A Brief History
On November 5, 2009, Fort Hood, Texas became the scene of the worst slaughter of U.S. military personnel at an American installation when Major Nidal Malik Hasan, an Army psychiatrist of all people, went on a murderous shooting spree that left 13 dead and 32 wounded.
On the morning of the fateful day, Hasan gave away his furniture and handed out copies of the Koran. He then armed himself with a 5.7 mm FN pistol, went to the Soldier Readiness Center, shouted “Allahu Akbar!” (Arabic for “God is Great”) and spent the next ten minutes shooting his comrades. Hasan then became engaged in a shootout with a female Department of the Army civilian police officer and wounded her twice. A male officer responded and shot Hasan multiple times, wounding him and ending the slaughter.
Incredibly, and in keeping with what is common behavior with mass murderers, Hasan had caused alarm and worry to his superiors and co-workers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and received counseling and extra supervision. Nonetheless, despite having anti-American sentiments, he was permitted to stay in his career and was transferred to Fort Hood where he continued to draw attention to himself with his less-than-patriotic views. He was even investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for his email exchange with Imam Anwar al-Awlaki, an Islamic militant and terrorist.
Investigations after the shootings, however, found 39-year-old Hasan to have acted alone and to not have terrorist ties. The fact that the incident was described as “workplace violence” and not terrorism angered many in the Army and in Congress.
The son of Palestinian immigrants, Hasan was born in Arlington, Virginia and raised a Muslim. Over the course of his life, he became increasingly devoted to Islam and went on rants against U.S .military involvement in Muslim countries and believed that Muslims should rise up and throw the Americans out. (For a U.S. Army officer to be engaging in this sort of dialogue strikes the author of this article as ridiculous, and it is shocking that he was kept on duty and not either discharged, hospitalized or court-martialed. This is clearly another case of a mentally ill goof giving sign after sign of potential for violence, and nothing decisive was done! Amazing and sickening.)
Hasan, now paralyzed from the waist down, was convicted of 13 counts of murder and 32 counts of attempted murder. Sentenced to death, he awaits that fait while the appeals process is underway. During his trial, Hasan claimed that his actions were justified because the U.S. military was at war with Islam, and he was merely defending his faith.
To prevent deaths in the future, hopefully now the Army and FBI are taking deranged people who rant and rave and spread radical hate seriously. Question for students (and subscribers): What do you think? Are the authorities going to be more vigilant? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
History and Headlines Facts: The FN Five-seven is a 5.7 mm x 28 mm pistol (approximately .22 caliber, but much more powerful than the normal .22 long rifle) that usually has a 20-round magazine (10 rounds where that is the legal limit, or 30 rounds in an extended version). The bullet is typically 28 to 31 grains and is propelled at a blistering 2000+ feet per second, fast enough to penetrate all bullet-resistant vests designed to stop normal pistol rounds. This cartridge type is also suitable for use in carbines and sub-machine guns. You can expect to pay about $1,100 for this semi-automatic pistol.
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For more information, please see…
United States Government US Senate. A Ticking Time Bomb: Counterterrorism Lessons from the U.S. Government’s Failure to Prevent the Fort Hood Attack. 2013.