The first whiff I got of yesterday’s tragic shooting in the deployment facility at Fort Hood Army base in Texas (reported 13 dead, 30 wounded) was on Huffington Post (I don’t have cable TV). By the end of the day, President Obama made a statement and the old news guard caught up. This morning there is more information about Major Nidel M. Hasan, the shooting suspect and psychiatric medical officer now in custody and hospitalized after being shot several times by a security officer. An interview with Major Hasan’s aunt is posted on today’s Washington Post.com. You can read it here.
In some instances the press has been more responsible than others. Last night’s NewsHour on PBS focused on battle fatigue and rotations as the story was still developing. The Washington Post is in a position to treat this as a local story since Major Hasan was born in Arlington, VA just outside DC. The WaPo interview with his aunt doesn’t offer answers, but doesn’t jump to the template conclusions as well. But you can’t control how people read outside the words.
Even before this morning’s updates were released, I sent a heads up to E-Notes yesterday evening, in anticipation of the fall out. I read E-Notes like some people read Daily Word:
Sadness will mix with anger again. Soldiers killed by fellow soldiers is never easy to accept. This isn’t friendly fire. It’s not a mistake – but what is it? Look for the media to fan the flames or not ask the right questions. Notice how after Ft. Hood we begin to suspect the air around Virginia Tech must have a virus. Notice also how it doesn’t matter if you’re a U.S. citizen but your features and accent says you’re from somewhere else. Folks will once again blame things on Islam – oh boy! If you look like a Muslim or have a Muslim name – duck and cover again. If you’re Palestinian you won’t get any breaks. Folks won’t even want to give you a uniform now. How can you discuss land?
So this is our inheritance as Americans. We struggle daily to live together and understand one another. We still see people as belonging to groups – even though the big group is American.
Oh, and someone will complain about guns – but we can’t take away guns from soldiers. Can we?
Oh, and so the gunman is alive and not dead. Will we ever hear his story? Will his friends talk about how kind and gentle he was? Do we ever know our friends? What secrets do we all have?
How many of us are living on the edge?
It’s going to be strange to ask a psychiatrist for answers, when the gunman is also playing by the book.
After the days – we will fail to see the families forever destroyed. What scars must they try to love?
There are no easy answers. We just need to be strong enough to avoid the easy lies.