Friday, November 6, 2009

From the Hospital: Notes on Fort Hood

(This is a friend of PF's. Her roommate is watching Fox News nonstop and she wrote this out for me to post for her. She's doing okay, btw. They might let her go home today. What they thought was an infection at the surgical site turned out to be an allergy to the coating on the stitches, which will make the scar heal badly, but it won't kill her.)

The tragedy at Fort Hood was just that: a tragedy. A man went over the edge as people occasionally do and now innocents suffer. I understand the fear and confusion and anger that are the aftermath of such events. However, if I hear "Muslim" mentioned one more time . . .

Timothy McVeigh blew up a building and killed innocent children, and nobody spent a moment pontificating on how dangerous white, Christian men are. The Fort Hood shooter does not represent every Muslim everywhere, he represents only himself. Intimations or outright shouts to the contrary should be called out as the bigotry they are.


12 comments:

  1. There's also no reason to pretend that radical Islam isn't the cause of many terrorist incidents, and to preemptively try to absolve it of this one, before all the facts are in.

    Given that we are at war with Islamic radicals, there's nothing bigoted about speculating on whether a Muslim soldier going berserk before being deployed to the war zone might have something to do with his religion.

    You might want to read this NYT article about Major Hasan.

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  2. An apparently devout Muslim attacks an army base, killing approx. 13 and wounding approx. 30 and you want to suggest he just went "over the edge". You've got to be kidding ... FIP (face in palm).

    Take a look at the video of Major Hasan at his local convenience store yesterday morning which is currently available at CNN's website. He looks just as calm as Mohamed Atta did going through security before boarding AA Flight 11.

    I applaud UNRR for suggesting that we not rush to judgment before all the facts are in and, of course, Hasan's actions cannot be said to be representative of the Islamic faith. However, to ignore the religious element of this tragedy is wilful blindness to the extreme.

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  3. I think the point is that it's automatically assumed that a.) this happened because he's a Muslim and b.) this is representative of the behavior of all Muslims. Point A might well be correct. But Point B does not follow from there by any stretch of the imagination. However, the speculation immediately starts that we have to be worried about all Muslims.

    However, when McVeigh did the Oklahoma City bombing no one said, "Do we have to check all white, Christian males for explosives?" When whats-his-name killed Dr. George Tiller no one said, "Why are Christians so violent?" It's a cultural blind spot.

    All people are capable of both violence and peace. All religious texts can be read to support either. It's stupid to say, "Muslims are evil," without reflecting on the possibility that Christians can be thought of that way, too.

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  4. It's awesome that Personal Failure, who's on her deathbed or whatever she's going through right now, can take all this trouble to get out a message of compassion for other people's troubles. We should all take a lesson from that.

    Obviously, Hasan was a devout muslim. Are we going to let our thought processes stop with that one datum, or are we going to follow her example and look at the whole situation, even with empathy? Hasan was many other things, just as any of us are. He was a lifelong bachelor frustrated in his search for a bride; a career Army officer frustrated by the actions of his leaders; a soldier whose buddies did not have his back; trapped financially into a job he no longer wanted wanted; and probably more besides. He wasn't a one-dimensional cardboard cutout, he was a human being just like any of us. Yes, he went over the edge. Put a human being under enough pressure and that's what they do. Just like we had suicides and fraggings in Nam, we're having them now. Stopping them won't be the result of demonizing the people who carry them out.

    Let's listen to Personal Failure and work to stop creating these kinds of situations.

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  5. " Put a human being under enough pressure and that's what they do"

    Nonsense. Many people are under pressure and have all sorts of problems, and they don't go out and murder their co-workers. Why should we look to make excuses for someone who guns down a bunch of unarmed people?

    " Stopping them won't be the result of demonizing the people who carry them out."

    The idea that we shouldn't "demonize" a mass murderer is just completely ridiculous. All indications were that this was premeditated, since Army pyschiatrists don't walk around armed. Whatever his reasons, he apparently decided ahead of time to arm himself and murder people.

    I'll save my empathy and sympathy for the victims.

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  6. Interestingly, when vets return from Iraq or Afghanistan and kill their wives (and then sometimes themselves), no one talks much about their religion either way.

    Just sayin'.

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  7. "Put a human being under enough pressure and that's what they do" It's not nonsense. Many people won't commit suicide or murder, (or abuse their wives and children), but the point is that a certain percentage always will, and the more people are put in those situations, the higher that percentage gets. The only way to bring down that percentage is to change the situation.

    The Lucifer Effect is real, and vilifying the ones who 'go over the edge' won't change anything for the better. Whether or not you're man enough to muster up any sympathy for the murderer, he's history. What matters is whether you demonize people who aren't mass murderers, that is, most muslims. Sticking up for them is not making an excuse for him.

    As far as pontificating on how dangerous white, Christian men are, yeah, some of us were. And, those fundamentalist Christian men are taking over our military and making a mockery of the notion of the “band of brothers” that a functioning army has to be. If you're gay, female, or in this case muslim, your should-be buddies may be more of a threat than the enemy. Ask Jamie Leigh Jones. We're in the 8th year of the occupation and this is an entirely predictable instance of blowback.

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  8. "but the point is that a certain percentage always will, and the more people are put in those situations, the higher that percentage gets. The only way to bring down that percentage is to change the situation."

