The Fort Hood Massacre Should be Awake Up Call-There are ‘Crazy’ People All Around Us

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DaveyD-leather-225By now we all have heard and are in shock about the army psychiatrist Nidal Malik Hasan who went on a rampage and shot and killed 13 people while injuring up to 25 or 30. This mass killing is heart-wrenching, disturbing and left many of us with a whole lot of questions. Was it an act of terrorism? That is being suggested on some of the news stations? Was it a mental health situation? Was it Post Traumatic Stress (PST)? Combat fatigue? Hopelessness? All this has come up. But how deep and honest are people willing to look into any of these questions?

WinterSoldierGraphicIt was just a year and a half ago  (March 2008) on the 5th anniversary of the War in Iraq, 200 US military veterans and active duty soldiers came to the National Labor College in Silver Spring Maryland to give eye-witness accounts, riveting and disturbing testimony of what was going on in the trenches. Called Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan, it was inspired by a similar event called Winter Soldiers where Vietnam vets talked about what was really going on in the battlefield  back in 1971.

In both 1971 and in the three days of testimony in 2008, the mainstream media all but ignored what was going on. Seems like no one really wanted to discuss what these soldiers were talking about. Probably cause it would have called a lot of people to be accountable. Not just the politicians who voted for us to rush to war, but also the media which was complicit both in blindly going along and then not really reporting what was going on. If folks recall in 2008, we had what are called embedded reporters. They’re press people who are living alongside and riding with the soldiers. When they did their reports, their accounts were nothing like the accounts the Winter Soldiers gave. One has to wonder if these embedded reporters were really doing their job or just being a mouthpiece for the pentagon. Hence they attempted to downplay and ignore it. In 1971 there was an attempt to discredit the Winter Soldier testimonies, but time has shown that those soldiers were truthful and that there was political motivation at trying to shut them down..

Had you heard any of the 2008 testimonies and eye-witness accounts, the first thing that would have come to mind was that many folks who are on the battlefield and set to return to our communities are going to need some help to process all that they experienced. The Winter Soldier testimonies talked about the dehumanizing condition, things they did and witnessed. You have to be mentally disturbed if you weren’t moved or bothered by what was spoken.  The Winter Soldier Testimonies said to me, that as a country the mental well-being of these  returning young men and women had best be top priority.  It became clear to me that there is a huge separation of those who are on the battlefield and in combat and those who like to talk shit about going to war and barking orders.  You can check out Winter soldier stuff here: http://ivaw.org/wintersoldier.  You can also hear some of the reports here on Democracy Now http://www.democracynow.org/shows/2008/3/17, http://www.democracynow.org/shows/2008/3/18, http://www.democracynow.org/shows/2008/3/19

It was just two months ago that the Texas Observer ran a story called Under the Hood that talked about the growing ranks of soldiers stationed in Fort Hood who are resisting the war effort. Many are ready to bounce out but were forced to stay. many are seeking solace.  There was an accompanying mini documentary called Injured Hearts, Injured Minds that a friend of mine Mathew Gossage had shot. That story and report was ignored by many in the mainstream. We need to keep in mind that this is not the first shooting to take place at Fort Hood. NPR reported on its sordid past earlier today. I ran into Matt the last night and he remarked that there’s a strong possibility some of the people who he met when filming may have actually been counseled by Hasan. He explained that many were in support groups and that the gatherings they had were extremely important in helping them cope.

War is not a game. War is not a thing we should advocate for casually or advocate with all this bravado when we ourselves haven’t really been on the battlefield.  It’s brutal. It’s ugly and it should be something no one should have to experience. Unfortunately our collective humanity is put aside for politics. Back in 2008, our presidential candidates in particular Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama didn’t address the Winter Soldier Testimonies. If they showed any difference, they would’ve been crucified in the media and called ‘weak’ by ‘arm chair generals’ and fake ass-Studio Soldiers. Hence we heard Obama around the time of the Winter Soldier testimonies talk about how he would order military strikes on Al-Queda if we heard they hiding in another country risking the slaughter of innocent people which was one of the compelling dehumaizing aspects many tesitified about.

I bring all this up, because folks should have some sort of context of what may be going on inside the minds of these soldiers. I also bring this up because mental illness is not limited to army vets. It’s disturbing when they snap because they have military training and they are here to protect us… Who protects us from them? Who protects us when a doctor who is supposed to be there for the mental well-being of his fellow soldiers snaps?

masshootingsstockWhen I first got word of the Fort Hood massacre, my mind immediately went back to the onslaught of mass shootings that took place when over the past couple of years. Some of them were attributed to a downturning economy, others we suspect there was some sort of mental illness.  We saw a family of 6 get slain by an out of work distraught husband in Santa Clara. We saw 13 people get slain in upstate New York. We had the Virginia Tech shootings where 32 people were killed. We had a mass shooting at the University of Dekalb where 55 were killed and 18 wounded. We had the mall shooting in Omaha, Nebraska where 8 people were randomly killed.  We can also look at the recent discovery of 10 women raped in killed in Cleveland… The list is a long one. As I’m writing this we are getting word about a shooting rampage in an Orlando Florida office building. This is not even 24 hours after the Fort Hood incident.

