Back in November 2009 Fort Hood Texas was rocked by the killing of 13 people and the wounding of 32 others when Major Nidal Malik Hassan went on a religious based rampage at the giant installation. Hassan now sits on death row at the Military prison at Fort Leavenworth Kansas after being convicted of his crimes by a General Courts Martial.
This afternoon there was another mass shooting. Reports are that at least four people have been killed and another 14 wounded. The alleged shooter, Specialist van Lopez was among the dead.
It was yet another tragic day on the largest Army installation in the country, the home of the 1st Cavalry and 4th Infantry Divisions, over 450,000 soldiers plus their family members, the civilian support staff. I am well acquainted with the base having spent much time as an Army National Guard officer there in the 1980s and 1990s.
Though I left the Army Reserve to go on active duty in the Navy back in 1999 I still have many friends that serve in the Army as well as its Reserve and National Guard components. Likewise I serve at a Joint Command where many of our faculty are active duty or retired Army officers. So when something like this happens I get worried as I have lost friends and others that I have served with in Iraq, Afghanistan and on September 11th 2001 at the Pentagon.
This time it was not a American Jihadi doing the killing. Instead is was an ordinary solder with a wife and young child who served in Iraq and was being treated for some kind of mental health issues. Of course that did not stop some from immediately raising the specter of Moslem extremist terrorism. One blogger or as he calls himself a “journalist” Pat Dollard at Breitbart site tweeted this which sounds a lot like Nazi “journalist” Julius Streicher’s Der Sturmer rants against the Jews:
“If there is even one more act of Muslim terrorism, it is then time for Americans to start slaughtering Muslims in the streets, all of them.”
Threatening to “slaughter” all American Moslems “in the streets.” My God, what the hell? But such rants are par for Dollard who tweets such race hatred as well as conspiracy theories so outlandish as to be laughable if he were not serious and followed by a lot of people on a daily basis.
So we have a mentally ill soldier who killed 3 and wounded 16 others creating havoc and destroying the lives of many people, including his own wife and child before taking his own life. Such incidents have occurred at other bases including one at Camp LeJeune where I was last stationed. The fact is there are a lot of active duty, reserve, retired and other veterans with significant medical and mental health problems that are not being addressed well in the either the military, civilian or VA medical systems.
We know very little about this soldier, Specialist Ivan Lopez, who served in Iraq but took part in no combat. We don’t know what his mental issues are nor do we know the motive. One thing we do know is that he was not a Moslem and that this was not an act of terrorism. It was a criminal act committed by a man not authorized to carry a concealed weapon who was possibly insane.
We will certainly find out more about Lopez in the coming days and hopefully that will shed light on this crime.
We also know something else, much more disturbing than Lopez’s crime. That there are people in this country just waiting for a Moslem terrorist to kill some people on this country in order that they might have the excuse to start slaughtering Moslems in the streets.
That my friends is truly frightening.