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Ft. Hood Massacre - The Motive for Mass Murder

"When Nidal Hasan's fellow students complained to the military medical school faculty about his 'anti-American propaganda,' a fear of appearing discriminatory against a Muslim student kept these officers from filing a formal written complaint," thereby allowing him to remain in the military unchallenged for his beliefs, statements and ultimate actions.

The blind political correctness needs to end in this country. While U.S. Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan absolutely does not represent the vast majority of peace loving Muslims in America, we still cannot be afraid to state the obvious when it endangers others. Major Hasan did not murder and wound over 50 unarmed U.S. soldiers and civilians at Ft. Hood, Texas, because he listened to the post traumatic stress of others, nor did he do it because of some psychotic break with reality, or because of alleged incidents of harassment due to his ethnic and religious background. He murdered because he wanted to make a statement in support of his distorted religious belief system and because he blamed the U.S. Army, represented by his many victims, for his own personal failures in life.

When Major Hasan purchased an FN5.7 mm semiautomatic pistol with laser sight and a .357 magnum revolver from a local Texas gun store, this was part of his ongoing, premeditated plan to commit mass murder, one that had evolved as part of his personal religious belief system as a Muslim (radical Islamic fundamentalist). The "five-seven" pistol is referred to as a "cop killer" gun because when it is loaded with the appropriate rounds, it is capable of shooting through the Kevlar vests worn by police officers. An armor piercing .357 round is capable of punching a hole in the engine block of an automobile, not to mention what these two hadguns can and did do to the many people he shot, wounded and murdered. He did not suffer from post traumatic stress disorder; noting that he had never been deployed to a combat zone in his entire military career, nor did he suffer from "consulting fatigue," he simply failed as a human being. As one of 3,500 Muslim Americans in the 2.1 million strong U.S. military, he had a sworn duty to both America and to the military, one he totally disregarded. When he took up arms against his fellow soldiers, all of which were unarmed as he jumped up on a table and began shooting at the hundreds of men and women in green in the room with him, he did so because he wanted to write a statement in the blood of his victims. While he succeeded in this part of his believed plan, he failed to martyr himself for his twisted cause.

Major Hasan was likely conflicted between his religion and his duty as an American and as a military officer, but this conflict was not due to some kind of harassment of him because to his religious faith. His murderous actions do appear, however, to have been an aberrant expression of his religious faith when he allegedly shouted "Allahu Akbar!" as he gunned down dozens of soldiers around him, firing more than 100 rounds before he was shot down by two responding civilian police officers. It was the actions of these two brave officers that probably stopped Hasan from even more blood letting.

Major Hasan willingly let the U.S. Government pay his entire way through medical school, allowing him to become a psychiatrist, with the understanding that he would stay in the U.S. Army and serve a set number of years. He was totally involved in this program at the time of the 9/11 attacks on America and subsequent U.S. involvement in the military actions in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Nevertheless, he continued to hold his hand out, and continued to allow the U.S. taxpayer to pay his way through school, this while his contemporaries outside the military racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in loan debt that they would need repay once they began their own medical practices. It was only as Hasan neared completion of his MD that he decided to change the rules, now professing his Muslim faith as the reason why he needed to get out of the Army. He had signed a contract, extracted every dollar he could from the American tax payer, and then wanted out of his contract without completing his part of the agreement.

Yes, Major Hasan was conflicted. He wanted a Muslim wife who would be more religious than even he, but his efforts to find such a woman failed to meet with success. He was allegedly counselled because of his proselytizing his faith to his fellow medical students and due to his alleged drinking activities. While his car was apparently keyed by a lone soldier who returned from the Middle East who somehow resented Hasan, it was, according to those who worked with him, Hasan that made himself a lightning rod for controversy. During a past master's degree public health program, Hasan used an otherwise mundane requirement to present a presentation of air contaminates to suggest that the U.S. military involvement in the Middle East was really a war on Islam, further indicating his total opposition to the actions of America in this regard. Granted, he has the right to his own opinion, but his highly vocal opposition in this regard turned into his own self-fulfilling prophesy - he spoke against his country and his fellow soldiers, therefore they were less than social with him, something he then defined as discrimination and harassment.