What is troubling is that each of these incidents are often explained away in isolation. I see them all connected. As I’m writing this article, I’m hearing the news pundits attempting to spin this as Hasan being in conflict with religion. My fear is that his brutal act will not be seen as part of growing trend of mass shootings being a way in which some see as a way to resolve an issues. Instead, many will want to see him shooting up the army base as him being Muslim. Next we’ll have folks suggesting that if we screen for Muslims or get rid of them we’ll have no other mass shootings. That quick fix solution will come at the expense of us investing time, energy and resources into solving mental health issues.What will be overlooked are all the lesser reported events that point to PST and other mental illnesses. For example, are we asking ourselves, how many soldiers are committing acts of domestic violence? How many are on drugs? How many are alcoholics? Depressed? How many return from battlefield and wind up in jail?  Do we remember that there was big scandal of women being sexually assaulted? We remember the Tailhook scandal from Desert Storm back in ’91 right?  We’ve heard stories of rapes, even at Fort Hood there’s been allegations of rapes and cover ups . Are we looking at Hasan’s killing of 13 people with these other incidents in the backdrop? When folks are dehumanized we have to look at the mental well-being of both the victims and perpetrators

NidalMalikHasan

Nidal Malik Hasan is the suspect in the Fort Hood massacre. Do we see his involvement as isolated or is it part of a a larger and more disturbing trend of people snapping and committing atrocious acts like mass shootings?

How ironic is it that these shootings at Fort Hood took place one day before the Senate and Congress vote on the Healthcare bill? How ironic is this that we are seeing people even in the wake of this shooting saying we don’t need that industry to be reformed. No one wants to talk about that we have mentally disturbed folks not only in the army but living amongst us who will and are cracking as stressing situations increase-high unemployment, tanking economy and pressure to man up and be a tough guy and fight versus walk away and be peaceful.  Am I the only one who thinks that 20-25 high school students standing around watching while 5-10 boys rape a 15-year-old girl in Richmond, California for 2/1/2 hours is not a sign of mental instability? Am I the only one who sees the killings that routinely take place with increasing callousness in our respective communities as being a sign of mental instability? Hell, I’ll be honest, seeing the callousness of these greedy wall street bankers living high on the hog, giving out bonuses to the tune of 23 billion  and whooping it up in the face of one our worse economic crises in history is a sign of mental instability..

I think too many of us fall back on the stereotype of mentally disturbed person as being one who is slow speaking and drooling on himself, versus someone is extremely unhappy, angry  and callous toward the suffering of others.

There are no easy answers for yesterday’s tragedy. What we saw wasn’t isolated. It was indicative of a society that seems to be becoming more and more sick. It’s not limited to thugs and gangsters in the hood or conniving suit wearing types on Wall Street. It’s all of us who have in some shape or form no longer in touch with our humanity. It’s sick when we sit afar and tell people they are somehow weak for walking away from confrontation and demanding peace. It’s sick when we say such things when we say it in the hood. It’s sick when we have Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reily type pundits say it on TV. It’s sick when we have politicians like Dick Cheney or George Bush say it. It’s sick if our current President Barack Obama goes for war when people are calling for peace all in the name of political practicality.

The massacre at Fort Hood should serve as a wake up call. It should be a reminder that if we aren’t out there striving to uplift and bring equality and respect for all, the next victim of a mass shooting may be you or me. It’s a wake up call that says to me that we better be working to correct the wrongs that exist around us. They won’t correct themselves. They’ll explode in our face like they did yesterday. My condolences to the family of those slain and those injured and witness the carnage. What occurred yesterday reaffirms my belief that War is Not the Answer..

Something to Think About

Davey D

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Comments

  1. Very well-written piece, Dave. Also appreciated the video commentary.

  2. Let’s be real D, they’re already plastering the t.v. with this guy in his traditional wear trying to scare the public into making this an act of “terrorism”(whatever that is). From what I have read and heard at work today…it’s working. The so-called leaders of this country don’t want peace, they want slaves & all the resources in the world they can get their hands on. Even if it means that people that are mentally disturbed or just outright crazy are used as fuel to keep the 85’s lost.

  3. Real Real says:

    “Take care of home first”. You know we are sick when the miitary is killing the U.S. military. Battle fatigue?! We know the Middle East is well protected by our troops, but how protected are we?

