr/09/11/10.php#29141

http://www.democracynow.org/2009/11/9/when_the_war_comes_homes_iraq


I know everyone’s going to think I’m calling Hasan a v
ictim, sympathizing with terrorists, or worse. I just want to say up front that I don’t condone what he did, it was wrong and there should be consequences. That being said (lest I be accused of supporting terrorism, along with Muslims who don't say that every time they open their mouth), I think there are other things that need to be addressed. I'm not dismissing the radical imam link, but that doesn't appear to be as strong as Lieberman wants it to be and there are so many things at play in these types of situations.

I’ve heard a lot of people on the radio and internet complaining that looking at all of the facts and asking why is too PC, that the media, Dr. Phil and Obama are protecting Hasan as a victim, this proves Obama’s a Muslim, just call Hasan what he is, a terrorist, and be done with it already. I have to say something. I'm so tired of this garbage. It's ridiculous.

The facts may still show that his contact with the radical imam was a factor, I’m not saying we should discount that, but there is a huge difference (with consequences) between assuming this and determining this without assumption and by the facts alone. It’s just dumb to focus on the imam (which is far from a smoking gun if I have heard correctly) when there are so many other things to consider.

Many have focused on Hasan’s nationality and religion. They aren’t waiting to see what the contact with the radical imam amounted to, if his religion played any role, if stress and or mental problems played a role- he is Muslim, so that’s why he did it.

Maybe this puts people’s mind at ease. Maybe it helps them deal with the endless questions a tragedy of this sort produces. I think it does far more harm than good.

The most obvious repercussion is backlash to the Muslim community with knee jerk reactions and assumptions such as these. The 'Muslim therefore guilty' mentality is sure to convict the entire Muslim and Arab community and produce irrational questioning of Arab and Muslim Americans’ loyalty. I have already heard people advocating banning Muslims from service. My favorite crime shows always talk about following the evidence. I don’t know that this is reality in the real world of law enforcement; I have no experience there, but I like that. I suppose that’s why I am drawn to science myself- you might have prejudices or ideas, but you don't publish everything you're thinking when you begin the project (before you have done teh experiments) as fact, you publish when you can prove it. The media and general population certainly don’t always check prejudice at the door and just follow the facts when black/white racism or Islam/Christianity or other vs. Arab domestic terrorism is involved.

There is another danger with this line of thinking that may be less apparent or counter intuitive. To close the book at terrorism as the root cause does a huge disservice to our soldiers and “supporters”, though many who actively “support our troops” with banners, bumper stickers, and Facebook groups seem to be more than ready, even eager, to do this. Obama did it himself. He said in his remarks that no faith justifies these acts- as though it had already been determined that he was connected to Al-Qaeda and was being tried for terrorism.

The armed forces are great at breaking people down and building them up into lean mean fighting machines, but so very bad at rehabilitating these men who have endured so much, seen death, caused death, etc on a daily basis. They are thrust back into peaceful society and many aren’t equipped to deal with it. The suicide rate, divorce, domestic violence is higher among soldiers. I have heard reports of the people assigned to “help” these soldiers suffering from PTSD and other disorders relating to their military experience tell them to go kill more terrorists, rather than actually provide medical or other therapy they need. I hope things have improved since I heard that a few years ago. In order to take care of the soldiers and truly support the troops, we need to look at the facts and not just say he’s Muslim, it was terrorism, let’s move on.

What are these other factors besides terrorism that most (or perhaps just the loudest) people think are insignificant? Case load, hearing everyone’s war stories about killing, getting blown up, maybe listening to bad feelings they have toward Muslims due to the wars, etc. Secondary PTSD, like journalists can get, etc could be a possibility. People are sent to him when they are stressed and disturbed, but who helps him when he is overwhelmed? Those medical professionals should have more evaluations or more care taken with their mental state since they deal with such devastation of the human spirit on a daily basis. There are indications that he was sub par in performance, so perhaps he felt shame in this or couldn’t handle the tasks he was given and maybe this played a role.

In addition to the stress and or PTSD and medical issues he may or may not have had, I can imagine it is hard to be a Muslim in our military, especially post 9/11. A relative verified that he was in fact harassed for being Muslim.

Take the PTSD or hearing broken soldiers’ stories, harassment for being Muslim, and then he has to deal with impending deployment where he may have to kill fellow Muslims. He may have felt there was no way out- some commit suicide; others do violence to others. Maybe he couldn’t get conscientious objector status- it is hard to get, I hear. The military paid for his education, so he may have found himself stuck. He went with his profession because he couldn’t stand the sight of blood, I heard on one report, so perhaps he did what he could as the son of immigrants to get an education, but found himself in conflict with his religion and beliefs with no way out.

I just think it is too simple and possibly bigoted to assume that he’s Muslim, therefore he’s guilty, case closed. In cases like the VT shooting, school shootings, suicides there are always so many variables, angles, and perspectives to consider. There are most certainly always unanswered questions. Maybe calling the guy a terrorist serves as closure for some, but I think it is detrimental to many to draw that conclusion without considering the facts.


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