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12 Dead at Fort Hood
November 6, 2009 1:41 AM   Subscribe

Soldier Kills 12, wounds 31 at Fort Hood Two descriptions of the alleged killer. One from the New York Times describes the suspect as unwilling to deploy to Iraq or Afghanistan, and some of his background, the second talks about some different aspects of his past.
posted by Snyder (236 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
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It was the Army psychiatrist?
posted by dabitch at 1:56 AM on November 6, 2009


Nidal Malik Hasan.

Nope, don't foresee any spin or political bullshit as a result of this shooting, no sir.
posted by hamida2242 at 2:16 AM on November 6, 2009 [12 favorites]


I suspect that the things he has heard as an Army psychiatrist contributed to this, along with his imminent deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan.

Very sad, and much like the killing of the 5 British soldiers in Afghanistan by an Afghan trainee, almost impossible to prevent.
posted by knapah at 2:44 AM on November 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


Nope, don't foresee any spin or political bullshit as a result of this shooting, no sir.

I fully expect it to happen, but I have to say that I've been pleasantly surprised so far that the spin and bullshit has been fairly low-key - even on internet forums less mature than this one, where I tuned in expecting to hear a lot of racism, gross generalisms and calls for genocide . . . and found, mostly, a pretty well-reasoned view of this tragedy.

Perhaps America has wised up enough since 9/11 - despite conservative attempts to keep people's intelligence "conservative" - to see that most Muslims are not part of a mob, and that this guy was just a loner with some severe problems, perhaps wrapped up in religious and identity confusion.

That said, as a (cultural) Muslim, I still feel it's fair to ask what role religion might have played in all this. I expect that, and I'll be worried if people are so cautious as to avoid it entirely. I wish that all these similar tragedies would be investigated similarly. Christianity (or rather, its misapplication) plays a identical role in many violent tragedies, and this tends to be "understood" (usually quite fairly) as the work of a singular, delusional being. Yet larger events, such as the siege of Sarajevo, are seen as something devoid of religious aspect when it's the so-called "Christians" doing the evil - even when their government is broadcasting overt "kill all the Muslims"-styled messages over television and radio.

As a grotesquely large shooting - 43 people by one gunman - this could easily be spun into a terroristic act quite easily, even if there's no real connection to anything. I'd hate to see that happen, especially as (from what I've seen on the news), it wasn't the norm for *anyone* outside of security to be caring arms in the area where the shooting took place, and the reports are that no military weaponry was used. I can't speak to whether an Army psychiatrist would have access to semi-automatic weapons normally, but I somehow think that would be unusual.

So to see what probably ought to be fodder for debate on America's insane gun culture be turned into a debate over the "inherent violence" in one of the world's main religions will really piss me off. Let's hope for sanity here.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 2:51 AM on November 6, 2009 [12 favorites]


Much of the reporting on this incident has been erroneous. The WaPo piece in the second link says his parents were from Jordan, the NYT piece says a Palestinian town near Jerusalem, granted this could be an easy fact to lose grasp of given the geographic proximity but earlier yesterday everyone was saying the assailant was dead. Given all that, I'm not putting to much stock into speculative, and apparently poorly researched, pieces about his background or his motivation.

Anyway this was a tragic incident regardless of the motivation behind it.
posted by IvoShandor at 2:59 AM on November 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


A Major? That's really weird. I mean usually the ones who go psycho are the enlisted kids who have managed hide whatever mental issues they have (or it is ignored by higher ups). To get to Major don't you have to do some serious tests and interviews? I mean the US Army did pay for a Muslim (and a Palestinian at that) to go through med school.

Also is deployment for a psychiatrist that bad? Not to say it isn't dangerous to be in Iraq/Afghanistan but he wouldn't exactly be holding counselling sessions in a Humvee in Sadr City?
posted by PenDevil at 3:08 AM on November 6, 2009 [4 favorites]


I can totally envision people on Fox news calling him a "terrorist" simply because of his religion and heritage, rather than because he's another loner with severe emotional issues.
posted by Red Loop at 3:09 AM on November 6, 2009


If only the army could carry guns, none of this would have happened.
posted by vbfg at 3:10 AM on November 6, 2009 [77 favorites]


I was under the impression that he was being shipped to Afghanistan as punishment for his views, namely that it's okay for Iraqis and Afghanis to shoot back at American soldiers?
posted by Clay201 at 3:27 AM on November 6, 2009


I mean usually the ones who go psycho are the enlisted kids who have managed hide whatever mental issues they have (or it is ignored by higher ups).

Cite please.

I mean the US Army did pay for a Muslim (and a Palestinian at that) to go through med school.

Yeah, stupid Army, didn't they make sure he wasn't a terrorist like all Palestinian Muslims?
posted by IvoShandor at 3:29 AM on November 6, 2009


There has been a great deal of misinformation and error in the reporting of this story up to this point. I certainly hope details are researched in greater depth, and this 'unconfirmed reports' bullshit is done away with. This story is totally bewildering, and the press in its haste to get information, any information, out into the public, is making it hard to parse the truth from the rumor.
posted by msali at 3:37 AM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


IvoShandor: Cite please.
I can't find anything credible. This is just from my recollection from the news. I'm happy to concede the point if proved otherwise.

Yeah, stupid Army, didn't they make sure he wasn't a terrorist like all Palestinian Muslims?
I think you're reading the opposite of what I tried to put forward. They obviously screen him just like they make sure that blue eyed kid from Kansas isn't a member of the KKK before sending him to med school and an officer commission. You don't walk off the street into a Major rank. This was a career officer.
posted by PenDevil at 3:41 AM on November 6, 2009


Actually, as an army doctor you do walk off the street into a captain's rank.
posted by fourcheesemac at 3:50 AM on November 6, 2009 [6 favorites]


This sucks real bad.
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posted by christhelongtimelurker at 3:56 AM on November 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


If only the army could carry guns, none of this would have happened.

On the local news here (in Waco), they had several interviews with people talking about how the soldiers don't carry guns on base unless they are actually engaging in a field exercise. They view it more as their home than a place to be strapped all the time. At the time I believe a graduation ceremony was going on for those who missed their commencement while deployed. In fact, they think the reason Malik used handguns is because they aren't easily detectable, otherwise suspicions may have been raised.

I do see your political point, though, I'm just saying being "allowed" to carry guns some of the time is different from having a concealed weapon on you a lot of the time.
posted by andlee210 at 4:07 AM on November 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


I can't find anything credible. This is just from my recollection from the news.

The Ft. Bliss thing in April, I think was a husband shoots wife thing. He was a civilian it seems. I can't think of any comparable events off the top of my head, though I know there have been some. The Ft. Bragg shooting comes to mind, the shooter was a 26 year old NCO, not really an "enlisted kid" (this was 15 years ago though). I would put forth that the Army's psychiatric screening probably is as woefully inadequate (don't they just discharge them?) as the civilian world's. That coupled with the macho environment of the U.S. military which makes it practically taboo to claim any mental health defects probably crosses the officer/enlisted line.

I think you're reading the opposite of what I tried to put forward.

My apologies then. The wording did not imply the opposite to me.
posted by IvoShandor at 4:08 AM on November 6, 2009


As we move forward, I hope we'll all try to keep in mind what our reactions would have been if we'd found out he was a fundamentalist Christian instead of a fundamentalist Moslem. Would we be so eager that the press play the religious angle? Would we be saying, "the fact that he was a fundie had nothing to do with it"? Or would we be more likely to want to put the religious angle in the lede? The fact is, nutty, out-of-control people are attracted to strict side of religions of all kinds because deep inside their secret hearts they know they need restraint.
posted by Faze at 4:15 AM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


“He came to mosque one or two times to see if there were any suitable girls to marry,” Khan said. “I don't think he ever had a match, because he had too many conditions. He wanted a girl who was very religious, prays five times a day, which is all very good.”

In search of a partner in marriage, Hasan wrote in an application filed with a local Muslim matching service that “I am quiet and reserved until more familiar with person. Funny, caring and personable.”
Seems like a common thread with these spree killers: an inability to find a girlfriend. This guy, The gym shooter. The Virginia Tech shooter, etc.

Actually I've heard that the body count might be so high due to "Friendly Fire." It would have been a pretty chaotic situation and no one would have been able to tell who was the 'shooter' and who was trying to respond to it.
posted by delmoi at 4:15 AM on November 6, 2009 [5 favorites]


And the shootings at a clinic in Iraq were carried out by a 44 year old NCO. I'd say the idea that bright eyed "enlisted kids" are usually the perpetrators of such attacks is specious.
posted by IvoShandor at 4:18 AM on November 6, 2009


The second article mentions that he turns red easily. Which is for the afflicted often a very big deal, very humiliating.
posted by vertriebskonzept at 4:29 AM on November 6, 2009


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posted by Scoo at 4:36 AM on November 6, 2009


For once we probably don't need to speculate on the shooter's motives, as he was captured alive, and maybe we can avoid the gun politics mess given the military context. Which leaves me to say I feel sad for the victims, survivors, and their families, and I hope something can be learned about the mentality of mass murderers that helps us to thwart them in the future.
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:43 AM on November 6, 2009 [4 favorites]


I suspect that the things he has heard as an Army psychiatrist contributed to this

As the partner of a psychiatrist who works with vets (and often recently returned ones, at that), this is absolutely no excuse. Psychiatrists are trained to deal with completely messed up situations as a matter of course, and from my experience have a very high threshold for hearing weird things and not batting an eye.

I've also heard several psychiatrists muse that a lot of people go into the field so that they can find out how to deal with their own inner demons.

And the military does screen for mental illness, but they also need medical officers. Even the lure of a full officer's (/doctor's) salary while in residency (and med school, if you get commissioned that early), full payback of all med school loans, and guaranteed commission as a (relatively highly ranked) officer is enough to keep it fully staffed. Doctor's generally make more in the private sector, and after 8 years of schooling and between 1 and 8 years of training, that's a pretty big incentive to not stay in, especially during wartime.
posted by This Guy at 4:48 AM on November 6, 2009 [4 favorites]


Just asking do military courts still hand out the death sentence?
posted by PenDevil at 5:02 AM on November 6, 2009


The second article mentions that he turns red easily. Which is for the afflicted often a very big deal, very humiliating.

Well, that explains it! Rosacea-induced homicide.
posted by mattholomew at 5:08 AM on November 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


I was under the impression that he was being shipped to Afghanistan as punishment for his views, namely that it's okay for Iraqis and Afghanis to shoot back at American soldiers?

Certainly! It's not like they're hurting for troops over there.
posted by mattholomew at 5:09 AM on November 6, 2009


Much of the reporting on this incident has been erroneous. The WaPo piece in the second link says his parents were from Jordan, the NYT piece says a Palestinian town near Jerusalem, granted this could be an easy fact to lose grasp of given the geographic proximity but earlier yesterday everyone was saying the assailant was dead. Given all that, I'm not putting to much stock into speculative, and apparently poorly researched, pieces about his background or his motivation.

Many Palestinians from the West Bank have Jordanian passports.
posted by atrazine at 5:14 AM on November 6, 2009


The local news (News 8 Austin), at the time, reported 3 gunmen. Now it's just one? And that one was in custody, the other killed and the last one on the loose.

They were basically just reading various other news agency websites and Twitter feeds. So the accuracy probably isn't what you'd hope for.
posted by Talanvor at 5:18 AM on November 6, 2009


As we move forward, I hope we'll all try to keep in mind what our reactions would have been if we'd found out he was a fundamentalist Christian instead of a fundamentalist Moslem. Would we be so eager that the press play the religious angle? Would we be saying, "the fact that he was a fundie had nothing to do with it"? Or would we be more likely to want to put the religious angle in the lede? The fact is, nutty, out-of-control people are attracted to strict side of religions of all kinds because deep inside their secret hearts they know they need restraint.

I don't buy that people who commit these sorts of extreme crimes are drawn to extremist religious views in an attempt to be restrained at all - I've been a victim of people who gleefully espoused religious dogma as a means of justifying their actions. They weren't looking for restraint and I can't imagine any of them picking up a Bible until they realized its usefullness, when the message was adequately warped, at sucking others into their evil activities. This is the way of terrorists and even America's religious conservatives - both first to shout out their supposed strict religious views and first to allow or encourage mass violence for dubious reasons - 9/11, Iraq, Afghanistan. Other badies whose ideas weren't as easily supported through twisted looks at pre-existing dogma - like Hitler, Manson and Mao - simply created their own quasi-religious rhetoric and justification.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 5:21 AM on November 6, 2009 [6 favorites]


This happened fairly close to me - I live in Temple currently, about 40 miles away from Ft. Hood, and even our schools were on soft-lock down. Probably overly-cautious, but nobody was complaining. The schools on the base - all elementary and middle schools, were locked down and parents were still trying to get their kids even as late as 6:30 PM or so. There was a point yesterday when all this first started happening when they had reports of two or possibly three shooters, but that quickly died down. The local news channels, for the most part, carried good coverage that surpassed the national coverage, which isn't surprising.

