Another shooting at Ft. Hood
Terrible. Just terrible.
First, the basics:
An Iraq War veteran being treated for mental illness opened fire Wednesday on fellow service members at the Fort Hood military base, killing three people and wounding 16 before committing suicide at the same post where more than a dozen people were slain in a 2009 attack, authorities said.
I've already seen some folks, Piers Morgan for instance, using this for political points, specifically on the gun issue. That is idiotic for reasons I will get to in a minute, but this is what ended the massacre:
He was eventually confronted by military police in a parking lot. As he came within 20 feet of an officer, the gunman put his hands up but then reached under his jacket and pulled out his gun. The officer drew her own weapon, and the suspect put his gun to his head and pulled the trigger a final time, according to Lt. Gen. Mark A. Milley, senior officer on the base.
According to the General, it took 15 minutes for the MPs to get there, which probably is a pretty good response time, given the size of the base and the obvious initial confusion. But most of what we will hear in future days is likely the gun angle.
As the Washington Post noted, Ft. Hood is a "Gun Free Zone" which makes it a bit of an oasis in gun-toting Texas:
Unfortunately for the thousands or millions who suffer from PTSD but don't go on random shooting sprees, this will only increase the prejudice against those folks I fear.
The gunman, who served in Iraq for four months in 2011, had sought help for depression, anxiety and other problems. Before the attack, he had been undergoing an assessment to determine whether he had post-traumatic stress disorder, Milley said.
The married suspect had arrived at Fort Hood in February from another base in Texas. He was taking medication, and there were reports that he had complained after returning from Iraq about suffering a traumatic brain injury, Milley said. The commander did not elaborate.
Hopefully folks on both sides will take a huge breath before they say dumb things. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like that will happen.
Twitchy.com has a good roundup of everything related to the shootings, but this one in particular made me sick to my stomach. Bear in mind that the time Pat Dollard tweeted this, no one knew anything about the shooting, much less the motivation of the actual shooter:
It's not just how sad the event is itself that gets me, it is people on both sides rushing to make some political point without bothering to apparently wait for the facts. For my part, I'm just going to pray for the families, pray for temperance in our response, and let the law enforcement folks do their job before I start condemning any policy or group of people.
The President released a statement last night:
THE PRESIDENT: Hello, everybody. I just got off the phone with Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Sandy Winnefeld to get the latest report on the situation in Fort Hood. Obviously we’re following it closely. The situation is fluid right now. But my national security team is in close contact with not just the Defense Department but the FBI. They are working with folks on the ground to determine exactly what happened to make sure that everybody is secure. And I want to just assure all of us that we're going to get to the bottom of exactly what happened.
Any shooting is troubling. Obviously this reopens the pain of what happened at Fort Hood five years ago. We know these families. We know their incredible service to our country and the sacrifices that they make. Obviously our thoughts and prayers were -- are with the entire community. And we are going to do everything we can to make sure that the community at Fort Hood has what it needs to deal with the current situation, but also any potential aftermath.
We're heartbroken that something like this might have happened again. And I don't want to comment on the facts until I know exactly what has happened, but for now, I would just hope that everybody across the country is keeping the families and the community at Fort Hood in our thoughts and in our prayers. The folks there have sacrificed so much on behalf of our freedom. Many of the people there have been on multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. They serve with valor; they serve with distinction. And when they’re at their home base they need to feel safe. We don't yet know what happened tonight, but obviously that sense of safety has been broken once again. And we're going to have to find out exactly what happened.
The Pentagon will undoubtedly have further briefings for you as we get more details [about what happened.]
The American Legion will have a release soon which I will add below.
In the meantime, my friend Jonn Lilyea apparently shares my fear:
[T]he media has arrived at their preconceived notion that it was PTS that made him kill people, so case closed, but like I said, how do they explain the fact that everyday, thousands of veterans with PTS haven’t murdered anyone?
My friends Alex Horton (Army of Dude, formerly VA), Paul Szoldra (Duffel Blog) and J.R. Salzman (who wrote for us and the NRA, and who I discussed HERE) are noting on Twitter that the information now is sketchy at best, and trying to fight off the PTSD angle. As they noted, the PTSD and TBI don't appear to have been diagnosed yet, and there is no mention of a Purple Heart which would likely have come from the TBI. Yet another reason to wait until all the information is in. In the meantime, if you don't follow them on Twitter, you probably should, all three are amazing young veterans.
Legion Press Release:
American Legion National Commander reacts to Ft. Hood tragedy
INDIANAPOLIS (April 3, 2014) – American Legion National Commander Daniel M. Dellinger issued the following statement regarding Wednesday’s mass shooting at Fort Hood, Texas:
“On behalf of the 2.4 million wartime veterans who are members of The American Legion, I express my deepest condolences to the victims and families affected by yesterday’s tragedy at Fort Hood. I will be speaking with The American Legion Department of Texas to offer our complete support for those who need it. Our appreciation for those who serve in our military is unshakeable.”
The Army's top civilian official says the soldier accused in the Fort Hood shooting this week was deployed for the final months of the Iraq war but did not see combat...
McHugh says the soldier was examined by a psychiatrist last month and was found to show no violent or suicidal tendencies. He says the soldier had been prescribed Ambien to deal with a sleeping problem.
Well, I take Ambien too, but it mostly makes me want to drool on my pillow, not run around shooting people.
As I’ve been saying all along, PTS has become an excuse for bad behavior, but on closer examination, something the media is largely unequipped to accept, that’s all it is – an excuse. An excuse largely accepted by the social engineers and our intellectual betters who have all of the answers and none of the experience.
I can't overstate this truth: it is imperitive that we all fight back when we see PTSD and those who suffer from it portrayed as mass murderers. It is simply not borne out by the facts. It wasn't PTSD in the shooting trial, and so far anyway, it doesn't appear that way here either. In the absence of anything showing it is, why is it the constant position of the media?