Major Nidal Malik Hasan, an army psychiatrist stationed at Fort Hood, Texas shot and killed twelve fellow soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas on Thursday afternoon, November 5, 2009. Why? That is the question which authorities in all areas of government will be asking over the next few months. When a secure army base such as Fort Hood is jeopardized, how can we feel safe in our homes?
Major Hasan had been assigned to Walter Reed Medical Center and was recently transferred to Fort Hood, Texas. After the shootings had occurred, Major Hasan had been reported as dead. However, shortly after 9:00 p.m. EST, over six hours after the shootings, Lt. General Robert Cone of Fort Hood told reporters Major Hasan was indeed alive, was shot multiple times and is in stable condition.
The incident took place at the Soldier Readiness Center at Fort Hood, which according to Lt. General Cone “touches a number of units.” The Center is a “medical waiting area” for soldiers from many units. Over 600 people were inside an auditorium near to the shooting. First responders to the scene closed off the area to protect those inside the auditorium.
Lt. General Cone was not sure if Hasan was actually targeting certain individuals or if the shooting was random. Lt. Cone praised the “quick reaction” by first responders and stated to reporters it “could have been much worse.” Lt. Cone said Major Hasan is “not currently speaking to investigators.” Major Hasan had hired a lawyer to help him not be deployed overseas.
Lt. General Cone reported that assistance is being received from Federal agencies in their investigation. One of the two weapons used by Hasan in the shooting was a semi-automatic weapon. Lot. Cone reported that “as a matter of practice, we do not carry weapons” on base. “We are going to increase our security presence here.”
Major Nidal Malik Hasan was an army psychiatrist. He was born in Virginia and graduated from Virginia Tech University. According to the Associated Press, Hasan received a “poor performance evaluation” while at Walter Reed.” There are numerous questions which have yet to be answered. Hopefully Major Hasan will cooperate with investigators and tell them what caused this terrible incident.
Daily, the men and women of our armed forces put their lives on the line for those of us living in comfort back home. When twelve of these soldiers die at home – within the boundaries of our country – we need to ask ourselves why this happened. It never should have.