Hasan's name has been linked to a radical web site concerning the alleged valor of suicide bombers. He is believed to be the same Nidal Hasan who compared the acts of suicide murderers with those of a soldier who jumps on a live grenade to save his/her fellow soldiers. He is also linked to statements suggesting that Muslims should rise up and attack Americans in retaliation for the U.S. war in Iraq, telling former coworkers that he was "happy" when a U.S. soldier was murdered in an attack on an Arkansas military recruiting office by a fellow Muslim American. Others heard him say that "maybe people should strap bombs on themselves and go to Time Square" in New York City. It was on this same questioned radical web site that Hasan is alleged to have written about the sacrifice of suicide bombers, suggesting that if "one suicide bomber can kill 100 enemy soldiers because they were caught off guard, that such such would be considered a strategic victory." Should this statement be the words of Major Hasan, it bears an amazing resemblance to his own actions, i.e., catching hundreds of soldiers off guard and killing them.

So what happened that allowed Hasan to come into the U.S. Army, be promoted to the rank of Major while making statements against the U.S. military and suggesting that American soldiers should be murdered as an expression of his religious beliefs? First of all, apparently no one appropriately challenged him on his totally inappropriate statements - after all, he was a Muslim and we learned from 9/11 that Muslims were not to be questioned, even though they wanted to learn to fly a commercial airliner but had no need to learn how to land such a plane. The U.S. military also needs trained psychiatrists, especially those who have some connection to the Middle East where we are engaged in conflict. While his statements and actions, if attributed to someone of another faith or religious persuasion, would likely have brought quick rebuke and action, he was somehow given pass after pass, probably because we wanted to get something for our huge financial investment in his education and we were afraid to offend (him).

In the final days before committing his horrific act of mass murder, he gave his personal belongings away, something "normally" seen in individuals who plan to end their life. While he could have simply run away or, in the extreme, committed suicide in his own lonely apartment, he instead chose to live out his outrageous statements against his fellow soldiers, holding all of them, men, women, black, white and Hispanic, young and old alike, responsible for his problems, using their blood to make his personal religious statement, shouting a phrase as he shot that seems to tie his religious belief system to his attack.

Some recall the October 1999 crash of Egypt Air flight 990 into the Atlantic Ocean. In that case the first officer, Gameel Al-Batonti, was at the controls of the airliner containing 217 souls. The cockpit voice recorder picked up the Captain leaving the cockpit to go to the bathroom, followed thirty seconds later by Al-Batonti shouting, "I rely on God" while he disengaged the autopilot, after which he again shouted "I rely on God" on multiple occasions. Three seconds later the throttle for both engines was pulled back to zero, and both elevators were moved to point the nose of the plane down toward the ocean. The Captain is suddenly heard as he reentered the cabin and asked repeatedly, "What's happening, what's happening?" The flight data recorder reflected that the Captain tried to pull the nose of the plane up while the First Officer continued to push it down, at the same time as the engines were shut down. The Captain asked, "What is this? What is this? Did you shut the engines?" While U.S. investigators believed the crash to be the suicidal and murderous act of the First Officer, Egypt officials suggested the American made Boeing 767 had mechanical problems, this while Egyptian newspapers published their belief that the plane had accidently been shot down by the U.S. military. Suicide or murder, some would dismiss the implication of the phrase shouted by the First Officer and instead choose to blame the U.S. for the construction of the faulty plane or for our military somehow shooting the plane down, reason unknown.

There are those radical Islamic fundamentalists who, somewhat like the Egyptian press above, have embraced the person responsible for the loss of life as some kind of hero. Both men, the First Officer of flight 990 and Dr. Hasan, were men who were expected to protect the lives of those they worked with and those around them and both instead chose to take the life of such innocents. Different men, different reasons, but the same result, this while both apparently chose to embrace their religious belief system as they intentionally took life after life.

First Officer Al-Batonti did not live to explain his murderous actions, but Major Hasan may, just may survive his wounds. If so he will be given the opportunity to explain the otherwise unexplainable; why he killed and wounded so many. His explanations, though, may fall along the lines of the motive offered by 40-year-old Jason Rodriguez as he sought to explain why he entered his former Orlando, FL workplace the day after the Ft. Hood murders. Rodriguez, who shot six people in that office, had been fired from his job over two years ago, but he had also lost other jobs since. When arrested while hiding in his mother's home, Rodriguez proclaimed that he was "going through a tough time," further indicating he killed one and wounded five because "he was angry."

When will we, as a people, begin to accept personal responsibility for our failures and our losses in life? We shouldn't blame people, or God, or other religions, or even suggest, as Flip Wilson once said, that "the devil made me do it." We make choices in life, sometimes terrible choices, like those made by Al-Batonti, or Hasan or Rodriguez. No matter the color of our skin or our place of worship, we are all citizens of the world and as such, have a responsibility to others. Some, like Mother Teresa, try to make the world a better place while others, like those mentioned above, would just as soon destroy it. Murder is a normally a choice, while mass murder a statement. After the funerals we will again try to decipher the terrible statements of these new killers.