On Thursday, November 5, 2009, a US Army psychiatrist, Major Nidal Malik Hasan entered the Soldier Readiness Center in the Fort Hood, Texas military base and opened fire with small arms. So far, the casualty count is 13 dead and 39 wounded. Not all of the wounded are expected to survive. Major Hasan, himself, survived the incident, although he was shot 4 times by responding police officers. He is reportedly in a coma at a military medical facility.
A terrible crime; an horrendous tragedy.
But leave it to fringe right-wingers, ever on the lookout for anything they can exploit, to leap at the opportunity to use the incident for political gain. Even before all the details of the incident were known, shrieks of "Terrorism!" and "Islamic extremists!" were ringing in the public ears.
Leading the charge is (who else?) the repulsive senator from Connecticut, Joe Lieberman, who was on Fox News Sunday with this money quote: "We don't know enough to say now, but there are very, very strong warning signs here that Dr. Hasan had become an Islamist extremist and, therefore, that this was a terrorist act."
In support of Lieberman's conjecture, it is being reported today that, in 2001, Hasan attended the same mosque in Virginia as two of the 9-11 hijackers. There are also reports that Hasan attempted to contact "al-Qaeda" before his rampage.
Lieberman's verbal dysentery continued. He said he would initiate a Senate investigation to uncover Hasan's motives and to determine "whether the Army missed warning signs." Now that's courage!
I have a couple questions:
- If Hasan, by virtue of being an "Islamist extremist" (according to Lieberman's definition), has committed an act of terrorism, does that mean that "Christian extremist" Scott Roeder who murdered Dr. George Tiller as the doctor attended a service at his church also committed a "terrorist act?"
- And, if so, will brave Joe Lieberman initiate an investigation into Roeder's associations and contacts?
Over the years, I have befriended many Muslims. Last weekend, I had occasion to speak with several of them about the issue. When I expressed concern that there will be a backlash against Muslims in this country, each of them agreed with me. They are expecting it.
And Joe Lieberman, the mealy-mouthed, self-serving pig that he is, has not disappointed. Nor, of course, have the tea-bag crowd. Trust me, they're just getting ramped up. They will be pointing to this incident for years to come as proof positive of the "danger" of Islam.
Listen, people: Major Hasan was a deranged killer with a gun, nothing more, nothing less. It is anything but helpful to have pigs like Lieberman using the tragedy to stoke fear against a particular demographic just to raise his political visibility.
Haven't we learned over the last 20 or so years that murderous shooting sprees by deranged killers is a recurring phenomenon in this country?
Shall we chronicle the carnage?
- February 26, 2009, Miramar Beach, Florida
- September 24, 2003, Cold Spring, Minnesota
- June 10, 2009, Washington, DC
- December 11, 2007, Colorado Springs, Colorado
- November 6, 2007, Omaha, Nebraska
- July 27, 2008, Powell, Tennessee
- April 20, 1999, Jefferson County, Colorado
- October, 2002, Washington DC, Maryland, Virginia
Let's face the facts: In this country, once or twice a year, somebody snaps and takes a gun (or guns) into a public place and starts randomly killing people. Sometimes the killer is a Muslim; sometimes the killer is a Christian. Sometimes the killer is a racist; sometimes the killer is a disillusioned teenager.
Symptoms of a world gone mad.
Or maybe it has always been this way.
I don't know.
***Update: The family of one of the victims, Michael Cahill speaks out.
People, that is truly Christian.