  4. party crasher says:

    “The massacre at Fort Hood should serve as a wake up call. It should be a reminder that if we aren’t out there striving to uplift and bring equality and respect for all, the next victim of a mass shooting may be you or me”

    I think it should be a reminder that you can’t control people and that you shouldn’t associate with the warrior class unless you’re prepared for the worst. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X strove to “Bring equality and respect to all” … and they got shot too.

    Be careful of who and what you associate with….even things that seem altruistic have thorns…regardless if it’s called the military , a gang or ……”activism and social justice”.

  5. He wanted out of the military after 9/11 because of harassment by fellow soldiers. They did not let him – a big mistake. His car was recently vandalized by another soldier because it had a sticker w/ reference to islam. Although the guy was probably already sick, being muslim in the army probably sucks.

  6. Good points!

  7. jewellthief says:

    great article Dave!!! unfortunately, have to agree w/ the first poster….the unintelligent among us see this as a ratings bonanza for their radio shows and tv shows—its absolutely to have a black or brown as a villain, but not a whyt guy…. a friend asked this question on her facebook page: What was the religious faith of the killer in Orlando, Florida? What was the religious faith of the serial murderer in Ohio? If the newspapers emphasize the faith of the shooter in Fort Hood, Texas , then the faith of other murderers should be posted as well.

  8. Hold on a second. Let’s really look at this for what it is. Why ignore the facts about this man? He’s been linked to radical Islamic websites and has multiple witnesses claiming to have heard him go on Anti-American rants. There were warning signs that this individual may have had either mental health issues or potential treasonous sentiments (both important matters to address in any military – regardless of the cause). Although the man was most likely not initially a terrorist, his inability to reconcile his religion with the Army’s mission gradually gravitated his viewpoint in that direction. Yes, he may have been teased about who he was, and while that should not be condoned, it should not be used as a reason to excuse his heinous acts – as you seem to be doing.

    Nidal Malik Hassan is not a victim.

    “It should be a reminder that if we aren’t out there striving to uplift and bring equality and respect for all, the next victim of a mass shooting may be you or me.”

    What are you trying to imply? That there was some blame to be had by the murdered and injured? If that’s the case, then here are the few of the *instigators*:

    Francheska Velez – a 21 year old soldier that just returned from Iraq was also a victim. She was pregnant.

    Kham Xiong – a 23 year old soldier preparing for his first deployment to Iraq.

    Maj. Libardo Eduardo Caraveo – a 52 yeard old Major assigned to the 467th Medical Detachment, Madison, Wisconsin.

    Keara Bono – was shot in the back, and is still alive. She arrived at Fort Hood only one day before the Fort Hood shooting, and was set to deploy to Iraq on December 7.

    Just for the record Davey, I’m a Democrat, and usually enjoy your articles and viewpoints. In this case, you’re simply being too political. You’re being the anti-O’Reilly, the anti-Hannity, the anti-Glenn Beck. Just be the truth.

    Nidal Malik Hassan is not a victim.

    • Mike people like u make me laugh..stop watching Fox news and yes Mike lets face facts..

      1-This is not the first killing at Fort Hood.. read the links. There are more I could site..

      2-Lots of rapes and other abuses take place on the regular all over including Fort Hood..

      3-Most of these assaults are coming from who terrorists? People with radical links to extremist? Noooo
      they coming from w/people with PST

      4-When this massacre was first reported.. ALL of the news outlets ran stories with guest about PST.. Thats when I wrote this.. and still stand by the story
      Why? I don’t care if he talked to Bin Laden himself, anyone who is willing to shoot 13 people and possibly die in a hail of bullets or worse live to face certain death or life in prison along with the wrath of the people connected to the folks he killed.. has got to be sick..Hasan does not seem like a hero of any sense.. he would’ve killed himself if he was on a suicide mission as we’ve seen with other perprators..And I didn’t make him out to be a sympathetic victim.. I made him out to be one of many explosive time bombs who will snap at any minute if we don’t face facts.. about mental illness.

      5-This focus on him being connected to 9-11 and suddenly picking up a gun after he expressed concern about going to fight shows that we have a ‘sick policy’. Its sick because we decided to spin a story and ignore the real facts that I laid out in the story and supported with the mini doc which was shot a month ago ‘INJURED HEARTS INJURED MINDS.. Don’t ignore those facts Michael..

      6-as for my quote .. your damn right the next one could be you.. As the 9 people in oregon found out today, the poor souls in orlando the day after Fort Hood found out, as the kids in Dutchess county almost found out when a homegrown -non-muslim, non alqueda,good ole boy who ‘hates America’ came through and kidnapped the principle..

      Lastly save the I’m a ‘Democrat line’ for someone else.. That has no credibility here.. too many dems yell for war and not peace..I sited Beck and Oreilly cause they talk crazy shit about going to war when they are unwilling to fight themselves.. As I stated in the article, if you think that going after this guy and saying he was Alqueda on a terrorist mission then thats like me figuring that because I have an emergency food kit that i don’t have to worry about Earthquakes here in the Bay Area

      The title of the article was The Fort Hood Massacre Should Be a Wake Up call.There are ‘Crazy’ people Everywhere..
      There have been close to 30 mass shootings in two years.. The title speaks for itself..