It's a bad situation and once you live here for even a short time, you know at least a handful of people who work on base, so your immediate thoughts turn to "Who do I know that's been shot?". The starflight/lifeflight helicopters flew overhead for what seemed like forever yesterday taking people to Central Texas hospitals- Scott and White here in Temple took nine or more victims, but some were taken as far as Round Rock - less critical cases, I'd suspect. It was hard to hear those helicopters - to remember that those people got up yesterday morning, just like everyone else, had breakfast, had coffee, probably glad it was almost the weekend and went to work and had no idea their day would literally be shot all to hell.
posted by PuppyCat at 5:25 AM on November 6, 2009 [3 favorites]


According to Good Morning America, he was born in Northern Virginia, apparently went to high school in Roanoke, and college at Virginia Tech.

Blargh. Another rampaging gunman connected to Tech.
posted by Atreides at 5:28 AM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


That said, as a (cultural) Muslim, I still feel it's fair to ask what role religion might have played in all this.

I disagree. How many people asked what role Christianity played in Timothy McVeigh's actions? On the contrary, most people who talked about his religion were fixated on proving he couldn't possibly have been a Christian because of his abhorrent behaviour. By that logic, Nidal Hasan can't be considered a Muslim as his actions run completely against the tenets of the Quran.

Religion has nothing to do with this. If we need to look at something past Nidal's own personal life (which is debatable), we should focus on the role of army training and military service.
posted by Go Banana at 5:32 AM on November 6, 2009 [3 favorites]


Having played on and off base in the Fort Hood area in various bands back in my salad days, I knew a lot of people who served there. It's more like a city than a base.

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posted by fourcheesemac at 5:36 AM on November 6, 2009


This is disturbing:
The Federal Bureau of Investigation had earlier become aware of Internet postings by a man who called himself Nidal Hasan, a law enforcement official said. The postings discussed suicide bombing in a favorable light, but the investigators were not clear whether the writer was Major Hasan.
I'm disturbed not by the fact that he was calling suicide bombers heroic (Didn't Bill Maher do the same thing after 911?) but that the FBI "became aware of" internet postings. There is soooooooo much crap posted on the internet, how can they possibly monitor it all? And are they also monitoring postings about how all women are bitches who should die, or postings about how all atheists should roast in hell, or all gays should be raped? There is a lot of hate speech out there and I'm wondering how much of it is considered important enough to be monitored.

When I went to bed last night he was a Psychiatrist who went berserk. When I woke up he was a Muslim. I can only imagine how difficult it must be to be a Muslim in the army.

So we have a guy who:
Is Muslim in a mostly Christian army
Blushes easily
Has no romantic or sexual release
Listens all day to soldiers with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome
Is about to be shipped out to a war zone

What could go wrong?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:38 AM on November 6, 2009 [6 favorites]


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posted by DreamerFi at 5:40 AM on November 6, 2009


There is soooooooo much crap posted on the internet, how can they possibly monitor it all?
If he did it from an Army base possibly? I don't think the Army has ever given it's troops communication privacy.
posted by PenDevil at 5:42 AM on November 6, 2009


> The WaPo piece in the second link says his parents were from Jordan, the NYT piece says a Palestinian town near Jerusalem

The West Bank used to be part of Jordan.

> Religion has nothing to do with this.

That's absurd. It's one thing to say it's wrong to obsess about religion and tar all Muslims with this (which, thank goodness, nobody seems to be doing); it's quite another to deny reality. Dee Xtrovert has the right take on this.
posted by languagehat at 5:45 AM on November 6, 2009 [4 favorites]


I do see your political point, though, I'm just saying being "allowed" to carry guns some of the time is different from having a concealed weapon on you a lot of the time.

I don't see the point. It was a silly political point based upon a lack of understanding about the military that was made in the context of a horrible tragedy. Same goes for everyone who is projecting what they believe conservatives/Fox News/the military were going to say or do in response to the killing and then voicing surprise when the calls for genocide never materialized. Maybe the world is not as awful and political as you think. Try considering that every once in a while. It might contribute to healthy dialogue.
posted by Slap Factory at 5:51 AM on November 6, 2009 [3 favorites]


Religion has nothing to do with this.

It's awfully early to be making pronouncements about what was and wasn't a factor. It's not out of the question that a devout Muslim would feel extra strain about being sent to serve in a conflict that was killing people he is very close to, culturally. It ought to be possible to acknowledge that his religion probably played a role (how could it not have?) without jumping to "all Muslims is evil." His faith is apparently quite important to him.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 5:51 AM on November 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


There is a lot of hate speech out there and I'm wondering how much of it is considered important enough to be monitored.

As PenDevil said, he probably was posting from an on-base computer, which are all monitored. Also, the military monitors all online activity of active duty personnel (on-base and off) through a variety of methods. Soldiers are made aware of this and should have no expectation of privacy, for better or worse.
posted by This Guy at 5:52 AM on November 6, 2009


> > Religion has nothing to do with this.

That's absurd. It's one thing to say it's wrong to obsess about religion and tar all Muslims with this (which, thank goodness, nobody seems to be doing); it's quite another to deny reality.


I think what we mean is that religion didn't CAUSE this. Religion may have been the particular tool he picked to SELF-justify this, but it didn't WHOLLY cause this. There's a distinction there.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:53 AM on November 6, 2009


I wrote: That said, as a (cultural) Muslim, I still feel it's fair to ask what role religion might have played in all this.

Go Banana wrote: I disagree. How many people asked what role Christianity played in Timothy McVeigh's actions? On the contrary, most people who talked about his religion were fixated on proving he couldn't possibly have been a Christian because of his abhorrent behaviour. By that logic, Nidal Hasan can't be considered a Muslim as his actions run completely against the tenets of the Quran.

More people should have asked about the role Christianity played in Timothy McVeigh's actions. And just because a bunch of people may have refused to deal with the specifics of that case (I mean, there need not be anything "violent" about Christianity or Islam per se, so it's easy to argue that these people aren't "real" adherents to their faith) doesn't invalidate the worth of these questions.

Recently, there have been many reports of the problems that overt expression of religious beliefs is causing in the US Army. The Army needs higher recruitment, consequently people with prison records, racist views and an intolerant approach to others are being accepted into the military when previously they wouldn't have been. Even high-ranking officers have made disturbing comments about the (Christian) God's role in the goals of the Army. How does this affect military attitudes? How does this affect a Muslim-American soldier who might feel victimized by the prevalance of these attitudes? What unmet need does a warped version of Islam fulfill in the spirits of many young men and women in Islamic countries? What unmet need does a warped version of Christianity fulfill in the spirits of many young men and women in America's armed forces? These are important questions that need to be addressed. Just because a bunch of idiots can't get past their irrelevant fixations doesn't mean we should all stick our heads in the sand.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 5:55 AM on November 6, 2009 [24 favorites]


.
posted by rtha at 5:55 AM on November 6, 2009


Seriously, all this speculation is useless. We have near zero facts. We'll learn a lot more in the days ahead. No need to go off on any he was a terrorist/he was a standard mass killer, etc. About all we know is that he was an American, straight up.

My hope is that he talks and as a psychatrist gives us insight into the process that creates these incidents and we can prevent them in the future.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:00 AM on November 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


> I think what we mean is that religion didn't CAUSE this.

Huh? Who's this "we"? I was quoting and responding to one person. You, being a different person, do not agree with what that person said, so I'm not sure why you're responding for that person. For the record, there's no way "Religion has nothing to do with this" can be interpreted as meaning " religion didn't CAUSE this."
posted by languagehat at 6:07 AM on November 6, 2009


Soldier Kills 12, wounds 31 at Fort Hood

Now 13:30.
posted by nickyskye at 6:09 AM on November 6, 2009


It's a noble desire Ironmouth, but I suspect anything he says is going to be so buried under an avalanche of spin and blame storming that, when all is said and done, the resulting change will be about as appropriate and effective as forbidding soldiers from using the same brand of toothpaste that the shooter used.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 6:13 AM on November 6, 2009


Languagehat, I'm not sure what I did to prompt that backlash, but whatever it is, it wasn't intended to cause offense, I can assure you.

For the record, there's no way "Religion has nothing to do with this" can be interpreted as meaning " religion didn't CAUSE this."

That's good, then, because I didn't intend for them to mean the same thing.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:13 AM on November 6, 2009


My hope is that he talks and as a psychatrist gives us insight into the process that creates these incidents and we can prevent them in the future.

That's what's so interesting to me. In my memory, it's rare for the (alleged) perpetrators to survive these sorts of mass shootings. Whatever he has to say will hopefully prove invaluable to future prevention.
posted by msbrauer at 6:13 AM on November 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


Pater Aletheias: It ought to be possible to acknowledge that his religion probably played a role (how could it not have?) without jumping to "all Muslims is evil."

Ought to be, sure. But the leap is already being made by the right wing media, not to mention the fringe nuts on my local paper's web site. (I know, I shouldn't even go in local news comment areas, they're so full of reactionary trolls.) The reason many people react by wanting to cut off the "was he Muslim or not" line of speculation until more is known is because so many Americans are incapable of thinking moderately about the topic of Islam.
posted by aught at 6:14 AM on November 6, 2009


..........

:-(
posted by jock@law at 6:18 AM on November 6, 2009


What Drove the Suspected Shooter over the Edge (FoxNews, but ...)

VAN SUSTEREN: ... it is being -- good evening, General. It is being reported that the suspect in custody got, quote, "poor performance evaluation" for his Army hospital work. What does -- what is a performance evaluation?

SCALES: Every officer gets what's called an OER, an officer evaluation report. He gets it usually every year, or any time he changes jobs. And what it is, is a narrative and numerical grade, if you will, for his manner of performance during that period. And if you're an officer and you get a bad OER, it affects your promotion and your schooling potential in the future. So it's probably the most critical single document for any officer in the military. And if you get a bad one, your career's in trouble.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, "poor," obviously, is bad. but I mean, what's sort of the -- you know, the array of -- how far down the chain is "poor"?

SCALES: Oh, boy. I mean, if you get a bad mark, particularly as a major, the prospects of you getting promoted are pretty slim because most officers, particularly those who are deployed to a theater, get pretty good OER reports. And if you get a poor one, you really stand out of the crowd as being a significantly underperforming officer.


So unsuccessful with women, bad performance evaluation ...
posted by Comrade_robot at 6:20 AM on November 6, 2009


Suspect said "Allahu Akbar!" before shooting.

I have to disagree with you folks who seem to think that religious faith (healthy or unhealthy) can't be a huge motivating factor in a person's actions. For a lot of people, their faith is more than just an excuse to do what they were going to do anyway. It's the filter that lets them determine what should and shouldn't be done. Maybe some of you guys can't imagine what it's like to take your faith seriously and consciously shape your life around it, but people do it, and it changes them. Often for the better, of course, but not always. It's crazy to me that you want to rule it out as a significant factor, or deny that it had any place at all.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 6:22 AM on November 6, 2009 [9 favorites]


For the record, there's no way "Religion has nothing to do with this" can be interpreted as meaning " religion didn't CAUSE this."

Um. Actually, there's no way it can be interpreted as NOT meaning that. Since, you know, causing something would be... um... having something to do with it.
posted by jock@law at 6:25 AM on November 6, 2009


My hope is that he talks

Yes, I was relieved to hear that he is not dead as was reported last night. I hope that he does talk openly and in-depth about what happened, not because I think this will "prevent this tragedy from ever happening again" -- I see this as a unique situation-- but because it might lead to changes that are causing undue stress on others still serving in the Armed Forces.

Even high-ranking officers have made disturbing comments about the (Christian) God's role in the goals of the Army. How does this affect military attitudes? How does this affect a Muslim-American soldier who might feel victimized by the prevalance of these attitudes?


Exactly. This is what I was getting at by calling him a Muslim serving in a mostly Christian army. He must have heard a lot of shit on a daily basis, about "us" vs "them" with the "us" being mixed-up with Christianity and the "them" being interchangeable with Muslims and people from the Middle East region.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:26 AM on November 6, 2009 [3 favorites]


Suspect said "Allahu Akbar!" before shooting.

Well, crap. What I was going to post is that it's a shame that the Council on American Islamic Relations has to put out a statement condemning violence, when the APA and the Bald Men's Association* and the Virginia Tech Alumni Association assuredly won't make such statements. They don't have to, because being a bald psychiatrist VT grad isn't associated with being violent.

*not sure this exists
posted by desjardins at 6:29 AM on November 6, 2009 [5 favorites]


Um. Actually, there's no way it can be interpreted as NOT meaning that.
Here's an attempt at interpreting it (which you don't deserve, but for the benefit of others who might).

"Religion has nothing to do with this"
Means the perpetrator of these horrific crimes was not motivated by his religion, did not believe that his religion in any way condoned what he was doing, and would, in the same circumstances have committed the same horrific crimes had he been of a different religion.

" religion didn't CAUSE this."
The perpetrator of these horrific crimes didn't commit them BECAUSE he was a Muslim.
His being a Muslim didn't CAUSE him to commit these crimes.

Don't mention it.
posted by GeckoDundee at 6:42 AM on November 6, 2009


Wow.

And life at Ft. Hood is so difficult already. Nothing to do off-base unless you're into honky-tonks and strip clubs. And now all the families on base have this horrible tragedy to deal with, directly and indirectly.

It's a hard life, and there are some hard people at Ft. Hood. Not for nothing is that base home to the highest divorce and suicide rate of any other base in the US-- and now, an even more terrible, senseless tragedy on top of it.

