By now, virtually everyone has read and reread the copious news accounts of the terrible shooting a few weeks ago at Fort Hood, Texas. This column will not attempt to add new details to what is already a highly scrutinized tragedy. However, I do want to pose three basic questions that, to me, are extremely glaring and, for the most part, absent from the discussion.
Question 1: Why were the soldiers not armed?
After all, this is a military base; more than that, it is an Army base that emphasizes the training and equipping of frontline, combat-ready soldiers. For the most part, these were not clerks or cooks; these were combat troops. Fort Hood is home to the 1st Cavalry Division (the largest Division in the Army). Troops stationed at Fort Hood have engaged the enemy in virtually every hot theater of war to which American forces have been deployed. In recent conflicts that means Somalia, Bosnia, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. Without a doubt, these are among America's bravest and best.
So, how is it that these intensely trained, disciplined, rugged, highly qualified warriors are not allowed to carry their own weapons on base? This makes about as much sense as the policy forbidding airline pilots from carrying their own handguns on board commercial airliners, or teachers not being allowed to carry their own handguns in the classroom. After all, judges are granted the authority to carry their own firearms into the courtroom. If we can trust lawyers, we should be able to trust soldiers, airline pilots, and teachers.
Question 2: If the federal government--including the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, etc., with billions of dollars worth of technology; tens of thousands of snoops, spooks, and intelligence gatherers; and myriad Patriot Act-type laws--could not protect US soldiers on one of the most tightly secured and heavily guarded military installations in America, how can anyone in the country possibly not break out in cacophonous laughter when politicians tell us we need to surrender more liberties so that they might pass more laws to protect us crummy little peons? Or is it that, because Hasan was a Muslim, the politically correct nincompoops in charge gave him a pass?
Consider: we have learned that the shooter, Major Nidal Malik Hasan, had attempted to make contact with people associated with al Qaeda; that numerous classmates of Hasan had reported his anti-American views, which, according to a column written by Dennis Prager, "included his giving a presentation that justified suicide bombing and telling classmates that Islamic law trumped the U.S. Constitution;" and that Hasan had a long history of pro-Islamic, anti-American activity. All of which begs an answer to the question, How could such an individual not only be allowed in the US military, but also be allowed to advance to the rank of Major?
I think most of my readers have the answer to this question figured out: we have an out-of-control, politically correct federal government that only senses danger from conservatives, libertarians, Christians, pro-lifers, Tea Party protesters, and anti-UN, anti-IRS, pro-Second Amendment activists--and supporters of Ron Paul and Chuck Baldwin, of course. To this politically correct federal leviathan today, anti-American jihadists, militant Black Panthers, or illegal aliens who have committed felonious crimes in Mexico pose no risk to anyone, and must be "understood."
As Prager quotes NPR's Tom Gjelten: since Hasan had never been in combat, he must have suffered from "pre-traumatic stress disorder." No, I'm not kidding. That's what he said. (I'll pause while you pick yourself up off the floor from laughing.)
To the politically correct crowd running things in Washington, D.C., anyone coming from a socialistic, Big Government, or anti-American point of view is harmless, and anyone coming from a conservative, Christian, constitutional, or pro-American point of view is dangerous. Can one imagine how the mainstream media, federal police agencies, and the Southern Poverty Law Center would have reacted had Hasan shouted "Jesus is greatest!" instead of what he really said, "Allah is greatest!" right before opening fire?
If one rejects the notion that political correctness favoring Muslims had anything to do with the Fort Hood shooting, then we are back to the original question: If the federal government could not protect US soldiers on one of the most tightly secured and heavily guarded military installations in America, how can anyone in the country possibly trust politicians who tell us we need to surrender more liberties so that they might pass more laws to protect us crummy little peons?
Question 3: How could one man (with no combat experience) armed with only two handguns fire over 100 rounds (demanding he reload at least 3 times) into a crowd of scores and hundreds of fearless combat-trained warriors? I must confess: this is the question that bothers me the most.
According to the official story, Hasan was the only shooter, and he was allowed to fire at will into a crowd of America's finest warriors for at least 4 minutes, reloading at least 3 times, firing over 100 rounds of ammunition, killing 13 people, and wounding over 30--and was finally taken out by civilian police officers AFTER EXITING THE BUILDING. I've got to tell you: I cannot get my brain around this one.
Again, these soldiers are warriors. They not only know how to fight, they know how to fight unarmed. They are trained to risk their lives. They are trained to do whatever is necessary to take out the enemy. Had even a small group of soldiers rushed the shooter (especially if they came at him from multiple directions) there is no way that Hasan would not have been subdued--and most likely killed. Yes, a few of the on-rushers would have been hit, but Hasan could not have gotten them all. That is a fact! And yet, we are supposed to believe that Hasan was not only unmolested by soldiers inside the building, but he was allowed to leave the building entirely, and then get shot by civilian policemen? Again, this explanation makes absolutely no sense to me. None.
Initial reports said there were multiple shooters. If that was the case, the scenario is much more plausible. If multiple shooters had opened fire from various vantage points--especially if they had rifles--it would have made unarmed resistance extremely difficult. That scenario would make sense. The "one shooter with two handguns" explanation makes no sense.
I realize that no unarmed man wants to rush an armed attacker. Of course, some who would do so would probably die, but again, these are trained warriors. Furthermore, this was an all-or-nothing, kill-or-be-killed environment: something these men are trained for. If untrained civilian passengers on flight 93 on 9/11 could rush and thwart armed attackers on board a commercial airliner from a narrow aisle way and stop a hijacking--a task infinitely more difficult than for a group of highly trained professional soldiers outnumbering an attacker by scores or hundreds in a large building--tell me again how Hasan was able to open fire with only two handguns, kill and wound scores of people, and calmly walk out of the building unscathed? Again, this makes no sense.
Of course, all of the above is predicated upon the public accounts of the events being a truthful representation of what actually occurred. Which, after trying to comprehend the plausibility of what we are being told, is becoming increasingly difficult to believe. But then again, I haven't believed much that the federal government or major news media has told me since John F. Kennedy was assassinated. And I must say, this story serves only to further fuel my skepticism.