  9. Oh, so if someone disagrees with your viewpoint, then they MUST be Fox News watching redneck racists.

    Should I conform to the rest of your followers instead, and just give you props for how good the majority of your article is, without discussing the points I disagree with? Would that work better for you?

    Hell, maybe you should just remove the comments portion of your site then. That way, you would never know anyone disagreed with you.

    1. I never disputed that.
    2. I never disputed that.
    3. I did not address those assaults. I only spoke about Nidal Malik Hassan.
    4. Nidal Malik Hassan has never been in combat. PTSD is usually associated with people who have been in combat situations. And, every news outlet reporting the PTSD angle does not make it accurate to the situation at hand. How would PTSD be applicable to an individual that most likely has never experienced trauma?
    5. That’s a good documentary, and PTSD is a real problem for soldiers who have been in combat. I never disputed that, but Nidal Malik Hassan has never been in combat.
    6. I don’t doubt I could get shot at any moment – I never said otherwise, but that’s not the point. My point was that we should not make statements like you made, because they are a form of secondary victimization. To me, that was analagous to telling a rape victim “Let this serve as a reminder that you shouldn’t have worn that dress.” It’s senseless to blame Nidal Malik Hassan’s shooting victims in such a fashion.

    In regards to the shooting you spoke of, I blame the shooters, not their fellow classmates who may have teased them.

    Lastly, I only mentioned my political affiliation to defend against potential credibility attacks by any responders. You’re right, it doesn’t matter. Nor does the fact that I want Obama to make good on his promise to bring the troops home. These facts have nothing to do with the assessment of the Fort Hood Massacre.

    PTSD is nothing new. Crazy people are nothing new. Why did you wait until the Fort Hood Massacre to write an article about it?

    Don’t sugarcoat it Davey. You’re defending Nidal Malik Hassan.

    • Mike aka Truth if u are a regular reader of anything i write then u know I don’t pull punches.. I don’t beat around the bush or use innuendos.. If i felt Hasan was a victim I would clearly state it.. I don’t think he’s a blameless victim.. he killed 13 people and should be punished.. The system being broken contributed to that.. cause Hasan should never been on an army base.. not just because of his affiliations.. but because dude was on edge..

      second if you studied PST, then you would know you can and will get it from listening to the tales of horror over and over again as Hasan did in his profession. Unless u take steps to detox, you will be succeptible to the energy and emotions..

      Third lets say its not PST.. Its more than obvious dude was mentally unstable.. PST or some other form of mental instability is not acceptable..I been consistent in talking about this over the years..

      Fourth.. I have written about, done shows and commented on numerous mass shootings.. from Columbine to the crazy fools who did the killings in DC (DC sniper).. I frequently have covered murders and mayhem..It happens so much it would be impossible to keep up.. From the Congo to Sudan to the madness that took place in Bosnia.. Hell as far as I’m concerned there was something seriously wrong with the gang rape in Richmond where 30 people stood around, clapped and took pictures.

      This is news worthy because it happned it on our army base where all resources should be afforded to those who are charged with protecting us.. The last place you expect to get a mass killing is on an army base.. so it got covered.. I also covered the concerns of PST and people snapping long before this happened.. the radio shows we done in the past about Stop gap has always raised the concerns about returning soldiers and how we better be prepared..because of mental health issues..

  10. Nice article there Davey D. My main man truth here has many valid points. Nidal is certainly not a victim, and his actions are among the worst a human can act out.

    The fact is the US military industrial complex, complete with its state run media arm, and central bank, does not give a rats ass about any other human. That would explain why we have been lied into 2 wars that we cant win. That would explain why 3000 people in NY died for a big lie.

    I trust no military, no police and certainly no corrupt politician. It is all cause and effect. This country is in the midst of reaping what it has sowed for the 400 yrs of terror that has been the USS of A.

  11. party crasher says:

    I think the social organism called “the military” is a way to attract violent idiots away from the rest of us. All these people are getting exactly what they deserve. I think anyone remotely attracted to the military should join…same with gangs.This way we know who are impressionable and clueless…. and we can build weapons and more prisons and make money off those who are unfit to survive.

    Fuck them

  12. truth, on November 10th, 2009 at 8:29 pm Said:

    Should I conform to the rest of your followers instead, and just give you props for how good the majority of your article is, without discussing the points I disagree with? Would that work better for you?

    ………….

    Yes, this blog reader would be perfectly fine with that. Especially if you’re going to act like such a drama queen.

  13. As the former lead singer of Matchbox 20, you have no credibility.