.
posted by ShawnStruck at 6:45 AM on November 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


Here's an attempt at interpreting it (which you don't deserve...

Personal attacks are inappropriate. Flagged.
posted by jock@law at 6:46 AM on November 6, 2009


More people should have asked about the role Christianity played in Timothy McVeigh's actions.

Not to derail further, but I'm not sure this is a fair comparison. As I recall, Timothy McVeigh wasn't really much of a Christian. He was a former Catholic, but didn't belong to any church. The bombing of the Oklahoma City building wasn't motivated by religion so much as extreme anti-government beliefs. We don't yet know if Hasan's motivation was religious or not.
posted by lexicakes at 7:00 AM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't know if this was in any of the previously posted links. I have friends effected by this and just don't want to read too much speculative news about it right now, but here's some interesting information from a story a friend emailed me earlier:

In an interview with The Washington Post, Hasan's aunt, Noel Hasan of Falls Church, Va., said he had been harassed about being a Muslim in the years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks and he wanted out of the Army.

"Some people can take it and some people cannot," she said. "He had listened to all of that and he wanted out of the military."

She said he had sought a discharge from the military for several years, and even offered to repay the cost of his medical training.

A military official told The Associated Press that Hasan was in the preparation stage of deployment, which can take months. The official said Hasan had indicated he didn't want to go to Iraq but was willing to serve in Afghanistan.
- source
posted by Orb at 7:07 AM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


I have to disagree with you folks who seem to think that religious faith (healthy or unhealthy) can't be a huge motivating factor in a person's actions. For a lot of people, their faith is more than just an excuse to do what they were going to do anyway. It's the filter that lets them determine what should and shouldn't be done. Maybe some of you guys can't imagine what it's like to take your faith seriously and consciously shape your life around it, but people do it, and it changes them. Often for the better, of course, but not always. It's crazy to me that you want to rule it out as a significant factor, or deny that it had any place at all.

The concern I have is that if we are not VERY careful in ascertaining the "role" religion had, the conversation will spiral into "therefore religion is bad because it makes people go crazy and shoot up army bases and that is why atheism is better so there." (What I typed was a facile simplification, I'll grant, but...not by too much, in my experience.)

My position is excellently stated thus:

The perpetrator of these horrific crimes didn't commit them BECAUSE he was a Muslim. His being a Muslim didn't CAUSE him to commit these crimes.

So long as we can discuss the affect religion had on the perpetrator WITHOUT falling into the trap of "being religious CAUSED this", then I'm cool.

Implying that religion CAUSED this gives the impression that he was a 100% mentally well-adjusted person who would have had a great home life and volunteered in Soup kitchens and coached Little League on the weekends or what have you except that pesky religion thing got in the way and turned him homicidal, and that simply isn't the case either. Something was cooking inside him all along. His dealings with religion may have given him a framework to hang his own personal something on, but religion didn't PUT it there, and it will not cause EVERY OTHER person who encounters religion to ALSO turn into homidical maniacs.

That is my only concern, that we can hopefully keep the conversation from going down THAT route.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:10 AM on November 6, 2009 [4 favorites]


I would really like to know how it is that the story changed from what was reported yesterday -- three gunmen, one of whom had been killed by police -- to today's version, a lone gunman in custody, with no mention anywhere of the other suspects.

To NPR's credit, they were careful to say repeatedly that "it's a fast-moving story" and that not all the details were in yet, but they reported as fact that the primary gunman has been killed and that there were two other suspects in custody. I know we're a breaking-news culture and all, but personally I'd rather wait an extra hour or two for a story if it means I have some hope of that story being, you know, accurate.

To be clear, I'm not implying this is some sort of coverup; I'm just complaining about overeager reporting as rumormongering.
posted by ook at 7:13 AM on November 6, 2009



Just asking do military courts still hand out the death sentence?


Death penalty by the U.S. military was reintroduced by the executive order of President Ronald Reagan in 1984.
posted by battleshipkropotkin at 7:21 AM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


There were two other suspects taken into custody and questioned. They were released. That's all anyone official has been said. Also, there was some confusion at the hospital initially, and the gunman was thought dead, which it was then discovered he was not. It was a pretty crazy situation, so some confusion can be expected I would think.
posted by Orb at 7:22 AM on November 6, 2009


Just asking do military courts still hand out the death sentence?

Yes. In 1988, a court-martial sentenced a man to death. But the president has to approve the execution, which none of Reagan, G.H.W. Bush, or Clinton did. G.W. Bush finally approved it in 2008, But a federal judge approved a stay of execution to allow further appeals.

Prior to this, the last execution was in 1961 after Eisenhower approved it in 1957, so it's obviously a rare thing.
posted by Zed at 7:22 AM on November 6, 2009


I think it's silly to say anything specific caused this. Here's a list of what I'm hearing claimed for reasons he may have done it:

*Islamic Faith
*Dealing with soldiers who have PTSD
*Being Deployed
*Discrimination for his race/religion
*No romantic/sexual partner

None of those things, on their own or in combination (Unless taken to serious extremes, like the Taliban), would cause any sane person to become a mass shooter. The clear culprit here is mental illness. It may have amplified the angst or implications of those conditions, but it's not like that's a rational reason to discriminate against people with those conditions. If you were to ask any mainstream Muslim if he were right to open fire on his own army, I guarantee you they would say no, as would any psychiatrist who specializes in PTSD, or any soldier about to be deployed.

Put simply, this is a case study. It's not a unified model for people who go nuts and murder their peers for no rational reason. Mental illness is what amplified or inserted a belief that caused him to kill, but it could do it to any belief. Remember, a guy shot Ronald Reagan because he thought it would impress Jodie Foster. This does not make Hollywood culpable for the shooting by any stretch of the imagination.
posted by mccarty.tim at 7:28 AM on November 6, 2009 [11 favorites]


america ......the very best and the very worst of everything
posted by 404 Not Found at 7:29 AM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think it'd be a shame to execute this man, and not just because I am against the death penalty, period. It's so tragic when things like this happen, that it would be awful to kill the murderer before we can gain insight to his psyche. Considering he's a psychiatrist, we could learn a lot about how to prevent things like this from happening again. Plus, it's not that expensive or difficult to keep him in prison for the rest of his life. I don't know if it's cheaper or easier to get a military execution than in the public court system, but since it's so rare, I'm guessing not, so it would probably be insanely expensive to give him the death penalty.
posted by mccarty.tim at 7:33 AM on November 6, 2009


None of those things, on their own or in combination (Unless taken to serious extremes, like the Taliban), would cause any sane person to become a mass shooter. The clear culprit here is mental illness.

Oh, I completely agree with you here. However, I often see cases like this held up in threads discussing religion as examples of "see, THIS is religion is bad because it makes people do THIS," and...yeah.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:34 AM on November 6, 2009


It makes me wonder if PTSD is contagious, so to speak, can constant exposure to others' traumas affect the listener by osmosis?

Those who take care of others may not take care of themselves very well. This guy sounds like he was really isolated, did not have anyone close looking out for him. What kind of supervision did they provide him, supervision in the mental health professional meaning which functions as a debriefing and therapy.
posted by mareli at 7:37 AM on November 6, 2009


PenDevil: "Just asking do military courts still hand out the death sentence?"

Yes. At least, it's on the books. The last person actually executed was in 1957, though.

There is at least one other person awaiting execution after conviction by court martial — serial killer Ron Gray — who has been there since 1992, so Hasan will probably be cooling his heels for a while.

Unless he can convince a Sanity Board that he was "unable to appreciate the nature and quality of his or her conduct due to this severe mental illness" (mere existence of a mental illness is insufficient) there's very little question in my mind that's where he's headed, though. And at least based on civilian mass shooting incidents, insanity pleas tend not to fare too well.
posted by Kadin2048 at 7:40 AM on November 6, 2009


"it's a fast-moving story"

It's silly how this term is an acceptable substitute for "we don't really know a damn thing about what happened and are just repeating any and every bit of hearsay we can glean with minimal disclaimer instead of giving you the bare facts that we can verify and then waiting to update patiently, while realizing that life goes on and we don't have to maintain constant coverage of this tragic but contained event."
posted by Burhanistan at 7:45 AM on November 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


CNN is reporting that it was a local police officer who took him down, she has also survived and is in stable condition. I imagine her testimony will also be invaluable.

If as noted earlier it is not usual for soldiers to walk around on base armed, this makes sense.

I do wonder about the other soldiers they talked to; why were they suspects? Were they armed and shooting back? At one point, one of them was described as "holed up"--was it Hasan? I really hope there were no friendly fire casualties. Presumably, if they let them go, they did not suspect them of criminal activity, but that doesn't mean something else didn't go haywire.
posted by emjaybee at 7:47 AM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


On a technical aspect, something's not right here.

Here we have a guy on a major Army Installation -- III Corp, 1ADW, and 1st Cav are based here -- It's the only army base we have with two divisions posted. There's over 65,000 personell on station. This is no backwater, this is big.

We have a shoot, MAJ, promoted from CPT, but has a poor performance review after that. He's ROTC at Virginia Tech, but he's gets a BS in Biochem there, and an MD at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, and does his residency in psych. And so forth.

He's had some military training, but get this: with two pistols -- probably M9, a 9mm Parabellum, standard issue officer sidearm, 15 round in the clip -- he kills 13 and wounds 31? This means he reloaded at least one of those pistols -- you're not likely to have a 9mm pistol round go all the way through one victim and injure another 14 times, which is what you'd need to make this possible without reloading.

On an Army base? With 9mm?

That's a lot of rounds in not a lot of time. And if he's firing both at once, that's not a lot of time and a big loss in accuracy -- if you just hold a pair of 9mm pistols and pull the triggers really fast, you usually end up put a bunch of rounds into the ceiling.

Was he really that good? Did he have a different weapon? Did he have help?

Something just seems wrong here. Doesn't seem the type, and doesn't seem that he'd have the skill to pull it off.

Of course, I could be wrong, or everyone was in shock and he reloaded and kept firing while everyone tried to run (on a miltary base?) or he had more than two pistols, or he's a pistol ace and put most of the rounds into victims, but you look at the history of "mad gunman walks into crowded room with two pistols" and they don't cause 44 casualties -- usually, it's single digits.
posted by eriko at 7:52 AM on November 6, 2009 [17 favorites]


eriko: I know jackshit about guns or Army bases, but the high casualty rate struck me as really odd, too.
posted by desjardins at 8:04 AM on November 6, 2009


Nope, don't foresee any spin or political bullshit as a result of this shooting, no sir.

GOP Candidate: Ft. Hood Shows "Terrorists Are Infiltrating Military"
posted by ericb at 8:05 AM on November 6, 2009


As we move forward, I hope we'll all try to keep in mind what our reactions would have been if we'd found out he was a fundamentalist Christian instead of a fundamentalist Moslem. Would we be so eager that the press play the religious angle?

Well, to be honest, I sure as hell would be.
posted by orthogonality at 8:06 AM on November 6, 2009 [6 favorites]


Nidal Malik Hasan, Suspected Fort Hood Shooter, Was Called "Camel Jockey"

Congressman McCaul says Hasan had a poor performance evaluation at Walter Reed, which resulted in his transfer to Ft. Hood and "while there received a lot of advanced training in weapons, shooting classes."
posted by Comrade_robot at 8:11 AM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Damn, eriko, that's an interesting point.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:17 AM on November 6, 2009


Eriko...There is now conjecture that some of the dead and wounded may have been inadvertently hit by first-responder "friendly-fire."
posted by Thorzdad at 8:19 AM on November 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


I know we're a breaking-news culture and all, but personally I'd rather wait an extra hour or two for a story if it means I have some hope of that story being, you know, accurate.

Media outlets were reporting what they were told by Fort Hood officials.
"In Washington, a senior U.S. official said authorities at Fort Hood initially thought one of the victims who had been shot and killed was the shooter. The mistake resulted in a delay of several hours in identifying Hasan as the alleged assailant."*
posted by ericb at 8:20 AM on November 6, 2009


"mad gunman walks into crowded room with two pistols" and they don't cause 44 casualties -- usually, it's single digits.

What? Are you familiar with Seung-Hui Cho. Take a good look at that kids picture. He had no military or gun training. He killed 32 people and wounded 25 others with two 9mm handguns at two separate locations on Virginia Techs campus. How many times did he reload?

Hasan was a military officer on a crowded base that is more like a town than a military outpost. I'm surprised that he didn't kill more people. He kill 13 and wounded 30. They are lucky that cop shot him before killed 30+ people.
posted by Procloeon at 8:23 AM on November 6, 2009 [3 favorites]


He's had some military training, but get this: with two pistols -- probably M9, a 9mm Parabellum, standard issue officer sidearm...

CNN reported this morning that the weapons he used were not Army issued.
posted by ericb at 8:24 AM on November 6, 2009


Telegraph: "Lt Gen Cone [the base commander] said the weapons did not belong to the army."
posted by ericb at 8:26 AM on November 6, 2009


I don't think we can avoid the religious angle. There is an element within Islam that preaches violence, as there is with any religion that is broad, complicated, offers multiple interpretations, and become politicized. I don't know that Hasan had any exposure to this. If he did, it's certainly going to effect how the story is presented an interpreted, and probably should.

