Fort Hood

November 7th, 2009

On Thursday, Army psychiatrist Major Nidal Malik Hasan killed 13 and wounded 30 in a shooting spree at Fort Hood military base in Killeen, Texas. He was about to be deployed to a non-combat position in Afghanistan, which he opposed as a “war against Islam.”  For more information, see “Fort Hood Victims: Breaking News UPDATES On Shooting Fallout” (Huffington Post 11/07/09), “A Muslim Soldier’s View from Fort Hood” (Huffington Post 11/06/09); Fort Hood suspect said methodical goodbyes,” “Another attack leaves US Muslims fearing backlash,” “Suspect told ‘There’s something wrong with you’,” “Officer describes firefight that downed Hasan,” “In base’s town, lots of anger over ‘evil’ act : Some feel ‘the world was going crazy, like it was filled with killing’,” “Self-described ‘OCD mom’ is hailed as hero,” “‘I could hear the bullets going past me’,” and “Details emerge about Fort Hood suspect’s history” (Washington Post 11/07/09); “But for heroes, bloodbath could have been worse” (Washington Post 11/06/09), “Obama laments ‘horrific outburst of violence’” (Washington Post 11/05/09).


On Thursday morning

With little warning,

Army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan

Defiled the Holy Quran.


He gave a neighbor leftover frozen broccoli,

Along with an air mattress, t-shirts, and a Quran copy

“I’m going to miss you,” he told another neighbor and friend

Then left, his mosque to attend.


There he joined a fellow worshiper to pray.

He appeared relaxed, witnesses say.

Noone guessed when Hasan went on his way

What he planned to do that day.


He cleaned his apartment out

(He’d already told his landlord he was moving out).

They’d previously spoken briefly to say “How are you?

(Hasan gave him a copy of a Quran too).


He stopped by the 7-Eleven in town

For his usual breakfast of coffee and a hash brown.

He wore a robe and prayer cap (all white),

And was smiling as if everything were all right.


Hasan went to the Soldier Readiness Processing Center.

His two pistols hidden as he did the building enter.

300 deploying or returning soldiers lined up for vaccines and eye tests.

Noone reported that Hasan seemed distressed.


Hasan took out his firearm.

Someone shouted “gun” in alarm.

Hasan jumped on a desk and shouted “God is Great

And started firing both weapons at a steady rate.


Hasan stopped, reloaded, but before he could resume

Firing into the crowded room,

Pfc. Marquest Smith, crouching 10 feet away,

Attempted to get away.


Hasan saw him and started firing,

But what Smith did next was what was inspiring.

He escaped, but went back in twice others to help and console

Not noticing until later his boot had a bullet hole.


Fort Hood Police Sgt. Kimberly Munley

Happened to be in the vicinity.

She was taking her car to the shop for a repair,

So when the “shots fired” call went out, she was there.


Munley is all of about five feet tall,

But that didn’t slow her down at all.

She was on the scene in under three minutes

As her “active shooter” training befits.


She’s also an advanced firearms trainer,

Which in the coming emergency would help sustain her.

She’s Fort Hood’s special reaction team’s civilian member,

And followed the protocol they put in place last November.


Munley knew that time was short

And didn’t wait for her support.

As she approached the building the call was about

A wounded soldier came running out.


Hasan followed, firing to finish his deed.

Munley stepped up and fired to intercede.

Hasan rushed at her firing, redirecting his attack.

Munley dropped to the ground and fired back.


Munley was hit three times but didn’t give up;

She fired again from closer up.

Hasan fell, hit several times.

But still conscious, he reloaded to continue his crimes.


Police Sgt. Mark Todd arrived and told Hasan to surrender.

Instead Hasan fired, and Todd shot the offender.

The killer’s rampage was finally done.

Todd approached carefully and kicked away his gun.


Many other soldiers put themselves in danger

To help comrades, be they friend or stranger.

It is to them (along with Munley and Todd) that we owe our admiration

For preventing further victimization.


Hasan lies now in his hospital bed,

Leaving behind 13 dead.

He’s in a coma and may not survive.

After what he did, he’s lucky to be alive.


Some might say the killer of Fort Hood

Was just a man misunderstood.

To me that smacks of rationalization,

For committing an abomination.


Hasan’s bumper sticker said “Allah is Love”

But however you refer to Almighty God above,

He does not condone such a cowardly act

As when Hasan those unarmed men and women attacked.


Hasan, when you die, one thing I can promise you:

There will be no virgins 72

You’ll be going straight to Hell

Where you will for eternity dwell.


The real criminals here are not just Hasan,

But also the Islamic extremists who urged him on.

While US Muslim groups moved to issue condemnations when they got the news,

They still should do more to condemn those who spread these views.


Radical views of any faith are almost always wrong,

And if they’re encouraged, it doesn’t take long

For someone crazy to come along

And start shooting into a defenseless throng.


Like Jesus said about seeds falling on fertile soil,

Evil words too can the easily swayed embroil.

Somewhere someone eventually takes these words to heart.

He who acts commits the crime, but he who speaks plays a part.


If media, religious leaders, and politicians

Constantly spout extremist positions,

It eventually has an impact,

And somebody commits a violent act.


The answer isn’t to restrict free speech,

But instead, tolerance and reason to teach.

Richard” tried to do that in conversations with Hasan

To counter the views he had fixated on.


Too bad Hasan didn’t listen to reason.

With more “Richards” talking, maybe he wouldn’t have committed treason.

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Posted in National Security, Religion, What ails us | 1 Comment »

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