    This is just an excuse for the murderer -- an attempt to shift the blame to something else rather than the person responsible. Mass shootings are thankfully pretty rare. I know we had another one today, so it doesn't seem that way, but in a nation of 300 million people, it's normally not an every day event. Most people simply do not deal with their problems by going out and seeing how many people they can murder.

    "What matters is whether you demonize people who aren't mass murderers, that is, most muslims. Sticking up for them is not making an excuse for him."

    That has nothing to do with anything I wrote in this thread. Obviously other Muslims are not responsible for Hasan's actions. He's the one that decided to pick up a couple of guns and go kill people.

    "As far as pontificating on how dangerous white, Christian men are, yeah, some of us were."

    Yes, it is common on the left to greatly overstate the threat of Christianity, while greatly downplaying the threat of radical Islam. I'm not sure why. I guess just a basic denial of reality.

    " And, those fundamentalist Christian men are taking over our military "

    Thanks for providing me with a prime example. Christianity of various types has long been a part of the U.S. military. It is nothing new or a case of them "taking over." If anything, it has less influence now than in the past, as the military is now more diverse than probably any time in its history.

    "If you're gay, female, or in this case muslim, your should-be buddies may be more of a threat than the enemy."

    Nothing like focusing on a few trees and missing the rest of the forest. Since you apparently didn't notice, it was a Muslim soldier that killed his comrades, not the other way around. But in your world it's the Muslim soliders that should feel threatened.

    " We're in the 8th year of the occupation and this is an entirely predictable instance of blowback."

    There's nothing predictable about a soldier suddenly going berserk and shooting up a military base. At this point we aren't even certain of his motivations, given that he's still in a coma and hasn't been questioned.

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  9. @UNRR

    maybe there's a difference between an "excuse for the murderer" and an explanation of the murder.

    I think it's more important to prevent similar events, if possible without criminalizing people who haven't done any crimes yet, than to focus on the guilt of one criminal.

    We can't undo what he has done. We can't even punish him personally. But if we ever meet someone who is in a similar situation and we realize it soon enough, we might be able to show him or her another way out.

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  10. White Christians of McVeigh's "ilk" certainly were questioned and looked at askance...

    However, what is more amazing about Hasan is his profession and rank. Majors are not known for attacking enlisted personnel and psychiatrists are not know for acting out their personal demons on innocent strangers.

    It's a strange case... but you called it "fragging" in the link I followed to get here and that's not sensible at all. Fragging implies taking one's frustrations out on one's superior officers. And had Hasan done that, it would almost (not quite...) be more understandable.

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  11. so, a report was just published a few months ago, by [i think] the FBI on "possible domestic terrorists".
    and it was noted that certain types of groups are more disposed towards acts of terrorism than others.
    specifically, in the case of this report, certain types of Christianity, with a high rate of evangelical/fundamentalism and also a high rate of para-military training and/or activity was noted as being a *large* indicator of possible future terroristic acts. this report was based on *many* things, including acts of terror that of continued to be perpetrated by [predominately] white, male, Christian terrorists.
    and so of course the far-right-fundy-radical-christian-conservative sects threw a *FIT*.
    because if someone blows up a building, it's an act of terror. but if a WHITE CHRISTIAN blows up a building, it's "A blow for God".

    i KNOW that only the fringiest of the fringies actually says things like that. just like i know only the most radical of radical feminists actually advocates for the removal of all men to further world peace.
    and i *ALSO* know that any person who calls themself a "feminist" is immediately tarred with the total-radical-feminst brush... while any person claiming to be a Fundametalist or Evangelican Christian is not tarred by the crazy-Christian-extremist brush, and GETS VERY MAD, as do *all* Christians, when it's pointed out that Christians do commit a *lot* of the crimes of terror in the US.
    we are supposed to *forget* that a White, Christian man walked into a UU CHURCH and opened fire, because he "hated liberals"
    we are supposed to *forget* that a White, Christian man murdered Dr. Tiller, because he [Dr. Tiller] was a "murderer".
    we are supposed to *forget* the women's clinics that were bombed - and NOT ALL of them were places abortions were performed - because any place that ever tells a woman that abortion is an option is "evil".
    we are supposed to *forget* Oklahoma City.
    we are supposed to *forget* that a major GOP candidate is actively running on a platform of changing the US Constitution to reflect an Evangelical Fundamentalist Christian Theocracy.

    because *obviously* white Christian people would never commit acts of terrorism.

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  12. Thanks, UNRR.

    Could anybody have a word of compassion for the families of those who were killed? How about for those who are still recovering from gunshot wounds?

    It's not a tragedy. It's a horrible crime. Tragedies, as we usually use the word, are bad things that "just happen." This was an act of multiple homicides and assault.

    I know it is "cool" to be all compassionate and tolerant and enlightened, etc. However, people are morally bankrupt when they feel bad for the murderer and not for the murder victims. If you felt true human sadness and compassion toward the victims, you would condemn their victimizer, not manufacture excuses for him.

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Comments are for you guys, not for me. Say what you will. Don't feel compelled to stay on topic, I enjoy it when comments enter Tangentville or veer off into Non Sequitur Town. Just keep it polite, okay?

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