The difficulty is it is very hard to discuss Islam in this context without sounding as though all Muslims share some sort of collective blame for actions like this. It's the ongoing disadvantage of being part of a minority, in that your actions become seen as a reflection of your larger group, especially if your actions fit preconceptions about that group, and especially if there are factions of that larger group that support or legitimize these actions. Americans, in general, don't understand how diverse Islam is, and how differently one Muslim can understand aspects of Islam -- or even interpret single passages differently -- from another Muslim. So when it comes out that Hasan is a Muslim, and that he may have shouted "Allahu Akbar!" before shooting, this becomes dangerous information, because it confirms for a lot of Americans what they already, and stupidly, suspect: That Islam is a religion of violence and terrorism.

The press is in an unenviable position of being simultaneously responsible for following and reporting on this story as it breaks and also being sensitive to how this information is framed. And they're very good at the former and sort of suck at the latter, so it becomes easy for people who want to hold Muslims collectively responsible for actions of individual Muslims to seize on this. And this is a bad time, because the right has been using Islam as a boogieman for more than eight years now, painting it as a religion of terrorists. The results are dangerously combustible, and I just don't know what to do about it. I don't envy Muslims in the military just now, and I fear for Muslims in America, for whom this country seems to be growing increasingly unwelcome, hostile, and dangerous.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:27 AM on November 6, 2009 [3 favorites]


"Some 300 soldiers were lined up to get shots and eye-testing when the shots rang out. Cone said one soldier who had been shot told him, 'I made the mistake of moving and I was shot again.'"*

So, basically, they were like 'sitting ducks.'
posted by ericb at 8:28 AM on November 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm sure we'll endlessly discuss and digest this tragedy. Opinions will be posited and argued. Statements will be declared. Eventually even justice may be levied*.

Not one thing we do will stop this from happening again (in some form/fashion).

*Actually we'll be lucky if this guy makes it to trial considering Texas' penchant for both lynching and bungled prisoner transfers.
posted by HyperBlue at 8:30 AM on November 6, 2009


Yet more ammo for the Glenn Becks of this world to continue their fear mongering and distortion of Islam. Thanks, Sgt. Nidal.
posted by reenum at 8:43 AM on November 6, 2009


What do you want to bet that, in order to insure that a tragedy like this never occurs again, that there will be a rush to limit even more freedoms from people that would never do anything like this in the first place? Ironically, probably ensuring that tragedies like this will occur again in the future.
posted by Balisong at 8:44 AM on November 6, 2009 [3 favorites]


It's a noble desire Ironmouth, but I suspect anything he says is going to be so buried under an avalanche of spin and blame storming that, when all is said and done, the resulting change will be about as appropriate and effective as forbidding soldiers from using the same brand of toothpaste that the shooter used.

That's another example of assuming what we don't know.

*Actually we'll be lucky if this guy makes it to trial considering Texas' penchant for both lynching and bungled prisoner transfers.

This is a federal crime. Assuming, for the sake of argument, that he is convicted, he will be hung at a military prison.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:45 AM on November 6, 2009


While I won't say categorically that we can't learn anything from him, if he decides to talk to investigators, I don't think there's anything particularly insightful that we can learn from him: he's crazy. His reasons for doing what he did are very likely quite specific to his internal (crazy) logic. The kid who shot up Virginia Tech didn't do it because he couldn't get a girlfriend or because of his religion or because his parents are immigrants and he grew up "outside" American culture in some respects. He did it because he's crazy. It's incredibly unsatisfying, but there it is.

What might come out of this that's useful is the implementation of better screening and treatment for those suffering from mental illness, but that's hardly new. In the reporting I heard on NPR this morning, it seems he didn't do well in his classes or training at Walter Reed; other doctors thought he was "cold" and "weird", and while those might be acceptable traits for, I dunno, surgeons or anesthesiologists, I'd hope that traits like those would raise flags about someone whose specialty is psychiatry. But that's probably naive.
posted by rtha at 8:46 AM on November 6, 2009 [8 favorites]


Something just seems wrong here. Doesn't seem the type, and doesn't seem that he'd have the skill to pull it off.

From the last link:

Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, told reporters after a briefing on the shootings that Hasan was born in Virginia to parents who immigrated from Jordan. The congressman said that Hasan “took a lot of advanced training in shooting.”
posted by paradoxflow at 8:52 AM on November 6, 2009


Yet more ammo for the Glenn Becks of this world to continue their fear mongering and distortion of Islam.

Many of the people that sit around me here at work are the stereotypical New Hampshire libertarian types. None of them employees of the company I work for, thankfully, because I think I would have quit in a rage a long time ago if that were the case.

Anyway, being that we all work on a military base, the water cooler talk today has all been about the shooting. The consensus so far? The belief that the FBI didn't do anything about this guy because of "all this PC shit" that's going to be the destruction of this fine country. Also, lots of use of the word "raghead". It's infuriating.
posted by backseatpilot at 9:05 AM on November 6, 2009 [4 favorites]


> Languagehat, I'm not sure what I did to prompt that backlash, but whatever it is, it wasn't intended to cause offense, I can assure you.

For the record, there's no way "Religion has nothing to do with this" can be interpreted as meaning " religion didn't CAUSE this."

That's good, then, because I didn't intend for them to mean the same thing.


I'm not understanding you. You didn't say "Religion has nothing to do with this," Go Banana did, so you didn't intend anything by it. I don't understand why you responded to my remark directed at Go Banana, and I don't understand why you're taking my "backlash" personally: all I said was that I wasn't talking to you.

> Um. Actually, there's no way it can be interpreted as NOT meaning that. Since, you know, causing something would be... um... having something to do with it.

You're not very good at logic, are you?
posted by languagehat at 9:10 AM on November 6, 2009


And to think, all of this could've been avoided if he'd just filed his hurt feelings report.

It's crass to joke about such a terrible tragedy, but it's also infuriating to have such an irresponsible and immature atmosphere in an institution like the military.
posted by codacorolla at 9:21 AM on November 6, 2009 [3 favorites]


.
posted by MarshallPoe at 9:21 AM on November 6, 2009


Not to derail further, but I'm not sure this is a fair comparison. As I recall, Timothy McVeigh wasn't really much of a Christian. He was a former Catholic, but didn't belong to any church. The bombing of the Oklahoma City building wasn't motivated by religion so much as extreme anti-government beliefs. We don't yet know if Hasan's motivation was religious or not.

Yeah. Assuming that Hasan's actions were motivated by religious extremism (and it certainly looks like that's a strong possibility), the closer parallel here would be the kind of nut who bombs abortion clinics and shoots doctors. Those people are certainly driven by religious fervor, but nobody thinks they speak for the vast majority of Christians in this country.
posted by EarBucket at 9:31 AM on November 6, 2009 [3 favorites]


And to think, all of this could've been avoided if he'd just filed his hurt feelings report.

Wow. That's worthy of review, if only for the heartbreaking photos attached.

Are you a pussy?
When Army Pvt. Adam Lieberman tried to commit suicide, his mother had to paint over his suicide note. See the photos here, as well as the "Hurt Feelings Report."


On Oc. 30, 2008, Army Pvt. Adam Lieberman attempted to kill himself via prescription drug overdose at Fort Carson, Colo. After swallowing the pills, he painted a suicide note on the wall of his barracks that read, "I FACED THE ENEMY AND LIVED! IT WAS THE DEATH DEALERS THAT TOOK MY LIFE!"

Lieberman survived the attempt. Five days later, his mother, Heidi, arrived in Colorado and was told that her son would be charged with defacing government property for scrawling his suicide note on the barracks wall. Heidi Lieberman told her son's commanding officer that she would repaint the wall herself to "make this stupidity go away." The officer took her up on her offer.

posted by ColdChef at 9:35 AM on November 6, 2009 [3 favorites]


Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, told reporters after a briefing on the shootings that Hasan was born in Virginia to parents who immigrated from Jordan. The congressman said that Hasan “took a lot of advanced training in shooting.”

Saw where Shep Smith was interviewing Hasan's cousin on Fox. The cousin said that Hasan didn't like shooting and disliked going to the range.

The reports I saw said investigators were looking into the question of whether the security guard who shot Hasan also hit bystanders by accident. Would explain the "several shooters" stuff.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:36 AM on November 6, 2009


Kevin Drum has what purports to be an eyewitness account.

He says the numbers were due to the large number of people compressed into a relatively small area, and also says he didn't hear the shooter say "Allahu Akbar!"
posted by EarBucket at 9:41 AM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


i think this whole thing is just uttery sad.

the man obviously wanted out of the military and according to someone's quote upthread, had even offered to pay back his education funding. i'm guessing he may not have cared about the dis/honorable part of the discharge.

on Morning Edition on NPR today, they were saying that it seemed not just him, but many Army psychiatrists do not have the benefit of seeing a psychiatrist themselves. Not that they can't go, but I think that in civilian life, psychologists and psychiatrists etc normally see someone anyways because they do deal with a lot of traumatic issues. This, at least according to the source on Morning Edition, does not happen in the Army. (if you know about this, please comment. i'd be interested in knowing how this works.)

he may just have been pushed over the edge and without a real support network and feeling trapped....well, it's all just really sad. i don't think religion had as much to do with it as being pushed over the edge will make certain parts of your personality/mentality go haywire.
posted by sio42 at 9:49 AM on November 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


Yeah. Assuming that Hasan's actions were motivated by religious extremism (and it certainly looks like that's a strong possibility), the closer parallel here would be the kind of nut who bombs abortion clinics and shoots doctors. Those people are certainly driven by religious fervor, but nobody thinks they speak for the vast majority of Christians in this country.

I'm not saying that's what you are saying, but in general I find it very frustrating that when a Christian whackjob kills a shit ton of people, people run to claim that he "Wasn't really much of a Christian" while when a Muslim whackjob kills a shit ton of people, people run to claim that "it's another example of what Islam is about." It kind of goes hand in hand with how this act yesterday was gruesome but likely not an act of terrorism, people will call it that, because the guy was Muslim, while a Christian lunatic murders George Tiller, specifically to terrorize people and push his personal political viewpoint, and no one will call it that.

In all the arguing, that's really how this story "is about religion."
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:50 AM on November 6, 2009 [10 favorites]


CNN is reporting that neighbors in his apartment complex said that Hasan pretty much kept to himself. He knew his next door neighbors and would come over to use their laptop (which the FBI now has for analysis). At 5:00 a.m. yesterday he called them and left a voicemail message saying how much he appreciated the husband's friendship. Later in the day he handed out 3 copies of the Koran in English to others in his building who barely knew him. He suggested that they read a specific passage. Yesterday he also gave away his furniture to someone in the building, saying that he was going to Iraq.
posted by ericb at 9:54 AM on November 6, 2009


I'm not saying that's what you are saying, but in general I find it very frustrating that when a Christian whackjob kills a shit ton of people, people run to claim that he "Wasn't really much of a Christian" while when a Muslim whackjob kills a shit ton of people, people run to claim that "it's another example of what Islam is about."

Oh, absolutely. I think we're saying the same thing here--we ought to treat a case like Hasan's exactly like we'd treat the Tiller murder, as an isolated wacko who's using his religion as a way to channel his violent tendencies, not as proof that everyone else who shares that faith is evil and violent.
posted by EarBucket at 9:55 AM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Something just seems wrong here. Doesn't seem the type, and doesn't seem that he'd have the skill to pull it off.

OR. He could've been five feet away from a cluster of people who had no where to run once the shooting started. That doesn't take much skill only resolve.
posted by tkchrist at 9:58 AM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Languagehat: I'm not sure what you're getting at, so I'll just say I'm going to drop it. If you want to know my position on this, Earbucket sums it up perfectly here.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:01 AM on November 6, 2009


I'm disturbed not by the fact that he was calling suicide bombers heroic (Didn't Bill Maher do the same thing after 911?) but that the FBI "became aware of" internet postings.

"became aware of" could just be a vaguer version of "were told of".
posted by smackfu at 10:02 AM on November 6, 2009


While I won't say categorically that we can't learn anything from him, if he decides to talk to investigators, I don't think there's anything particularly insightful that we can learn from him: he's crazy. His reasons for doing what he did are very likely quite specific to his internal (crazy) logic.

I dunno. One could argue that the Columbine killers were also crazy (or at least one of them was a straight-up psychopath, the other maybe just depressive and following along), but a lot of the soul-searching that happened after that resulted in school bullying being taken much more seriously at all levels in public schools. Before it was more of a boys-will-be-boys or high-school-sucks-whaddya-gonna-do sort of thing; afterwards, at least in Colorado (and I believe more broadly as well) bullying became something schools really were on alert for and instituted programs to curb.

It's interesting that he was willing to be deployed to Afghanistan but not Iraq. If you believe the whole thing isn't solely a mentally ill person losing their cookies--and I'm skeptical of that explanation, if only because that level of mental illness seems like it would preclude the functionality one would need to attend and graduate medical school--then it certainly argues for the view that religion played a more complicated role in this than just garden-variety extremist "I hate the Army for killing Muslims." It's certainly not out of the mainstream to believe that the war in Afghanistan is or was morally justifiable while the war in Iraq is not; combine the belief that the Iraq war was entered into by the Bush administration under false pretenses plus a potential environment within the Armed Forces that takes hate speech against Muslims lightly (e.g., common use of "towelhead" or "camel jockey"), and I can see how deploying to Iraq could set this guy off.
posted by iminurmefi at 10:02 AM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh, absolutely. I think we're saying the same thing here--we ought to treat a case like Hasan's exactly like we'd treat the Tiller murder, as an isolated wacko who's using his religion as a way to channel his violent tendencies, not as proof that everyone else who shares that faith is evil and violent.

That's actually not what I'm saying. My point is that Tiller's murderer was without a doubt a terrorist. By very defenition, he used physical violence and intimidation to extract a goal based on political and personal beliefs. No one calls him that, because white Christians are never considered terrorists, especially when they're terrorizing abortion providers, because those aren't good innocent Americans apparently.

We are in no way treating this like Tiller's murderer. We're actually asking if this guy's a terrorist, and it's naive to pretend we're not doing it primarily because of his last name.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:06 AM on November 6, 2009 [7 favorites]


Wait, okay, maybe that was what you said. Ugh, okay, I'm worked up and taking a break now.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:07 AM on November 6, 2009


people will call it that, because the guy was Muslim, while a Christian lunatic murders George Tiller, specifically to terrorize people and push his personal political viewpoint, and no one will call it that.

Welcome to America.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:09 AM on November 6, 2009


We are in no way treating this like Tiller's murderer.

Right, most people won't treat it that way. But they should.
posted by EarBucket at 10:13 AM on November 6, 2009


One thing is, that black and white picture of Hasan that you see everywhere has serious crazy eyes.
posted by msalt at 10:17 AM on November 6, 2009


The press is in an unenviable position of being simultaneously responsible for following and reporting on this story as it breaks and also being sensitive to how this information is framed.

actually, that's almost *exactly* what the press is supposed to do. always. the only difference i see between your statement & the purpose of the press is the 'being sensitive' part. reporters are most definitely NOT responsible for being politically correct; they ARE responsible for objectively reporting the news, which means leaving out personal bias to include their interpretation of what 'sensitive' might be and substantiating conjecture before passing it along.
posted by msconduct at 10:18 AM on November 6, 2009


Metafilter: We have near zero facts.
posted by rough ashlar at 10:19 AM on November 6, 2009


Metafilter: We have near zero facts.

Hey I just got here - did you guys figure this one out by staring long and hard into your navels yet?
posted by GuyZero at 10:24 AM on November 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


More shootings:
At least eight people were injured in a mass shooting inside a downtown Orlando high-rise just before noon Friday, according to the Orlando Fire Department.
posted by rough ashlar at 10:37 AM on November 6, 2009


. reporters are most definitely NOT responsible for being politically correct; they ARE responsible for objectively reporting the news, which means leaving out personal bias

John Swinton disagreed.
The business of the journalists is to destroy the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the feet of mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread. You know it and I know it
posted by rough ashlar at 10:39 AM on November 6, 2009


Hey I just got here - did you guys figure this one out by staring long and hard into your navels yet?

Well, if we don't rush to judgement, someone else might get there first.
posted by electroboy at 10:54 AM on November 6, 2009 [5 favorites]


On the local news here (in Waco), they had several interviews with people talking about how the soldiers don't carry guns on base unless they are actually engaging in a field exercise. They view it more as their home than a place to be strapped all the time.

Perhaps more pertinently, "Soldiers at Fort Hood don't carry weapons unless they are doing training exercises" because usually they can't. Texas law exempts soldiers from the licensing fee and proficiency tests required for a concealed carry permit (GC 411.1881, 411.1951); however, Texas law doesn't override Fort Hood regulations, which entirely prohibit concealed weapons carry on base. Fort Hood soldiers can own private weapons, and those weapons can be stored in quarters, but can only be "in the custody of a person or in a vehicle" for transport on or off base, or for transport to hunting locations, etc. The only people carrying around weapons for defense are supposed to be the MPs.

I know, "if only the army could carry guns, LOLZ!" - but gun carry is actually more restricted on base than off.
posted by roystgnr at 10:54 AM on November 6, 2009 [3 favorites]


no problem, rough ashlar. you stick with fox news, i'll continue to seek out something a little more fair & balanced.

preeminent journalist: whoo! so is geraldo rivera. bfd.
posted by msconduct at 10:55 AM on November 6, 2009


At least eight people were injured in a mass shooting inside a downtown Orlando high-rise just before noon Friday, according to the Orlando Fire Department.

Uh oh, shooter has a 'hispanic' name. I hope the liberal media doesn't cover up this Very Important Fact for PC reasons. Thank God we have the True Patriots at Hot Air and Michelle Malkin.com to make sure the appropriate groups get scapegoated when events like this happen.
posted by empath at 10:57 AM on November 6, 2009


we ought to treat a case like Hasan's exactly like we'd treat the Tiller murder, as an isolated wacko who's using his religion as a way to channel his violent tendencies, not as proof that everyone else who shares that faith is evil and violent.

I think it should be pointed out that Tiller's murderer may not have been working alone, and he was certainly part of a violent underground anti-abortion movement.
posted by empath at 10:59 AM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


i'll continue to seek out something a little more fair & balanced.

Like the the Münzenberg trust?
posted by rough ashlar at 11:00 AM on November 6, 2009


I was listening to NPR on my way back from lunch and they said something to the effect of "Nidal Hasan, a Muslim, was the shooter in yesterday's incident at Fort Hood..." (emphasis mine)

It's really infuriating. NPR should know better. They would never, ever say "Joe Taylor, a black man, was the shooter..." because it's racist. We can speculate all we like but Hasan's faith is not known to be relevant at this point. If he wakes up and says "Mohammed came to me in a vision and told me to do it," IT'S STILL NOT RELEVANT. It means he's CRAZY.

If you were listening to WBEZ Chicago at 12:15ish and can direct me to the source of the clip, please let me know. The speaker was an older-sounding male with a British accent.
posted by desjardins at 11:04 AM on November 6, 2009 [4 favorites]


More shootings:
At least eight people were injured in a mass shooting inside a downtown Orlando high-rise just before noon Friday, according to the Orlando Fire Department.
On the average day in the United States, there are something like 28 murders by shooting, 46 suicides by shooting, 64 non-fatal injuries by accidental shooting, and 144 non-fatal injuries by deliberate shooting.

Of course there are "more shootings". There are always "more shootings".

.
posted by Flunkie at 11:06 AM on November 6, 2009


He was an extremely competent, functional and normal guy his whole life for him to have achieved as much as he did. Maybe there is no reason for a person to go crazy. Being mentally ill, developing mental illness can't be equated to being evil. Yet the media and the small-minded people want to blame religion, want to find some telling sign that he was going to crack so they can predict what kind of person would do this kind of horrible thing.

I myself am ready to accept that even people free of mental illness can develop it randomly. I'm not a psychiatrist or psychosis researcher, but I can accept that we don't know and won't know what was happening to this guy, even if his friends say he was scared about going to Afghanistan. He could have been on drugs or anti-depressants that didn't agree with him, or he might have been having some kind of freaky aneurysm. Obviously no normal person would do this kind of thing, but people don't have to be born with mental illness to develop mental illness later in life. I mean, no one goes around staring at Dylan Klebold's baby pictures looking for a sign that he was going to be an architect of a massacre.
posted by anniecat at 11:07 AM on November 6, 2009


Yeah. I find it helpful to think of certain mental illnesses as going potentially terminal. Sometimes it kills one person, through suicide, and sometimes a bunch of people, through things like this. But trying to assign blame is about as futule as trying to figure out what religion cancer is that causes it to be so deadly.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:13 AM on November 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


to see what probably ought to be fodder for debate on America's insane Violence? gun culture be turned into a debate over the "inherent violence" in one of the world's main religions will really piss me off. Let's hope for sanity here.

Luckily Our friends at that NEWS network already have asked some gems of questions like if it's time for "special debriefings," "special screenings" of (*all) Muslim officers. and "Could it be that our own military is so politically correct right now...to be careful about treatment of Muslims that they would have allowed this to go by?"

... I can see it now... why don't they create a policy on religion... where I must be afraid to say anything besides my N,R,S/N, and you can't ask me anything besides that... Unless, of course, I am a member of the dominant group... we can call it Don't ask, don't tell.


Or we could be sane, and address ALL the violence and pain that comes from having to run countries against their will, and fighting wars of choice.
posted by infinite intimation at 11:19 AM on November 6, 2009 [4 favorites]


One thing is, that black and white picture of Hasan that you see everywhere has serious crazy eyes.
He looks perfectly normal to me in that picture. I think you might be projecting the fact that you know he's crazy onto that picture.

This is "crazy eyes" to me. But I might be projecting the fact that I know she's crazy onto that picture.
posted by Flunkie at 11:22 AM on November 6, 2009


I think there's sometimes a tendency for people to substitute in "mentally ill" where 100 years ago we would have said "evil," and sometimes that's a good thing--we have pharmaceutical treatments and social supports for people with schizophrenia, rather than locking them up in institutions--but sometimes I think it's also a bad thing, or maybe just not any better. Mental illness covers a huge territory, from active psychosis that might be almost totally organic to suicidal (or homicidal) depression that might be almost totally situational. I don't have a problem necessarily with labeling someone who is a spree killer as mentally ill, as long as that's not an excuse to avoid looking closer at whether the tragedy was preventable or foreseeable.

A person with untreated schizophrenia pushing someone in front of a moving train? Probably unpreventable and unforeseeable.

A person who was predisposed to depression or anger management issues being put into a situation that triggered a full-blown break and led to a mass shooting [not saying this is the only explanation for what happened, but I think it's at least a plausible one]? Possibly foreseeable and preventable in the future.
posted by iminurmefi at 11:24 AM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm disturbed not by the fact that he was calling suicide bombers heroic (Didn't Bill Maher do the same thing after 911?)

Sigh.

No, Bill Maher did not call them heroic.
posted by the bricabrac man at 11:24 AM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Bill Maher said "We have been the cowards, lobbing cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away. That's cowardly. Staying in the airplane when it hits the building, say what you want about it, it's not cowardly."

It was the impetus for Ari Fleischer's choice quote "People have to watch what they say and watch what they do."*
posted by porn in the woods at 11:43 AM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


He was an extremely competent, functional and normal guy his whole life for him to have achieved as much as he did.

I am not so sure that this is true. In any profession, including medicine, where one's employer has invested time and money in a person's development, even the incompetent or bizarre employee can coast surpringly far before actually being fired. I'd say that in military medicine this is particularly true--the Army invests a large amount of time and money in their doctors, and needs each one of them badly (especially psychiatrists for returning soliers), and is very reluctant to just write that investment off as a total loss. Even so, it sounds like Mr. Hasan's performance was so poor, and his behavior so bizarre, that he almost got the boot.
posted by bepe at 11:54 AM on November 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


Actually, what Bill Maher said was it wasn't correct to label the 9/11 killers "cowards".
"We have been the cowards lobbing cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away. That's cowardly. Staying in the airplane when it hits the building, say what you want about it, it's not cowardly."
posted by TDavis at 11:58 AM on November 6, 2009


Bill Maher said "We have been the cowards, lobbing cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away. That's cowardly. Staying in the airplane when it hits the building, say what you want about it, it's not cowardly."


Yep. I think there's a large difference between saying something is "not cowardly" and saying that it is heroic. Me going to the fridge to make a sandwich isn't cowardly, but no-one would mistake it for heroism.

Maher was reacting to the knee-jerk response of most politicians or whatever who call pretty much any attack that doesn't involve armored formations or multi-million dollar airstrikes as "cowardly".
posted by Justinian at 12:14 PM on November 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


The conjecture is really getting out of control, and the guy is expected to recover. It seems like a lot of people who are anti-religion or far right think that it's almost certain he's a Muslim extremist (there's some really disgusting stuff on Free Republic), while a lot of other people are wondering if it's just insanity. The evidence so far is really inconclusive on if his faith was the prime factor or not.

When the shooter recovers, I wonder what he's going to say his motivation was. I think at this point everyone's jumped to a conclusion about him. People are already reaching political conclusions. I get the feeling once we get a statement out of this guy, everyone who's conjectured their own theories will be sorely disappointed.
posted by mccarty.tim at 12:15 PM on November 6, 2009


“I know what that is like; I have experienced it myself while working as a bank executive,” she said. “Some people can take it, and some cannot."

Yeah, I remember being targeted under a barrage of concentrated fire, wild but ferocious, small arms, mortar, with every intent of tearing us to pieces. And damn, that was just like trying to transfer funds from savings to checking at the bank this morning. Teller opened up on me with an AK while the bank manager laid down suppressive fire with the SAW...
I don't know how much of the bailout funds went to ordinance, but they seem pretty intent on keeping the money. Which is what I think she means by 'some people can take it and some cannot.'

Anyway, there's an evidence response team and re-creation shooters (not 'recreation' but you know - to recreate the event) out there according to SA Pack (no, seriously - the FBI for some reason mostly seem to have those 'chuck brick' kind of names. I dunno why. S'weird.)

Word was there were separate shooters. Which might have explained the casualties, different locations (the readiness processing center and Howze Auditorium), etc. But that information might be incorrect simply because the body count from one shooter does seem counterintuitive. Overall though it happened over a 1/2 hour, with the shootings centered in about a 10 min. interval, easy enough to get around, reload, etc. in that time. The guy did look a little chubby, but adrenaline gives you a lot of extra hustle.
Remains to be seen whether this guy was a terrorist. Doesn't look like it though. But that's first blush.
In any case, it's tragic all around. Especially the context with the wars going on. Just piles on the complexity.
Only good thing I can see is that the schools were dismissed early and no elementary school kids were hurt (far as I've read).
posted by Smedleyman at 12:16 PM on November 6, 2009 [3 favorites]


"We can speculate all we like but Hasan's faith is not known to be relevant at this point. If he wakes up and says 'Mohammed came to me in a vision and told me to do it,' IT'S STILL NOT RELEVANT. It means he's CRAZY."

Isn't this essentially how most modern religions were founded? God or his son or his angel or whatever comes down to earth and talks to individuals or gives them divine texts.
posted by Mitheral at 12:24 PM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Guess what I was coming down here to write?
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 12:29 PM on November 6, 2009



Isn't this essentially how most modern religions were founded? God or his son or his angel or whatever comes down to earth and talks to individuals or gives them divine texts.


I know it's God's Tweets becuase the font is in a old style Gotisch serif and has this cool gold drop shadow sparkle animation. And it goes "HALLELUJAH!" when you click on it.
posted by tkchrist at 12:33 PM on November 6, 2009


Isn't this essentially how most modern religions were founded? God or his son or his angel or whatever comes down to earth and talks to individuals or gives them divine texts.

Religious delusions are also common amongst schizophrenics. I am not suggesting that Hasan was schizophrenic.
posted by desjardins at 12:34 PM on November 6, 2009


Meaning that I have no way of knowing.
posted by desjardins at 12:34 PM on November 6, 2009


I am not suggesting that Hasan was schizophrenic.

But you are implying that Muhammad, Jesus, Joan of Arc, and George W. Bush etc. were.
posted by tkchrist at 12:36 PM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Jesus Christ, people. Shut the hell up with all the idiotic speculation. Some of you seem like you wish you were TV pundits. Let the facts come out, then draw conclusions.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:42 PM on November 6, 2009


Let the facts come out, then draw conclusions.

if stochastic process work so well, let's use 'em everywhere!
posted by GuyZero at 12:44 PM on November 6, 2009


Shut the hell up with all the idiotic speculation.

HAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA...

Oh. I speculate that you must be suffering from PTSD induced amnesia.
posted by tkchrist at 12:45 PM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Neighbor: Fort Hood Suspect Emptied His Apartment Before Mass Shootings

Officials are not ruling out the possibility that some of the casualties may have been victims of "friendly fire," that in the confusion at the shooting scene some of the responding military officials may have shot some of the victims.

Cone acknowledged that it was "counterintuitive" that a single shooter could hit so many people, but he said the massacre occurred in "close quarters.

"With ricochet fire, he was able to injure that number of people," Cone said. He said authorities were investigating whether Hasan's weapons were properly registered with the military.

posted by Comrade_robot at 12:47 PM on November 6, 2009


Focusing on Ft. Hood Killer's Beliefs Are an Easy Out to Avoid the Deeper Reasons for the Massacre - Mark Ames

posted by The Whelk at 12:48 PM on November 6, 2009 [3 favorites]


But you are implying that Muhammad, Jesus, Joan of Arc, and George W. Bush etc. were.

No, what I'm saying is that even if Hasan claims that Muhammad told him to do it, that doesn't mean the shootings were a product of Islam.
posted by desjardins at 12:48 PM on November 6, 2009


Flunkie: This is "crazy eyes" to me. But I might be projecting the fact that I know she's crazy onto that picture.

That's crazy lips (and neck); her eyes look fine. I know, I wondered about confirmation bias, but this photo is really hitting some memory I can't place, of a crazy guy. Something about the smile and sunken eyes. I was thinking Kurtz at first but Brando didn't really smile.
posted by msalt at 12:57 PM on November 6, 2009


I can totally envision people on Fox news calling him a "terrorist" simply because of his religion and heritage, rather than because he's another loner with severe emotional issues.

Yup. According to the fair and balanced crew, it is "the largest single terror attack in America since 9/11". Can't quite see their evidence for this claim (rather than it being "just another shooting spree"), but hey, no surprises there.
posted by modernnomad at 12:58 PM on November 6, 2009


Focusing on Ft. Hood Killer's Beliefs Are an Easy Out to Avoid the Deeper Reasons for the Massacre - Mark Ames

Wow that is the worst, most embarrassing article I ever read. Dude murdered a whole ton of people, but it's cool because another worse mass murder took place in the same town, by a white dude? A 4th grader would be embarrassed to have written that.

And really, has anyone anywhere tried to blame his faith or nationality (even though he was born in the US last I checked) even in the slightest? Granted I don't listen to Limbaugh, but I have seen nothing but even-handed sober coverage, like you would get for any other mass murder. Seems like a lot of preemptive angst about stuff that just hasn't been said by anyone.
posted by drjimmy11 at 1:04 PM on November 6, 2009


but this photo is really hitting some memory I can't place, of a crazy guy.

He looks pretty normal to me. There's a larger picture here. People, once they know something about someone tend to act like they "look" like that. Like how people think Ann Coulter looks ugly, when in fact she just looks like Ann Coulter.
posted by delmoi at 1:04 PM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ok I see it was said in an opinion piece by some loony on Fox News. But still, getting outraged about what you hypothesize someone might say is a little odd.
posted by drjimmy11 at 1:05 PM on November 6, 2009


And really, has anyone anywhere tried to blame his faith or nationality (even though he was born in the US last I checked) even in the slightest?

has anyone anywhere tried to blame his faith? I'm pretty sure it's happened. I did click a link to Pamela Geller's blog at one point and unsurprisingly hitting the jihad paranoia pipe pretty hard
posted by delmoi at 1:10 PM on November 6, 2009


Yes:

Hot Air Comments


Michelle Malkin
posted by empath at 1:14 PM on November 6, 2009


And really, has anyone anywhere tried to blame his faith or nationality (even though he was born in the US last I checked) even in the slightest?

Just take a walk over to Jihadwatch and have a nice, hot cup of RAGE.
posted by cimbrog at 1:15 PM on November 6, 2009


Of course Free Republic, too.
posted by empath at 1:20 PM on November 6, 2009


Of course the weasels at the National Review imply a lot without saying anything directly.
posted by empath at 1:23 PM on November 6, 2009


desjardins, I'm not a licensed psychiatrist, but I'd be a bit surprised if Hasan was schizophrenic. Aren't delusions (not in the sense of "what was he thinking" but in the sense of actually seeing & hearing things that are not real) a hallmark of schizophrenia? While there's not a lot of information yet, I haven't seen anything that indicates anyone suspected he was hearing voices, or that the invisible men told him to shoot people. To hide something like that would make someone a pretty highly-functioning schizophrenic, and would be pretty rare, as I understand it.

On the other hand, his family members are saying that he was desparate to get out of the armed forces, and had talked to a lawyer about it, but was in the process of being deployed. His coworkers are saying he didn't believe in the moral justification for these wars and didn't want to fight. Others from the Army are saying he didn't fit in well with his coworkers and had received a poor evaluation, which was very rare for someone of his rank. All of that seems to be pointing to something, and it doesn't seem to be either mental illness or religious extremism.

I don't mean to keep beating this horse, it's just that I'm uncomfortable with the logic that such a senseless act of violence must mean mental illness, because only a mentally ill person could do such a horrible thing. It's stretching the meaning of "mentally ill" away from clinically-diagnosable conditions that have to do with brain chemistry going awry and getting uncomfortably close to "mentally ill" = "evil acts I don't understand".
posted by iminurmefi at 1:24 PM on November 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


The Federal Bureau of Investigation had earlier become aware of Internet postings by a man who called himself Nidal Hasan, a law enforcement official said. The postings discussed suicide bombing in a favorable light, but the investigators were not clear whether the writer was Major Hasan.
"On the document-sharing Web site Scribd a heated discussion has been going on beneath a comment posted six months ago by someone using the screen name 'NidalHasan.' The comment was written in response to an essay uploaded to the site by another user headlined 'Martyrdom in Islam Versus Suicide Bombing.'

The name Nidal Hasan is not uncommon, and there is no way of knowing if this comment was in fact written by the Army psychiatrist who is the suspected gunman in Thursday’s rampage at Fort Hood, but the comment does seem to match a report from The Associated Press, that Major Hasan had 'attracted the attention of law enforcement authorities in recent months after an Internet posting under the screen name 'NidalHasan' compared Islamic suicide bombers to Japanese kamikaze pilots.

Here is the entire comment posted in May by the Scribd user NidalHasan:
There was a grenade thrown amongs a group of American soldiers. One of the soldiers, feeling that it was to late for everyone to flee jumped on the grave with the intention of saving his comrades. Indeed he saved them. He inentionally took his life (suicide) for a noble cause i.e. saving the lives of his soldier. To say that this soldier committed suicide is inappropriate. Its more appropriate to say he is a brave hero that sacrificed his life for a more noble cause. Scholars have paralled this to suicide bombers whose intention, by sacrificing their lives, is to help save Muslims by killing enemy soldiers. If one suicide bomber can kill 100 enemy soldiers because they were caught off guard that would be considered a strategic victory. Their intention is not to die because of some despair. The same can be said for the Kamikazees in Japan. They died (via crashing their planes into ships) to kill the enemies for the homeland. You can call them crazy i you want but their act was not one of suicide that is despised by Islam. So the scholars main point is that 'IT SEEMS AS THOUGH YOUR INTENTION IS THE MAIN ISSUE'and Allah (SWT) knows best."*
posted by ericb at 1:27 PM on November 6, 2009


I'm not saying that's what you are saying, but in general I find it very frustrating that when a Christian whackjob kills a shit ton of people, people run to claim that he "Wasn't really much of a Christian" while when a Muslim whackjob kills a shit ton of people, people run to claim that "it's another example of what Islam is about." It kind of goes hand in hand with how this act yesterday was gruesome but likely not an act of terrorism, people will call it that, because the guy was Muslim, while a Christian lunatic murders George Tiller, specifically to terrorize people and push his personal political viewpoint, and no one will call it that.

I agree with your point about Christian wackjobs. I was simply pointing out that Timothy McVeigh was not a religious extremist, so he's a completely different type of wackjob. Your example of George Tiller's murder is a better comparison.
posted by lexicakes at 1:35 PM on November 6, 2009


And really, has anyone anywhere tried to blame his faith or nationality (even though he was born in the US last I checked) even in the slightest?

I'm not "blaming" anything in particular, but given it has now been reported that Nidal Hassan has said that he considered himself "a Muslim first and an American second", I don't see how you can completely ignore his religion in this matter.
posted by Justinian at 1:36 PM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm not "blaming" anything in particular, but given it has now been reported that Nidal Hassan has said that he considered himself "a Muslim first and an American second", I don't see how you can completely ignore his religion in this matter.

I think his religiosity is more important than the particular religion. How many Xtians first, Americans second are there in this country?

Actually, there's an answer -- 59% of Christians describe themselves as Christians first and Americans second.
posted by empath at 1:40 PM on November 6, 2009 [5 favorites]


What happens to a long time US Armed Forces officer if they just refuse to get on the plane to a deployment?
posted by Mitheral at 1:40 PM on November 6, 2009


Just curious... how many Iraqis have killed their own people, either based on US orders, ideology, or provocation?
posted by markkraft at 1:50 PM on November 6, 2009


I expected the online comment they think was written by him --that showed suicide bombers in a "favorable light"-- to be somewhat more damning than that.
posted by Orb at 1:56 PM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


digby rounds up some right-wing reaction
posted by delmoi at 2:21 PM on November 6, 2009


Just curious... how many Iraqis have killed their own people, either based on US orders, ideology, or provocation?

I think the answer to that question is, "a lot," because there have been abduction/torture/murders, bomb attacks aimed specifically at Iraqi civilians who were shopping or attending services at mosques, bomb attacks aimed at Iraqi police and other Iraqis working with US forces, etc.
posted by bearwife at 2:22 PM on November 6, 2009


At the gas station this morning (after seeing this on MetaFilter), while in line to pay, I saw a distinguished-looking man on the TV. Then the name Hal Holbrook popped up. Shocked at how old he looked, I said "Oh, my god." Man just behind me in line, assuming it was the news, said: "They hire these arabs and bring them here from Afghanistan to kill our people."
posted by RichardS at 2:23 PM on November 6, 2009


iminurmefi: desjardins, I'm not a licensed psychiatrist, but I'd be a bit surprised if Hasan was schizophrenic.

Me too. Schizophrenics are rarely violent. Which is why I said I was not suggesting that Hasan was schizophrenic. My point was that his religious faith has not been proven to be relevant; even in the strongest case possible for its relevance (i.e. if he believed that Allah or Muhammad or whomever directly commanded him to shoot people) that would be delusional, not a reflection on his religion.

And really, has anyone anywhere tried to blame his faith or nationality (even though he was born in the US last I checked) even in the slightest?

If not, why do people keep repeating it? Even on usually liberal NPR? If it's not relevant, why mention that he was Muslim and of Jordanian descent? The implication is that it IS relevant. If a newscast began "Joe Smith, who is known to eat pepperoni pizza and prefers boxer briefs, shot 20 people today..." it would logically follow that the newscaster thought his pizza and underwear preferences are connected to the shooting.
posted by desjardins at 2:26 PM on November 6, 2009


Let's not go around throwing around accusations that NPR is fair or balanced or level headed when it comes to covering this sort of thing.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:29 PM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't mean to keep beating this horse, it's just that I'm uncomfortable with the logic that such a senseless act of violence must mean mental illness, because only a mentally ill person could do such a horrible thing. It's stretching the meaning of "mentally ill" away from clinically-diagnosable conditions that have to do with brain chemistry going awry and getting uncomfortably close to "mentally ill" = "evil acts I don't understand".
I don't know; I tend to think that "shot dozens of random people who had done nothing to him" is a pretty good indicator for "mentally ill", regardless of "brain chemistry". I would go so far as to say that if a definition for "mentally ill" is based on "brain chemistry" and therefore (hypothetically) lists this man as not being mentally ill, it's a fundamentally flawed definition.

To be clear, I'm certainly not saying that analysis based on brain chemistry is not useful.
posted by Flunkie at 2:54 PM on November 6, 2009


And then there's this
posted by Lou Stuells at 2:55 PM on November 6, 2009


And then there's this

I will not read the comments, I will not read the comments, I will not ...

Ah, shit. I went and read the comments.
posted by joe lisboa at 2:57 PM on November 6, 2009


“... I'm not a licensed psychiatrist, but I'd be a bit surprised if Hasan was schizophrenic…”
Wouldn’t Hasan, as a licensed psychiatrist, be best to judge if … no, wait…

“What happens to a long time US Armed Forces officer if they just refuse to get on the plane to a deployment?”

Depends. You can't resign your commission until you've fulfilled your contract. You can’t just say ‘screw that’ otherwise you get reamed (general court martial and dismissal, conduct unbecoming, all the catch alls, possible prison time, etc.)
But if it’s a principled opposition, you can get a sort of Lt. Watada situation. Which turned out fairly well all things considered, for Watada with the Obama administration asking the justice dept. to drop it.
I would have liked to see the case tried though the appeals court though, just so there would be some clearer guidelines and discussion of an officer's rights and responsibilities as to the Nuremberg Principles and command responsibility if the civilian leadership (as opposed to military command) issues and illegal order.
I don't think the military, under the circumstances, could try the case under the UCMJ in a broad way, since Watada's objections were to the political root of the war in Iraq. From a military POV, he missed deployment, end of story. And they were right in prosecuting him, as far as that went.
Once it hit the civilian courts though, different story.
But I don't think anyone wanted to take on the whole vast issue of the war powers of the executive branch, the question of whether the war in Iraq was legal, all that. So they let him resign and cut the case loose.
I think it would have made a nice precedent for the officer core to demand legal accountability from the president and congress. As it sits, that still winds up being in a sort of legal eigenstate. Yes, you have the right and indeed the duty to resist an illegal order - but how do we determine if any given order is illegal beyond obvious and immediate war crimes (like deliberately targeting a civilian)? Well uh *harumph* *cough* that's ok son, you just go ahead and we'll let you resign.
Complex issue that we've kicked on down the road to future generations for political expediency now.
*sigh*
But at least Watada did something valuable and constructive and principled in his opposition to his deployment.
Shooting people randomly, not so much.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:05 PM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's stretching the meaning of "mentally ill" away from clinically-diagnosable conditions that have to do with brain chemistry going awry

But the tests for mental illness generally involve behavioral assessments - i.e., what people actually DO. There is no blood test for bipolar. No one ran me through an MRI when I was diagnosed with panic disorder. If someone DOES something far outside the norm like shooting a bunch of people, I think it's fair to say that they're ILL, whether or not that illness fits neatly in a DSM-IV category or not.

and getting uncomfortably close to "mentally ill" = "evil acts I don't understand".

Strawman.
posted by desjardins at 3:07 PM on November 6, 2009


Flunkie, I guess I would ask what you do mean by mentally ill, then. Operating outside the bounds of human decency? If this guy is mentally ill by virtue of shooting a bunch of people, then are all murders mentally ill? What about all rapists, or child molesters? If you don't think those people are mentally ill by virtue of their evil deeds, then what specifically about spree killing makes someone mentally ill?

It seems to me that pretty soon you circle back to a definition of mentally ill that is synonymous with "evil." Sometimes people commit evil acts because there is a problem with how they are perceiving the world (like mothers who drown their children because they have post-partum psychosis and become convinced that the devil is inside their kids) and sometimes people commit evil acts knowing exactly what they are doing (like parents who get angry and beat their kids to death). I think there's some value in not just conflating the two, even if both make us struggle to understand how someone could act in that manner.

I dunno. I also think that if nothing else, people with mental illness deal with enough stigma without having to add to the confusion by sometimes using "mentally ill" to mean a medical condition related to brain chemistry and errors in cognition or perception, and sometimes using "mentally ill" to mean people who commit evil acts that we don't understand.
posted by iminurmefi at 3:08 PM on November 6, 2009


Flunkie, I guess I would ask what you do mean by mentally ill, then.
I am not the one here who is attempting to give a definition. I merely gave an example that I believe would qualify under any decent definition.
posted by Flunkie at 3:10 PM on November 6, 2009


So, he:

1. Was harassed by his coworkers.
2. Counseled people recovering from violent trauma in Iraq, then found out he was being deployed to Iraq to experience said trauma firsthand.
3. Was frustrated in his attempts to find a wife.
4. Had few social outlets.
5. Received poor performance evaluations at work, which, in the military, can effectively end your career.

Seems to fit the profile of any other workplace shooter, without factoring in any cultural/religious background.
posted by electroboy at 3:11 PM on November 6, 2009 [8 favorites]


"And then there's this"
From link: "Anyone at home aware of the major news story of the previous hours had to have been stunned. An incident like this requires a scrapping of the early light banter."

Totally. Why that would be as insensitive, incongruous, and as in bad taste as, oh, I don't know, putting tearful, dramatic photos from the Ft.Hood shooting next to ... oh ... off the cuff, say, a shot of Cyndi Lauper and Capt. Lou Albano mugging for the camera and underscored by saying I might like to explore photos of supermodels and whether Lace is sassy or trashy.
Why, that would derail any pretense I had to legitimacy as much as if I could not spell 'egregious' or use it in a grammatically correct sentence.
And that's just ain't indeed not laffible.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:23 PM on November 6, 2009 [3 favorites]


MetaFilter: there is soooooooo much crap posted on the internet—how can they possibly monitor it all?
posted by oaf at 3:46 PM on November 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


It's probably way too late to constructively contribute to this thread, but anyone who is seriously interested in the causes and aftermath of mass violence like this one should read Columbine by David Cullen. He was a journalist on the scene of the Columbine High School attack from the beginning, and he very closely deconstructs all the media, police, and organizational bullshit that occurred. Coincidentally, the same media and organizational bullshit that's going on in this situation.

There is absolutely no way to know, 24 hours after the event, what happened in Ft. Hood yesterday. Give the cops and psychologists time to do their job before making sweeping generalizations. For all we know, Hasan could be a plain old violent psychopath, which means all this hand-wringing over bullying and his religion etc. etc. is pointless. Or the opposite could be true. We just don't know yet, and may never know.
posted by muddgirl at 3:49 PM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


And really, has anyone anywhere tried to blame his faith or nationality

His faith, definitely. The media has been all over it.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:52 PM on November 6, 2009


I get the feeling once we get a statement out of this guy, everyone who's conjectured their own theories will be sorely disappointed. have stopped listening.
posted by oaf at 4:05 PM on November 6, 2009


According to the fair and balanced crew, it is 'the largest single terror attack in America since 9/11'.

President Bush, November 3, 2001: "As all Americans know, recent weeks have brought a second wave of terrorist attacks upon our country: deadly anthrax spores sent through the U.S. mail."
posted by kirkaracha at 4:22 PM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


"You can't resign your commission until you've fulfilled your contract. You can’t just say ‘screw that’ otherwise you get reamed (general court martial and dismissal, conduct unbecoming, all the catch alls, possible prison time, etc.)
"But if it’s a principled opposition, you can get a sort of Lt. Watada situation."


It was the reaming I was interested in. Someone who isn't taking a principle stand of any sorts rather just up and decides "I'm not armying any more". Maybe goes back home and sits watching Simpsons all day. What would be the average and theoretical throw the book at them consequences?
posted by Mitheral at 5:05 PM on November 6, 2009


But you are implying that Muhammad, Jesus, Joan of Arc, and George W. Bush etc. were.

Religious delusions are no less delusional because the person happens to convince other people to join in their delusion. This is how religions tend to be founded. People of a religious bent are easier to bring along in this way. More susceptible to contagious delusion, I mean.

I don't care what you do when you hear the voice of something or someone that is not there telling you what you should do. Found a religion, write a book, do the dishes, join the priesthood, shoot up your workplace, kill yourself. It's still all delusional. As in, NOT REAL. And often a sign of mental illness.
posted by marble at 5:20 PM on November 6, 2009 [3 favorites]


So, he:

1. Was harassed by his coworkers.
2. Counseled people recovering from violent trauma in Iraq, then found out he was being deployed to Iraq to experience said trauma firsthand.
3. Was frustrated in his attempts to find a wife.
4. Had few social outlets.
5. Received poor performance evaluations at work, which, in the military, can effectively end your career.

Seems to fit the profile of any other workplace shooter, without factoring in any cultural/religious background.


And the more I hear about how the shooting went down, the more this sounds like it might be suicide by cop.
posted by ShawnStruck at 6:29 PM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


“What would be the average and theoretical throw the book at them consequences?”

Intent to remain out of military control permanently would be desertion. So article 85, which means court martial certainly, dismissal, jail for 5 years at least, or, in time of war, death.
Rare for that to happen since you don't get a commission by luck or accident. Bit different for an enlisted man. Usually it's eased back down to AWOL. Especially if they split during boot.
posted by Smedleyman at 6:33 PM on November 6, 2009


I'm simply surprised this doesn't happen more often than it does.
posted by telstar at 6:48 PM on November 6, 2009


I wondered about confirmation bias, but this photo is really hitting some memory I can't place, of a crazy guy.

I think you are thinking of Vincent D'Onofrio in Full Metal Jacket.
posted by biscotti at 7:49 PM on November 6, 2009


Nightline is showing computer game graphics of the shootings and of police shooting Hasan.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:42 PM on November 6, 2009


Actually, there's an answer -- 59% of Christians describe themselves as Christians first and Americans second.

i wonder if martin luther king jr would have been one of those
posted by pyramid termite at 8:50 PM on November 6, 2009


.
posted by effugas at 10:57 PM on November 6, 2009


This incident is so sad for Fort Hood and all of the people involved. What strikes me about this thread is that everyone seems so desparate for an explanation for Hasan's actions. Sometimes people do terrible, terrible things, and there is no explanation.
posted by emd3737 at 11:45 PM on November 6, 2009


It was the reaming I was interested in. Someone who isn't taking a principle stand of any sorts rather just up and decides "I'm not armying any more". Maybe goes back home and sits watching Simpsons all day. What would be the average and theoretical throw the book at them consequences?

Guy I know did that for about six months, hiding in his apartment and drawing a paycheck the entire time. After the Navy found out about that, he was facing a year in military prison, forfeiture of all past pay, and a dishonorable discharge. Instead he sold a pack of lies to a senator, complaining about stress, and got off with a medical discharge and half pay for the rest of his life, whether he's working somewhere else or not.

So, it depends.
posted by kafziel at 1:48 AM on November 7, 2009


Actually, there's an answer -- 59% of Christians describe themselves as Christians first and Americans second.

You seem to be implying this may be a bad thing. I'm not sure why, in and of itself.
posted by rodgerd at 5:45 AM on November 7, 2009


WND's Jerome Corsi Claims Fort Hood Shooter Advised Obama.
posted by ericb at 7:15 AM on November 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Fox And Friends Muse About ‘Special Screenings’ And ‘Special Debriefings’ For Muslims In The Military.
posted by ericb at 7:23 AM on November 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


rodgerd: "Actually, there's an answer -- 59% of Christians describe themselves as Christians first and Americans second.

You seem to be implying this may be a bad thing. I'm not sure why, in and of itself.
"

It's a response to Justinian's comment:

Justinian: "And really, has anyone anywhere tried to blame his faith or nationality (even though he was born in the US last I checked) even in the slightest?

I'm not "blaming" anything in particular, but given it has now been reported that Nidal Hassan has said that he considered himself "a Muslim first and an American second", I don't see how you can completely ignore his religion in this matter.
"
posted by Mitheral at 8:06 AM on November 7, 2009


Regarding the earlier discussion of "crazy eyes," based on the grainy black and white photo that was in all the initial news sources, I give you this photo, which is sharp, well-lit, and in full color, and in which he looks perfectly normal. Funny how photo selection (and, who knows, maybe just a little retouching-- just to make it suitable for publication, we swear!) can make so much difference between an INSANE LUNATIC DEMON TERRORIST and that nice guy down the block who snapped and did something unspeakable.
posted by dersins at 10:46 AM on November 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


worshipped at same mosque as 9/11 hijackers.
posted by wallstreet1929 at 2:20 PM on November 7, 2009


worshipped at same mosque as 9/11 hijackers.

The mosque is just a building, but it's unfortunate that Hasan seemed (according to that article) fond of Anwar al-Awlaki. Awlaki has a knack for capturing the attention of the outraged and ignorant, and is basically one of the louder chicken hawks in the Muslim world. He calls people to violent Jihad (even against other Muslims in Somalia) but has never lifted a finger, got a lot of mileage out of blaming the CIA for his detention even though it was the Yemeni government who didn't like him, and generally makes a name for himself by using inflamed rhetoric. I'm sorry Hasan didn't have the smarts to look for a better teacher.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:40 PM on November 7, 2009


It was the reaming I was interested in. Someone who isn't taking a principle stand of any sorts rather just up and decides "I'm not armying any more". Maybe goes back home and sits watching Simpsons all day. What would be the average and theoretical throw the book at them consequences?

I had a guy do that once, who worked for me. He just didn't show up to work, no call, no nothing. So of course, I call him up. "Say, man, I noticed you aren't here. What's up?"
"I'm not coming anymore. I quit."

So, after trying to explain that it doesn't really work like that in the military, I marked him UA on the muster list. That got him a few more phone calls from successively higher ranking people. He stuck to his story, though.

We can't really go out into town and arrest somebody for not showing up to work. Every day I called him and asked if he was coming to work, and every day he answered the phone and told me no. After 30 days he became officially AWOL and not just UA. At that point someone in the chain of command - not sure who has the authority for it: local command? Navy Region? - had the county Sheriff go arrest him and return him to the base.

I never saw him again, so I don't know what happened in the way of consequences. Probably some time in correctional custody (think Marine boot camp in the movies, for "motivation") and another chance, since he was junior enough. Senior guys more likely get court-martialed and a dishonorable or other-than-honorable discharge. Brig time is usually more for actual crimes.
posted by ctmf at 2:49 PM on November 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Speculation about Major Hasan's motivations and reasons for doing what he did will remain that, in view of his own injuries. But without a doubt the man qualifies for the Pat Tillman award for most accurate delivery of ordnance in a friendly-fire incident. His handling of handguns was exemplary. Surely there is a lesson in this for our uniformed psychopaths overseas who hope to protect us from terrorists coming here with pitchforks and scythes merely because their own families have been exterminated by drones surgically hitting wedding parties and funerals. This is military culture, nothing to moan about.

I heard today on NPR, from an Army spokesman, that Ft. Hood is 'a city of heroes', and now there are more of them. Thank you, Maj. Hasan for demonstrating the effectiveness of the military training in the US Army deathcult, and you did it without a standard issue weapon! Maj. Hasan has a lot more class than the clowns from Ft. Carson who, so far, have murdered over 11 in the area, a few of their victims were also in the army. These guys had no class, and had to be drunk before the execution style killings, automobile assaults, and stabbings they inflicted on Colorado inhabitants. People like this go overseas hoping, upon return, to seek gainful in law enforcement. And what do we have for them? None of that namby-pamby taser action for these guys. Their heroes, and can kill close up and intimate, even when drunk.

Maj. Hasan, on the other hand, is now in the Guinness Book of Records for the largest mass killing on a US military base by a non-terrorist. And he never went to Iraq. How long will it be before the record is broken? By an enlisted man? By a combat vet? I think the US military won't let this record stand for long. Right now they're training people in Afghanistan to go berserk with firearms, providing them with Catholic-style rationalizations for the sins they will commit upon return to this country. Thank you, Mr. Obama, for keeping us there. We need more heroes.
posted by Veridicality at 3:21 PM on November 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


I give you this photo, which is sharp, well-lit, and in full color, and in which he looks perfectly normal.

OK, point taken. BUT -- did you notice that if you look closely to the right of Hasan, you can just make out a SWASTIKA!!!?!?!?!
posted by msalt at 4:38 PM on November 7, 2009


Veridicality: What in the world do you mean by "Catholic-style rationalizations for the sins they will commit"?
posted by msalt at 4:51 PM on November 7, 2009


"you did it without a standard issue weapon!"

The reports all say he wasn't using a military issue weapon. Have any said what the pistols were? Doesn't seem it would make much functional difference if he was using a pair of personal Berretta 92FSs instead of a military issue M9s.
posted by Mitheral at 7:28 PM on November 7, 2009


Have any said what the pistols were?

He was using a FN Herstal Five-Seven, which is chambered for powerful bullets and has a 20 shot clip. At the close ranges that he was at, the major difference that having this gun over a standard issue M9 or something probably was that he had to reload less often. The victims weren't wearing any body armor so if he was using special bullets that would also mean a higher fatality rate if struck. But, there's no reason why a determined shooter couldn't do as much damage with normal military issue weapons.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:37 PM on November 7, 2009


Also:
"The second gun he had with him was a .357 S&W Magnum revolver, federal law enforcement officials tell ABC News. Ballistics are still being run to determine if he used the revolver in the shooting."
posted by ericb at 7:38 AM on November 8, 2009


The lonely life of alleged Fort Hood shooter -- "‘He was mistreated. He didn't have nobody. He was all alone,’ says neighbor."
posted by ericb at 7:39 AM on November 8, 2009


Clear warning signs, Hasan’s colleagues say.
posted by ericb at 7:43 AM on November 8, 2009


Veridicality's post is one of the most spectacularly stupid and offensive things I've ever seen on metafilter, and I'm shocked that anybody favorited it.
posted by empath at 12:15 PM on November 8, 2009 [4 favorites]


Look who did that, though.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:32 PM on November 8, 2009


Major Nidal Malik Hasan, the gunman who killed 13 at America's Fort Hood military base, once gave a lecture to other doctors in which he said non-believers should be beheaded and have boiling oil poured down their throats.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 10:17 PM on November 8, 2009


I see Lieberman is talking crap again.

"Senator Joe Lieberman, who chairs the US Senate Committee on Homeland Security, said there had been "strong warning signs" that Hasan was an "Islamist extremist".

The committee would ask "whether the Army missed warning signs that should have led them to essentially discharge him, he said. He added: "The US Army has to have zero tolerance. He should have been gone."


I suspect that would be unfairly applied, to say the least. If, for example, a new recruit spoke of going on a Crusade in the Middle East, I suspect that Mr Lieberman's 'zero tolerance' approach would not apply. It's getting to the point where it is hardly worth arguing about it. Congratulations to Lieberman etc. who are promoting the belief that being a Muslim is a danger sign himself, that the Muslim people of the USA constitute a fifth column/enemy within. That'll be just great for community cohesion, and furthermore, it will distract attention from the significant psychological trauma this man went through that led him to commit this act and contribute to his actions being blamed on his faith rather than his obvious psychological distress.
posted by knapah at 2:51 AM on November 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Investigation into Fort Hood Shooting shows no link to terror plot

Rather, they have come to believe that Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the Army psychiatrist accused in the shootings, acted out under a welter of emotional, ideological and religious pressures, according to interviews with federal officials who have been briefed on the inquiry.

Investigators have not ruled out the possibility that Major Hasan believed he was carrying out an extremist’s suicide mission.

But the investigators, working with behavioral experts, suggested that he might have long suffered from emotional problems that were exacerbated by the tensions of his work with veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who returned home with serious psychiatric problems.

They said his counseling activities with the veterans appear to have further fueled his anger and hardened his increasingly militant views as he was seeming to move toward more extreme religious beliefs — all of which boiled over as he faced being shipped overseas, an assignment he bitterly opposed.

posted by Comrade_robot at 6:40 AM on November 9, 2009


Fort Hood shooting suspect conscious, talking, hospital says

Fort Hood, Texas (CNN) -- Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the suspect in last week's mass shooting at the Fort Hood Army Post, is conscious and talking, according to a spokesman for the Army hospital where he is being treated.

Authorities have not identified a motive in Thursday's attack that left 13 dead and 42 others wounded.

Hasan, a 39-year-old licensed Army psychiatrist who worked at a hospital on the post, has been identified as the suspected shooter. He was shot several times after the attack. On Sunday, he was listed in critical but stable condition and in intensive care at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas.

Hasan's ventilator was removed over the weekend, and he began talking afterward, hospital spokesman Dewey Mitchell said. He is speaking with hospital staff, but Mitchell was unable to say whether Hasan has been speaking with Army investigators.

posted by Comrade_robot at 7:52 AM on November 9, 2009


U.S. intelligence agencies were aware months ago that Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan was attempting to make contact with people associated with al Qaeda

And life at Ft. Hood is so difficult already. Nothing to do off-base unless you're into honky-tonks and strip clubs.

Hasan enjoyed strippers

Sad story.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:31 AM on November 9, 2009


Hasan will face a court-martial

Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan will be tried in a military court-martial, and prosecutors are expected to seek the death penalty, officials said yesterday.

FBI and Army investigators tried to interview Hasan, who is recovering from bullet wounds in a San Antonio Army hospital, on Sunday, but he refused and demanded a lawyer.

Under the military system, Hasan's fellow Army officers - almost certainly combat veterans - will rule on whether he is guilty of the mass murder of 12 soldiers and one civilian at Fort Hood, and, if so, on his punishment. A death penalty would be carried out by lethal injection.

The last military execution was carried out in 1961, and the last execution in a federal court case was in 2003.

posted by Comrade_robot at 8:28 AM on November 10, 2009


I'm sure killing him will show other people how wrong killing is!
posted by Justinian at 10:01 PM on November 10, 2009


Yeah Justinian, but this is the Obama administration, and everything is better now. So I'm sure they'll only execute him ironically.
posted by BrotherCaine at 10:31 PM on November 10, 2009


BC: did you really have to bring partisan politicking into this? Really?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:04 AM on November 11, 2009


Partisan? No. Smartass, maybe. For which I apologize.
posted by BrotherCaine at 12:34 AM on November 12, 2009


Been only following this story tangentially, but the new conservative meme is that Fort Hood is "Obama's Katrina"

Fort Hood Could Be Obama's Katrina

The Stage Appears Set for Obama's 'Heck of a Job' Moment

Experts: Terror links should have raised flags

Fort Hood & the Perversion of Language: "The Shooter Was a Soldier"
posted by mrgrimm at 10:16 AM on November 12, 2009


More troubling to me than the possibility that he was communicating with extremists (and this was known, and possibly not followed up on) is that Walter Reed Officials Asked: Was Hasan Psychotic?

And finally, Hasan was about to leave Walter Reed and USUHS for good and transfer to Fort Hood, in Texas. Fort Hood has more psychiatrists and other mental specialists than some other Army bases, so officials figured there would be plenty of co-workers who would support Hasan — and monitor him.
posted by rtha at 10:21 AM on November 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Just checking -- this is the same Walter Reed that was in the news two years ago for falling down on the job of dealing with soldiers in distress, yes?

Hmm. And who was president in 2007?

And which president are they blaming for this? I see.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:40 AM on November 12, 2009


....Um. Uh, can we disregard my last comment, in light of the fact that I took someone to task for partisan bickering earlier in the thread and then engaged in it myself? My apologies.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:40 AM on November 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


yeah, it's EXACTLY like drowning a major american city.
posted by empath at 10:53 AM on November 12, 2009


Fort Hood Suspect is Paralyzed

The US Army psychiatrist accused of murdering 13 people at Fort Hood is paralysed, his lawyer says.

Maj Nidal Malik Hasan, 39, was shot by police during the incident at the Texas military base on 5 November.

Lawyer John Galligan told reporters his client had no feeling in his legs and doctors had told him the condition may be permanent.

Maj Hasan could face the death penalty after being charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder.
posted by Comrade_robot at 9:49 AM on November 13, 2009


I wonder why only 13 counts? I know that the prosecutors are mulling over additional charges, but it seems like they could easily tack on 34 more aggravated assault or attempted first degree murder charges as well. I think since they're only focusing on the 13 counts for now probably means they will be aggressively pursuing the death penalty. It's a bit of a shame if he is executed, because ignorant wannabe jihadists will see him as a martyr, and he will have far less time in prison to perhaps have a change of heart and seek some kind of redemption. Angry bloodlust will trump logic, though. SubhanAllah.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:46 PM on November 13, 2009



Arizona Senator John McCain told AP news agency on Saturday he believed "political correctness" had played a role in preventing concerns about Maj Hasan being acted upon


(CBS) Nidal Hasan's supervisor at Walter Reed Army Medical Center warned that Hasan was unprofessional, lazy and was "counseled for inappropriately discussing religious topics with his assigned patients," according to a memo obtained by National Public Radio.



Details have emerged suggesting that Maj. Hasan fits the profile of many other mass shooters in U.S. history, not that of an Islamic extremist. He has been described by some as a quiet, loner, who exhibited symptoms of emotional and psychological problems and was frustrated with a perceived set of grievances against him, and he reportedly felt isolated and under attack as a Muslim within the army.

posted by Comrade_robot at 12:36 PM on November 24, 2009


I think you might want to take the mouthpiece of the Nation of Islam with a grain of salt. I don't think they're wrong, per se, but there's probably better sources out there.
posted by electroboy at 1:04 PM on November 24, 2009


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